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Rebate Round-Up: Making Energy Efficiency Work for Your Wallet

money-house Despite a steady (but slow) increase in home resale values, many homeowners are still hesitant to embrace the potential financial risks of selling. Instead, many are staying put and choosing to invest in upgrades, making the most of the home they’re in. For some this means upgraded appliances, window replacements, or investing in a higher SEER heating & air conditioning unit. No matter the intention-for want or need-most improvements like these almost always mean greater home efficiency, which in turn, means more savings for the homeowner!

There’s no denying the fact that many home upgrades aren’t as affordable as we’d like them to be. Thankfully, there are lots of options. Qualifying Alabama homeowners have access to a wide selection of rebates related to home efficiency upgrades, many of which offer hundreds of dollars in cash refund incentives. The problem is that many people aren’t even aware that this money is available for use, and for those who do know, it’s more of a question of where to even begin this type of process.

Hopefully, our Rebate Round-Up will help make things easier! Read through and learn about which energy rebates are available to Alabama homeowners, find out where to access specific offers to unique needs, and how to maximize your savings. A few simple steps in the right direction can significantly impact your quality of life at home, and maybe even increase your home’s resale value!

AL-wise

Alabama WISE (Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) is a home energy program that offers Jefferson and Shelby county homeowners up to $750 in rebates toward energy efficiency upgrades that result in energy savings of at least 20%. The overall mission of the federally funded program is to provide homeowners with a realistic set of solutions for saving energy and lowering utility bills, making your home more efficient and comfortable, and reducing your home’s impact on the environment.

“No matter where you’re coming from, there’s something for everyone when it comes to home energy efficiency,” says Daniel Tait, program manager of Nexus Energy, which coordinates the Alabama WISE program. “A lot of people think of energy efficiency as just saving money, but it’s also about increasing quality of life at home.” In addition to lower utility bills, homeowners who invest in efficiency upgrades often experience better indoor air quality, as well as an increase in the home’s overall comfort level.

“Many people are frustrated with inconsistencies within their home, a top floor that is hot or a left side that is too cold in the winter,” explains Ruchi Singhal, executive director of Nexus Energy. “Helping homeowners reduce their frustration by providing the WISE program is very important to us at Nexus.”

Area homeowners can benefit from more than 20 various rebates offered trhough Alabama WISE, ranging from $20 for weatherstripping attic access doors to $350 for adding new or additional spray foam insulation to an attic and bringing duct-work into the conditioned space. For a complete list of rebate offers, go HERE.

New-HVAC-DuctworkHVAC replacement, energy star windows and attic insulation are a few of the most current trends in efficiency upgrades, but Singhal says air sealing and duct sealing are also high on the list and rightly so because they’re low cost and critical measures for higher home efficiency. “Nobody wants to be in a hot house during the Alabama summer, that’s why HVAC upgrades are high on the list,” she says. “Now with new units being more energy efficient it’s a popular way to save money, energy and heartache.”

What really sets the WISE program apart from other rebate offers, however, is the valuable insight gained by homeowners through a professional home energy evaluation, as well as feeling confident that any installation work is backed with through WISE quality assurance. The home energy assessment helps homeowners become aware of inefficiencies such as air leaks or insulation issues. The quality assurance process is in a way a method of advocating for the local community, explains Tait. “Homeowners can take comfort knowing that a highly certified contractor will come back and check the work to make sure everything was installed correctly.”

geospring1Alabama Power offers several home energy incentives including a $200 rebate toward a new electric water heater, and $225 cash back toward the purchase of a heat pump water heater, when homeowners switch from gas to electric. Learn more HERE. In addition to these cost savings, Alabama Power also provides homeowners with a whole host of valuable online tools, as well as tips for saving money and energy at home.

Eco-Three is a locally owned and operated energy authority specializing in home energy evaluations, consultations, and home efficiency upgrades. Through a professional home energy assessment with Eco-Three, Birmingham homeowners can learn more about about their home’s specific issues, and find out how to actually solve and fix the issues, not just mask the symptoms. A typical energy audit is performed using state-of-the-art energy audit using sophisticated tools for measuring temperature fluctuation and energy usage, and includes a comfort and concerns consultation, exterior, interior, HVAC systems inspection, and detailed recommendations based on the findings. Eco-Three also works with Alabama WISE to offer participating homeowners the benefits of a free home energy evaluation, valued at $350! Check out Eco-Three online for more information.

The Central Alabama Electric Cooperative offers rebates for electric water heaters (not including tankless). Customers can receive $235 for units under 80 gallons and $375 for units 80 gallons and above.For complete details, as well as other incentives, visit caec.coop.

blower-door-test1Home Depot features a great resource for homeowners looking to install energy efficiency measures. Their web site features all sorts of available rebates based on location, product, and even local utilities. For example, customers purchasing a Rheem Ecosense high efficiency indoor tankless water heater will find they’re able to take advantage of $500 in cash incentives: $200 from Alagasco and a $300 federal tax credit.

Lowes provides homeowners with detailed info for rebates as well, and also offers valuable insight and ideas on its web site for creating a more efficient home. Whether you’re getting started on smaller DIY jobs or ready to have a contractor perform the upgrades, Lowes can lead you to the correct type of caulking and sealant or let you know about qualify rebates for Energy Star products and more.

Federal tax credits are also available to Alabama homeowners. Deductions can be taken on federal income tax returns for qualified Energy Star-approved purchases for existing homes during 2012-2013. Visit energystar.gov for additional information and requirements.

Singhal recommends homeowners take advantage of all the incentive programs available. She suggests beginning with the WISE program, and then after the initial retrofits, gaining additional incentives from other limited time rebates to maximize home energy savings. WISE also offers a low interest loan program for all the retrofit options (which is a rare perk and helps you not have to come out with cash immediately). Check out all the benefits of making your home WISE at www.alabamawise.org.

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