Getting paid to be more energy efficient

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the New York Times about the incredible perks pre-sale buyers for the Nissan Leaf are receiving. When prospective buyers put down their $99 deposit for this vehicle, priced at just over $32,000, most of them weren’t aware that they’d get a large chunk of their investment back in the form of subsidies and grants.

These days, government programs at the national, state, and local levels are throwing hefty sums at consumers who take steps toward more efficient habits.

Knowing where to look and being able to decipher the jargon will go a long way toward getting the most out of your planned home upgrades, or taking advantage of these limited time opportunities.

In this post, we’ll try to provide an overview of some of the best resources out there for information on energy efficient upgrades.

Federal Incentives for Home Upgrades

Key Information:

  • Receive up to 30% of the cost (no upper limit) on solar and wind power upgrades as well as geothermal heat pumps until 2016
  • Find more information at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy web site.

State Level Appliance Rebates

Key Information:

  • While some programs have already closed, many states are still offering appliance incentives similar to California’s Cash for Appliances rebate program.
  • See a summary of your state’s available rebates at U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy web site.

Incentives from your local utility

Key Information:

  • On top of federal and state incentives, utility companies are providing added incentives for the installation of renewable and energy efficiency upgrades.
  • The North Carolina Solar Center and Renewable Energy Council provide a state by state list of available incentives.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) incentives

Key information:

Some of these upgrades might seem a bit pricey, or even impractical, but, with the biggest push for renewable energy in the nation’s history, there probably won’t be a better time to invest in these home upgrades. In a few years, these technologies will be the norm, and rebates certainly won’t be.


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