Friday, November 27, 2015

Show me the stimulus!

Q: How can I get my hands on some money to make my home more energy efficient? Lucky for you, the stimulus package just increased the IRS tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements. It's now possible to get credits up to $1,500!

Show me the stimulus!


Energy Q&A with ECA

Q: How can I get my hands on some money to make my home more energy efficient?

A: Lucky for you, the stimulus package just increased the IRS tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements.  It’s now possible to get credits up to $1,500!  For details, go to

More good news:  the Pa Department of Environmental Protection just launched their new loan and rebate program for homeowners.  The program provides either a low-interest loan to finance home improvements at a lower interest rate OR provides a rebate for a high efficiency appliance. Each homeowner is eligible for either a rebate or a loan in any given year. Also, keep in mind these eligibility requirements:

  • All installed equipment and material must be new
  • Rebates are for projects completed after February 23, 2009.
  • Loans are available for projects initiated after February 23, 2009.
  • The year of eligibility is defined as July 1-June 30.
  • This loan is only available to 1-2 unit, owner occupied homes.
  • Loan available to families with a combined annual income of $150,000 or less and who meet the credit requirements, some exceptions apply.


If you choose a rebate, here is what you need to know:

  • If you install a qualifying improvement (high efficiency heating, air conditioning, air sealing, insulation, windows, doors, and geothermal) that are ENERGY STAR rated you get 10% off the purchase and installation costs of the improvement, up to $250.
  • If you install a qualifying improvement that exceeds ENERGY STAR standards you get 10% off the purchase and installation costs of the improvement, up to $500.
  • Be sure to check the DEP Web site and read the requirements carefully to insure that you meet all the requirements for the rebate. 

Low Interest Loans

Should you choose to take out a low interest loan to finance “whole house” improvements here is what you need to know:

  • There are 3 tiers of loans available, which are dependent upon the level of training that your contractor has received. You get a better interest rate with a contractor certified in a “whole house” energy savings approach.
  • There are both secured and unsecured loans available depending upon the amount you borrow.
  • The most money and best interest rates are available for loans to do “whole house” improvements, which require a certified energy audit. In addition to the loan, you may also receive a $325 rebate on the audit after the work has been completed and you have submitted the results of the post-construction follow-up audit.
  • Be sure to read all the terms of the loan or rebate program carefully to understand what measures qualify and what reporting you need to do.
  • Find the specific interest rates and loans at or call (888) 232-3477.
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About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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