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 www.energywisepa.org

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.

Rebates

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 www.keystonehelp.com or call (888) 232-3477.

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