September 14, 2011

Qualify for any energy efficiency rebates?

It's not too early for Virginians to think about next winter's heating bill. You might consider a new furnace or water heater if your units are more than 10 years old. If so, see some dandy rebates on energy-efficient water heaters and furnaces from Virginia Natural Gas.

Also check out Dominion Power's Energy Conservation Programs website. Although they are in the business of selling electricity, they are also committed to energy conservation.

For example, Dominion has a goal of selling more than 2 million energy efficient bulbs per year. When you buy qualifying ENERGY STAR® lighting from participating stores, you will receive an automatic discount from Dominion. Currently, all of the products offered in their program are manufactured by GE or Feit Electric. Consider LED light bulbs as well as CFLs because they contain no mercury.

Dominion offers $40 annually to customers (* in some areas) who ask them to install an AC cycling or "smart" switch on your outdoor air-conditioning or heat pump system. Then it will cycle your air-conditioner or heat pump system on and off for short periods during times of high demand between June and September. You don't even need to be home during installation, and the equipment and the installation is free.The fan will stay on circulating already cooled air. For more information, call 1-888-366-8280. * At this time, participation is open for homeowners with a central A/C or heat pump system in Alexandria, Arlington, Charlottesville, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Midlothian, Norfolk, Northern & Eastern Fairfax County, Herndon, Richmond & East Richmond, and the Springfield area - other areas will follow.

Lack of sufficient insulation is most likely to be the root cause of high heating and cooling bills. There may be weatherization assistance for many homeowners. For Weatherization Providers in Virginia, click here.

Check out Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency too. Many are for items "placed in service" this year and expire at the end of 2011, but some last until the end of 2016. Or the Tax Incentives Assistance Project for the latest updates about federal incentives that were enacted in 2005 and  revised and extended by Congress multiple times, generally for one or two years at a time.

And don't forget to check out offers and rebates from Energy Star partners, as well the state of Virginia's Income Tax Deductions on energy efficient products.

Virginia's Department of Energy website provides information about home efficiency rebates (opened on 6/20/11) and for geothermal heat pump rebates

Another great resource for homeowners is from the NEXT STEP program, designed to promote and implement residential energy efficiency programs throughout the 16 localities that make up the Hampton Roads area. The program was designed by the Green Jobs Alliance (GJA), a Hampton-based nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, as well as create the green jobs needed to support them. The NEXT STEP Program is modeled after the EPA’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR™ Energy Efficiency Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Grant. $$$$ is still available but the Next Step program is on temporary hold while undergoing management change.

HELP (as in Home Energy Loss Prevention) could be yours if you live in any of these James City County neighborhoods. Check this JCC website out for more info on possible rebates.