As 2012’s last days merge into the first days of 2013, making a resolution to improve one’s home’s energy efficiency can make a real difference. After all, homes use 22 percent of the United States’ total energy and contribute 17 percent of total United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Utility companies and others are stepping up to the plate to assist homeowners to fulfill their energy efficiency resolutions. In Puget Sound, Seattle City Light (in the form of their contractor, Community Power Works or CPW) and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) are two that offer programs so that their customers can become more energy efficient.
Additionally, there are federal tax credits available when, for example, a homeowner adds solar panels or a solar hot water heater.
While most utilities offer rebates of some kind, both CPW and PSE go a step further. Both have a contractor available to provide an analysis and a report suggesting changes, such as adding insulation or better windows, which will make the home more energy efficient. The CPW assessment, which involves some testing, costs $95.
Both provide homeowners with free energy efficient bulbs. And both also have pre-screened contractors that can perform other suggested work. In addition, CPW provides loans to finance these upgrades, which can include making monthly payments on one’s Seattle City Light bill. Additionally, home owners who meet certain income requirements may be eligible for free energy efficient measures.
While other utilities or programs do offer in-person energy assessments, most offer either online general assessments or give instructions. Homeowners may wish to check with their utility company or the U.S. Department of Energy Database for State Initiatives for Renewables & Efficiencies, which lists available state by state rebates as well as federal tax credit information.
But the best benefit of all is that making one’s home energy efficient doesn’t just render it more comfortable and enjoyable, but saves money – up to 30 percent of your energy bill. And that’s just green any way you look at it.
United States Department of State. (2010). U.S. climate action report 2010. Washington, DC: Global Publishing Services. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/usa_nc5.pdf
United States Department of Energy. (2011). Buildings energy data book. Retrieved from http://buildingsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/ChapterIntro1.aspx