Get the update on rebates
As the outside temperatures begin to drop and the days get shorter, it’s always a good time to think about what homeowners can do to keep their homes comfortable and their utility bills manageable.
The good news is that there are plenty of rebates available through Xcel and the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) on everything from solar panels to insulation and dishwashers. Even better, there are rebates available for energy audits, which give homeowners a good place to start their quest to improve the energy efficiency of their home.
An energy audit that includes a blower door test and the infrared camera will show where homeowners need additional insulation or air sealing, which appliances are electricity or gas hogs and how to stop cold drafts that blow through the house.
An audit should also include a written report that spells out which improvements will offer the greatest payback. Frostbusters & Coolth and Energywise Consultants are two local companies that perform energy audits for homeowners.
The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is using stimulus money for energy efficient rebates, and is trying to make sure the money is allocated and used in 2011, although the office was told the money would be available through 2012. There is still rebate money available for most programs and appliances, although some funds have already been reserved.
“For Grand Junction, the rebates for air sealing and insulation have been reserved; it’s now at wait list,” said Danielle Vaughan, rebate program manager for GEO.
Homeowners who want to improve the comfort and efficiency of their home and aren’t concerned about when or if they’ll get the rebate check are welcome to get the air sealing and insulation work done and apply for the rebate.
Only 65 percent of the people who make a reservation for the rebate follow through and get the necessary work done, so there is a chance that those who aren’t on the reservation list may still get the rebate for air sealing and insulation. With the exception of rebates for tankless hot water heaters, all other rebates are still available.
The GEO works with both Xcel Energy and Grand Valley Power to offer homeowners the best rebates and the least cost. Although customers can qualify for two rebates for some programs, such as the $180 rebate on an energy audit from Xcel Energy and an additional rebate for the audit from the GEO based on the cost of the audit, some of the programs and materials only qualify for a single rebate.
Because Xcel Energy has a good rebate program for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for electricity generation, the GEO rebate program for PV panels doesn’t extend to Xcel Energy customers. Grand Valley Power customers, however, are eligible for the GEO rebate for solar PV systems.
There are also rebate programs for solar thermal hot water panels, with residential rebates averaging between $2,000 and $3,000. Rebates for commercial customers are also available, up to 30 percent of the job cost to a maximum of $15,000.
In partnership with Housing Resources of Western Colorado, the GEO offers a low-income weatherization program that offers free services to help achieve better energy efficiency and comfort. Homeowners and renters are eligible to apply for the program, as are those who live in mobile homes.
Weatherization improvements can include energy audits, insulation, furnace testing, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent lights (CFLs) and air sealing.
To find out more about the weatherization program, apply for a rebate or get a complete list of the types of appliances, improvements and programs that are eligible for rebates, go to rechargecolorado.com.
Homeowners can apply for the rebates themselves for many of the programs, although some appliance retailers help complete the forms. Homeowners making home improvements with renewable energy systems can rely on their contractor to complete the necessary paperwork for the rebate.