Incentives for greening your home

Incentives for greening your home

There are lots on incentives for turn your home into a more environmentally-friendly dwelling. Fewer utilities, larger tax returns, and smaller carbon foot prints can provide several benefits to reward your eco-focused investment and provide the good feelings which arise from being kind to mother Earth.

Lowered bills, rebates and credits

Appliance and energy usage

The kitchen is the easiest way to cut energy as the U.S. Department of Energy has reported that lighting, refrigeration and cooking can account for about 41% of the energy consumption in the average home. The refrigerator and stove are the basic backbone of a kitchen and cutting their consumption is the key to chopping down utility costs. The options for doing so involve purchasing Energy Star upgrades or sustainable maintainable practices.

Energy-Star is a government-backed labeling system to define energy-efficient products and practices which reduce pollutants by lowering energy consumption. In order to meet Energy Star standards and carry the label, the appliance must meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and :

  • significantly contribute to saving energy
  • maintain same performance using less energy
  • lowered consumption must be proven and measured.

For those not ready to upgrade or install new appliances, general sustainable behavior such as turning off lights or hand-drying dishes can help offset the usage generated by older machines. Additionally, using sustainable repair practices can help keep existing units operating in the most efficient means possible. Sustainability is an essential component for a greener lifestyle.

Although outfitting homes with the latest environmentally-friendly option isn’t always affordable for everyone. In such cases, DIY (do it yourself) repair is a way to green up your home using sustainable practices without spending the upfront cash on upgrades. Using simple repair and maintainable to keep home appliances in better working order can often increase their energy-efficiency. Dusty intakes require motors to run harder and longer and older coils require more power to heat and can be replaced easily as GE parts and accessories can be purchased and easily installed. Either way, keeping the parts clean and properly maintained will keep the unit running longer and for less.

Beyond appliances, the windows and doors should be properly sealed and freshly caulked to maintain ideal temperatures at the most efficient setting. Consumption can also be cut by switching the lighting in your home. As this Better Home blog post notes, “Using compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you a lot of money annually and even more over the lifetime of the bulb. If you replaced just 10x 60watt bulbs and 10x 100watt bulbs you would pocket close to $200 your first year and nearly $1000 over their lifetime. A bit of a no brainer really. “

Home structure and Tax incentives

Energy efficient appliances and sustainable usage patterns help cut cost and save energy inside the home. But the structure of the house itself is a key component in the overall goal in greener living.

New homes which carry the Energy Star label are those which “are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.” (energy star) Utility companies often offer discount rate programs to those who live in Energy Star labeled homes. As these rates vary, its best to check with local companies to see what they provide.

As for purchase, several companies offer Energy efficiency rebates which can be redeemed when purchasing either Energy Star labeled appliances or building materials. Uncle Sam can also provide an added bonus in addition to rebates and discounts offered by utility companies. Several states offer various forms of credits and deductions for certain types of newly constructed homes as well as for types of remodels. Typically these involve certifications and inspections. Check out for information pertaining to the specific state in which you reside. Federal incentives are also available. Typically, the deductions and credits are based upon energy-efficient heating and lighting units and sustainable infrastructure of the home.

For those with older homes, installation of energy-efficient windows, insulation, roofs, doors, air conditioners and central-heating units can decrease usage and are applicable for similar rebates or deductions as newly constructed homes using similar materials. Aside from keeping the climate in your home more comfortable, energy-efficient central air units, geothermal heat pumps, heat pumps, or the installation of a gas, oil or propane water heater can generate an independent $300 dollar tax credit per each qualifying upgrade.



  1. one
    Comment by kay: Jan 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    In a world that is continually changing, I am very keen to learn about ways to go green. I want to learn new ways of becoming more energy efficient and cutting the costs. The kitchen must be where I use most electricity having a growing family to look after. I would also like to be able to share the knowledge with my children as they grow up. I have found your article really inspiring. It has great information and good advice.

  2. two
    Comment by joe@dividend paying stocks: Jan 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    some utilities now offer loans to do the work. They let you pay more on your bill to pay for the improvements. the actual cost is low compared to other loans.

    I worked on sealing duct work for furnace and installd a tankless water heater and it lower my natural gas and electric bills more than i ever thought it would.

  3. three
    Comment by John Seifer: Feb 12, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Fantastic write up. Implementing “green” concepts into existing homes is a popular trend that is continuing to grow. As many new home owners grow interested in these green concepts many more write ups such as this will be in demand by the public from all I can see.

    I am interested in providing some unique content on the subject to your site. Please email me with more information if possible…


  4. four
    Comment by chris@flat screen tv: Mar 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    I also found that the new flat screen tvs like led tvs save alot of money. If you have kids or watch a lot of tv a led tv will save a good amount on your electric bill every month. I also found that increasing the attic ventilation helps lower air conditioner bill and most homes need twice as much ventilation than what they have .

  5. five
    Comment by Amy@panels: Sep 3, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Great information and an inspiration for us to go seek out these incentives in our areas. Thanks for the info.

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