You’ve probably heard the debate about climate change, but no matter which side you fall on, almost everyone can agree that saving money on utilities is great. If you use the right materials and equipment, not only will you maximize energy saving techniques but you can even get tax breaks for your responsible behavior. As you work to save a bit of energy in your home, you’re likely to see Energy Star ratings on almost everything. Wondering what it is? Take a look.
The Energy Star Campaign
Energy Star was established by the U.S. EPA in 1992. The goal of the program is to help businesses and individuals alike save money by using products and building techniques that are designed to use less energy. Products and buildings can earn an Energy Star rating if they are third-party certified in EPA-recognized labs.
Does It Save Me Money?
The Energy Star campaign can actually save you some money thanks to the fact that devices and equipment you buy that are energy star rated are designed to use less energy over their lifespan, and that can mean a real cost savings for you in the long run.
Outside of Buying Energy Star Rated Products, What Else Can I Do?
There are tons of ways to drastically improve the efficiency of your house, some of them a quite simple while others require a more in-depth approach. Regardless of how far you are willing to go to reach maximum energy efficiency, utilizing at least some of these strategies will be well worth the effort.
- Improve your home’s insulation. This should be the first step in refitting your house. It is a good idea to find out your home’s HERS (Home Energy Rating System Index) to see where you should invest your time and money. Your HERS will determine the efficiency of your walls, ceiling, roof, flooring, ductwork, doors, and windows. This is a STUPENDOUS place to start and you can do so by talking with a RESNET agent.
- Use a programmable thermostat. This will help you to keep energy bills low. It will be quite a challenge to stay on top of your program and remember to change it if you go on vacation or adjust schedule. A better option that will quickly pay for itself is to get a smart thermostat like Nest.
- Replace appliances with new Energy Star rated units. This will save money on your bill and also factor into potential tax credits.
- Replace filters of your air system and get it checked yearly in order to have it running at peak potential
- Replace A/C and furnace with Energy Star units. This will have a significant effect on both energy bills and your tax edits
- Consider big ticket tax credit items to save more. Here are a few: solar panels, solar powered water heaters, wind turbines geothermal heat pumps, windows, doors, and roofs.
Although some of these projects sound daunting, they can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Improving your home’s energy efficiency is one of the best ways to live in a clean home and have fewer uncertainties when it comes to the durability of your abode.
The long-term effects may take a while to kick in, and this can be a turn off for many people. This is why it’s important to utilize tax credits. You can earn these from refitting your home and buying all sorts of energy efficient appliances, not just Energy Star. In order to claim these, go to irs.gov and look for form 5695: Residential Energy Credits. Furthermore, if you want all of these benefits without trudging through the nitpicky work, hiring a contractor experienced in energy efficiency can make sure you get the total tax credits and most efficient upgrades. If ever you’re looking for that next home project, here is where to start.