Summer is in full swing now, and it’s getting hot outside. I keep thinking about all the energy I’m using to keep my house cool (among other things), and I know there are some ways I can upgrade my house so it’s more energy efficient.
And did you know that some of these upgrades have some pretty sweet rebate money tied to them? It’s a win-win-win. You’ll save money on your utility bills, get a rebate to pay for part of the upgrade to your home, and help out our environment.
First Up, Get an Energy Assessment
First, it’s a smart idea to get an energy assessment of your home.
An energy auditor should be able to tell you what the most cost-effective things you can do to make your home more energy efficient are (like adding insulation instead of replacing windows).
This is the best place to start when you’re trying to figure out how your home is actually using energy and what items you should tackle first.
Heating and Cooling
Heating systems that are more than 15 to 20 years old are pretty inefficient by today’s standards. The good news is that there are many ways you can make them more efficient.
Heat pumps are very efficient because they move heat in or out of your home (depending on the season) instead of generating it. It’s also a lot more efficient than baseboard or wall heating. In fact, you can save up to 50% on your heating and cooling costs.
You can get $400 to $1300 on a new, ductless heat pump, depending on the type you choose. See complete guidelines for qualifying for this rebate here.
You can also get $250 to $700 when you convert to an energy-efficient heat pump that isn’t ductless. This incentive is available for upgrades and conversions. See the complete guidelines here.
Furnace motors circulate air throughout the home, but not all furnace motors are the same. Standard furnace motors often run at preset speeds, which not only creates uneven temperatures in your home but also uses more energy than necessary. Electronically commutated motors (ECMs) adjust to your home’s cooling and heating needs and also use up to 50% less energy than a standard furnace fan.
Plus, temperatures in your home will be a lot more consistent, the furnace will be quieter, and your air quality will be better. There’s no reason not to make this upgrade.
Retrofitting a fan is easy, and you can get $100 back with this offer.
Dominion Energy’s ThermWise program gives you cash back for highly efficient furnace systems and boilers—anywhere from $400 to $600. For a complete list of your options for this replacement, go here.
A smart thermostat helps get your home to the optimal temperature based on your usage patterns (which it learns) and even the local weather. This keeps your costs as low as possible in a very convenient way. You can also adjust the temperature of your home even when you’re not there.
This program from Rocky Mountain Power gives you $50 back on up to two smart thermostats. See the guidelines here.
Dominion Energy will also give you $50 back on a smart thermostat purchase. For a list of qualifying models, go here.
Did you know that heating water is the second-largest utility expense after heating and cooling your home? So this is a good place to focus if you’re wanting to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home.
Any water heater that’s more than a decade old is likely using way too much energy and could benefit from an upgrade. Tankless water heaters, which produce hot water on demand rather than storing it all the time, are a really smart move if you’re serious about saving energy.
A high-efficiency heat pump water heater is up to 62% more efficient than your standard water heater. This can save you up to $300 a year on your energy bills. Even better, you can get up to $550 back on this purchase from Rocky Mountain Power. Here are the details for the rebate.
If you don’t want a heat pump water heater, Dominion Energy also offers up to $350 on the purchase of an energy-efficient water heater. You can choose from standard and tankless options (or even a hybrid version). A tankless option saves the most energy because it heats water up only as you need it. Just go here for the complete details.
If your home is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, you might need more insulation in your home. Properly installed insulation keeps you more comfortable and reduces noise from the outside. And no surprise—a properly insulated home can really reduce your utility bills.
Before you install new insulation, you’ll want to seal any air leaks and insulate and seal ducts, as well (if you want that done, see the weatherization section at the end of this article).
You can get up to 10 cents back per square foot with new attic insulation. Check out the details for this rebate here.
Properly weatherizing your home is the best way to make your home as energy efficient as possible. This includes new windows, insulation, air sealing, and duct sealing, among other upgrades.
To qualify for the rebates, the work needs to be done by an authorized contractor (in most cases). Here’s a list of all the work that qualifies and how much you can expect to receive.
This is by far the most expensive upgrade on this list, but there are some awesome rebates and tax credits available to you if you decide to take the plunge.
The Utah government has The Renewable Energy Systems Tax Credit program, which gives you a tax credit of 25% of the cost of a solar voltaic installation or $1,600, whichever is less. Check out the details of Utah’s program here.
The federal government also has a tax credit that allows you to take 30% of the cost of your new solar panels off of your taxes. However, that tax credit is going to be reduced after 2019, so now might just be the time.
I hope this gives you some ideas for how you can upgrade the energy efficiency of your home while also scoring some great rebates. Together, we can make a big difference.