It’s beginning to appear that we may have heard the last of the Home Star Energy Bill–or Cash for Caulkers as it was informally called. We’ve discussed the Home Star Energy Bill and the financial incentives it could provide homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient a number of times on this site. Another blog that has been following the legislation fairly closely reports it doesn’t seem to be on any Senate agenda this year. Many of the Bill’s original backers are either out of office or have other priorities such as the national deficit or the lingering health care debate. While those are definitely important issues–especially the deficit–becoming more energy efficient and working to improve the environment should remain on everyone’s priority list. Depending on which data you feel is more accurate, 2010 was either the second hottest year on record going back to the 1850s or tied for first. Conditions aren’t likely to improve on their own–but they could get much worse.
Local Energy Saving Tips and Rebates
Regardless of whether the Home State Energy Bill ever passes, we should all take responsibility for doing what we can to make our old houses more energy efficient. If you aren’t sure where to start, look no further than the Web sites of your local utility companies. Just about everyone knows that installing new Low-E or triple-pane windows can save energy, but do you know how much electricity your space heater uses? I didn’t until I was on my electric company’s Web site and learned that running two space heaters eight hours a day could add $80 to my electric bill.
That’s all it took to get me started and I began searching to see what other energy saving information was available on local utility company Web sites. I learned that Maryland residents using Allegheny Power were not only eligible for rebates from the utility company and state for purchasing Energy Star rated appliances, they could also be eligible for rebates by recycling their old functional appliances. The utility even offers free removal of the old appliances. Allegheny Power also offers customers various levels of energy audits at budget friendly prices.
My local natural gas company participates in a program called WarmWise that provides rebates for making your home more energy efficient. WarmWise offers energy audits ranging from simple online evaluations to full scale on-site inspections and a wide range of energy saving rebates. Each of these utility companies have entire sections of their Web sites devoted to providing tips and suggestions for making your home more energy efficient. Take some time to visit the Web sites of your local utility companies–you might be surprised at what you find and the energy you could save.