While improving your home's energy efficiency will save you money by reducing your long-term heating, cooling and electricity bills, the up-front expenses of adding these upgrades may not be affordable for some households . Fortunately, there are several federal, state and private financing programs that can assist you in paying for new energy-efficient systems and appliances that we detail below:
- Energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) – Through either a conventional or government-issued loan, you can apply for energy-efficient financing. There are multiple types of EEMs for new and existing homes based on whether or not the house already has upgrades. Buyers can receive a discount for purchasing an energy-efficient home or a rebate after making changes to a house.
- Energy Star rebates – To encourage consumers to purchase more energy-efficient appliances and products, the Energy Star program offers occasional sales tax exemptions, tax credits and rebates on certain items. It also provides financial incentives for proper disposal of old products. On its website, Energy Star provides a search function for individuals to find discounts in their area.
- Residential Renewable Energy tax credit – This federal tax credit provides homeowners with a 30 percent rebate for the installation of solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems, fuel cells, wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps. The tax credit is valid for all home additions made after 2008 until December 31, 2016.
To qualify for energy-efficient financing or assistance with upgrades, a home energy audit will most likely be required. During the process, a home inspector will draft a report that will inform you of which improvements are cost effective and calculate potential annual savings.