There are a few exciting things which could come out of the Economic Stimulus Package but it’s impact on those of us who are in the middle of renovating our homes (who, me?) is definitely something I can cheer about.
According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the package includes:
$300 million to the Energy Star program and to states for matching grants and rebates to consumers who replace their old appliances with Energy Star-rated products. With rebates like these in addition to the substantial savings you will see on your energy bills, you can drastically shorten the amount of time it takes to see a return on your investment.
The law also expands the following homeowner programs:
The Existing Homes Tax Credit increases from 10% to 30% for the cost of energy-efficient windows, HVAC equipment, and insulation, up to $1,500 per qualifying household through 2010.
We replaced about half our windows last year, plus we insulated about half of our exterior walls. Just that little change has made a drastic difference in our indoor comfort level. It’s also really helped with the street noise, I can’t recommend this enough!
The Investment Tax Credit, a 30% credit for solar thermal and geothermal installations, had a cap of $2,000, which has been removed. Likewise, the law removes the $4,000 cap on small wind turbines.
This last bit has gotten some flack in the press, but I think it’s just because people don’t quite understand how important it is. If people spend less on energy, they can put more money towards other goals, like healthcare or making better food choices (or even starting their own gardens!) It also means maybe there won’t be so many fires from people using space heaters to try and combat the drafty conditions! The package includes $5 billion to weatherize houses for low-income families. This will not only help those individual families reduce their electricity bills, but it will reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gasses overall.
There’s lots more in the bill, but that’s just what struck me today since renovation is sort of a constant in my life at the moment. Oh yeah, I can’t wait till my floors are done!!