Your Personal Best From Federal Home Efficiency Money

Vivi Gorman,
Posted on Thursday 2nd July 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009 provides some tremendous opportunities for homeowners. This important economic stimulus that includes weatherization money stands to create jobs and strengthen our homes and abodes to use less energy and save us money.

Why shouldn’t you take advantage? Homes are Americans' largest investment, but homes and buildings account for over 40 percent of our nation’s energy use. Any measure to make them “smarter” goes a long way in reducing your financial responsibilities, not to mention the amount of carbon dioxide generated to provide power to each home.

But what exactly does weatherization mean? How much will it cost and what exactly can homeowners do to reap the rewards?

The maximum allowable average weatherization cost per dwelling will be $6,500. Pennsylvania is reserving weatherization services for homes that have the greatest potential to save money and drive down energy usage.

An energy audit should be performed to determine where and how energy loss is occurring. What specifications will result in the greatest level of energy savings? Green building efficiency expert Charlie Szoradi and his team spent the past several months reading and deciphering this 400-page piece of legislation to create a free resource for homeowners that decodes the Act. The free Federal Tax Incentive Decoder is now available for all individuals to download.

This Green Decoder will help homeowners uncover information regarding various energy efficiency improvement tactics they want to pursue, including reducing utility costs, producing power, financing options, buying their first home and/or buying a new car.

Charlie Szoradi, a member of the Green Economy Task Force, explains, “Our research team has decoded the Act [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] to find the most cost-effective ways for homeowners to save money on their utility bills. We may have read more of the details than the politicians that voted for it, and given our focus on Green Return on Investment there is some great news but also pitfalls. For example, you may be considering replacing an exterior door. You are eligible for a $1,500 tax credit, but the new door must have both a U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30 or lower to get the credit.”

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