Not only is it green for the earth, but it can put some green back in your wallet

By Sherry Swensk

Is your home energy smart and secure? In other words, does your home operate efficiently to safeguard your hard-earned energy dollars from slipping right out the backdoor? Having an energy-efficient home isn’t just a seasonal subject; it’s a year-round concern, if you’re into saving money.

Performing an energy assessment is the best way to know if your money is leaking through your uninsulated floor or drafty upstairs windows. Once you know where the problems are, you can put together a plan of action for home improvement. This year, take advantage of all the incentives for green home improvements, from certified Energy Star appliance rebates to signature home loans for more significant energy-efficient upgrades.

“Improving the energy efficiency of your home also improves its durability and value, your comfort, your health and your annual operating costs.”
Annette Bubak, with Better Building Performance, says there are so many incentives to take advantage of right now. Improving the energy efficiency of your home can make a big difference in your utility costs, and in some cases almost pay for itself, or even make you money. Her company can take a homeowner from start to finish through the process of first identifying a home’s energy weaknesses, then making an affordable action plan that will turn a house into an energy saving machine.

“We know the demand on energy is only growing,” says Bubak. “Improving the energy efficiency of your home also improves its durability and value, your comfort, your health and your annual operating costs.”

And to show Southern Nevada residents just how much of a difference it can make, Better Building Performance has teamed up with the Department of Energy, and other local partners, to retrofit two existing valley homes through a project called Building America Retrofit Alliance. The homes will be used to educate and train local contractors, designers and energy assessment professionals in the growing home-performance remodeling industry. In other words—they’ll help train the pros that can remake your home to be green and energy efficient.

If you’d like more information on where you can see these homes for yourself, or you’d like to get started with an assessment and action plan for home improvement, contact Annette at annetteb@betterbuildingperformance.com.

If you’re looking at doing it alone, check to see if your green home improvements offer any rebates. For instance, Southwest Gas offers rebates up to $300 for a tankless water heater or a new furnace. That’s nothing to sneeze at—especially if the motivation to make the purchase is out of necessity. They even offer $20 back on a low-flow showerhead. That can add up to a nice dinner out with the honey, if you replace every showerhead in every bathroom. (Even sweeter if you get your honey to do the work!) Go to the website for details and rebate amounts for eligible products: swgas.com/efficiency/nv/residential_equipment.php.

Unfortunately, NV Energy has suspended its refrigerator recycling rebate for 2012, and its solar hot water rebate program, too. But they do offer up to $200 back on a variable speed pool pump motor this year, and that can be a good energy saver when you have to circulate the pool water eight to 12 hours a day.

Whatever improvement—small or large—you may be considering for your home this year, make it a green one and put some green back in your wallet.

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