This is great information for all of us who are either remodeling a home or are considering doing so. This will even benefit those who are considering replacing appliances and nothing else. The program should be on-line later this year or early in 2010 according to sources below.- David Truran, REALTOR®
Yours in GREEN
Cash For Clunkers Rewards Consumers for Appliance Efficiency
When the U.S. government offered cash for clunkers earlier this year, consumers stormed car dealerships to take advantage of the program.
Appliance manufacturers and retailers would welcome a similar onslaught when the appliance version of cash for clunkers takes effect. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and nearly $300 million will become available to help consumers upgrade home appliances to Energy Star®-qualified models.
Program details are still being worked out, though it's expected that funds will be available later this year or in early 2010. The appliance program differs from the car deal in that there are no mandatory trade-ins and rebates will be administered by individual states, rather than by the Federal government. Also, each state will determine rebate amounts for various appliance types and the method for processing rebates.
It's expected that rebates will range from $50 to $200. Mike Abt, president of Glenview, Ill.-base Abt Electronics, points out that local governments and utility companies, along with retailers, may offer incentives (for information on incentives, see "Additional Resources" below) to sweeten deals.
For instance, recognizing that consumers can't wait for the upcoming program to replace critical appliances if they break, retailers like Abt already are promoting and discounting Energy Star®-qualified appliances.
Though states can determine what items will qualify, the DOE is suggesting that they focus on those with the potential to deliver the greatest energy savings, such as central air conditioners, boilers and appliances.
"I think the most popular will be refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines because they use the most energy in a house," comments Abt. He estimates that someone replacing a 10- or 15-year-old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model can see about $100 in annual energy savings.
And saving energy by getting energy hogs off the grid, along with stimulating the economy are among the DOE's aims.
In the longer term, energy efficient appliances also may have an effect on housing values, believes Abt, who says, "Energy is going to be a more important part of a house than it is now, as energy costs rise over the next five or ten years." He believes consumers will place greater value on a home's energy efficiency and adds, "Energy-efficient appliances will be the second most important thing to affect home values after kitchen and bathroom remodels."
- Energy Star features comprehensive information about the Energy Star® program, along with calculators to help you determine how much you can save by swapping aging appliances for Energy Star®-qualified models. Here is one example, for a refrigerator replacement.
- U.S. Department of Energy--The agency offers guides to help consumers determine how appliances are rated for energy efficiency and what to look for when shopping for new appliances.
- Patty Kim, National Geographic's "The Green Guide" correspondent, offers video tips to determine when it's cost- and energy-effective to replace appliances.
- The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, provides information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau