Going Green: Get the most out of home energy improvements

Preparing your home for the colder months to come can range from caulking some windows and doors to some major energy-saving home improvements. Before deciding on what energy saving upgrades you’d like to do to your home, you should really do your homework.

Checking into the 2010 federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency may be well worth your time. When doing this, it is important to make sure you know what is included in each of the incentive programs. For example, some of the programs only pertain to existing homes while others may include new construction. In most cases, to receive the incentives, the home must be your principal residence. Also, it is important to know the incentive payback percentage and the dollar amount limit. Some have a maximum dollar limit while others have no upper limit. Another thing to consider is that some of the paybacks do not include installation costs.

Some of the incentives for 2010 may include some products that seal air leaks (reduce air leaks).

The following may qualify: spray foam, weather stripping, caulks and house wrap.

Also insulation such as bulk, blow-in fibers, batts rolls, rigid boards, pour-in-place and expanding sprays.

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning such as an advanced main air circulating fan may qualify.

An advanced main air circulating fan blows the air your furnace heats up into the duct system.

Another energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners is a heat pump that moves the heat rather than generates the heat.

A very popular and energy efficient heating unit would be the biomass stoves known as pellet stoves. These are very decorative, warm and inviting and really heat up the room and save lots of energy.

Solar energy systems, including photovoltaic, which captures light energy from the sun and converts it directly into electricity, are very popular alternatives.

Also, residential fuel cell and microturbine systems are great for the hydrogen economy and are an alternative to fossil fuels.

Geothermal heat pumps that use the ground — the earth’s natural heat — are the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technology now available.

Other incentives that may be available are some types of roofs, water heaters and small wind turbines.

If you are a business owner, make sure to check out all the 2010 incentives as well.

Start planning now to optimize all the benefits available. You’ll not only save money but energy as well.

Written by Ann Sinisi, Realtor for First Weber Group in Fond du Lac. Ann is a staging professional, a buyer representative and also has a Green designation.  This article originally appeared in the Fond du Lac Reporter

Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgraths/3597037843/

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