Energy Efficiency Resources and Incentives
“A country that runs on energy cannot afford to waste it.” (Dr. Bruce Hannon, University of Illinois) According to the World Watch Institute, the United States, with less than 5% of the global population, uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources—burning up nearly 25% of the coal, 26% of the oil, and 27% of the world’s natural gas.
We live in a global society that, today, depends largely on non-renewable energy. The burden of our shared energy challenges must be addressed by the public and private sectors as well as consumers.
There are a number of resources that individuals and the business community can take advantage of to begin reducing consumption by making investments in energy conservation and alternative energy.
- Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP), sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field, is designed to give consumers and businesses a comprehensive source of information on federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies, from on-site renewable energy systems to appliances and vehicles. This is an excellent, user friendly guide to energy efficiency incentives in our tax code.
- Energy Efficient Mortgages can help you finance efficiency upgrades for your current home or a home you plan to buy. Making your house more energy efficient isnít just about helping the environment and saving money. Energy efficient homes are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, cost less to maintain, have lower monthly utilities costs, and are generally more comfortable to live in. Talk to your lender, and/or visit www.fha.com/energy_efficient.cfm and www.mortgageloan.com/environment.
- Reduce your home’s energy usage and Earth Aid will pay you for it! Earth Aid is an online tool that allows you to track your energy usage and earn rewards. The site reviews your household energy consumption from your utility company and then uses it to create a baseline. Users earn rewards based on the amount of energy saved—i.e. for every one kilowatt hour of electricity, 10 cubic feet of natural gas, or 20 gallons of water consumers save per month (compared to the previous year's levels), Earth Aid will give its users a point that, like airline miles, can be accrued and redeemed at more than 225 businesses across the country!
- Michigan Saves is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making energy improvements easy and affordable. They offer a Home Energy Loan Program to help homeowners finance the cost of energy efficiency improvements. Additional financing programs for commercial, institutional, and renewable energy projects are in development.
- DTE Energy offers residential and business utility customers a multitude of energy saving resources from a Commercial & Industrial Energy Optimization Program for business customers and energy audits and rebate programs for residential customers.
- Consumers Energy customers can also take advantage of energy saving rebates and incentives, available to both homeowners and businesses. Click here to learn more.
- U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC):
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is Washington, D.C. based, 501(c)(3) organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. To learn more about USGBC’s building standards and outcomes, click below.