Resources to Help Fund Your Home Energy Efficiency Improvements
Home energy efficiency projects offer many benefits, including health and safety, comfort, structural durability, and energy savings. The money you save by making energy efficiency upgrades can help cover the costs of financing the improvements, making these a great investment from day one. To sweeten the deal, there are multiple programs, rebates, and discounts designed to make energy efficiency possible for people of most income levels. Here are some of the biggies:
Vermont State rebates and incentives
The State of Vermont offers rebates and incentives for most types of energy efficiency upgrades. Information is provided through Efficiency Vermont, Vermont’s energy efficiency utility company. In order to find the savings you are looking for, follow the “Rebates” tab on the Efficiency Vermont website and learn about new technologies, tips, and tricks to save energy or find a contractor to help with a project. You may need to access some of these resources at the time of sale and others after the project is complete, so take time to research your options before you apply for a loan. Keep in mind that technologies, eligibility guidelines, and rebate amounts change frequently, so verify the details before you make your purchase.
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Vermont’s low-income Weatherization Program
Also found on the Efficiency Vermont website, Vermont’s Low-Income Weatherization Program is provided at no cost to Vermont residents who meet income-eligibility guidelines. Through the program, Vermonters can work with a local weatherization agency to determine which upgrades would make the greatest impact on energy savings. Services are based on income and may include an energy audit of the house to uncover energy-related issues and energy-efficient retrofits including insulation and heating-system upgrades or replacements.
Home Energy Loan program
The income-based Home Energy Loan program (previously the Heat Saver Loan program) offers exceptional loan interest rates and terms to make it easier for average homeowners to invest in energy saving projects and purchases such as cold climate heat pumps, weatherization, water heating, or appliances. With financing through the Home Energy Loan program, you can pay down your loan using the savings generated by your upgrade. VSECU is a participating lender for the Home Energy Loan program, in partnership with Efficiency Vermont.
Note: In order to take advantage of the Home Energy Loan program, you must be eligible for membership at VSECU (you must live or work in the state of Vermont).
Tax credits, rebates, and incentives
Tax credits, rebates, and incentives vary by project and by year. It is best to consult with your tax professional about your specific project. You can also contact the Vermont Department of Taxes to find out if your system qualifies for a Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption.
About Laurie Fielder
Laurie directs VSECU’s statewide VGreen energy savings loan program. Previously, she worked for the weatherization program at the Central Vermont Community Action Council (now Capstone), and for a successful residential solar installer. She enjoys helping Vermonters learn about efficiency and renewable financing options that maximize the savings of these smart investments. She lives in Woodbury with her family and enjoys the outdoors, walking the dog, and tackling home improvement projects.