7 credits and rebates to help you help the earth

Green incentives


When you choose to go green there are obvious savings, such as lower water and utility bills and then there are other, less-known savings from financial incentives to product rebates and tax breaks. As part of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, you may be eligible for more saving options when you build or remodel by adding energy-efficient features to your home.


Green home upgrades. You may qualify for tax credits of up to 10% of the cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 - $300, for energy-efficient improvements to your home. These include adding insulation, energy-efficient air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces and water heaters, storm windows, skylights, storm doors, and  metal or asphalt roofs. Work must be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. (See IRS Form 5695 & Instructions for additional information.)


On-site renewables. Effective until 2016, homeowners that draw a percentage of their energy by installing solar, geothermal or wind power units are eligible for a tax incentive worth 30 percent of their investment, without a cap.


Hybrids and alternative fuel cars. Federal tax credits are available for hybrid, electric or other alternative fuel vehicles, as well as for the installation of plug-in conversion kits.


Fuel cells. Effective through 2016, credits are available to homeowners who install fuel cells that generate electricity at the site of use.


Appliance replacement. The Appliance Rebate Program, also part of the Recovery and Investment Act, varies by state in compensating those who replace old appliances with ENERGY STAR® products, including washers, refrigerators, furnaces and more.


Financing options. Financing programs, including home improvement loans, may be available through federal and state energy offices for those seeking eco-friendly upgrades.


Local incentives. Check with your local utility office to about additional savings options such as property tax exemptions for energy-efficient upgrades, or specific rebates for appliances or products including light bulb upgrades.