Listening to National Public Radio yesterday, I heard a report that discussed the use of tax dollars to renovate schools to make them more energy efficient. Of course, this sounds like a good idea. A follow up search on Google delivered the Schools for Energy Efficiency website. According to this source, one-third of the energy currently being consumed in schools is not used efficiently, and annual energy usage for heating and air conditioning costs up to $250 per student. This means that schools spend more on energy for heating and A-C than on books and supplies!
A similar situation exists with home air conditioning and heating. The condition of the envelope of the home (windows, doors, insulation, vents and the parts of the home that interface with the outside environment) has a lot to do with how well any heating or A-C equipment will heat or cool inside. The federal government still has programs in place to help homeowners make energy efficiency improvements, and a good place to start reading about them is on the Energy Star website. There, we found the following statement:
Tax credits for these residential products, which had expired at the end of 2007, will now be available for improvements made during 2009. However, improvements made during 2008 are not eligible for a tax credit.
To learn more about these programs you should ask your tax advisor and a local heating and A-C contractor. They should know which federal, state or local programs are available in your area to offset some of the costs of home improvements for energy efficiency.
If you know of a good case history or other example of home or building renovations to save energy in your area, please tell us about them in a comment or email them to us.