[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                       August 8, 2008

Energy-saving appliances can 
save homeowners big bucks

Energy savings can be a key component to keep budgets on track during a time of higher energy costs.

Bryan Clarkin, Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness Program manager for Fort McCoy, said many household improvement projects, including appliance replacement or heating/cooling and/or energy efficiency updates, may qualify for energy loans, grants, rebates, and buy-backs or income tax credits.

Financial incentives or tax credits may be available for such things as replacing or installing selected furnaces, central air conditioners and water heaters, and even converting a home to solar power, he said. The savings and cash-back rewards can reach thousands of dollars depending upon the improvements and choices.

"If you have an older furnace that is less than 90 percent efficient, there may be enough incentives between incentive paybacks and energy savings to make it worthwhile to install a new system," Clarkin said.

Likewise, installing new energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs can save consumers money over the lifetime of the bulb.

Although the bulbs are more costly than standard incandescent bulbs, ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, last up to 10 times longer and may be eligible for a cash-back reward of $2 for each bulb purchased, up to a total of 24 bulbs.

Consumers can save $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime. Because the fluorescent bulbs produce about 75 percent less heat, it also can help consumers reduce their cooling costs. Fluorescent bulbs also are available in various sizes and shapes so they will fit in almost any fixture, and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

For more information about the new fluorescent light bulbs, go to the Web site http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls.

Buying a new energy-efficient refrigerator/freezer also can save consumers money spent on electricity in the long run, he said. Typically, refrigerators/freezers are the biggest energy uses in a kitchen. In 1993, the federal government required that refrigerators/freezers be made more energy efficient. With the increased cost of electricity, a newer model that replaces a pre-1993 model may pay for itself or even more by reduced energy usage over the life of the appliance.

More information about EnergyStar ratings can be found at the Web site 
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product. (Must use period in Web address.)

Additional programs, such as solar heating options, may qualify for rebates or tax credits as well.

For more information about residential energy-saving programs in the Fort McCoy community, visit the Web sites http://www.dsireusa.org/index.cfm?EE=1&RE=1 or http://www.focusonenergy.com/Default.aspx.

Clarkin also can provide additional financial information and assistance by calling ACS at (608) 388-3505/6812.


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