Energy savings can be a key
component to keep budgets on track during a time of higher energy
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
(Must use period in Web address.)
Additional programs, such
as solar heating options, may qualify for rebates or tax credits as
For more information about
residential energy-saving programs in the Fort McCoy community, visit
the Web sites
Clarkin also can provide additional
financial information and assistance by calling ACS at (608)