ASK A BUILDER
By CCHRC Staff
The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of home life.
Q: A lot of people are participating in the rebate program to make their home more energy efficient. I was under the impression that program had ended but it seems there are still people doing it. What is the case?
At this point, the rebate program is being sustained by money that was “set aside” for homeowners, but never collected — perhaps they decided not to continue with the program, did not make their 18-month deadlines or only collected $5,000 of the $10,000 the program set aside for them. In these cases, the money goes back into the “pot” and new participants are allowed in.
You can still get on the waiting list for an energy rating and participate in the program. When you sign up, Alaska housing will confirm there is funding available for your rebate. If there is, you will be assigned an energy rater. That person will come to your home and perform a blower door test to determine the efficiency of your home. Once you have the report and required documents, submit that to AHFC (Alaska Housing Finance Corp.) and the money will be set aside in your name.
As soon as you have your energy rating done you can start making improvements.
Those building or buying new homes can also still apply for the 5 Star Plus new construction rebate.
This part of the program gives homeowners a flat $7,500. These folks must call the PORTAL to get on the wait list for an application.
If there is money available, it will be encumbered for you after AHFC receives your application and a preliminary rating from your building plans, along with other required documents.
After you have completed your new home, or home improvements, you will submit a copy of your second energy rating along with the required documents and paperwork in order for AHFC to take that available money and release it to you within 60 business days.
If you want to sign up for the program, or have any questions, the PORTAL is available locally to answer questions about the rebate program. Its office is open at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Monday through Friday (call 455-HEAT for an appointment). You can also sign up by visiting www.akrebate.com.
Q: I’m building a new home. Can I strategically orient my home in a way that will save me money?
The money-saving benefits from orienting a home center around passive heat gain. “Passive” means no mechanical system is producing the heat. Passive solar is a viable method of heating, as the sun just comes in through the windows and heats the home. Many south-facing lots in the Fairbanks North Star Borough see a decrease in oil usage when the sun comes back in late February and March. The same benefit takes place in the fall, but there is a more noticeable difference in spring because a homeowner can turn down the thermostat rather that up.
Facing a home towards the south and strategically placing windows on the south face of the home will maximize light intake and support passive heating.
Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). If you have a question, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454.