The paybacks of energy efficiency investments

The state of Alaska invested an estimated $110 million from 2008 to 2011 on extra insulation, new boilers, air sealing, and other retrofits for roughly 16,500 homeowners—about 10 percent of all homeowners in Alaska.

The Home Energy Rebate Program provides funding to help homeowners make their houses more energy efficient. CCHRC recently worked with the Institute of Social and Economic Research to look at the economic impacts of the program. The study, funded by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, showed homeowner investment, fuel savings, payback periods, job creation and more. Here are some highlights:

· Total spending for energy efficiency improvements was about $185 million, with state rebates covering 60 percent and homeowners 40 percent. Homeowners should recoup their investment in roughly 3.5 years. State and private spending will be returned in homeowner savings in less than 9 years.

· Annual fuel use dropped an estimated 33 percent for households who participated. The average homeowner will save an estimated $1,300 a year on fuel (or 26 percent).

· Every $1 million in state spending generated 12 Alaska jobs—7 direct retrofitting jobs and 5 indirect jobs—amounting to about 1,330 jobs.

· Overall, participants are saving an estimated $22 million annually. If they spend those savings locally, every $1 million in new household spending generates 11 jobs throughout the state economy—an annual average of about 240 jobs.

· The biggest money savers were more efficient boilers or furnaces (constituting 50 percent of energy savings). Adding extra insulation to walls, doors, and ceilings made up 25 percent of savings; sealing air leaks accounted for nearly 15 percent of savings; replacing windows and water heaters comprised 10 percent of savings.

· Anchorage homes made up 49 percent of retrofits; other Southcentral communities 27 percent; Fairbanks 14 percent; and Juneau 6 percent.

The full snapshot is available here.

*Changes in fuel costs and savings are estimates from AHFC’s energy-rating software as actual household heating bills aren’t currently available.