An Anchorage lawmaker says he’ll file a bill offering middle class homeowners — strapped for cash and still reeling from high energy costs — a back door into energy efficiency upgrades.
We reported recently on the lack of follow through by thousands of Alaskans who started a home energy efficiency rebate program, funded by the Legislature and managed by Alaska Housing Finance Corp. Those who start with a baseline efficiency audit have 18 months to fund repairs, schedule an audit of efficiency gains, and apply for up to $10,000 in state reimbursements. That window is running out for many folks.
Rep. Chris Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, talked with people in his district and discovered some who have been hit pretty hard by the 2009 economic collapse. The families make too much too qualify for a low-income state weatherization program, but are dealing with high credit card debt, receding retirement accounts and investments, and, at times, negative equity in their homes.
Those circumstances can make it pretty tough to pay several thousand dollars up front for efficiency upgrades, even with a state reimbursement likely down the road, Tuck acknowledged.
From the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Monday, November 16, 2009:
A statewide weatherization program with the potential of reducing energy costs in thousands of Alaskan residences will improve some 1,740 homes in 2009 alone, and Alaska Housing Finance Corp. expects to more than quadruple that number by 2011. The goal is to weatherize 4,000 homes in 2010 and 7,500 homes in 2011, said Bryan Butcher, public affairs director for the state agency, whose mission is to provide Alaskans with quality affordable housing.
“We can show there are average savings of 25 percent on energy right now, and we are hoping it goes up,” Butcher said.
Cooperative Extension Service housing and energy specialist Rich Seifert will teach his Cold Climate Homebuilding Techniques workshop Saturday, Oct. 24th in Schaible Auditorium on the UAF campus. The free workshop will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and includes a manual and a CD.
The workshop will focus on insulating homes and will cover options for retrofit, ventilation, indoor air quality and permafrost and foundations. It is also designed to help homeowners who plan to participate in the state’s home energy rebate program.
Call 907-474-7201 or 907-474-6366 to register.
CONTACT: Cooperative Extension energy and housing specialist Rich Seifert at 907-474-7201. Debbie Carter, CES public information officer, at 907-474-5406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY Adam Wasch, Energy Outreach Consultant for CCHRC and UAF CES
Energy Focus: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner April 9th, 2009, Section A3
Doors represent choices in our lives. Lovers threaten each other with dire consequences if one or the other walks out “that door.” We’re promised the door will open if we knock. People wait at death’s door. Others swing wide the door to opportunity, which we are told doesn’t knock twice. Then, there are literal doors. These stick, jam, and warp – especially in Alaska, where outside and inside winter temperatures often vary by 100 degrees or more. Continue reading →
From treehugger.com on February 20, 2009, retrieved on 3/6/09:
The stimulus bill has finally been passed and signed into law—and now it’s time to help put the thing into action. Which shouldn’t be tough to do: tucked into the thousands of pages of confounding language, there are tons of fantastic new tax credits you can get simply for buying great green stuff. Here’s what our government’s blowout sale’s got in the catalog.
From the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, posted on 2/18/09, retrieved on Friday, March 6, 2009:
President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, and the tax section of the act provides greater tax credits for clean energy projects at homes and businesses and for the manufacturers of clean energy technologies. For homeowners, the act increases a 10% tax credit for energy efficiency improvements to a 30% tax credit, eliminates caps for specific improvements (such as windows and furnaces), and instead establishes an aggregate cap of $1,500 for all improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010 (except biomass systems, which must be placed in service after the act is enacted). The act also tightens the energy efficiency requirements to meet current standards. For residential renewable energy systems, the act removes all caps on the tax credits, which equal 30% of the cost of qualified solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, and fuel cell systems. The act also eliminates a reduction in credits for installations with subsidized financing.
Click here to read the whole posting, and to link to additional Federal documents.
BY Adam Wasch, Energy Outreach Consultant for CCHRC and UAF CES
Energy Focus: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner February 12th, 2009, Section A3
Meeting a contractor for the first time can be more nerve racking than going on a blind date. What habits does he or she have? Will you agree on the work that needs to be done? And, most importantly, will they take into account your needs? Plus, with so many Alaskans weatherizing their homes and lining up home improvement projects for the spring, will you even get a second date? Continue reading →
From the New York Times, on Friday, November 7, 2008:
Last month, Senator Barack Obama became — as far as we know — the first nominee to urge Americans to “weatherize your home” in a presidential debate.
With winter coming and Mr. Obama headed to the White House, it may be a good time to do just that.
The low-hanging fruit in weatherization, experts say, is sealing and caulking air outlets — especially on old homes. “The biggest bang for the buck, as people say, is really aggressively and rigorously plugging all those holes,” said Richard Renner, founder of Richard Renner Architects, a New England firm.
From the Anchorage Daily News on Tuesday, September 30, 2008:
With a fresh infusion of $60 million into the state’s Home Energy Rebate Program, thousands of Alaska homeowners are clamoring to receive home-improvement rebate checks worth as much as $10,000, creating an unprecedented backlog and leaving many people frustrated and stressed with the process to get a piece of the big state giveaway.
In response, the state’s Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has hired more staff and plans to step in to help with the scramble, while local contractors continue to work overtime.