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Energy Saving Freebies – Home Expert Awards

The task of completing an energy-efficient retrofit on your home is often intimidating. Comparing features and benefits with start-up and installation costs can deter many from making their home more green. For research-weary homeowners, looking for tax incentives, rebates and freebies for those electrical efficiency upgrades only complicates the process.

What many homeowners don’t realize is that they can enact big changes with very little effort. Reducing your electrical bill is as simple as changing a light bulb, literally. Almost every change you make also comes with some sort of financial incentive. We reached out to our electricians and designers to find out what energy saving offers they recommended most.

Later this week, we’ll compile the information from all of our experts to shed light on all the best energy-saving freebies.

How Can Homeowners Save On Energy-Efficient Upgrades?

What are some freebies I can take advantage of for making my home more energy efficient?

Tax breaks?

Free inspections?

Surplus power credits?

Free energy-efficient light bulbs?

Most Inspiring

"The easiest way to find out what affordable methods are available to upgrade one’s home is to check your local municipalities and utilities in the area for what they are currently offering with regards to energy upgrades.

You can go to the Department of Energy site and see a whole review of what is currently available with regards to rebates and savings by state.

There are also non-profit organizations available, to those whose income qualifies, that help setup free, low-cost or low-interest rate loans to weatherize your home. Your local city office should be able to provide you with a list of those organizations.

For the aggressive, resourceful homeowner you can find many options and ways to improve your home and make it more energy-efficient. It just takes a little green elbow grease." read more

We liked Tanya’s comment because she highlights non-profit organizations that specifically offer financial incentives for low-income families.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Creative

"The one energy saving device that will give you the most bang for your buck is a clothesline. Use it when the weather permits and you have the time. Nothing is better for your clothes than drying in the fresh air and sunshine, and you will save a lot of energy. You also reduce the warming effects on the atmosphere because instead of creating new heat in your dryer which is expelled through the exhaust, you are creating a small cooling effect due to the evaporation of water from your clothes." read more

As usual, Pablo Solomon offers us an unexpectedly simple solution for a big problem. A clothesline is cheap, efficient, and green.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Insightful

"I rely on other experts to give me direction when I am not qualified to comment. I have suggested these two sites to others:

U.S. Energy Information Administration
U.S. Department of Energy

These are two websites I am aware of that have given me direction to suggest to my clients when helping them. I hope they help you as well." read more

Sam Lazarus’ comment is great because he shows us that you don’t have to be a green expert to find and utilize green freebies.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Articulate

"If you’re just looking for free ways to conserve energy in your own home, there are lots of simple tricks that cost little to no money. Here are a few of our favorites:

• Use safety plugs in unused outlets, which can let outside air in when left open.
• Replace old glaze on your window panes with putty to keep air inside your home.
• Plug your chimney with fiberglass insulation when not in use and make sure the dampers are sealed tight.
• Use rags or hand towels instead of paper towels.
• Check the seal on your refrigerator by placing a dollar bill in the door; if it can be easily pulled out, it’s time to replace the gaskets.
• Clean out the lint screen each time you use your dryer.
• Dust your light fixtures.
• Save wire coat hangers by returning them to your dry cleaner.
• Remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room!

Aside from all of these options, Grand View Builders saves energy every day by using the products that are already placed in their homes. ENERGY STAR qualified homes like ours use reliable building technologies that are proven to save homeowners money." read more

Grand View Builders are no strangers to building and living green. Their solutions don’t require any mail-in rebates or paperwork. Change your behavior and you can live green for free every day.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Informative

"GreenHomes America performs energy efficiency retrofit work across the country. We find in many areas there are a variety of incentives available for this work. A central database for this information can be found at the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. Incentives include, but are not limited to, tax incentives, grants, loans, rebates, industry recruitment/support, green building incentives, and performance-based incentives. The funding can come from government (state, federal, or local) or regional utility companies. But more importantly is the fact that there is no doubt that properly installed energy efficiency upgrades will save money, regardless of a subsidy or rebate. In fact, investing in energy efficiency can pay back in spades.

I would caution homeowners who would try and only capitalize on “free.” Free audits, often offered by utilities are fine, but they don’t always tell you the whole picture. Free light bulbs are great and by all means take them. And if it’s time for new appliances look for the most efficient models for sure.

But the real savings are gained in taking action on recommendations from a comprehensive home assessment. These are recommendations by a certified energy auditor who suggests measures such as insulation, air sealing, improved heating and cooling systems, and windows—often in that order. The benefits go way beyond savings. It means increased comfort in winter and summer. It means better indoor air quality by reducing dust, mold and other irritants. And the savings from these kinds of efficiency upgrades, means it might cost a little but will save you lots." read more

Jason Todd wins our most informative award. He provides a great ideas and resources, but also cautions homeowners against deals that seem too good to be true.

eLocal Expert Network