by Brad Turner, Southface
In the current economy, many home owners are opting to invest in their existing homes via energy-efficient retrofits and upgrades. Motivated by current federal and state tax incentives, as well as local incentives offered by a number of cities, counties and companies such as Georgia Power, home owners see the value of energy improvements. In April, the city of Atlanta will be launching its own program to support local residents.
The Sustainable Home Initiative for a New Economy (SHINE) program seeks to stimulate demand for residential energy-efficient retrofits by providing incentives to single-family home owners. The city is partnering with Georgia Power's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, and the program is being funded through stimulus money received through the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.
Rebates will be offered for the most cost-effective improvements that are addressed in the home energy audit, such as duct sealing and insulation. To qualify, home owners will be required to undertake a comprehensive home energy assessment administered through the Georgia Power Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Home owners are encouraged to combine the funds from SHINE with other rebates and federal tax credits to maximize the reduction in their out of pocket cost.
One requirement of the SHINE program is that all contractors be active participants in the Georgia Power Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Under this program, contractors will perform comprehensive assessments and improvement work using a whole-house systems approach to improve the comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency of homes. Georgia Power currently offers rebates for qualifying assessments and improvements completed under the program.
Both these programs provide contractors with excellent opportunities to expand the services they offer at a time when conventional residential construction opportunities have slowed. Participating contractors may take advantage of growing consumer interest in energy efficiency and home performance programs and the wide recognition of the ENERGY STAR brand. Using their existing construction experience and network of trade contractors and other industry professionals, contractors may capitalize on the growing market trend and feel proud knowing they have taken an active role in reducing our nation's carbon footprint.
More information on the Georgia Power Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program is on Georgia Power's web site. Contractors interested in participating in the SHINE program can find more information on the city of Atlanta's web site or contact Aaron Bastian at 404-588-5927.
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