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Home Energy Rebates help return savings from retrofit investment

by Lorien Nettleton ~ January 9th, 2013

January can mean lean times across much of the state, as the financial boom of summer’s busy season has been stretched across fall, through the holidays. With people looking for ways to limit expenditures, paying for home heating and energy use can become a top concern. the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation administers a State-funded program to help people reduce their spending on home energy needs. The Home energy Rebate Program has helped over 17,000 households save an average of 30 percent of their home heating through efficiency upgrades. KTNA’s Lorien Nettleton has more:

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Dave Harell is licensed by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation as an energy rater. One of 73 raters statewide, Harrell travels to people’s homes to make recommendations on ways they can improve the efficiency of their homes. assess the energy efficiency of their homes. If they make improvements, they can qualify to get reimbursed for their efforts.

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In the assessment, Harrell looks for weak points in the structures insulation and air flow. Using techniques like a vaccumme compression, he can spot all the points in a house that could be improved, and recommends those upgrades that can result in the biggest savings.

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Homeowners can get rebated between 4 and 10 thousand dollars, Harrell says most people who apply receive 60 percent of their investment back.

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Harrell’s software will tell him how many gallons of fuel heating oil a person could save per year for each fix, for example, how much each r-value of insulation would boost the fuel efficiency. Some upgrades are so extensive they are not considered cost-effective to do, so energy raters can help prioritize which improvements would make the biggest impact.

Energy raters have visited over 31-thousand homes since the program started in 2008. More than 17 thousand households have followed through with the improvements and have on average saved 33 percent on their fuel consumption

Harrell says part of the program’s goal is to raise standards for home building.

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There are no income critiera to qualify for the program, and thought it can cost a homeowner some cash up front, the rebates and reduced future cost of energy consumption make the program a winner in the effort to save Alaskans money.

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