Promoting energy efficiency on Earth Day with Energy Star Rebates

This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | April 22, 2010 | Climate Change, Energy Efficiency

When we learned that North Carolinians could qualify for an instant rebate on approved ENERGY STAR® appliances during Earth Day weekend (Thursday, April 22 to Sunday, April 25) my family and I were eager to upgrade our ancient, semi-functional dishwasher for a newer model which will use both energy and water more efficiently.

In February, North Carolina’s State Energy Office announced it planned to use $8.8 million of our energy-related federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to offer 15% in-store rebates to residents replacing older clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers with newer, ENERGY STAR® rated appliances.  These energy-efficient models will help residents save money (thus stimulating our economy) while cutting current energy use and future energy demand in North Carolina (thus reducing global warming pollution and its impacts).

By replacing older, less efficient appliances with an estimated 50,000 newer, ENERGY STAR® products, NC state officials predict that enough electricity will be saved to power 536 homes for a year, and natural gas savings would serve 390 homes for a year.

We did our homework ahead of time to understand the guidelines and confirm which retailers will provide the rebates.  At the register, we saved over $80 through the Earth Day rebate program and our new dishwasher will cost us approximately $24/year to run vs. more than $35 for our older model).

If you miss this energy rebate opportunity in the coming days, and you live in North Carolina, there’s two future dates to keep in mind.  If funds are available, a second phase of the NC rebate program will take place in June for ENERGY STAR® residential gas storage water heaters, tankless gas water heaters, central air conditioners, heat pumps and gas furnaces.  Then in November, North Carolina will once again offer its annual ENERGY STAR® sales tax holiday from 12:01 am on Friday, Nov. 5 through 11:59 pm on Sunday, Nov. 7.

All states have or will soon implement their own ENERGY STAR® rebate programs as part of the federal Recovery Act.  Click here for more information about other state program if you live in Florida (note that the program’s $17,000,000 funds were completely tapped out in just a single weekend), Georgia (which started in February), South Carolina (where close to $1,000,000 still remains from the launch on 3/31) or Tennessee (where the program starts today on Earth Day, as well).

If your appliance are in good working order and you won’t be taking advantage of these programs, consider some other inexpensive ways to promote energy efficiency in your home or make a donation to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary to support our work in promoting energy efficiency and clean energy solutions here in the Southeast!

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