It pays to conserve energy, literally. Incentives and tax credits are available to homeowners who make energy improvements. From Energy Star appliances to solar panels there are dozens of ways to make your home more energy efficient, helping you to save money (and the planet) every month.
Federal Tax Credit
As of January 1, 2017, the only federal income tax credits available for energy-efficiency home improvements are for Solar Energy Systems. Most federal tax credits for consumers expired at the end of 2016. For any updates on tax credits visit ENERGY STAR’s Federal Income Tax Credits Page. These programs change annually, so please see www.energystar.gov for details.
Maryland Energy Incentives
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) operates several energy incentives for businesses and homes. Incentives include renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building. Visit the MEA incentives webpage for more details about state tax credits.
Howard County High Performance Buildings
Howard County offers tax credits to new construction and existing buildings with LEED platinum, gold, or silver certification.
Utility Company Programs
BGE and Pepco both offer home energy audit programs at discounted rates. Their Home Performance with Energy Star programs offer comprehensive energy audits for $100, an estimated $400 value. The audit report will recommend specific upgrades as well as estimates for their cost, state incentives and payback period. Incentives typically cover upgrades such as air sealing, insulation and duct sealing.
As a bonus, homeowners can receive free LED light bulbs, water heater pipe wraps, showerhead adapters, faucet aerators and power strips. These can be installed the day of the audit with the homeowners permission. All contractors are vetted and approved by the utility companies. To learn more and sign up directly through the utility companies, use these links for the BGE and Pepco home energy audit programs.
Utility companies also offer rebates on energy upgrades such as heating and air conditioning equipment as well as Energy Star appliances. Check out these rebates for BGE – Appliances, Heating and Cooling and Pepco – Appliances, Heating and Cooling.
Energy Use Rewards
BGE’s Peak Rewards program and Pepco’s Energy Wise Rewards program are designed to help ease the “peak” demand for electricity in the Mid-Atlantic region. If you have central air conditioning or an electric heat pump you can get up to $100 in bill credits and save even more by using a programmable thermostat.
Residential customers can choose either a programmable thermostat or a switch professionally installed. Then you agree to help ease high electricity demand by allowing the energy company to “cycle” your air conditioning on and off from time to time, typically during the summer months when electricity demand is at its peak. If you enroll, you choose which level you are comfortable with; 50%, 75%, or 100% cycling.