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Energy efficiency rebates lessen the price of home improvements

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When the thermometer drops, most of our energy bills skyrocket, but there is a way to lessen the blow.

The state is easing the burden of making your home more energy efficient. The Virginia home efficiency rebate will refund 20% of the cost to replace oil furnaces, hot water tanks, insulation and air sealing, windows and doors.

There's another rebate through the state that discounts the cost of new appliances you replace. So how do you know where to start? With an energy audit.

Auditors use negative pressure to check for leaks in the house. They examine the home from the crawlspace to the attic, making detailed calculations of how much energy you're losing and why.

"Let you know where to put your money, where to put your time and what not to worry with because it's not going to pay you back in energy savings," said Tim Bryant with Greenstone Solutions.

They hate to see people waste money on projects that don't help. This home doesn't need new insulation.

"Tighten it up, fix it, put it in the places it's missing," said Bryant.

Auditors break it down so you know what to expect. Within one year, you'll recoup what you spend insulating the water heater and adding programmable thermostats.

"Wrap it up like a Christmas present," said Bryant.

Sealing the ducts,$124 saved.

Unsealed spots, like where your plumbing enters the home, can be fixed using expandable foam. Yearly savings from this are about $128.

Replacing the 20-year-old heat pump with an energy star model, equals around $228 a year in savings.

"When you start incurring maintenance costs, that's when it's a good idea to go shopping," Bryant said.

After you shop, hold onto those receipts and submit your information to get a rebate on top of saving money on your bill. Plus, you can get a rebate on the audit itself.

Many of the rebates apply to purchases dating back to 2010.

For more information, links to the websites of the rebate programs are listed below:

Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program: http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/ARRA-Public/ARRA.shtml

Home Efficiency Rebate Program:  http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/ARRA-Public/HomeEfficiency.shtml

Geothermal Heat Pump Rebate Program:  http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/ARRA-Public/GeothermalHeatPump.shtml 

http://www.greenstone-solutions.com/

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