Insulating Your House? Don’t Miss NJ’s 2011 Incentive Program

If you were planning to insulate your house better, or planning to replace your furnace, boiler, HVAC or hot water heater, the state of New Jersey is prepared to partially subsidize the cost with you. It’s called the New Jersey Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program (HPwES), and it’s designed to help you take steps that will reduce your energy consumption (either natural gas or electricity). They’ll pay some of the cost, and you’ll reduce your utility bills for as long as you have the house. There are some specific procedures you’ll have to follow, but there’s and important deadline coming up; in order for you to qualify, you must start the project by December 31, 2011.

I took advantage of a similar program last year, and have been very happy with the resulting decrease in both my heating and air conditioning costs. Here’s how the program works in a nutshell: you have a home assessment (audit) performed by a certified contractor (there’s a list of contractors who qualify).  The contractor recommends steps you can take to lower your energy costs, and projects what percentage of your electric/natural gas bill will be reduced (the state calls this your total energy savings, or TES). The contractor may give you several options: if you do X you’ll save 10%, if you do Y you’ll save 25%, etc.

What I did in my house was to add additional insulation blown into my attic, insulate my basement rim joists (where the concrete of the foundation meets the wood of the house), seal all exposed ducts and replace my 30 year old boiler (70% efficient) with one that is much more efficient (96%). The contractor I used had estimated an energy reduction of at least 25%, and I monitor it to track my savings. My portion of the cost of the project will be paid in just a few years by my energy savings, and after that I’ll still be saving energy every month.

The 2011 incentive program works like this:

  1. You have a whole-house home assessment performed by the certified contractor. It’s fun to watch them do this, because part of the assessment involves putting a special fan at the front door, sealing the area around it with plastic, and measuring the amount of air that’s exhausted when the fan is on. The more air that flows, the greater the number of air leaks you have.
  2. If the contractor calculates a total energy savings (TES) of at least 20% and less than 25%, you’ll get a $1,000 rebate plus an additional $500 “fall discount” (the total rebate can’t exceed 50% of the total cost of the project.
  3. If the contractor calculates a total energy savings (TES) of at least 10% and less than 20%, you’ll get a $3,000 rebate plus an additional $750 “fall discount” (the total rebate can’t exceed 50% of the total cost of the project.
  4. If the contractor calculates a total energy savings (TES) of at least 25% or greater, you’ll get a $4,000 rebate plus an additional $1,000 “fall discount” (the total rebate can’t exceed 50% of the total cost of the project.
  5. You may be eligible for a zero (0) % interest loan or repayment plan up to $10,000.

To me this is a “no brainer”. You’ll have to pay for the initial home assessment (talk to the contractor about eliminating this charge if you agree to one of his recommendations) but with up to 50% of the cost being paid to you and a 0% interest loan, how can you lose?

It does take the state some time to process the necessary paperwork, and your contractor MUST enroll you in the program by December 31st, so don’t procrastinate. The state is willing to subsidize a project that will save you energy year after year, but don’t assume that a similar incentive will be available in 2012. With tight budgets at every level of government, the state might modify or eliminate this program. Here’s the web link that describes the program: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/residential/programs/home-performance-energy-star/benefits-and-incentives

Please consider taking advantage of this program. You’ll be helping the environment and saving money at the same time.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686 (office)
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

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