Saturday, March 8, 2014
(Continued from page 2)
In this 2008 file photo, a customer at Black Magic Chimney and Fireplace in Cambidge, Mass. holds a handful of wood pellets for a stove. Efficiency Maine has launched a new rebate program to help homeowners reduce their winter heating costs, but most residents won’t be able to take advantage of some of the biggest benefits – at least for now.
Efficiency Maine has set conditions that are aimed at best practices. For instance, the $400 rebate for air sealing requires an assessment from a certified energy auditor, and a $200 co-pay from the customer.
A certified audit also is required for the $500 insulation rebate, along with technical standards for filling attics, walls and basements.
Professional assessments also are required on two energy upgrade “paths.” Along what’s called a custom path, homeowners can receive as much as $1,500 in rebates for projects that reduce energy use by 40 percent or more. In a typical home heated by oil that costs $3.69 a gallon, those savings could be $1,300 a year, Efficiency Maine estimates.
A second path provides a menu of options with varying rebates for both energy upgrades and heating systems, capped now at $1,500.
The current incentive design will help officials decide whether to shift more money to one facet of the program or raise or lower the rebate level, said Patrick Woodcock, the governor’s energy director.
Woodcock, a member of the Efficiency Maine board, said this is the first time Maine has been able to use state money, rather than federal funds, to set up a long-range plan to help lower heating costs. “It’s a good starting point for a new program,” he said.
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