In my last posting, I looked at the hard-dollar costs and savings of encapsulating your crawl space as part of an overall program of green energy improvements to your home. There are few home improvements a homeowner can do that have the immediate effect and offer the immediate return on investment as renewable energy improvements. The homeowner realizes an immediate drop in kilowatt usage the same day the work is complete. For every dollar spent, there is an immediate return to the consumer in terms of lower power bills.
As part of the federal government’s stimulus program, the government is offering incentives and benefits to homeowners and even renters for renewable green energy improvements. In addition to legislation already passed, there are several bills in congressional committee right now that will offer you even more incentives for making your home more energy efficient. One program, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act is not just another government give-away. It is a loan program. It has bipartisan congressional support and the bill’s congressional sponsors range from the east coast to the west coast and points in between. The program slows the utilities’ need to build expensive power plants, the cost of which are ultimately passed on to the consumer.
And there are many intangible and indirect benefits to encapsulating your crawl space and making your home more energy efficient. Consider the most recent cost estimates for nuclear power plant construction from Westinghouse Electric range anywhere from one to five billion dollars (before any cost overruns). If renewable energy improvements can save utility consumers in general the cost of paying for just one new nuclear power plant or even part of one new nuclear power plant, the utility savings to the individual consumer is compounded many times.
Environmentalists and advocates for the poor are praising the so-called “green-lien” idea of the Rural Energy Savings Program Act as reducing the need for new power plants, lowering energy bills, and providing work for contractors in an economy battered by record-high unemployment. The program will generate business for weatherization contractors and they will qualify for federal and state tax credits for the new jobs created. The program puts money into the pockets of utility consumers directly through lower energy bills and indirectly through job-creation, a stronger economy, and a delay in the need for power generation facilities, all the while helping the environment.