Solar panels on roof at 1724 Park Road NW
Making your home greener can do more than help the environment — it can also impact your bottom line. Below are some of the ways that the DC government makes it easier and cheaper for city homeowners to make their homes more eco-friendly.
All owners of single-family homes in DC are eligible for a free energy audit from the District Department of the Environment. A consultant will visit your home and inspect it for efficiency levels, looking at insulation, window efficiency, and so on. The individual will give your home a rating and offer cost-effective suggestions, like caulking up gaps, to make it more efficient.
Solar Power and Water Heating
If you have the space for a solar panel or water heater, a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent will help mitigate costs, and DC’s renewable energy energy incentive program offers rebates of up to $16,500 to offset the cost of installation. While solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, solar water heaters collect water and use the heat of the sun to warm it up. This is much easier for single-family homeowners than condo owners, who will need the approval of their condo association before moving forward.
Air Sealing and Insulation
According to the folks from Groundswell, air sealing and insulation are the first things a homeowner should concentrate on when greening their home, and both have the potential to seriously lower energy costs. Check your windows, doors, attic and basement for cracks and get to work sealing them up and adding layers of insulation. If you are thinking of working with a contractor and want to negotiate a deal, Groundswell uses collective bargaining to negotiate lower rates for groups of homeowners.
As we’ve reported in the past, DC subsidizes gardens through the RiverSmart Homes program. They offer several services and products, including bayscaping, tree planting and pervious pavers. Rain gardens are a particularly easy way to both green your home and cut down on lawn maintenance. Rain gardens are strategically placed to capture rain water, reducing stormwater runoff and often require less maintenance than a traditional lawn. RiverSmart Homes will send a consultant to your home to find the best place for the garden and will offer you a rebate of $1.25 per square foot of impervious land that can be turned into a rain garden, with a minimum $500 rebate and a maximum of $1,000.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_various_ways_that_dc_makes_it_cheap_to_green_your_home/5624
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