Save Money while Saving Energy

I wrote the other day about all of the energy saving measures we're taking before Winter hits. (Although, I must say, I've been rather impressed with how much of this crazy wind has not been infiltrating the house!)  Today I wanted to focus on another great resource for saving some money (in addition to this year's federal tax credit) on all of those energy efficiency upgrades you've been thinking about.

Focus on Energy is a Wisconsin-wide organization that works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
In addition to their website providing a host of information about all things energy efficiency and renewable energy, the organization provides a variety of financial incentives and cash back rewards to consumers wanting to implement these measures.

Most of the residential financial incentives available fall under the Home Improvement category.  Here's how it works (in a nutshell):  

- The homeowner selects an Energy Audit contractor from their list (outside Southeast WI, go here)
- In order to be eligible for rewards, the homeowner must first have a Home Energy Audit.  This service typically costs about $300 - $350 (in the MKE area).  During the test, the Audit Contractor performs a variety of tests (including using thermal imaging cameras, and specialized equipment to check for air leaks), and asks the homeowner a series of questions.  On completion of the audit, the contractor will provide a list of recommended improvements. (Some contractors will refer you to other contractors to do the work, if you can't or don't want to do it yourself)
- Then, the homeowner makes the recommended repairs/improvements.  You don't have to do everything on the list, so don't be overwhelmed!  
- When the improvements are complete, the Audit Contractor comes back and tests your home again, so that you can see the difference you've made!  He then helps you fill out the paperwork required to apply for your rewards!

You can see the list of the rewards available here.

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For us, right now, it didn't make financial sense to spend the money on the energy audit, as we would barely be able to recoup the costs with the improvements we plan to make in the near future.  Instead, we're using our own detective skills and know how, and performing a DIY Home Energy Audit!

Regardless of whether you plan to take advantage of this program, I think you'll agree that it's a great asset to our state, and certainly a move in the right direction - making it financially prudent to be green.

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