Get energy wise
In-home energy evaluations provide opportunities to conserve energy
During the Tennessee Valley’s unusually chilly winter a year ago, the floors of Lisa Haislip’s home in Rockvale, Tenn., were cold, and her power bills were high. With that in mind, Haislip, a product manager with Consumer & Small Business Programs in Nashville, took advantage of the In-Home Energy Evaluation program offered by half of the TVA power distributors in the Valley.
She called Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. and scheduled an IHEE appointment. Within a week, Missy Horesh, a TVA-certified evaluator, arrived at Haislip’s home and spent two hours on a thorough evaluation. “She suggested quick and easy actions we could take, including caulking around our registers and returns and using spray foam to fill some large plumbing penetrations,” says Haislip. Horesh also recommended air sealing for the attic and, to take care of those cold floors, insulation in the crawl space.
The evaluation can cost up to $150, but the fee is reimbursed when that amount or more is spent on recommended improvements. The homeowner is eligible for reimbursement of 50 percent of the installation cost, up to $500, or financing through the distributor or Energy Finance Solutions. Some limits on specific measures do apply.
To ensure the revisions meet quality standards, the energy modifications work must be made by a member of the TVA Quality Contractor Network, except for self-installed measures as allowed by the power distributor. The evaluators can provide names of eligible contractors. To receive the rebate or use the financing, where it is available, the participant must have the work completed within 90 days of the evaluation.
Once the work is finished, it is inspected to ensure that everything is installed properly to maximize energy savings. Horesh’s recommendations included a tune-up for Haislip’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. Later, the inspector found the tune-up had not included straightening the system’s fan blades, so the contractor was called back to complete the work.
The cost for all the recommended improvements totaled less than $2,000. “Although I had paid $150 for my evaluation, I will be reimbursed that amount,” says Haislip. “With the TVA incentive, my cost to implement the recommendations will be around $1,500, and that doesn’t include the tax credits.”
The estimated annual savings on her power bills is about 8 to 10 percent, or about $15 to $20 a month. “That’s great,” Haislip says. “But what I’m really interested in is warm floors this winter!”
To participate in IHEE:
- To find out if your local power company is participating in the pilot, call the power company or 1-866-441-1430 or check with Holly Jordan, IHEE product manager at email@example.com.
- More information about the In-Home Energy Evaluation Program and other energy-efficiency initiatives is available at www.tva.com/ee.
- Federal income tax credits are available for energy-saving improvements such as qualified new heat pumps, insulation, new windows and skylights, and new external doors. For some measures, such as insulation, the taxpayer can take a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of materials. There is a $1,500 cap on the credit per home, including the amount used for heating and cooling equipment. But some measures are not subject to the cap. For information, see www.energytaxincentives.org.