Home Experts: Local News
Alaskans Begin “Cashing In” on State's Energy Rebate Program
Story Updated: Sep 12, 2012
As energy bills across Alaska rise, homeowners are scrambling to find relief. In addition to cutting back on energy consumption, they are actively looking for ways to conserve energy. More than 5,300 Alaska families have applied for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) energy rebate program. The Alaska Legislature last year allocated $100 million to help Alaskans improve their home’s energy efficiency. As of the end of January, AHFC estimated approximately $48 million or nearly half of the money is already “spoken for” by people who have had an initial energy rating, and then have up to 18 months to get the work completed, do a post rating and apply for the rebate.
So far, 311 people have completed the entire process and have received an average rebate of $5,863. Energy Rater Geoff Feiler of Heat Loss Analysis of Anchorage is one of many people who has been busy helping Alaskans to take advantage of the energy rebate program. Feiler says he sees many of the same needed improvements in the houses he is rating in Southcentral Alaska.
“A lot of the homes built in the 1960s, 70s and 80s in Anchorage have the same energy improvement needs -- better insulation in the crawl space, leaky windows and doors, and outdated furnaces and hot water heaters.”
Feiler says there also are a lot of simple things homeowners are doing to improve their energy rating -- from caulking and adding weatherstripping around windows and doors, to stopping the loss of heat through fireplaces.
SBS has responded to the increased demand for energy efficient products by beefing up its inventory and educating sales associates with the latest information on energy efficient products and how to use them. You’ll find a huge selection of caulking, weatherstrip and insulation products that are best-suited for Alaska. The selection of compact fluorescent and LED lighting also has greatly expanded. SBS Millwork Shops have seen increased demand for replacement windows. Feiler says today’s windows have up to twice the R-value of the windows in most older-model homes. So changing out a few windows really does have an impact on a home’s overall energy efficiency.
To address the backlog of homeowners who want to use the rebate program, AHFC is now keeping a master list of people who sign up for the energy rating (last year, raters were keeping their own lists, but were overwhelmed with calls). Those interested in signing up can do so online at www.akrebate.com or by calling toll-free 1-877-AKREBATE.
Energy raters and contractors performing energy improvement projects for Alaskans won’t see a slowdown anytime soon. AHFC reports that 8,616 homeowners are on the wait list statewide. More raters are being trained, and approximately 700 names are being dispatched to raters each week. So far, 1,337 rebates have been processed for the initial as-is rating in Anchorage, with 5,768 people on the wait list. In Fairbanks, 1,431 rebates have been processed for as-is rating and 46 are on a wait list. In Juneau, 312 rebates have been processed with 162 on the wait list.