Many people think that building their own custom home, let alone an eco-friendly home, is more expensive than buying a pre-made/used home outright. The misconception comes from the fact that it takes money to be “green”. There’s a certain disconnect that exists in our society when we imagine social behaviors such as “eating healthy”, “going green”, etc. We think only those that fit within a very high socioeconomic group can afford these behaviors. The truth is, there are numerous programs available to assist you with your green purchases…whether you’re upgrading your existing home or wanting to purchase a new home with green amenities. The trick is to know where to go to get these grants and tax credits from the government. In actuality, it’s not just one branch of the government that offers aid in green incentives. You can find assistance from the local, state, and federal government. If you’re looking for some financial aid, or even just incentives, where is the first place you should look?
One of the first places you should look is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can find their website at epa.gov. They offer a variety of programs to help you with your “going green” efforts. They have a valid reason for doing so. Their primary objective is to ensure that our environment stays as clean as possible while lessening our use of natural resources that are non-renewable and harmful to extract from the Earth. You can find programs at the local level or at the national level.
Another great resource is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy, which can be found at dsireusa.org. This is a site that has a search index based on state incentives. You can find many incentives that are available to you within your state, and each is for a very specific type of addition or purchase. For example, you may find incentives that are only available to Commercial or Educational sectors. You can find rebates for installing a solar water heater and much more.
Another type of monetary incentive is a tax credit that is issued by the Federal government. Unlike deductions, tax credits literally put money back in your pocket. You can find a list of all available tax credits by visiting the Federal government’s Energy Star site, which can be found at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index.
In addition to the many rebates, tax credits, and grants, you must also consider the money you will receive back over the span of years by utilizing energy-efficient means. By doing simple things like installing a solar water heater, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the lifespan of your home. In fact, you will most likely make the money back that you spent for the initial purchase, and save more money on top of that. Understand that there are many doors that are open to you, waiting to help you with a green purchase. There is no better time to “go green” than now.