Federally funded program promises utility savings for Royal Oak residents
The hum of air conditioners will eventually give way to the sound of furnaces kicking on, but a federally funded program will help Royal Oak homeowners save on utility bills regardless of the weather.
BetterBuildings for Michigan offers professional home energy assessments that identify ways for homeowners to reduce energy consumption, enjoy more comfortable living spaces and lower utility bills. The program is funded by a $30 million federal grant the state received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Royal Oak is among the more than 30 communities throughout Michigan offering this opportunity to residents, including 23 in southeast Michigan (see complete list below). Partners include the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Michigan Energy Office, the City of Detroit’s Economic Development Corp., the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office (SEMREO), Michigan Saves and DTE Energy.
The program starts with low-cost inspections – also called energy audits – that pinpoint where homes are losing energy and that measure the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. A Certified Building Analyst uses a variety of techniques and equipment during the evaluation, including blower doors that evaluate the extent of structural leaks and infrared cameras that reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and inadequate insulation.
The BetterBuildings for Michigan energy assessment costs homeowners $100, a discount from the typical price of $350 for such inspections. The program runs through Dec. 31, 2012.
Certified Building Analysts who conduct the assessment issue a personalized report with their findings to the homeowner. They will also install energy-efficient lightbulbs, showerheads, faucets and programmable thermostats – at no extra cost – and suggest additional cost-effective, energy-saving improvements, such as insulation and energy-efficient appliances.
Homeowners are under no obligation to act on the Certified Building Analyst report. BetterBuildings for Michigan offers financial assistance to those who choose to install additional energy-saving measures, including rebates totaling up to $5,000.
“The instant rebates make this great program even more affordable,” said Jacob Corvidae, co-director of the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office. “Our experience shows the assessments more than pay for themselves because of the energy-saving materials that are installed. We’re excited that these incredible rebates are helping southeast Michigan residents improve their homes. The program is saving homeowners an average of $235 annually, with some homeowners reporting savings of as much as $800 a year or more on their utility bills.”
Homeowners who want to participate or learn more about the BetterBuildings for Michigan program can call 313-566-4801, email info@MIHomeEnergy.org or visit MIHomeEnergy.org.
In southeast Michigan, homeowners who are eligible to participate in the BetterBuildings for Michigan program include residents of these municipalities: Detroit, Eastpointe, Farmington, Ferndale, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hazel Park, Highland Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Mount Clemens, River Rouge, Roseville, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, South Lyon, Southgate, Sterling Heights, Wayne, and all communities in Washtenaw County.
Through Aug. 15, DTE Energy is offering $75 rebates to customers in Wayne and Washtenaw counties, lowering their overall cost to $25. Residents of those areas can still participate for $100 after Aug. 15 through Dec. 31, 2012.