By the end of 2009, consumers nationwide will be able to take advantage of a federal "cash for appliances" program offering rebates on purchases of a wide array of home appliances certified as energy-efficient by the EPA's Energy Star program.
Backed by an initial $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the state-run rebate program is intended to help make American homes more energy-efficient while further stimulating the economy.
"Appliances consume a huge amount of our electricity, so there's enormous potential to both save energy and save families money every month," said Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a press release. "These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy and create jobs."
States will Run the Rebate Program
Each state will administer its own cash for appliances program. The states will be free to select which residential Energy Star qualified appliances to include in their programs and the individual rebate amount offered for each appliance.
What Can You Buy?
The Department of Energy (DOE) has recommended that the states focus their cash for appliances rebate efforts on heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and water heaters as these products offer the greatest energy savings potential. Energy Star qualified appliance categories eligible for rebates include: central air conditioners, heat pumps (air source and geothermal), boilers, furnaces (oil and gas), room air conditioners, clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters.
How Big Will the Rebates Be?
While the states will be free to set actual rebate amounts based on their share of the $300 million, the Department of Energy expects the rebates to range from $50 to $200 per appliance. But wait, there's more. Any rebates offered by state and local utility districts for purchases of energy-efficient appliances will be added to the federal cash for appliances rebate.
How do You Qualify?
All consumers will need to do to get the rebate is simply buy any qualifying Energy Star appliance. Unlike the "cash for clunkers" fuel-efficient vehicle rebate program, you don't even need an old trade-in appliance. In addition, consumers will not be required to haul their bulky old appliances to the dealer in exchange for a new one.
When Does it Start?
The states will have until October 15, 2009 to submit their applications for funding and plans for recycling old appliances to the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE plans to have distributed funding to the states by November 30. As a result, the cash for appliances rebates could be available in stores just in time for Christmas shopping.