Home Energy Rebate Program Kicks Off Today

Home Energy Rebate Program Kicks Off Today

Anchorage, Friday, May 16, 2008 – Effective today, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation will reimburse homeowners for energy ratings done on their homes, up to $500 per home. Ratings are a prerequisite for Alaskans who wish to participate in the state’s revitalized home energy rebate program.

The rebate program has been dormant for more than a decade. It has not been funded by the state since the mid-1990s. However, the program received a major boost this year when the Legislature and the Governor allocated $100 million as a way to help Alaskans conserve energy in this era of high oil prices.

Making a home energy efficient can save a substantial amount of money on monthly heating bills, according to Dan Fauske, CEO/d Executive Director of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

“Energy improvements provide substantial and immediate savings, and continue to save money over the life of a home,” he said.

AHFC is responsible for administering the home energy rebate program along with a number of other state and federal programs that help Alaskans improve their living accommodations.

There are no income requirements to qualify for participation in the energy rebate program. To receive a rebate for energy improvements, an Alaskan who owns and occupies his or her own home first must request a home energy evaluation by a rater who is certified on AkWarm computer program software. A current statewide list of certified raters is available on the AHFC web site:
www.ahfc.state.ak.us/iceimages/reference/icboraters.pdf.
In addition to an initial home energy rating, the certified raters provide homeowners an Improvement Options Report, which recommends the most energy efficient improvements a homeowner should make. This report serves as a guideline for AHFC and for the homeowner as to the potential energy savings, cost of the improvements recommended, and the anticipated return on investment.

A homeowner uses this report to choose which improvements to make. The homeowner may do the work herself or himself, or hire a contractor. Only those items relating to energy efficiency and recommended in the improvement options report are eligible for a rebate.

After the work is completed, the homeowner requests the energy rater to do a follow-up visit, verify the work done, and provide a new energy rating for the home. The homeowner then submits an application for a rebate to AHFC on a form that will be provided. The rebate amount is determined by the increase in the energy rating of the home and the actual expenses paid by the homeowner.

The maximum amount that can be rebated for energy improvements under this program is $10,000. Reimbursement for the energy rating is capped at $500: $325 for the initial rating and $175 for the follow-up.

According to Bob Brean, AHFC Director of the Research and Rural Development Department (also known as R2D2), Alaskans should expect some delays in this first year of what’s expected to be a 5-year program.

There are a limited number of certified raters statewide and there is an effort underway to train and certify new ones. But this may take time. Additionally, there may not be a large number of contractors available to do the work, Brean said. “People should be patient, read up on the rebate program that’s on the AHFC web site, and get a good idea of the kind of renovation work they may want to do,” Brean said. “Then they should begin the process by scheduling an energy rating of their home.”

Fauske noted that AHFC’s Board of Directors recently approved a second mortgage program that will allow Alaskans to borrow up to $30,000 to cover their investment in energy improvements until they can receive their rebate under the program.

For more detailed information about these programs, visit AHFC’s website www.ahfc.us or call 330-8300.

AHFC is a self-supporting public corporation with offices in 16 communities statewide. It provides statewide financing for multi-family complexes, congregate facilities, and single-family homes, with special loans for first-time home buyers, low-and moderate-income borrowers, veterans, teachers, health care professionals, public safety officers, and those living in rural areas of the state. AHFC also provides energy and weatherization programs, low-income rental assistance in 17 communities, and special programs for the homeless. Since 1986, AHFC has contributed more than $1.5 billion to Alaska’s State budget revenues through cash transfers, capital projects and debt service payments.

For more information about AHFC or its programs, contact Bryan Butcher, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs at bbutcher (at) ahfc.state.ak (dot) us or 907-330-8445. <

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