Over the years as the concern for green energy has become more important across the country, there have been an increasing number of incentives and reasons for homeowners to make their houses energy efficient. Here are a few of the current programs that are offered in Cincinnati to citizens who wish to make a change to help improve not only the community, but also hopefully improve their own lives with making the change to green energy.
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance was created in order to encourage citizens to make energy upgrades to bring their homes into the 21st century. They have undertaken many efforts including creating community outreach events, create an easy to use website for residents to have a free home energy comparison report, and creating relationships with community nonprofit organizations, churches, and other establishments.
To qualify, homeowners have to receive an assessment of home performance with energy star, which is provided at a discount through Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. After the assessment, upgrades for energy efficiency are available and rebates up to 50% off when you make green home improvements including insulation, HVAC, appliances, water heaters, and lighting. Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance also offers a loan program for homeowners who purchase energy efficient equipment.
Tax Abatement for Green Buildings
With the most recent rules clarification set in December of 2012, this incentive is available for both residential and commercial buildings that meet LEED certification standards. Offered by the city of Cincinnati, this programs aim is to stimulate community revitalization, attract possible new residents, and retain current residents.
Part of the program includes great tax reductions for those who are making and effort to meet LEED standards. Before you can obtain this incentive though, agreements must be made with the Department of Community Development before you begin construction. Once that has all been approved, you can begin your renovations and receive your incentives. Residential buildings receive 100% tax abatement for 15 years (new construction), and 10 years (existing building renovation), up to around $500,000. Commercial and industrial buildings have no cap, and also receive 100% abatement for 15 years (new building), or 12 years (existing building).
A partnership between the State Treasurer of Ohio and participating banks within Ohio, ECO-Link is a program that provides up to 3% interest rate reduction for 5-7 years on bank loans while you are completing energy efficient upgrades to your home. There’s a wide range of updates that are included in this program including appliances, water heaters, heating and cooling, and renewable energy systems such as wind turbines. Not only will you get the 3% interest rate reduction, but you will also get to see the long term effects of making your home energy efficient.
GEO Solar Thermal Rebate
With funding from The Sierra Club, the non-profit group Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is offering rebates to residents in Ohio that have purchased a solar water heating system after 2009. GEO is dedicated to promoting economically and environmentally sustainable energy practices within Ohio. There are two parts to the application process. The first part involves collecting information from the applicant, the installer, equipment/system installation, and a solar site analysis. The second part of the process is after the system has been installed which includes an inspection certificate, paid invoices, photos of the system, and copies of the passed inspections. After both processes are over, GEO can issue the rebate which offers 20% of the project costs. It is estimated that this program is going to stimulate approximately $750,000 of new solar thermal installations in Ohio, which will be a great leap towards making Ohio more energy efficient.