Don't you love it when the government gives you money to help buy something that is going to save you even more money! Luckily Steven Chu, the director of the Department of Energy, believes that you can never have too much of a good thing. In July of 2009 he announced that $300 million dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would be given to states to fund Energy Star appliance rebate programs. You didn't think that all of the stimulus money was just going to Wall Street and car companies did you?
The money is provided by the DOE (which is really getting the money from China and other countries which will then be repaid by future taxpayers) to each state; which then develops its own rebate program. The DOE has put up a comprehensive web page for the state Energy Star rebate program and lists the products that it suggests individual states need to include in their program which include:
To see what appliances actually made the cut in your state and when the programs will be available (some have started, most should start by this spring) use the Energy Star appliance state rebate map .
The only thing to beware of is many states require you to purchase the appliance before they will give you the rebate, but there is a set amount of money (a.k.a. rebate pool) allocated for the rebate program. So there is a chance that you could purchase the energy saving appliance, apply for the rebate, but then all the money could be gone and you wont get your rebate. Don't cry too hard if this happens to you. At least you have a nice new appliance that will save you oodles in reduced electricity costs! You were probably going to waste the money on candy and beer anyway...
For example, in Mapawatt's home state of Georgia the rebate program, which is operated by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, just started on February 12, 2010. The website for the Georgia Energy Star rebate is very well done and lets potential buyers know how much money is left in the pool of money (as of this writing is $8,137,816). This way, buyers can estimate when the money may run out. The website also lists products available for the rebate (which ranges from $30 - $200) and shows the manufacturers of those products. Instead of giving you a check for the amount of the rebate the State of Georgia issues a prepaid Visa card, but we know that Americans prefer credit cards way more than cash anyway!
If you've been on the fence now for buying the new ultra-efficient A.C. unit or a new washing machine, the Energy Star rebate program just made your decision a whole lot easier. Research when the money will be made available by your state (if it hasn't already) and plan your new energy efficient purchase! Not only will the rebate save you money up-front, but the Energy Star appliance will save you money in reduced energy costs in the long run! As an extremely tacky commercial on the local radio states, "It's the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth!".