Thousands of dollars for energy efficiency upgrades remain available for homeowners, landlords and businesses from the reEnergize Program, a collaboration between the cities of Omaha and Lincoln to promote the local energy efficiency market. The program, which was awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010, is one of 25 pilot projects in the U.S.
The program provides Lincoln residents who live in single-family homes or duplexes financial incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. Through the "market rate" path, homeowners can receive a discounted professional energy evaluation plus up to 50 percent off the cost of installing the recommended upgrades. Those with incomes less than 80 percent of the Lincoln's median income may qualify for up to $3,000 in energy upgrades for just $100.
In Lincoln, several new incentives are now available:
Black Hills Rebate Incentive
Black Hills Energy is offering a rebate on gas bills if customers enroll in reEnergize and install more efficient appliances. Black Hills Energy will provide a $250 credits for the first 15 customers who sign up for reEnergize, receive a reEnergize evaluation and get a recommendation to replace their furnace with at least a 90-percent efficient furnace. Black Hills also will provide $100 gas bill credits for the first 15 reEnergize participants recommended for water heater replacements.
"Black Hills Energy strongly supports the reEnergize Program and the efforts being taken in the Lincoln area to build an energy smart community," said Ruth Hietbrink, Black Hills Customer Relations Representatives. "Energy-saving building improvements, efficient use of energy, and playing a role in developing effective educational programs are important to Black Hills Energy."
Credits will be given to eligible participants in order of their sign-up date and time. Customers may receive rebates for both furnace and water heater replacements if both are recommended. The offer is limited to only one furnace and/or one water heater per resident. For more information, call 402 437-1814.
Neighborhood Rewards Incentive
For a limited time, reEnergize will pay participating neighborhood associations $100 for every resident the organization refers to reEnergize who completes an energy efficiency upgrade.
"If a neighborhood has at least 50 homes complete a reEnergize upgrade, that's represents an estimated $400,000 in combined reEnergize and private investment," said Steve Larrick, reEnergize Community Outreach Specialist. "Associations and neighborhood residents can directly benefit from reEnergize, and now's the time to act." To have reEnergize staff speak at a meeting or event, call 402 441-7658.
Easier enrollment for commercial, nonprofit, and public buildings
Working with local engineering firms and sustainability advisors, reEnergize helps building owners receive free professional energy evaluations, which identity the most cost-effective upgrades that offer a quick return on investment. The advisor also works with building owners to find ways to pay upfront costs, including rebates from the LES Sustainable Energy Program, low-cost loans from the Nebraska Energy Office, existing tax credits and other low-cost options with private lenders.
The reEnergize program also is helping to enroll owners of multiple buildings in this free service. The City of Lincoln will soon participate in energy evaluations for 10 to 12 government facilities.
"We've already seen great success with efforts to upgrade lighting in many City facilities," said Milo Mumgaard, senior policy aide for sustainability to Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. "In some buildings, we are now saving up to 45 percent on our lighting costs. Using reEnergize to upgrade City buildings is creating significant savings for taxpayers."
Any home (both owner-occupied and rental), commercial property, nonprofit or public building in Lincoln or Omaha is eligible for reEnergize incentives and services. More information is available at reEnergizeProgram.org or by contacting the reEnergize Lincoln office, 2143 "O" Street, at 402-441-7658.