House covered with dollar bills

Federal Tax incentives for Home Energy Improvements Expiring Soon

House covered with dollar bills
Maximized your federal tax incentives to improve the energy efficiency of your house

Without further action by Congress, the start of 2012 may bring an end of the federal government’s series of tax incentives for homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Items such as new windows, furnaces and dishwashers will no longer be aided by incentives when homeowners file their federal income taxes. Details are available through a non-profit website designed to help consumers make the most of these incentives.

If you’re planning any home improvements before the end of the year, Tiburon Energy & Construction has a few suggestions to help you save more money while maximizing your tax incentives.

* If your home needs a new air conditioning system, now is the time to act. HVAC companies are preparing for winter by stocking up on heating equipment, but most still have cooling equipment in stock which needs to be sold before next year’s equipment arrives. This means big savings for consumers willing and able to act soon.

* Get a home energy audit. A comprehensive whole-home audit will point out the improvements that will deliver the most savings for the costs.

And don’t forget: other incentive programs may be available at the state and local levels, so do your research to find out other ways to save.

Free Home Energy Assessment

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star Program has a free online tool for homeowners get a handle on their home’s energy use in an important first step to improving efficiency.

Energy Star logo
Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick offers a simple assessment of a house's energy efficiency.

All you need is a year’s worth of energy bills, your zip code and a few minutes of your time. Get started with this simple assessment by visiting Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick tool.

Keep in mind that a home energy audit provides a more thorough, detailed look at a house’s efficiency, with recommendations for improvement. Call Tiburon Energy today at 513-681-9300 to schedule your home energy audit.

Suggestions for Energy-Efficient Home Remodeling

Did you know that May is National Home Improvement Month? In that spirit, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has published its recommendations for getting the most value from your home remodeling project.

NARI connects consumers with professional remodelers

See the list of recommendations from NARI.

NARI is a professional association whose members voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics. Consumers may wish to search http://www.nariremodelers.com/ to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI. For the latest information on green remodeling, visit http://www.greenremodeling.org/.

Special Offer for Free Home Energy Audits

Tiburon Energy is offering a special incentive for homeowners to get a home energy audit. The first five (5) eligible homeowners who contact Tiburon Energy will receive a free home energy audit (normally a $400 value). Visit the Tiburon Energy contact page to submit a request.

water heater inspection
A Tiburon Energy auditor inspects a water heater, which is one part of a home energy audit

What you will receive:
– A complete home energy audit
– A detailed report on the findings and recommendations of the audit
– Eligibility to receive special financial and rebate offers on improvements based on the audit

To be eligible, you must:

– Reside in Hamilton County, Ohio
– Own and live in the house to be audited
– The house must be: built after 1942, less than 3000 square feet, and free of asbestos and mold
– No previous home energy audit has been conducted within the last 5 years
– Provide your home address and primary telephone number
– No telephone solicitations for this offer will be accepted

A Tiburon Energy representative will contact you to verify eligibility and set a date for the audit. Tiburon Energy also asks recipients to consider providing feedback on your experiences for marketing purposes.

Find out what hidden savings a home energy audit might reveal for you.

See Energy-Efficient Homes at Greenarama

As the desire for energy-efficient housing grows, some of Cincinnati’s home builders are showcasing the latest in energy-efficiency at the city’s newest house event. Greenarama, presented by the city of Cincinnati, will feature custom Townhouse Style Green homes built by five of the area’s finest home builders.

Find out for yourself how inviting an energy-efficient house can be.

When: June 17-19 and 24-26, 2011

Where: Strafer Street in the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood of Cincinnati

Springtime Energy Saving Tips

Air conditioner tune-up service
Save energy by inspecting your air conditioner annually

The good news is that spring is finally here. Although the weather seems to change dramatically on a daily basis, rest assured that
warmer weather is on the way.

So what can you do to prepare your home for the hot summer months to come? Here are some tips to help get you started.

1) Schedule an air conditioner tune-up

Getting your air conditioning unit checked early in the spring can help you save money on electricity costs by making sure the system is working efficiently before it’s needed during summer. A typical air conditioner tune-up consists of inspecting wiring, hoses and ducts, along with Freon gas levels in the cooling unit.

By scheduling a tune-up during cooler spring months, you cn also save by avoiding costly repairs in summer when HVAC servicing
companies are at their busiest.

2) Close drapes and blinds on sunny days in west-facing windows

Much of the heat entering houses during summer is from windows facing south and west. By keeping your windows shaded during the hottest times of the day, this will help cool your house and reduce the workload on the air conditioner.

3) Seal open gaps into your house

Gaps in your house can allow hot and cold air into places where it’s not needed, making your air conditioner work harder to remove it. An accredited home energy inspector can find those gaps and recommend the proper fixes, to increase both the level of comfort in your home while saving you money in energy costs.

Call Tiburon Energy today to learn more. 513-681-9300.

Home Energy Checkups

Clark Howard, a “money coach” whose show appears during weekends on HLN, aired a special inside look at home energy checkups as a way to save money on utility costs. Reporter Jennifer Westhoven brought a team of home energy auditors to inspect her house and offer recommendations for improvement.

Take a look at what they found.

Think Twice Before Choosing a Reduced Electricity Offer

Since the start of 2011, many homeowners in Ohio have received offers from electric suppliers of reduced rates on electricity charges after signing a one- or two-year contract. Ohio law allows for competition on electric supply, but beware of what you are agreeing to.

Standard 3-prong electrical outlet
Reduced costs on your electric bills sound great, but examine each offer closely.

“Many people don’t realize that there are three components to their electric bills: generation, transmission and distribution charges, all of which are priced at different rates,” says Toni Winston, president of Tiburon Energy. “Many offers don’t specify the exact component(s) they are reducing. Even when the offers are specific, the changes don’t have a real savings effect.”

The best way to lower your electric bill is to simply use less electricity. Switch to more-efficient CFL light bulbs, turn off lights when leaving a room and raise the thermostat temperature when running the air conditioning during the summer months.

Kentucky does not allow competition for electric or natural gas supplies, while Indiana allows competition only for natural gas supplies.

If You Can Measure It, Then You Can Manage It

Knowing what the cost to operate a device may make the difference in whether you buy that item or not. We regularly speak in terms of miles per gallon for cars; now we are speaking in terms of price for kilowatt hours.

hand-held electric monitor
This monitor allows homeowners to see electricity levels for each electric item they use.

The Department of Energy’s Energy Star program has brought that principle to the consumer. Products earn the Energy Star label by being at least 25% more energy-efficient than that of other products in the same product class. In addition, many new appliances are built with smart meters to improve efficiency.

Smart meters and home electricity monitors offer a more detailed view of electricity consumption by connecting to a home’s main power supply. A recent Wall Street Journal article on home electricity monitors points out that the average American consumer who monitors their home electricity usage in real time can reduce power consumption by an average of 9.2%, which climbs to 12% when monitoring individual appliances.

It pays to be a smart consumer, and when it comes to lowering your electric bills, there are more ways than ever before to get valuable information. But don’t forget that a house is a system with other resources that require monitoring. Contact the professionals at Tiburon Energy today for a complete home energy audit.