Hey, DC. Rebates Abound at the DCSEU!
The DCSEU was recently featured in an article in Hillrag highlighting its rebates and incentives. Read below for full story.
There are many perks to living in DC, but did you know that as a DC resident or business you also qualify for rebates for purchasing energy-saving appliances, cooling and heating systems, and lighting – regardless of your income bracket? The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) offers discounts and rebates to help residents and businesses use less energy and save moneythrough energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. This is a resource that every DC resident or business owner should be taking full advantage of.
DCSEU has an easy-to-navigate website (www.dcseu.com) that includes a wealth of information. You’ll find a list of appliances that qualify for rebates and the corresponding amount for each appliance type by brand and model. You’ll also find links to the application process and instructions for submitting an application. DCSEU also provides guidelines for when you should consider replacing appliances such as air-conditioning and heating systems, the estimated savings over time, and tips for where you can recycle your old appliance.
The DC Council established DCSEU as part of the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008. Operating since 2011, and overseen by the District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), DCSEU has an FY16 budget of roughly $20 million to spend on energy-efficiency initiatives. Funding comes from the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF), which is financed by a surcharge on electric and natural gas utility ratepayers in DC. Essentially your money is made available to help you offset the price of making smart energy investments.
DCSEU offers several types of rebates, noted below.
DCSEU provides rebates for a wide variety of Energy Star home appliances. Rebates for the FY16 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016) include:
- $50-$75 for clothes washers
- $50-$250 for clothes dryers
- $50-$75 for refrigerators
- $25 for dehumidifiers
DCSEU will provide significant rebates for home heating and cooling systems including hotwater heaters, mini-split systems, and programmable thermostats. Rebate amounts include:
- $100-$500 for home cooling systems such as
- $100 for (ductless) mini-split systems
- $250-$500 for high-efficiency central air-conditioners
- $300-$1,000 for home heating systems such as
- $500-$750 for-high efficiency natural gas boilers
- $500 for high-efficiency natural gas furnaces
- $300-$500 for (ductless) mini-split heat pumps
- $350-$750 for an air-source heat pump
- $100-$500 for hotwater heaters:
- $100-$500 for natural gas, storage water heaters
- $300 for whole-home, tankless gas water heaters
- $500 for heat pump water heaters.
DCSEU provides $250 to retrofit an outdoor reset control on a boiler. This control adjusts the water temperature to the lowest possible setting, based on the outdoor temperature, to maintain a comfortable inside temperature. It can be retrofitted to older models. DCSEU also provides $25 for programmable thermostats.
To qualify for these rebates homeowners must work with a DCSEU participating contractor to determine which systems are best suited for their home.
Specific Programs for Homeowners and Multi-Family Units
DCSEU offers rebates to residents who complete energy-efficiency upgrades through certified District contractors. The DC Home Performance Program offers up to a $450 incentive to households that complete a qualifying home energy upgrade. To qualify for this incentive requires an energy audit through a qualified DCSEU contractor. The audit will evaluate the amount of air leakage and the effectiveness of insulation, the heating system, lighting, appliances, and windows, and provide professional advice on ways to lower energy bills. You’ll then need to contract with a participating contractor and complete a minimum of $600 worth of approved improvements (inclusive of the $400 cost of the energy audit). DCSEU offers 50 percent cash back on air sealing (up to $150) and 50 percent cash back on insulation (up to $300), upon completion of the project. For an overview visit DCSEU's audit page.
Making Energy-Efficient Lighting More Affordable
Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is evolving rapidly, and many lighting hues and styles are available. Energy Star qualified LEDs use 75-90 percent less energy and last 8-15 times longer than an incandescent bulb. While you may pay more for an LED, one bulb can save you approximately $42 or more in energy costs over its lifetime. DCSEU’s site has a comprehensive lighting guide to help you determine the most appropriate lighting for your needs. DCSEU has partnered with local businesses to bring down the costs of Energy Star-qualified LEDs at the point of purchase, so you can purchase for less without the need for additional rebates. Home Depot, Safeway, Annie’s Ace Hardware, and Yes! Organic Markets are just some of the DC stores participating in this program. For a list of all participating District retailers check out Find a Retailer.
Programs for Businesses
DCSEU offers technical assistance to improve energy efficiency in DC businesses and institutions. It provides reduced up-front costs for upgrading to energy-efficient technologies and equipment that reduce electric and gas consumption. Rebates are available for HVAC and refrigeration as well as other equipment. Check out Apply for Rebates for more specific information. The Business Energy Rebate program helps pay for the replacement of less efficient lighting with more efficient options. Restaurants on average consume 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. Union Kitchen is just one local business that has collaborated with DCSEU with investments that are saving over 6,800 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
“Our programs are meant to help reduce energy demand, and ultimately lower energy costs for District residents and businesses, regardless of income,” says Ted Trabue, managing director of DCSEU. “They will stabilize energy costs across the District – which is a benefit to everyone in the District.” Since its inception in 2011, DCSEU has conserved over 192,671 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power over 22,000 homes in the District for an entire year. The DCSEU programs described are available through Sept. 30, 2016, the end of the fiscal year. All DCSEU rebates are subject to funds availability, so it’s in your best interest to act quickly to maximize savings!