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Benefits to Going Green
The primary benefit of going green is reducing your carbon footprint. Targeting specific areas in your home can make a significant impact. According to CarbonFootprint.com, your home heating and electricity make up over one-quarter of your carbon footprint, giving you a good place to start looking for grants to make your home green. If you run a business or non-profit out of your home, you will find more opportunities than for private landowners. In any case, grants will have certain requirements that you must meet.
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The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) targets low-income families, providing them the means to make their homes more energy efficient. Thus, not only do you save installation costs, but your savings are also long term. WAP is a federally-based program.
You will also find that there are grant opportunities at the state level. Some grants focus on certain energy incentives. For example, the Renewable Energy Equipment Grant of Minnesota provides up to $4,700 funding for solar space heat or biodiesel systems. The aim with programs like this is to provide an enticement to make the move toward renewable resources. You can find out about programs offered in your state at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
While not a grant, you can also refinance your mortgage to make improvements necessary to increase your home's energy efficiency. Funding is provided through Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). One of the conditions of this program is that you must have an energy audit of your home done by a certified home energy rater.
If you own land which has wetlands or other important ecosystems on it, you may quality for Wildland Fire Management (WFM) funding. This program funds projects for restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems on adjacent private lands near federally managed sites. The environmental benefit is that through careful management of your land, you contribute to the health of the ecosystem and the plants and wildlife that depend upon them.
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Applying for Grants
When you apply for grants to make your home green, make sure and follow the grant guidelines and requirements to the letter. The grant application will include specific instructions regarding what is needed to determine your eligibility. The WAP grants, for example, have income requirements. State programs, naturally, are available only to residents of a particular state. In order to increase your own efficiency, only apply for grants for which you meet all the criteria requested.
Typically, competition for grant monies is high. Failure to adhere to their guidelines may restrict your eligibility. Most grants will also require detailed records of expenses related to the grant. Keeping detailed, well-documented expenses is highly recommended.
If you plan to make your home green, there are opportunities for you to acquire funding to make your move to living green that much easier. A clear plan with a focused aim will help you identify appropriate resources for your project.
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Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency - dsireusa.org
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Recovery Act of 2009: Capital Improvement and Maintenance - cfda.gov