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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Incentive Programs for Energy Efficiency

James Stevenson, Pinellas County Extension Specialist, Urban Sustainability

Raise your hand if you’d like some free money.

OK, you can put it down now. By taking simple steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home you may qualify for local and Federal incentives to help defer the cost.

Our local energy provider, Progress Energy, offers many and varied incentives. The key to unlocking them all is the Home Energy Check. This is an audit of your home’s bit and pieces that contribute to energy demands. The resulting report is the baseline for efficiency improvements.

The Home Energy Check can be done online as a self-assessment, through a telephone conversation with a Progress Energy Representative, or an in-person walkthrough.

After completing the Home Energy Check, there are several inspections that can lead to cash incentives. One is a Duct Test, for this a Progress Energy certified contractor inspects your attic ductwork for leaks, breaks, etc. (a chilly attic in summer is usually a good sign that there is a leak somewhere…)

Following the Duct Test, if a repair is needed, the cost of that repair can be offset by as much as $150—a gift from your energy provider!

There are other Progress Energy incentives, including a Heat Pump Check/Repair, Insulation Check and Replacement, Window/Skylight/Door Replacement and even cash towards replacing an inefficient roof with a more reflective type. Please note that these inspections will only qualify for incentives if a Home Energy Check is completed first.

Federal incentives, combined with local incentives make taking that step toward energy-efficiency retrofits even more appealing. Some Federal incentives cover at least 30% of the cost of the project, some max out at $1500, and for others there is NO upper limit. Make sure you read the fine print some only cover installing the changes, while others cover installation and the cost of materials, and other just the cost of materials.

The Federal incentives are paid in the form of tax credits. Not, cash in hand. A draft of the IRS form for filing to claim your credits can be found here.

We are offering a free, 30-minute webinar on this subject that delves a bit deeper into these topics.

Join us on Wednesday, August 26 and/or Wednesday, September 2nd for “Solutions in 30 – Financial Incentives for Home Energy Savings” from 12:15-12:45. To register for this live presentation, visit, click the ‘Online Registration' button and follow that link to the “Solutions in 30” tab.

Reference: Energy Efficient Homes: Incentive Programs for Energy Efficiency

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Let the Sun Set on this Class!

Solar energy is Florida’s most abundant domestic energy resource. Citizens can join local energy leaders and learn how to make good use of this free and renewable energy source that surrounds Pinellas County in sunshine.

Solar Power in the Sunshine State – Combining Free Solar Energy with Other Techniques for High Efficiency workshop is planned for Saturday, Aug. 22, at Pinellas County Extension in Largo. The information powerhouse workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to noon and costs $15 per person. Registration is required by Friday, Aug. 21, as space is limited.

The workshop kicks off with local businesses displaying products and services available to homeowners. Lecturers include Progress Energy specialists who will provide information on incentives and programs that are aimed at improving energy efficiency and getting citizens the most value for their money. Solar Source Institute representatives will reveal the many solar options available. They will also talk about how to take advantage of benefits in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus) to help get citizens on the road to energy efficiency. A question and answer period rounds out the morning.

To register, visit, click on the “Online Class Registration” button and then the “Sustainable Living” tab. Citizens may also call (727) 582-2100. Extension is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pinellas County Small Business Lending Fair

Pinellas County Small Business Lending Fair

September 24, 2009 from 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m.
at the EpiCenter, 13805 58th Street North, Clearwater, Convention & Meeting Room 1-453

Hosted by the Pinellas County Business Development Center & Gulf Coast Business Finance

Featuring exhibits by over 25 business lenders, this event offers entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to discuss their needs with loan officers or just browse among the many lending options available for business growth and expansion. A buffet lunch will be provided by Gulf Coast Business Finance.

Advanced registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Please register online at, by email at or by phone at (727) 453-7200.

“The Lending Fair was a terrific experience.
With so many lenders in one place, it was easy
to shop for the option that worked best for us.”
- Sean Dorisinski,
Dorisinski Campbell Design Associates