Energy-efficient upgrades, from insulation to solar panels, are now more within reach for Ypsilanti residents taking part in the Better Buildings for Michigan program administered through the
Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office
Seven cities in Southeast Michigan were chosen. "We were really looking for cities that had a long-term commitment to sustainability. And also cities that had high rates of home ownership, sort of older but really high-quality housing stock -- places where people were interested in investing in their homes," says Gillian Ream, communications coordinator for the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office.
For a $50 enrollment fee, an energy analyst will do a complete check-up of residents' homes and provide a report with findings and recommendations. By comparison, a comprehensive energy audit generally costs around $300-400, Ream says. BetterBuildings for Michigan will then fund up to $3,000 worth of improvements via either matching $1,500 worth of DTE Energy rebates or with reduced-rate financing for two years at a possible 0% APR.
In pilot testing, Ream says, the average homeowner doing basics such as air sealing and insulation saves about $250 a year on utility costs.
The Metro Detroit area program is open until November or until the approximately 4,000-home allotment has been reached, whichever comes first.
Source: Gillian Ream, communications coordinator, Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar