After Cash For Clunkers, It’s Energy Star Now!

The Obama Government reminds of the good ol’ Santa Claus who doesn’t seem to tire coming up with innovative gifts for us. After Cash for Clunkers, the government seems to have come up with a new goodie in its energy efficiency motives that allow you to exchange your ‘old and nagging’ domestic appliances like a washing machine and the air conditioner for new energy efficient ones at a rebate. Now doesn’t this look somewhat similar to the cash for clunkers project? It looks as though the government is all set to dispose of junk from your houses and garages and abound them with new smart energy efficient utilities that will not only save you a lot of money on the expenditure of resources but also keep the environment happy.

Be geared up for some action from the state Departments of Energy (DOE) in the coming times as they are piloting the $296 million project with of course mama federal taking care of the finances. The distribution of cash in the states is based on population. For example, California’s getting about $ 32 million where as Connecticut is getting $ 838,000 for the project.

The appliance makers being one of the worst hit by the recession are welcoming the move as this project is yet another endeavor to spin the economy winds in their favor. According to The Association of Home Appliances, appliance shipments for this year are lesser by 15% than last year in around the same months as from July to the present. The other plus points are energy inefficient materials become extinct and the environment becomes a cleaner and greener one. Of course, like the cash for clunkers there’s no trade-in here. This is something that you may/may not like because your old merchandise is not fetching you any discounts on its worth. On the other hand, the advantage is that you don’t have to keep assessing the degree of ‘worthlessness’ or inefficiency that your appliance carries as in the case of the clunkers program. You simply have to take your appliance to the dealers in the program and get an Energy Star labeled new product from them for the stated facilities. The rebate will be decided by the dealers on your machine. This is one point up for the Energy Star program in comparison to the clunker cash program because the dealers will not go bankrupt paying up rebates as in the case of the clunkers program.

The States Choose the Appliances for Rebate

Unlike the cash for clunkers where any old car could be traded for new ones, the commodities on which the rebates will be made applicable will be decided upon by the state. So it’s not necessary that all your appliances might be covered under the program. It’ll depend upon the state in which you reside. On general grounds, the government is asking all states to cover up all temperature regulating appliances as these are the ones that consume a lot of energy.

The Old Rebate Systems Will Be Revamped

If you are already availing rebate under old systems from your dealers, you should know that all these rebate systems will be modified under the new system from the 30th of November this year. If you’re used to getting $50 or $200 rebate now, you’ll get around the same amount and anything else that this new energy saving project will bring forth with it. The discount percentages will be more and the range of products covered by the project will be broadened.

If you don’t belong to a state in which a rebating system already exists, your state will start afresh with the new policies covered by the program.

The rebates and the consumer appliances on which they’ll be applicable are not disclosed by the states yet. But DOE will calculate the rebates based on the existing ones if already present in your state. Well, I know what you’re thinking of…that you might avail both reimbursements but no, you’ll not be that lucky. The reimbursements will be good but will not lead to double dipping in any way.

If you’re eager enough, you can visit the DOE website. To and get to know all about the rebates in your state. The icing on the cake is that, some local utility companies are also offering tax incentives along with rebates. Just visit the  Renewable and Efficiency state report Website and find out if you are the lucky resident of one of these states. These websites keep abreast with the latest happenings in the program.

What Are The Criteria For Recycling Your Appliances?

According to Energy Star guidelines, if your dish washer, refrigerator, air conditioner or any other such item is about smart appliances15 years old, you should think of replacing it under the new schemes, because the present machines are more energy efficient and environment friendly. Also those utilities that are used most frequently are the ones that need to be replaced, for example, your clothes washer that is used by the entire family everyday. As these appliances are inevitably used everyday, it’s imperative that they are energy efficient. You can also ask for guidelines on the methods of recycling used.

Others Follow Suit

After the cash for clunkers and the Energy Star ventures it looks as though the government has done its job of inspiring traders in general to encourage the recycling of old wares for new products. Toy retailers, cloths merchants and others are seen to have joined the recycling spree! They are offering baby products, clothes etc, on a rebate for exchange of old goods. All this is supposed to start from the end of August this year.

So far, things seem to look good with more and more people taking part in stimulating the economy. Environmental improvements seem to be really imminent with the present drives. The industries hard hit by the recession seem to be gaining and the consumer seems to be a happier person by getting the opportunity to dispose off his worn and torn articles that would not have fetched him a dime otherwise. But I hope this program turns out to be a success. We have already seen in the Cash for Clunkers program that though many consumers seemed to be a happy lot, many dealers had withdrawn from the project due to lack of funds. I hope that does not get repeated here. It should not because the Energy Star program comes with a lot of benefits for the utilities companies.

About: Claude Ford

American economist. Nobel Laureate in Economics in 2017 for his contribution to the field of behavioral economics. Honorary Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the School of Business of the University of Chicago.


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