The US government is in the process of forming a new program designed to boost struggling home appliance manufacturers and retailers (and the environment) by spurring cautious consumers to buy energy efficient models. The program will reward consumers who buy qualifying Energy Star models of appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, etc…), hopefully increasing sales while reducing harm to the environment.
According to a report by the Baltimore Sun , the federal government has set aside $300 million in stimulus money, which it will give to states. Each state will develop its own reward program. Maryland, for example, which will receive $5.4 million dollars, is working with its utility companies already running appliance rebate programs to develop the new program. The government is encouraging states to include heating and cooling appliances and water heaters in the rebate system. All states must submit their plans to federal officials by October 15, and rebate money could be available by the end of this year or early next year.
Energy Star appliances use less water and energy than standard models. An Energy Star refrigerator, for example, can save up to $112 in its lifetime (plus the Energy Star mail-in rebate). Currently, sales of Energy Star-rated appliances account for more than half of home appliance sales.
The program is being compared to the “Cash for Clunkers” program, which resulted in the sale of an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 vehicles. Unlike “Cash for Clunkers,” the energy efficient appliance program will not provide rebates for trade-ins.