A new round of Energy Star rebates to encourage consumers is coming soon – but these are funded by the stimulus program for this year, so they will probably not last long.

$300 million is being made available to the states along population lines, with the focus on larger energy-using appliances. Each state was allowed to develop its own program, selecting the appliances and the process for the rebates.

Massachusetts will have $6.235 million to spend on consumer rebates. The Massachusetts program will provide rebates for:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers

Retailers will be required to recycle refrigerators and freezers and provide proof of recycling for consumers to collect the rebate. This will ensure that the rebate program doesn’t unintentionally drive up energy use by consumers’ keeping their old refrigerators and freezers as spares. This is good planning on the Commonwealth’s part.

The program will begin in March and will continue until the money is exhausted. That could be as little as one month. For those interested in handicapping the likely amount of time to take advantage of these rebates, consider the following:

  • Rebates on larger appliances are typically $50 – $200. Assuming an average rebate of $125 (final numbers are not yet set – this is just to make an estimate), there would be in the ballpark of 50,000 rebates available.
  • About 23.2 million refrigerators, freezers, washers, dishwashers were shipped for sale in the US in 2009 (rough estimate based on figures from Appliance, a trade magazine).
  • Assuming Massachusetts residents buy a proportional share of those (probably a low estimate, since Massachusetts has a high per capita income), Massachusetts residents would typically buy about 39,000 such appliances in an average month.
  • With rebates giving sales an extra boost, 50,000 rebates could be gone in a month.

Alternately, there are about 2.5 million households in the state. With 50,000 rebates available, that works out to about 1 for every 50 households before the money is exhausted.

The Massachusetts program has been approved by the Department of Energy, but the rest of the details are still being worked out as of early February. Details should be available from the MassSave web site later this month.

Energy Star Rebates – coming (and going?) soon
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