California's plan to implement a "cash for appliances" program with federal stimulus funds focuses on three meat-and-potatoes appliances used by millions of residents.
The state has been allocated $35.2 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to participate in the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program. California's program will be administered by the California Energy Commission.
Under a proposal recently submitted by the commission to the U.S. Department of Energy -- which is overseeing the program nationally -- three appliance categories will receive rebates: clothes washers, a $100 rebate; refrigerators, a $75 rebate; and room air conditioners, a $50 rebate.
The rebates would be in addition to existing rebates offered by California utilities or appliance manufacturers, a process called "piggybacking."
For example, if you buy an energy-efficient refrigerator that qualifies for a $100 rebate from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, you'd get that on top of the federal rebate under the proposal.
To qualify for rebates, appliances purchased by consumers must bear the Energy Star label and be certified to the Energy Commission as meeting all state and federal appliance efficiency standards.
The Energy Star conservation program was created in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and evolved into an international standard for energy-efficient consumer products. Products with the Energy Star seal -- from buildings to central air conditioners to computers -- typically are 10 percent to 30 percent more energy efficient than comparable products.
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