Want $1,000? Boost energy efficiency

The state wants to give you as much as $1,000.

There's just one catch: You'll need to spend it on increasing your home's energy efficiency.

The Nevada State Office of Energy on Tuesday kicked off its Nevada Home Energy Fitness Campaign, a 10-year initiative to improve energy conservation in 40,000 homes in Southern Nevada and 10,000 homes in Northern Nevada.

"We want to get homeowners involved in the efficiency of their home, to see that behavioral changes may lead to energy savings, and to savings in their pocketbook," said Stacey Crowley, director of the Nevada State Office of Energy. "We also want to address our need to reduce fossil-fuel use as a state."

The U.S. Department of Energy gave the office a $5 million grant to get started. The funding will cover homeowner rebates and program education for three years. For the remainder of the initiative, the office will work with banks on other funding options, such as mortgage refinancing designed to cover energy-efficiency upgrades, Crowley said.

Participating consumers will get a home energy audit to pinpoint spots where air leaks in or out. Contractors will add insulation or seal cracks and gaps in walls, foundations and around windows and doors.

The campaign kicks off just as a similar program is winding down.

The state recently completed a federally funded rebate program for consumers who replaced older refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers with newer, more-efficient models. The initiative launched in April 2010 and gave out $2.4 million in rebates worth $100 to $200. Nevadans traded in more than 15,000 appliances.

HomeFree Nevada, a local nonprofit that administers the area's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Home Performance with Energy Star program, will partner with the state energy office to run the Nevada Home Energy Fitness Campaign.

Other partners include the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the University of Nevada, Reno; Truckee Meadows Community College; and the city of Las Vegas.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.