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Energy Use in Bozeman

A thermal imaging device pointing towards a house to detect the thermal energy in different areas of the house.

Thermal Imaging. Photo: WXTV

1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases are generated as a byproduct of the energy used in American homes every year. Here in Bozeman, residential and commercial energy use account for 72% of our community greenhouse gas emissions. Energy audits and energy efficiency measures typically reduce energy use by 20 to 35 percent, and in some cases can make a home or business up to 50 percent more efficient, saving you money and improving your bottom line.

Residential and Commercial Energy Saving Programs

Saving 10% or more of the energy used in your business or home is actually pretty easy and yields immediate dividends. The City of Bozeman offers residential and commercial energy saving programs to help you identify and prioritize opportunities.

For more information on the Bozeman Energy Project for commercial businesses, click here.

For more information on the Bozeman Energy Smackdown residential energy competition, click here.

Learn More about Past Workshops

The Spring Sustainability Workshop series was a series of free public workshops providing education and resources on the state of recycling in the Gallatin Valley, energy efficiency for businesses and homeowners, the solar state of affairs and water conservation. Check back this fall for more workshops and educational opportunities! 

Free Energy Audit

If you are a NorthWestern Energy customer, your home or business may be eligible for a free energy audit. The business audit includes an evaluation of all lighting, equipment, and mechanical systems. The home audit includes an insulation evaluation, a blower door test to detect areas of air leakage, water heater temperature check, refrigerator temperature check, gas equipment safety check and energy usage survey.You may be eligible for a free water heater tank wrap, hot water pipe insulation, low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads, energy efficient light bulbs, and air sealing materials, depending on the results of your audit. After the audit, you will receive a customized report on your business or home’s energy usage, recommendations for energy savings, and further information on rebates for installation of energy-efficient measures. The home audit program is limited to houses five years and older, with no E+ Audit history. The commercial audit program is limited to existing buildings with no E+ audit history. To see whether your house or business has already had an audit or to schedule one, call (800) 823-5995. The average US family spends $1,900 on home utility bills every year: make sure your bill isn’t wasted energy!

Comprehensive Energy Audit

If you need a more current or comprehensive energy audit for your home, hire an auditor who holds the Home Energy Raters certification to conduct a whole house energy audit.  Home energy audits include evaluation of: comfort systems, health & safety, lighting systems, electric, gas & water, insulation, building tightness, windows & doors, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Find certified auditors here.

View Weatherization Tips 101

Weatherization Tips 101
  • Seal drafty windows and doors. Air infiltration – drafts leaking in and out of a house – can account for 30% of a home’s heating and cooling costs. Good thing it’s often an easy fix with some weather stripping and caulk, to save 10%! Attic and other insulation can get you the rest of the way to that 30% savings.
  • Check the Thermostat. Pick a reasonable temperature that’s comfortable for you, but don’t go overboard! Try 68° or lower during the day, and 60° at night. See if it could work for you!
  • Wrap your Hot Water. Do you have insulation on your hot water tank? Keep your home’s water hot the same way you keep your coffee warm in a thermos: insulate!
  • 120° is Plenty! Lower the water temperature to 120°F: typical settings are 140°, which can scald skin, and is only useful if you have an old dishwasher without a booster heater.
  • Tune-up Your Furnace Every Year. Keep your home cozy and the air healthy, while keeping energy use down. Regular maintenance will make your furnace last longer, too.
  • Make Smart Choices. Where else can you save energy? Could you line-dry your clothes, wash some loads in cold water, use a low-flow showerhead, close blinds on hot summer days to keep the sun out, or something else? Think creatively, and find the solutions that are best for you.

Tax Credits and Rebates For Energy Efficiency

There are state and federal tax credits for residential building energy improvements as well as grants and rebates for certain energy efficient purchases.  Before you buy, be sure to check out these resources to find out which products are eligible, when the offer expires, and how you attain the rebate or incentive. If you’re using a contractor for the work, they can often help walk you through the tax credit and rebate processes.

Learn more about Credits

Montana Incentives for Renewable Energy: The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has a comprehensive list of all incentives, tax and otherwise, that Montana law offers for renewable energy development as well as grant and loan programs. Incentives and programs exist for individuals and businesses. See details here.

The Geothermal Systems Credit is also a tax credit applied against a taxpayer’s income tax liability. Montana residents who complete the installation of a geothermal system in their home can claim the credit. A geothermal system is a system that transfers energy either from the ground, by way of a closed loop, or from ground water, by way of an open loop, for the purpose of heating or cooling a residential building. This credit is a nonrefundable carryover credit in which you can carry forward any unused portion for seven succeeding years.

The Energy Conservation Installation Credit: Montana residents can claim a tax credit against income tax liability for 25% of expenses up to $500 for the cost of purchasing and installing weatherization and/or energy conservation investments.  The credit cannot exceed $500 or $1,000 for couples filing jointly. Any unused balance of the credit can be carried forward and applied to future income tax liabilities for a period of four succeeding tax years. For more information on Montana State Incentives, call the Department of Revenue at 1.866.859.2254 or read the Energy-Related Tax Relief FAQs.

Federal Tax Credit for Renewable Energy: The residential federal tax credit for renewable energy enables a taxpayer to claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for renewable energy systems on residences owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. See details here.

Database of Tax Credits and Rebates for Montanans: Federal and State Tax Credits, Utility Rebates, Non-Profit Incentives, and Low-Interest Loans for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

NorthWestern Energy Product Rebates: Rebates for energy-efficient appliances, lighting, programmable thermostats, heating, air conditioning and more. Be sure to check this thoroughly before your next big home-improvement purchase!

Low-Income Assistance: If your income is below 60% of the state median, you may qualify for assistance in weatherizing your home.

Why does Energy Efficiency Matter?

Learn Why

Saving Energy Infographic Source: eLocal.com

Watch “10 Steps to Energy Efficient Living” from WX TV

For more WxTV videos, click here to go to the Montana Weatherization Training Center