FSEC Advises Residents on Energy-Efficient Purchases During Tax-Free Week

Florida residents can save money on energy-efficient appliances and other products during a tax-free holiday from Oct. 5 to 11, and advice from Florida Solar Energy Center researchers can help residents make purchases that will cut their energy bills.

The sales-tax holiday coincides with Energy Efficient Week and applies to new products with the “Energy Star” label that cost $1,500 or less. Residents will save money long after they receive the tax break because they will use less energy throughout the life of the products.

The Gossamer Wind series ceiling fans, developed at the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida, are among the products that qualify for the tax savings. New refrigerators, washers and programmable thermostats also are eligible.

The Gossamer Wind fans can save customers about $20 per year in electricity costs while providing the same or greater air movement as conventional ceiling fans. To date, more than 1 million Gossamer Wind ceiling fans have been purchased across the country, saving users more than $20 million annually. Additional savings can be realized by raising thermostat temperatures to reduce air conditioning costs.

Researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center also suggest replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs as a way to save on energy costs. The cost of installing and using fluorescent bulbs is recovered through the long-term savings. For one year in a 2,000-square-foot home, a homeowner could save $200, which is about what the bulbs will cost. And the savings will continue throughout the three- to five-year life of the bulbs.

The tax exemption applies only for the purchase of energy-efficient products for home or personal use. The term “energy-efficient product,” according to state law, means a dishwasher, clothes washer, air conditioner, ceiling fan, incandescent or fluorescent light bulb, dehumidifier, programmable thermostat, or refrigerator that meets or exceeds the requirements of the “Energy Star” program.

For more information on energy efficiency, visit the Web site of the Florida Solar Energy Center at www.fsec.ucf.edu.

The Florida Solar Energy Center is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells.