The newly reinstated federal tax credits for residential energy efficiency make 2009 the perfect time for American homeowners to evaluate their homes. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, homeowners can receive up to $1,500 in tax credits for investments in insulation, exterior doors, and windows.

By maximizing a home’s efficiency, homeowners can reduce their utility bills and ultimately lessen their impact on the environment. According to the Energy Star program, ensuring adequate insulation and proper air sealing and caulking can save homeowners up to 20% on utility bills. Coupled with the residential energy-efficiency tax credits, this can add up to a healthy return on investment.

Drawing from more than 50 years of experience insulating homes throughout the U.S., CertainTeed Insulation offers the following tips and advice:

  • Conduct a home energy audit. An auditor can pinpoint areas where your home loses valuable energy and can suggest ways to conserve heating fuel, hot water, and electricity. Visit to locate an auditor in your area.

  • Stay on top of rising energy costs. Plan ahead and don’t get blindsided by high utility bills. Organizations such as the Alliance to Save Energy offer tools that project upcoming energy costs in your state.

  • Know the recommended R-value in your area.  In simple terms, R-value is a measure of the insulating power of insulation. Colder climates require a higher R-value to ensure a comfortable, energy-efficient home. To determine the right R-value for your area, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.

  • Choose the right insulation for the right area of a home. For example, blow-in insulation provides uniform coverage that won’t settle and is perfect for attic areas. Fiberglass batt insulation is a popular option for walls and in below-grade areas, such as unfinished basements.

  • Consider the big picture. Proper home insulation equates to less energy use. Ultimately, this means less fossil fuel is burned to produce energy, resulting in a reduction of polluting gases emitted into the atmosphere. Considering that the average home causes the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide — the principle greenhouse gas — as the average car, home insulation can go a long way toward reducing the impact on the environment.

To learn more about tax benefits of the ARRA, visit the Internal Revenue Service website.