Happy Anniversaries to the InFluential Family

William Jackson, Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential.

William Jackson, Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential.

This month we mark six years of service to you, InFluentials, it makes me pleased to say I’ve had the honor of working at InFluential Magazine for all six of them, and I’m just as passionate about our mission today as I was when we started in 2011.

Like so many of you, I’ve been a fan of the InFluential Magazine from the moment we created our first issue and made the effort to ensure each issue is “Dedicated to the Art of Living Well”.  I will never forget the issue featuring supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio on the cover, walking the runway with style, beauty, and grace.  Another one of my favorites features another supermodel, Julie Anderson.  Julie has graced the cover of many popular magazines and can now add InFluential Magazine to the list.  Julie’s cover is mounted in the hallway entrance of my home to remind me each day of the importance of surrounding ourselves with amazing and positive images and stories that influence and inspire us.

One of the best features of working at InFluential Magazine is when we hear from you. We love it when you write in and tell us how much you appreciate the work we’re doing to influence and inspire you toward living well.

It is you we have to thank for the years you’ve supported and celebrated with us, the stories you’ve shared, and the impact we’ve been able to make together on our communities.

There’s much more to accomplish. We want to be everywhere you are and with our plans to expand our offerings through an updated website and additional social networking platforms, we shall continue providing more ways for you to connect with the InFluential family.

I want to take a moment, also, to wish a Happy 2nd Anniversary to Spanish InFluential and Teen InFluential.

Have a wonderful entrance to fall.  Happy 6th Anniversary!

Joyfully,

Will

Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

Insights from ‘The Prince of Luxury’ Noel Shu

By Merilee Kern, MBA

Noel Shu.  Photography courtesy of Noel Shu.

Noel Shu. Photography courtesy of Noel Shu.

With a moniker like “The Prince of Luxury,” it’s clear that Noel Shu is no ordinary entrepreneur. This 27-year-old self-made millionaire has accomplished more in business than many do in an entire lifetime, already boasting a client roster that includes billionaires, celebrities and royal families. So keen is his business acumen and venerable his reputation, Shu’s clout earned him a VIP invitation to the last U.S. visit of China’s president, Xi Jinping, alongside other revered titans of industry the likes of Bill Gates and Jack Ma.

Today, Shu brings his wealth of expertise and impeccable panache to the global luxury goods market where he spearheads ultra-super-premium products such as the finest champagne, wine and spirits as well as extraordinary multi-million dollar jewelry and timepieces of unparalleled quality—all targeted to discerning consumers on both sides of the Pacific, including China’s elite,who demand the absolute best in taste and quality.

Aside from having served as a managing partner at the extolled beverage agency Prodiguer Brands (perhaps best known for selling the most expensive single bottle of Champagne in the world, Goût de Diamants, for a staggering $1.8 million), Shu’s own company, Un Joyau Majestueux, recently launched its own new wine brand, Majestic Ruby. This exciting new expression made its world debut at the 2017 Oscars Celebrity Luxury Lounge at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Penthouse where it was reportedly celebrated by an array of Hollywood A-listers.

Further demonstrating his prowess in the world of fine wine, Shu is also a lauded sommelier and one of the world’s leading experts on Chinese wine culture. In fact, he authored the book, “China Through a Glass of Wine,” which offers a fascinating examination of China’s burgeoning wine industry from an insider’s perspective. From China’s rich cultural history to its political climate, this title takes readers on a captivating journey through the country’s viticultural victories and hopes for the future.

Another of Shu’s latest ventures is a film production company, 1768 Entertainment, which brings Shu’s love of luxury to the entertainment industry in the form of compelling documentaries, stories inspired by real events and suspense tales with an Asian influence.

Noel Shu

Noel Shu

Below is some enlightening Q&A with this millennial mastermind through which he offers insider perspectives and lifestyle advice of note for those who like to roll like royalty (or want to look like they do).

For the high end market, there are often many different brands of similar products and services vying for attention. What are some effective ways luxury consumers can stay abreast of the newest, highest quality products and services?

This can actually be the done the good ol’ fashioned way and that’s simply to read a lot. Everything that you can possibly be looking for, think you might be looking for or not even know you’re looking for is on the Internet. Every day when I wake up, I spend a good 30 minutes and go through literally everything while I’m drinking my coffee—from international news to gossip to anything I can find that’s different from what I read before. People are out there doing everything they can to appease the people.

You are a member of a network called, “The Billionaires Club.”  What are some of the luxury brands you and your inner circle are paying attention to and what draws these brands apart?

I would say these days quite a few people have moved away from just so called “big purchases.” Everything is now more about personal touches. For instance, many people own a Rolex, Audemars Piguet or Hublot. More often than not, some of these are one out of however many but how many people really have something that’s one of kind? Not too many. The other point is that the watch may suit you but it doesn’t reflect your own personality, likes and dislikes. So what’s actually becoming quite popular is engraving one’s watches. I’ve seen some crazy designs that really add some character to a person’s wrist such as koi fish, skull heads and zodiac signs.

So back to the main question and one particular brand that has stood out is Golden Concept. Again, it’s all about personal touches these days and being unique. Golden Concept specializes in luxury cases for your phone. They have gold, snakeskin and gator cases just to name a few. All done to the highest of quality and many are customizable. So if you’re looking to stand out, make sure to check them out.

Another brand which has seen quite a bit of press and accolades is JetSmarter, one of the more successful private aviation companies. For many entrepreneurs, meetings take place in different cities, different continents and in different time zones. JetSmarter offers these services in an easy-to-maneuver application that makes flying private relatively affordable and easy.

What are the top three luxury items or brands that have captivated your own attention right now?

Right now there are three top brands that are top-of-mind for me right now. These are Emperada Cigar Humidor by Imperiali Geneve; Astonomia Tourbillion by Jacob & Co; and Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept car.

Not everyone can afford luxury brands. What would you suggest for those who have the desire to appear high end but not necessarily the means?

There’s actually been a lot of hype surrounding brands that cater specifically to people who enjoy the “finer things” but are limited by what’s in their wallet. Many bloggers, for instance, are always writing about the newest gadget, accessory or clothing. I would recommend finding a few that fit your style and follow them on Instagram to see what it is that they’re rocking on a day to day basis. Many people have to understand that your average blogger is there to inform the public on some of the newest fashion do’s and don’ts, and these are all done with new brands or affordable pre-existing brands.

Second, which I have seen quite a bit, is on Kickstarter or similar sites that are always offering “perks” for those who invest early in their brands. Without naming names, a few brands offered a discounted handmade Italian leather, skeleton movement watches for a fraction of the cost to the first “so many” number of investors.

Just keep in mind for everything high-end there is always a cheaper counterpart. Don’t worry just about name brand or high end. All that matters is that it looks good and makes you feel great.

For those who focus on products that are affordable luxury, who are some of the brands doing the best and what are the keys to success?

One of the biggest and most successful brands that I have seen that caters more towards the everyday luxury is Tory Burch. Although TB is for women, I have on many occasions bought it for family, friends and clients so I can safely say I have quite a bit of exposure to this brand and can thus speak with some confidence. Obviously, price point for TB is well within the means of many. Besides that, what is it that has led TB to such success? I would say three main factors: relatability, professionalism and seamlessness. Relatability in that walking through the concrete jungle that is New York, TB products have always caught my eye in their simplicity but also how stylish it is, whether on a working woman running into Starbucks or that beautiful lady going to brunch. Second, professionalism – although many brands always stress the attentiveness of the staff, it pales in comparison to TB. People have to understand that often times upper tier luxury items are for a certain group and employees are naturally prejudiced to people who they perceive not to be at that level. There have been times where I would walk into a Rolex store unattended for 15 minutes and the instant my AP peaks out from under my shirt, someone is there to help. This just doesn’t happen at TB and for that I am quite appreciative. Seamlessness in TB’s product, in that it offers just the right amount “je ne sais quoi.” Most of their products can be matched with a variety of other brands. This has all led to the tremendous success that TB has experienced over these past few years.

What are the top three factors that truly set an ultra-premium wine, champagne or spirit brand apart from less costly luxury beverage counterparts, wine and otherwise?

Marketing wine for the luxury market is a really tough job to do. Quite frankly it’s because you’re trying to appease a group of people who have seen it all. People always say when you do something for long enough, whether you want to or not you will become a bit of a connoisseur. That’s especially true for those in the wine industry. Most are well educated, well informed and have a true passion towards exploring the finer points of what’s in a wine bottle. If we were to say that all wines in the luxury market were of the same caliber, there would still be so many factors in play, the first being accessibility and quantity. Many luxury wines are such because there is a limited supply. You can’t expect a brand to sell at the same price point when there are only 10,000 bottles as compared to 100,000 bottles. However, although there are still 10,000 bottles that were produced, that doesn’t mean your everyday Joe would be able to get his hands on them even if he’s willing to dish out the necessary cash. Thus, there’s another added premium to an already sky high price.

Another example is time and care. For those who are only there to turn a quick profit, the longer time they spend on making a wine, the more money that needs to be invested. That in itself increases cost and decreases profit. This is why sometimes you have wineries that will actually keep the wine in their cellars for years after bottling to ensure that the wine has at least matured to a passable level. By care, I mean winemakers are very passionate about their craft and thus hate having their name associated with subpar wine. Thus, you have some years where there is little to no wine produced by a certain grower because only a small amount of the grapes harvested passed the standard or none at all.

Never one to rest on his laurels and even amid a diversity of endeavors, Shu continues to raise the bar for himself professionally and personally.  Whether it be as an active investor looking for the latest innovation in the luxury and tech space or, despite his jam-packed schedule, his current pursuit of an Ivy League Master’s degree at Columbia University.  Clearly this good life connoisseur turned luxe market mogul will continue making an impact on the numerous high-end industries for many years to come.

Merilee Kern

Merilee Kern

Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

Beautiful Words From Our Beauty & Fashion Editor Kelli Ponce

We’re thrilled to join Kelli Ponce, Beauty & Fashion Editor for InFluential Magazine and Teen InFluential, in welcoming you to our fantastic March / April 2017 Issues of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential and Teen InFluential.  

Kelli Ponce

We’ve planned each Issue to appeal to the coming of the spring season which, for many, means a fresh start to many grand things. We hope the remainder of your 2017 is prosperous and joyous.

Access the Issues here and we invite you to join us on Facebook (@Influentialmagazine), Instagram (@Influential Magazine)  and Twitter (@influentialmag).

Inspiring Home Interiors

Colorful interior of  home office.

Colorful interior of home office.

Sometimes you go into someone else’s home and the interiors simply seem to come together beautifully and seamlessly. Of course, that’s not likely to be the case, as a lot of thought will have been given to every aspect of the décor and the furnishings. Still, these experiences can be inspiring when it comes to creating your own home interiors, so here are five things to remember when you want to be inspired at home.

Colour Me Creative 

Certain shades can aid creativity, simply by allowing us to feel calm and at rest so we are better prepared for deep thinking and original ideas. Among these, pale blues and greens, and colours such as aquamarine are among the most popular. You can use these soothing tones on accessories and features you love or on an accent wall in your favourite creative space, if you prefer. If you feel your creative juices need to be jump-started, opt for more energetic hues, such as yellows, oranges and reds, instead.

Let in the Light

Basking in glorious sunlight is enough to inspire even the hardest of hearts, and it’s well known that sensible exposure to natural light is good for your health as well as your sense of wellbeing. Plantation window shutters are ideal home features as they allow you to control the amount of daylight in each room, according to the time of day and the season. They also provide privacy and protection against noise and are a useful security measure.

Work is Work

You probably know all about not using your bedroom as a workstation, however, this is so important that it bears repeating. If you have a designated work area, separate from where you like to relax or sleep, you are more likely to feel energised and ready for fresh enterprises and new ways of working.  Whether you work from home some or part of the time, you need to keep your leisure time and your workload apart, and that includes the spaces where you need to focus and those where you need to unwind. 

Close up of a bedroom with pattern bedding, floor lamp and modern picture on a black wall

Close up of a bedroom with pattern bedding, floor lamp and modern picture on a black wall

Inspirational Artworks 

When you are moved to buy something that really makes you feel good, such as a picture or sculpture, keep it at the centre of the place where you want to be most inspired. The same applies when a friend has given you a gift that you know brings you motivation. It doesn’t matter whether this is in your home office or on a wall above your dining room table – wherever you do your most creative thinking is the right place.

Exercise for an Inspirational Life 

Finally, healthy body, healthy mind is not an empty saying but an important ingredient in being and staying inspired. You may not want to add gym equipment to your home, especially if you’re short of space. Instead, make sure you keep your bicycle clips or your outdoor shoes at the ready, and a framed map on the wall of the best routes in your local area, the better to inspire you regularly to look after your physical health as well as your inspirational wellbeing.

 

As Long as You’re Authentic, It Doesn’t Really Matter ~ The Christopher Korey Story

Christopher Korey

Christopher Korey

One of the first things people notice about Christopher Korey in person is his graciousness, what many call his “virtuous manners”; the way a simple act like assisting a lady with her coat, or opening a door becomes a sophisticated gesture, a throwback to another era. Small things, possibly, but small things matter in the realm of Christopher Korey, a man of influence, experience, talent and tremendous style; always dressed impeccably as if he’s about to attend a lavish red carpet gala.

Christopher Korey

Christopher Korey

We’re pleased to feature this well-read superstar in our January / February 2017 Issue and we invite you to read all about what makes Christopher such an InFluential Gentleman.

As Long As You’re Authentic, It Doesn’t Really Matter ~ The Christopher Korey Story.

5 Tips for Safe Space Heater Use

During the coldest days of the year, space heaters are one of the easiest, most efficient ways to get warm fast. However, when not used correctly, they may also be one of the most dangerous.

Space heaters accounted for 40 percent of all home heating fires and a staggering 84 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to research from the National Fire Protection Association. And, as you might expect, these tragic accidents most often occur during the year’s coldest months. The same research finds nearly half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.

While these facts are sobering, it doesn’t mean you need to avoid using your space heater to find the comfort you need during the year’s coldest days. You just need to be careful when doing so. To help you keep yourself and your family safe while enjoying comfortable space heater use, Peter Duncanson, of ServiceMaster Restore, offers these five space heater safety tips.

Stay warm and safe this winter by:

* Reading the labels. When you’re out purchasing a new space heater, it’s important to know what to look for. Review each model thoroughly and look for a label from a recognized testing laboratory. This label should tell you if the heater’s construction and performance meets voluntary U.S. safety standards.

* Choosing a model with a safety sensor. Before purchasing a space heater, make sure the unit has a safety sensor. This sensor will monitor the heater, shutting it off automatically if it overheats, reducing the risk of a fire.

* Ensuring cords are in good working order. Whether you’re buying a new unit or monitoring your existing one, always check the condition of the cords as damage here increases the risk of fire. Once you’re sure the cords are in satisfactory condition, be sure to use them properly. Never plug a cord into a surge protector. Many surge protectors cannot handle the wattage, which could result in a fire.

* Keeping drapes and flammable items away from your space heater. A draped linen can quickly catch fire, so protect against this by selecting a location for your space heater with at least three feet of clearance on all sides. The more room you provide your space heater, the safer you’ll be.

* Unplugging it when not in use. Always remember to unplug your space heater when you’re not actively using it. This includes when you go to bed and even when you simply leave the room.

A space heater is an effective way to stay warm and comfortable during the winter months, and if you use it correctly, it can also be safe. Follow the tips presented here and your space heater will make this winter your most comfortable yet. (BPT)

Diamonds Direct in The Domain Celebrates with Weeklong Event

Highlights Include a Special Appearance by Designer Simon G and No-Interest Financing for Five Years 

Global diamond powerhouse Diamonds Direct on Monday announced a weeklong celebration of Valentine’s Day at its Austin store Feb. 7-14 featuring the retailer’s best financing offer of the year – 0% interest for five years – and a special event on Saturday, Feb. 11 featuring renowned designer Simon G. The store is located at 11104 Domain Drive in The Domain shopping center.

“We are proud to be one of the carefully selected jewelers to sell Simon G’s inspirational hand-crafted designs, and we are thrilled to have him in our store,” said Diamonds Direct Vice President Anat Adi-Atias.

Although Diamonds Direct regularly carries Simon G pieces, the designer will bring with him additional inventory for his appearance, including bridal pieces, limited edition pieces and signature favorites. He will also offer customization according to buyers’ unique needs and vision.

Founded in 1995 by former diamond wholesalers, Diamonds Direct offers one of the nation’s largest selections of fine jewelry and diamonds in the United States. Because it has a buying office within the world diamond exchange in Tel Aviv, Diamonds Direct is able to eliminate all middlemen and stay involved throughout the full life cycle of every diamond it sells. This vertical integration strategy creates tremendous value for end customers and ensures an unquestionably first-quality product.

Diamonds Direct offers a huge selection of loose and mounted diamonds ranging in size from under a half-carat to over 20 carats. The company also features a multitude of engagement ring mountings by America’s top designers, wedding bands, pendants, earrings, bracelets, pearls, colored gemstones and fine fashion jewelry. The Diamonds Direct team includes skilled diamond experts who assist customers with choosing the right diamond for their budget and occasion – a personalized and fresh approach to diamond and fine jewelry selection for shoppers in the Austin area.

Diamonds Direct is adheres to the highest industry standards and ethics, and is committed to providing a transparent, educational experience to each customer. The company offers outstanding customer service, including a 30-day money-back guarantee, 110 percent lifetime upgrades on all classic diamond pendants and stud earrings, price protection, complimentary jewelry maintenance, cleanings, appraisals and multiple financing options.

“With this special guest on hand and this incredible offer of no-interest financing for five years, our Valentine’s Day celebration is the perfect time to purchase that diamond you have had your eye on, whether it is a Valentine’s Day gift, an engagement or wedding ring, or a special remembrance for an anniversary, birthday, or other occasion,” said Adi-Atias.

 

Love Is in the Air – Every Day!

Brownie Image

Chocolates? Roses? Been there, done that. Everyone wants to make sure the special someone in their lives knows how much they care. Here are some easy and fun ways to prove that he or she is number one in your book.

Make a Playlist of “Your Songs”

Whether it was playing when you first met or is the soundtrack to your favorite movie, every couple has songs that mean something special to them. In the car, leave a CD or MP3 player stocked with your most memorable tunes as a special surprise and a suddenly-better commute.

Do the house chores. Seriously.

Fix that item you’ve been saying you would fix forever. Empty the dishwasher and clean the bathroom. When they get home, have all the chores done, that way the only thing left to do is enjoy each other’s company.

Put Pen to Paper

Hide little notes with heartfelt sentiments on the refrigerator, on the nightstand, taped to the computer screen – any place they might stumble upon it throughout a typical day. Your note might be found after a long meeting or last-minute deadline, providing a moment of reprieve and happiness during a hectic day.

Raise a Glass and Indulge – Together

Toast each other with some tasty treats. Pop some bubbly, then enjoy mixing these recipes together.

For more romantic wines and recipes, visit www.barefootwines.com.

Sweetheart Dark Chocolate Brownies

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Makes: 10+ servings

For the brownies:

  • 1/2       cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 4          ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2          eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4       cup white sugar
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2       cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt

For the glaze:

  • 2          ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In small pot over low heat, melt 1/2 cup of butter and 4 ounces of dark chocolate together until smooth.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition.
  4. Add sugar and vanilla and stir to combine.
  5. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt and stir until smooth.
  6. Transfer batter into a 9 x 9 aluminum foil lined baking pan and place it into the oven for 25 minutes and bake until done.
  7. While brownies are baking, melt together semisweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter for the glaze. Once melted, set aside.
  8. When brownies are done, let them cool.
  9. Once cooled, drizzle glaze over brownies, and spread it on top using an offset spatula.

Barefoot Bubbly Ruby Red Bliss

Makes: 2 servings

  • 3          ounces cranberry juice
  • 1/2       ounce lime juice
  • 6          ounces Barefoot Red Moscato Champagne
  • 2          skewer cranberries for garnish
  1. Place chilled juices in flutes. Top with Barefoot Bubbly Red Moscato. Garnish with cranberries.

Cheers! (Family Features)

5 Easy Ways to Say “I Love You”

If gift-giving isn’t your strong suit, occasions like Valentine’s Day are likely to bring on stress and worry, but procrastinating will only serve to elevate your unease.

Follow these steps to simplify your shopping, and while you may not come to love the task of finding the perfect gift, your loved one will undoubtedly appreciate your effort.

  1. Browse for ideas online. Many retailers offer special promotions and gift idea sections on their websites, so finding inspiration can be as easy as visiting the sites of your loved one’s favorite stores. There are also dozens of articles online to help get the ideas flowing. Searches such as “gifts for horse lovers” or “Valentine’s gifts for a new boyfriend” will reveal a long list of ideas to peruse.
  1. Keep it simple. Although the advertising industry works hard to convince consumers otherwise, Valentine’s Day isn’t really all about the bling. Sure, a pretty bauble is a welcome gift, but there are plenty of ways to show your affection that don’t require spending a month’s salary. A heartfelt card paired with a memento of a meaningful event or place in your relationship sends the same loving sentiment.
  1. Make it a (different) date. For many couples, navigating the demands of work, kids and life make spending time together a luxury. Instead of fighting crowds at busy restaurants on the official date, celebrate your love on a day of your own choosing, when you can relax and enjoy the time together without the pressure to rush through dessert so your table can be flipped for the next waiting couple.
  1. Give blooms a boost. A dozen long-stem red roses is a beautiful gesture, but unless your intended rose receiver is a strictly traditional type, try adding a little spice to your floral arrangement. Go for a bouquet in her favorite color, or have the flowers arranged in a practical vessel she can reuse to remember the occasion, such as a cocktail shaker or a watering can.
  1. Go ahead, gift yourself. It may seem counter-intuitive, but finding a gift you’ll enjoy may inspire an idea for your loved one. The trick is finding something you can share together, whether it’s tickets to a show or his and hers mugs for enjoying your favorite brew. Just be sure the item is something your intended will share your enthusiasm for, or you may as well go buy a blender.

Find more ideas to simplify every occasion at eLivingToday.com. (Family Features)

Where to Find Rebates, Tax Credits and Rewards for Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

 

If you’re planning to make some home improvements this year, you’re probably thinking about energy-efficient options, knowing they can save you money in the long run. However, many eco-friendly home improvements that help lower your energy bills can also pay off right away in the form of rebates and tax credits.

Whether you’re considering installing an energy-efficient tankless water heater, putting solar panels on your house, or adding a skylight, chances are you can find a program that will put cash back in your pocket for improving your home’s energy efficiency. Here is where to look for rebates, tax credits and rewards for your energy-efficient home improvements: 

Qualifying Improvements

When you think of energy efficiency, insulation and appliances probably come to mind. But a number of improvements can help reduce your home’s energy consumption, and many of them qualify for tax credits, rebates and incentives from a variety of sources.

The kind of improvements that can make your home more efficient and get you some cash back typically include:

* Solar energy systems (such as solar panels)

* Tankless water heaters

* Solar-powered appliances

* Energy-efficient windows and doors

* Skylights and solar-powered blinds

* Wood or wood-pellet stoves

* Home wind turbines 

Manufacturer Rebates and Incentives

Makers of energy-efficient products and appliances often offer their own rebates to homeowners for making eco-friendly upgrades. If you’re considering an energy-efficient upgrade such as installing new windows, HVAC system or tankless water heater, be sure to ask the retailer or installer about any available manufacturer’s rebates.

For example, now through at least Feb. 15, 2017, you can get up to a $650 rebate on select tankless water heaters from Noritz. The average American household spends nearly 18 percent of its energy use on heating water, at a cost of $200-$600 per year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient because they only heat water when you need it, rather than constantly consuming fuel to keep water hot in a tank. To learn more about tankless water heaters and the rebate, visit www.noritz.com. 

Federal Tax Credits

Although many tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements expired at the end of 2016, some are still available. The federal government offers a tax credit of up to 30 percent for home solar energy systems through Dec. 31, 2019, and there’s no upper limit on the credit, according to EnergyStar.gov.

If you’ll be making energy-efficient home improvements, be sure to talk to your professional tax preparer about any credits or deductions that may be available to you from the federal government. 

State-Level Programs

In addition to federal programs, a number of states offer their own incentives to encourage homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements. For example, Alabama allows homeowners to deduct 100 percent of the purchase price and installation costs of a wood-burning heating system. In Minnesota, homeowners can borrow up to $20,000 at 4.99 percent interest to make energy-efficient improvements such as water heaters, lighting, furnaces, air conditioners, insulation, windows, tankless water heaters and more.

You can find a searchable Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency at www.dsireusa.org. 

Utility Company Incentives

Many utility companies also offer programs designed to help homeowners reduce energy consumption and save money. Typical programs include free LED or CFL bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs in a home, and rebates or discounts for installing energy-efficient HVAC equipment or programmable thermostats.

The best way to find out what programs your local utility offers is to check out their website or give them a call. You can also find state-specific lists of programs at www.dsireusa.org.

Energy-efficient home improvements pay off over the long-term by reducing your home’s energy consumption and utility bills. With a little bit of planning and legwork, you can also find rebates, tax credits and incentive programs that will also repay your eco-friendly investment right away. To learn more, visit Noritz.com, www.direusa.org, energy.gov, energystar.gov and irs.gov. (BPT)