If you’re reading this it means you’ve taken the first huge step towards home energy improvement by having your home inspected by a professional energy auditor. This energy evaluator will have thoroughly inspected your home and left you with a detailed energy-improvement package. Depending on the unique factors of your household, this might include a list of where your home could use extra insulation, where better foam insulation around pipes could be beneficial, what HVAC equipment could use upgrading, and much more.
But now that you have this detailed evaluation in your hands, you might be wondering ‘Now what?’ It’s easy for homeowners to become overwhelmed by the recommended projects for their home. This includes determining what you ought to prioritize and working to get the biggest energy improvements for your dollar.
Making Every Dollar Count
Our biggest recommendation for homeowners who have just had an energy evaluation performed is to begin researching for available local and state home improvement rebates. For instance, many states offer highly attractive rebates on home items such as more efficient HVAC systems, energy star appliances, and solar panels. Connecticut in particular offers a myriad of affordable options through a partnership between the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, such as a CT Solar Lease program that enables homeowners to install a solar system without the burden of massive up-front costs. In Massachusetts, qualified homeowners can apply for 0 percent interest loans to help with the costs for home improvements like geothermal heat pump installations, ENERGY STAR windows, solar water heaters, and so much more.
Know Where to Begin: The Importance of Insulation
Once you’ve made a list of the different rebates and loans that apply to you and your home, the next step is prioritizing. A great first project is to install or further improve your home’s insulation. This is because in addition to having an immediate impact on reducing your home’s energy costs, a better insulated home can also change your home’s heating and cooling loads. If you’re thinking about installing new HVAC equipment, you’ll want to base the system on your improved thermal envelope for highest efficiency.
While keeping your energy evaluation in mind, begin adding insulation in the attic. Attics can be responsible for as much as 42 percent of a home’s energy loss. New insulation can be added on top of old insulation, but the amount of insulation required will depend on your location’s climate. Determine which zone you are on this Energy Star map for best effects. Once your attic has been properly insulated, consider working downwards and adding insulation in your walls, around any external piping and electrical penetrations, and in any crawl spaces or basement areas.
Next Step? Upgrade those Windows
The next big priority project for most homeowners will be upgrading their windows. Installing Energy Star double-paned windows can save you as much as 15 percent on your home energy bills. Just as with insulation levels, you’ll want to consult the Energy Star website to determine the most compatible and appropriate products for your region. For best effects, you’ll want to ensure the window’s framing materials includes insulation to prevent heat from escaping around the window’s sides.
Big Ticket Items and Year-Round Improvements
Once your home has been air sealed to its maximum potential, you can now start thinking about installing more efficient home heating and cooling systems and water heating systems. Refer back to your home energy assessment and to the researched energy rebates and loans for your state. These improvements are big ticket items, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy and install all of it at once! Determine which products will make the biggest impact for your household according to your assessment report card, and work up from there.
Throughout the year, you can make small energy improvements by upgrading old inefficient lights with CFL options. Or, for the best impact, choose LED options where available. Fine tuning your home energy savings is a long process, but it one that will ensure that your energy bills consistently go down in tandem with your home’s environmental impact.
At Home Energy Monster, we guide homeowners throughout the home energy assessment process to help find the best financial and equipment options for you. For more information on improving your home’s energy efficiency contact us today!Return to Blog