Residential and commercial buildings consume over 40 percent of the overall energy usage in the United States. These buildings represent a huge opportunity to reduce our nation’s overall energy usage as well as it dependence on foreign sources of energy.
The good news is that often times these buildings can be retrofitted to obtain significant reductions in the amount of energy used. Many times this can be accomplished with a relatively small investment for upgrades. Going forward I am going to talk more specifically of residential housing.
Currently 71 percent of the homes in the US were built before 1990. This is significant in that the majority of these homes were built before stricter building codes were enforced. This means there are usually many areas in the home that can be upgraded to make the home more energy efficient, and as result, more comfortable. Areas that can be improved upon include air sealing, insulation, duct sealing and insulation, windows, doors and HVAC systems.
I know most people are thinking that these improvements can cost a lot of money and they are right. The good news is that the government has policy that is making it more affordable, and quite frankly, a No Brainer. If you live in the Philadelphia area, including Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties there is government subsidized financing available at rates as low as .99 percent. The payment on a 15,000 loan for 10 years is 130.00 per month.
If these retrofits are done properly, the money that is paid for the loan payments is offset by the utility savings realized. In this scenario consumers can upgrade their home, adding value to it, become more comfortable and reduce energy consumption with little or no money out of pocket. This is truly a win/win with no real downside.
The best way to move forward is to get a professional energy audit of your home to find out exactly where your home is losing energy and what improvements make the most sense and will give both the highest return on investment as well solving any comfort issues in your home that you may have.
These funds are time sensitive and are expected to expire in the next 12 to 18 months. Remember, the longer you wait the more energy you will waste and the more money you will lose.