Ask Eartha: Energy efficiency could be cheaper than you think

 In Ask Eartha

Dear Eartha,

With spring rolling in, I’m getting ready to dive into some projects around the house. I’ve always been interested in making my 30-year-old home more energy efficient and comfortable. What home-improvement projects should I consider adding to my list this summer and where should I start?

-Thomas, Summit Cove

Energy efficiency assessments include thermal viewAlthough this winter seemed to be milder than most in Summit County, we all know this won’t always be the case. With the weather warming up, there’s no better time for us to get the ball rolling on some projects around the house. You’ll be glad you added an energy-efficient improvement to your list of projects this summer when the cold rolls back in next winter.

The High Country Conservation Center offers a great place to begin your journey toward a more energy-efficient home. It can be a daunting task determining which projects to prioritize at your home. Of course, you’d like to maximize your dollar to yield the greatest energy savings. Through our home energy assessment program, have a highly trained energy assessor spend several hours in your home identifying which projects will save you the most in ongoing costs. In celebration of Earth Day later this month, HC3 is offering a limited number of half-priced energy assessments for the entire month of April, now starting at just $49 for homes up to 2,500 square feet.

For $49 you’ll receive a detailed report prioritizing improvements specific to your home, as well as a thorough inspection of your crawlspace and attic. If you’ve been fearing venturing into the catacombs of your home, now’s the time to send someone down that rabbit hole for you! Additionally, our assessors will perform a health and safety check on your appliances as well as a full infrared scan of your home to identify drafts and insulation issues. If all of this isn’t enough to pick up the phone, all participants will also receive free LED lighting upgrades, and other energy-saving products at no additional cost.

While improving the energy efficiency of your Summit County home may be a primary focus, its certainly not the only reason to contact HC3 before your projects commence. The goal with improving the energy efficiency at your home is to address a number of building concerns. When we make weatherization improvements to a property, it often yields results beyond lower energy costs. We are creating a healthier home, a more durable home and a home that is more comfortable to live in. We’re doing a comprehensive inspection to help ensure we identify opportunities to help your home last longer, require less ongoing maintenance and, of course, cost less to own.

After completing an energy assessment of your property, you’ll likely gain an entirely new understanding of how your home performs. You’ll realize there are several projects that sit higher on the priority list than expensive window or furnace replacements. Thanks to the infrared imaging and pressure testing performed during the energy assessment, you’ll realize your money is literally disappearing through small gaps, cracks and air-leaks hidden throughout your home. And at this point you’ll realize that most of these recommended improvement projects are within financial reach, especially with help from HC3’s supply of rebate funds. For any improvement project recommended in your report, HC3 will cover half the cost of the project up to $400.

HC3 also offers a limited number of no-cost energy assessments every year. A free energy assessment is available to any Summit County property owner or renter whom earns up to 80 percent of the area median income, a level that is ideal for our local working class. The best news is, upon receiving a complimentary energy assessment at your property, HC3 will facilitate several improvement projects at your home at no additional cost to you. These projects include new insulation, sealing up drafts and air-leaks around your home, and even new energy-efficient refrigerators. If you’re truly looking for the most cost-effective way to make your home more efficient and comfortable to live in, this is the place to start.

For more energy saving tips, and to learn more about our energy-efficiency programs, give us a call or visit us at HighCountryConservation.org.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at info@highcountryconservation.org.

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