50 Shades of Green
What does it take to live a greener/cleaner and more energy efficient lifestyle? Like the complex and multi-layered character Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, living a sustainable day-to-day can be both simple and complex, as well as varying shades between.
For example, the most simple and easy step to take on the road to an energy efficient lifestyle is to have a energy audit done on your home. In many states it is even free with the added bonus of getting such great saving devices as new cfl lightbulbs, low-flow shower heads, and programmable thermostats installed at the same time. To see what is available in your community, check out our rebates page .
If you live in MA, go to www.masssave.com to schedule your audit. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain!!
Once you have your energy audit completed, follow-up on some of the recommended weatherization suggestions. Have your doors, windows and any air leaks sealed. Making sure your thermal shell is tightly sealed is a simple and affordable solution that has a huge impact on your utility bills, as well as dramatically improving your daily comfort. A tightly sealed home helps to keep the cold air out in the Winter and in during the Summer.
Make sure your house is properly insulated. The energy audit will identify areas that may need additional insulation. If you do need additional insulation, take comfort that in many states there are very generous rebate and incentive programs that may even install the insulation for free. That should make you comfortable in your home and pocketbook.
And ask yourself a very important question: how long do you plan to live at your current home? This question will determine additional strategies for energy efficient home projects. If the answer is long-term, it makes sense to invest in some larger upgrades like converting from oil to gas heating (or other heating/cooling options). Now has never been a better time given the high and rising costs of oil and the reduced cost of gas. Again, there are likely to be rebate and interest-free loan programs that make this expensive venture economical from day 1.
Now is a great time to start planning for these projects, starting with the energy audit. Some federal tax credits have expired in 2012 (energy efficient doors and windows for example) so really do your homework before you have any work done. And here’s another tip: heating system maintenance and replacement should be scheduled during the Summer. It’s usually easier to schedule your service provider and you’ll avoid the stress of waiting until you really need the heat!
We can all do so many things to make our homes a more energy efficient environment. By doing so, we reduce our impact on the environment and we save money. So pick your projects for the Summer and let the energy savings begin!