Many people associate green, energy-efficient homes with higher costs, but that’s changing. New business models, technologies, and high performance materials are bringing green homes within reach of all homeowners.
Free or low cost energy audits are now widely available, and are essential before you invest in higher cost solutions.
Two Happy Efficiency Endings
Karen in Linden Hills had put up with ice dams for years. By getting objective advice from a neutral third party auditor, she was able to identify the problem as a roof insulation problem as opposed to roof structure problem before seeking out contractor bids.
Nancy from Fulton complained of her drafty house and planned to replace all the windows in her 100 year old home. After an energy auditor conducted a blower door test, they discovered the windows did not leak at all – it was her back door and built-in mailbox causing the problems. Nancy figures this saved her at least $20,000.
What You Can Do
Check to see if your neighborhood is eligible for $400 worth of energy auditing for a co-pay of $30 or less through Community Energy Services by local non-profit MN CES; or call for a visit from the Home Energy Squad –a joint effort by Centerpoint and Xcel Energy.
As homeowners become more aware of the benefits of simple, inexpensive retrofits, energy efficiency upgrades are increasingly commonplace.
At around $1 each, Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulbs pay for themselves quickly and LED light bulb prices continue to fall (read our article about CFLs vs. LEDs).
Habitat for Humanity builds affordable LEED and Energy Star-certified homes across the US for as little as $100,000.
Photo credit Powerfully Green
Solar voltaic is especially attractive right now with rebates from Xcel, the Federal government, a made in MN program and even some neighborhoods offering grants for installation. (www.powerfullygreen.com, www.mnrenewables.org)
Stimulus funds may also be available for your project – such as rebates on energy efficiency measures like insulation, windows and doors; and tax credits for renewable energy like geothermal, solar hot water and photovoltaic.
Tell Us What You Think
Leave a comment to share your story about affordable green options or how you made your home more energy efficient.