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Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program is back...and it’s better than ever! Home owners can now receive up to $1,500 for weatherization solutions installed to their home (air sealing & insulation), or $1,500 for a combination of weatherization and a supplemental or high efficient replacement heating systems.
Energy audits can be an extremely vital tool in the weatherization process (air sealing, insulation, heat & hot water system upgrades, etc). Many companies offer different audit packages including thorough audit reports, a one page document stating the vital audit information, discounts on weatherization work, or just a simple walk through. If you aren't certain what an energy audit is, if you think you need an audit, or if you're on the fence about scheduling an audit, then we’ll try to answer some of those questions for you.
For a limited time Efficiency Maine is offereing the Residential Direct Install program which basically gifts homeowners $600 off of air sealing solutions. The wonderful aspect about this program is there is NO minimun spending amount needed to qualify. If you receive an energy audit and proceed with at least 6 hours of air sealing solutions, then you get $600 off those weatherization solutions. So spend $600 or $25,000 and get $600 back - courtesy of Efficiency Maine.
Most Mainers are getting used to hearing the phrase 'air seal', and "air seal before you insulate'. What exactly does this mean though? Before insulation can perform as advertised, the area to be insulated needs to be properly air sealed. Our recent job in Hollis, ME had some classic air sealing issues leading to mismanages air flow and devalued insulation.
When air is allowed to move through insulation it effectively devalues that insulation - see photo on right.
Skyscrapers. These massive buildings span skylines, the amount of steel and concrete needed to construct these goliaths is staggering. What if a new, cleaner material was available? A material that generated far fewer carbon emissions to manufacturer than steel and concrete. A material that was renewable and green. What if that material was wood?
Michael Green recently gave a fascinating Ted Talk about building 30+ story buildings, and potentially far higher...with wood! Enjoy.
In December we performed an energy audit on this small, very nice home that really needs some weatherization attention. Recently moved, in less than one year the homeowners had already experienced high heating costs, drafty and inconsistent heating, and bad ice damming issues. With the inefficiencies we found they will also no doubt experience hot temperatures in the 2nd floor bedrooms this summer - all stemming from insufficient R Value (amount of insulation) and air leakage leading to devalued insulation.
This home really has all the classic tell-tale signs, and if they proceed with the recommended course(s) of action, they're looking at energy savings of easily 40% or more. (with an investment of $11-15K and paybacks less than 5 years!)
Of course there will be some nostalgia for the old Crown Vic's once the NYC taxi cab changes take place in 2013. However, this change is long overdue. When I think of taxis, I think of the first cab I saw in Edinburgh, Scotland when I was 19 - as well as not understanding a word the cabbie said and thinking "how is this English?" And of course I think of the NYC streets swarming with Yellow Cabs, and every single one of them is a gas guzzler.
The clients primary concerns for having an Energy Audit and subsequent Weatherization solutions were improving overall energy inefficiencies and seasonal comforts. Like many other home owners, they new their home was insulated with ample amounts of fiberglass batting, they just couldn't understand why there home was hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and why their bills were so high. They even installed a metal roof as they were tired of dealing with ice damming issues.
Most programmable thermostats are big, bulky, and have too many buttons to deal with. Truly figuring out how to use them can require reading the manual...really, a manual for a thermostat? So what makes the Nest thermostat so great? This sleek and easy to use item is actually quite smart and requires a couple days/weeks of focused use, and then you're good to go, because this item learns from you.
Like any other new toy that grasps your interest for a few weeks or months and then ends up in the basement or garage, the Nest thermostat goes a step beyond and actually saves you money, all you have to do is embrace the fact that giving this little item some initial TLC will result in improved heating and cooling maintenance for your home, decreased energy bills, and a smaller carbon footprint.
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