Tips and Tricks #2
Hopefully if you are an home owner you have already heard of masssave.org. If not, this is a great resource for cutting your energy usage dramatically. Our family participated in the program by having an energy audit and subequently we insulated our building with blown-in insulation, converted to a tankless hot-water system and have started using LED lighting.
About the LED lighting, it’s hard being an “early adopter” of new technology. I purchased two LED interior flood lights for my home office and they seem to work pretty well. So I bought a bunch more, but a different brand. Now my kitchen has that eerily bright light that makes everything sparkle like a jewelry store in the mall. Not exactly the warm, homey glow I was looking for.
But all-in-all our minor upgrades have been a great investment. Here are the stats:
- We live in a 2nd floor 1000 sq foot condo in the ubiquitous triple decker (or three-decker if you prefer) and have a relatively new condensing gas furnace that heats via forced hot air.
- We replaced our hot water heater with a Rheem Pronto tankless system that direct vents for about $1300 less a $350 rebate.
- We insulated the exterior walls with blown-in insulation. Cost after Mass Saves rebates, $700 to the whole association.
- We insulated our ceiling and stairwell cavities with blown-in insulation. This was mostly a sound thing but we have seen an large improvement in our heating costs too. That was pricey because there was no rebate offered. $3200.
- So our expenses were about $4500 if you include our light bulb experiments.
Lately our electric bill has hovered around $80/mo. and our gas bill (we do the level billing) has been $26/mo. Before all the upgrades we were paying about $175-$200/mo for energy costs.
As energy prices rise, you will start seeing more and more new construction and gut renovations marketing themselves as energy efficient. And they are, but keep in mind you may be able to affordably convert an older home to offer similar cost savings without paying the premium that those properties are selling for.