Help at home

Wouldn’t you love general advice to “insulate more” to be replaced by very specific recommendations from someone who has visited your home/business? Cambridge, MA is creating a program to do just that:

University, commercial, and even residential buildings will receive energy audits over the next five years to pinpoint energy inefficiencies. Property owners will then be offered low- or zero-interest loans to undertake remediation efforts ranging from replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents to installing insulated roofs and more efficient heating and cooling systems…The Cambridge organizers said the first phase of their efforts will take five to seven years and will target about half of the 23,000 buildings in the city. The goal in that period is to reduce overall electricity use by 10 percent, and during peak hours — roughly 4 to 7 p.m. daily — by 14 percent, to 300 megawatts from 350 megawatts. The average household in Cambridge uses about 4,500 kilowatt/hours of electricity a year, costing about $800, according to city officials.

Financial help will be provided:

For example, proponents said a typical homeowner who gets a $1,100 loan to add insulation and buy a more efficient air-conditioner could reduce annual energy bills by around $250, meaning the payoff period can be four to five years.

Initially, property owners will be allowed to pocket about one-third of the energy savings from these measures, the consultants said, using the balance to repay their loans. Once the loans are fully repaid, the property owner would reap all future savings.

Biggest changes will occur outside the home:

In Cambridge, officials expect the greatest and quickest savings will come from working with universities and large commercial and industrial properties, which collectively account for 69 percent of the city’s energy consumption. Ultimately, proponents hope that all residential property owners will agree to undertake the recommended improvements.

Talk to your local legislators.

Houses are cosier with insulation.
Insulated houses are cosier.

One Response to “Help at home”

  1. Yes! That too general advice drives me nuts.