Running the Numbers. Starting the Home Performance with Energy Star program.


Here's a little run down of Content. by the numbers:
Dated: Pre-1900
Floors: 1, plus attic & basement
Rooms: 12
Square Feet: 3,150
Windows: 50 (shout out to my sis Lulu for helping me count)
Exterior Doors: 11
Chimneys: 5
Fireplaces: 10
In a perfect world, these numbers would simply add up to (1) totally awesome house. But it's not a perfect world, and in reality these numbers equate to a huge carbon footprint and high utility bills; to the tune of $3k per winter just to heat it. Yikes!
Luckily, for us though, our families have had their fair share of home heating  experiences over the years. My family forever perfecting our pre Civil War home's radiator / wood burning stove combination, and more recently John's father's great success installing a heat pump for their CT beach house.
But, what's the right answer for our home? There are so many tried and true methods, and lots of new technologies. Opinions can get you far, but look at our numbers. Content. is no ordinary scenario.
So, driven with the fear of having to sell a kidney to heat the house and on a recommendation from our friends The Youngs, we researched the
NJ Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program (HPwES).
The gist of HPwES is certified vendors perform full home energy audits. Measuring drafts in doors and windows, insulation, performance of your heating and cooling systems and water heater; they truly get a sense of your home's efficiency or (in our case) deficiency. Filled with this knowledge, they input their findings into a regulated software, determine the percentage of savings and increased efficiency certain changes would make, and deem you eligible or ineligible for a government grant and financing.
During our audit, Kristin Del Pino, Home Performance Consultant with RSI Heating, Air Conditioning & Mechanical Services unearthed some pretty interesting finds. Most notably, the existing and drastically below standard attic insulation was wet and installed upside down, making it useless. The raccoon living in the attic was also not advisable.
Put into the system, Kristin modeled that even if we took no additional steps, sealing and replacing the attic insulation alone would provide an estimated 25% total energy savings qualifying us for the maximum incentives. Basically, a $5k grant, and up to $10k financing at 0% for 10 years. Yahhh, I get to keep both kidneys!!!
We'll anxiously await RSI's suggested plans of action (we get to review several), but until then, I recommend you check into your own home's efficiency before winter sets in. I hope for your sake you're not starting from scratch like we are, but remember there are tons of reasonable improvements that can make your home more comfortable.
Here in NJ, www.cleanenergy.org has tools and resources, rebates, discounts and even tax credit information you can take advantage of without spending a dime. There's also federal information that residents of any state can look into.
Being "green" and eco- conscience starts with the decisions we make at home, so make sure your biggest asset isn't working against you or the planet.

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