Making your home more energy-efficient

October 7, 2011
By

A Boston city program, a Massachusetts state program and several utility company programs want to make your house cool—or warm, depending on the weather.

In an effort to improve efficiency in heating and electricity systems, utility companies and the city program Renew Boston are providing free services to Boston residents. The services range from quick online surveys to identify the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency, to providing in-home energy assessments, to paying for major improvements like wall insulation.

“We’re helping people find the right program,” Jacob Glickel, Renew Boston spokesperson told the Gazette.

Renew Boston coordinates with state program Mass Save and utility companies to get the best—and cheapest—result for Boston residents.

All these programs and sponsors want one thing: to make Boston residents’ homes more energy efficient—and they will pay for many of the improvements.

“Renew Boston is using federal funds from the stimulus package to gap-fill” the small percentage Mass Save doesn’t cover on behalf of residents, Glickel said.

That means even big projects like wall insulation installation, which can cost upward of $2,000, can be done at no charge for the income-qualified owner or renter.

Renew Boston has started branching out into solar power, too. Its first Solar 101 Workshop was held last month for people interested in the latest technologies and how government incentives can cover many of the costs. The pilot program was announced in JP in June.

Solar is not for everyone, though.

“Even if you have the financing, and the dream of putting in solar, it’s not the best for everyone,” Glickel said. “You have to have the right location. A lot of calculations are assumed.”

“You want to make sure you reduce energy use before you consider renewable energy,” Glickel said.

Renew Boston is a supplement to the Mass Save program, which provides income-based qualified residential customers—owners and renters—with free home energy assessments and efficiency upgrades including insulation, air sealing, water-saving devices and high-efficiency light bulbs.

A two-person household, for example, can earn up to $80,426 to qualify. A four-person household can earn up to $118,274.

Gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including National Grid, NSTAR and others, sponsor the Mass Save program. The program provides services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.

For more information on Renew Boston, visit renewboston.org or call 617-635-7283. For MassSave, visit masssave.com.

 

 

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