BLOG: Save Money, Improve Your Home Value, Help the Environment—a Win-Win

The Small Town Energy Program, funded by the US Department of Energy, hopes to transform the way residents use energy with the help of energy audits and financial incentives.

Take Loretta and Bob Saks, for example. Only the second owners of their house, which was built in 1938, they have lived there for more than 20 years.

“We have lived in our house for long enough to know that we didn’t have any big issues of concern,” said Bob. “But curiosity got to me, and the possibility of having a few bucks, so we attended the STEP [Small Town Energy Program] informational session. Even when we left that evening we didn’t believe that the program had any relevance for us.”

Within a few days, and after giving it some further thought, Bob and Loretta said "what the heck" to the $100 investment and requested an energy evaluation with one of the Pepco participating contractors.

“It was thorough and the blower door test showed that we had a significant amount of air leakage,” said Bob. “The initial evaluation found that the bulk of our issues were in the attic. It was poorly insulated, but because it was such a limited amount of space, we were skeptical that they were identifying the underlying problem.”

Following a second evaluation that also identified significant leakage, Bob and Loretta figured they really did have an issue, but also wanted to make sure they were taking the best approach to avoid overspending.

“The second vendor determined that our biggest area of concern wasn’t necessarily the attic, although he said there was a need for insulating the attic,” said Bob. “The more immediate concern was in the family room, an area we used regularly, which sits above the garage. We always felt like this room was drafty and not terribly comfortable, but now we had more evidence of a problem.”

“Once we had a reasonable estimate and a good idea of what was needed, we agreed to the project. And we are so pleased we did,” said Bob. “We have seen an improvement in comfort, have already noticed a difference in our utility bills and we are completely satisfied.

"When we talk to our friends about our experience we tell them they might be surprised by the findings…that their home may not be as ‘tight’ as they think. But also, that the expense doesn’t have to be a sticking point, necessarily. Fortunately for us we had the experience and knowledge of Suzanne and the program, but we also have seen that ignoring the issues for so long made us ignorant to the problems. Just like in life, it’s better to be informed," Bob said.

See how much the Saks family saved and find other examples at http://smalltownenergy.org/residents.

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