Can I Afford to Make my House Energy Efficient?

| 8/28/2008 4:11:06 PM

Tags: renewable energy, alternative energy, DSIRE, energy efficient,

We receive a lot of questions from readers about the affordability of renewable energy alternatives, such as solar and wind and other ways to conserve energy such as buying energy efficient appliances or adding insulation. 

They usually want to know if there are state or federal incentives and rebates to help them offset the costs.

There is a wonderful Web site run by the North Carolina Solar Center, The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), which is an overview of state, federal, local and utility incentives, rebates, exemptions and loan programs in each state. Within each state’s sections are links to other offices and Web sites for further information.

If you are just beginning to gather information on the possibility of investing in a renewable energy system or upgrading your home to be more energy efficient, then you will want to spend time reading your state’s information on the DSIRE Web site.

3/16/2009 7:23:03 AM

recently,now day's we are using a solar energy to keep my house warm.this is not only cheap or good for also good for environment that is so needed for our polluted environment. we can also use wind energy for producing energy....

9/24/2008 10:00:09 AM

I have added a blown - in insulation in the attic of my early 1970's home. Should I put up batting between the roof joists as well? Would this keep the attic cooler in the summer? I didn't know if this would hold in humidity (I live in the South). I don't have a ridge vent system, only two large end vents at either end of the house. Thanks!

scott sr
9/9/2008 2:25:03 PM

Hello, I currently heat my home with oil hot air.Am looking for system for solar hot water that could be used with heat exchanger using blower on furnace. I do have very good southern exposure. South side of home is warmer than north side by many degrees. If anyone can provide info will appreciate. I have neighbors looking into wind generation But I would rather go solar. Thanks

scott sr
9/9/2008 2:16:55 PM

I have hot air oil heating at present time.Does anyone know of hot water solar system with heat exchanger to heat air through house furnace blower?

scott kampen
9/8/2008 11:21:59 PM

This is a response for "Penny" regarding wind power on here property. I too am searching for information about wind/solar energy and found a website that has a 3D demo of their wind system. This should give you a good idea of how you can generate wind power for your house. Key thing before investing into wind power is to find out what the average wind speed is in your area. Most systems I have found really do well in 10 miles per hour or more, so if your area is not very winding the return on investment might not be immediately seen. One thing we all should keep in mind is that outside of generating our own power, we should also consider the investment we are making for our environment, so although initially alternative energies are a bit spendy there are more benefits than just a lower utility bill. Check out this site, it helped me understand how wind power could work for me. There are many more manufactureres of wind turbines, so check this video out then do more research. Scott

cindy adams_1
9/7/2008 12:53:04 PM

I have just recently become aware of an Environmental company that manufactures the best technology of it's kind anywhere, and after trying out the air purification technology, I absolutely fell in love and made the decision to become a dealer--to begin promoting such eco-friendly products that solve some of our greatest problems. At first it was pretty much Air, Water, and Food.....but the company has recently added a new Energy Division. The first product in this new division is a great device called PowerwoRx e3. This type of technology has been around awhile for large expensive commercial use, but has never been cost-effective for individual Home use until now. With the rising costs of electricity across the nation, this companies forward thinking has began manufacturing a device that is incredibly easy to install, very cost-effective, quick return on Investment, and is amazingly maintenance-free. While reducing you carbon foot-print up to 20-30% which reflects to that same percentage of savings on your electric bill, you also receive Whole House Protection for your appliances and Electronics. This thing protects your whole house from power surges, spikes, and line noise which is an additional un-figured savings....These power conditioning abilities translate directly into savings in more than one way.... For so much more detailed infomation, please go to my web-site at Most household are seeing a ROI within the first year, and depending on individual household electric usage, the percentage of savings will naturally vary, but you just cannot go wrong with this kind of technology....This device is suppose to last at least 20 years and comes with a 10 year warranty and a home appliance guarantee. Call me with any contact information is on the web-site....

9/5/2008 4:03:05 PM

My husband and I just installed a solar hot water system. Our hot water was previously produced by the oil furnace. What a difference in a few weeks. The furnace doesn't start up all the time to keep reheating the water and I actually have a hot shower in the morning. Although it was not cheap, we estimate that within four years this system will pay itself off, not to mention the rebates we will get this year from both state and federal taxes. It's so exciting to go checkout to see the control panel and see how hot the water is from our solar system. And for backup we connected the element in the tank to the electrical panel. Even my office is installing PV panels to generate electricity on a new building we recently constructed.

9/5/2008 3:47:58 PM

Living in New England we are facing a hefty oil bill this year. So to combat the impact we installed a solar hot water system. The hot water was previously generated by the furnace. No mater what season, that "thing" was always running. Now we can effectively shut off the furnace maybe 5 months or more out of the year. The nice this is that I actually have a hot shower in the morning. Also, the rebates from both state and federal levels will help off-set the initial cost. Even with price of oil currently going down we estimate the system will be paid off in four years. Quicker if the price of oil eventually goes up again. Everyone who has a roof exposed to the sun should do this. But do educate yourself, there are a lot of weekender installers out there.

9/5/2008 2:45:10 PM

We have a few acres (10) mostly wooded but there is a huge yard - large enough for a rather large wind power thing. Now all I've seen for wind power is those huge monstrosities that are outside of Palm Springs, CA. And I recently saw an article showing a small one that was attached to a roof of a house. However the small one only provided 20% of the household needs. What size does one need? And how much do they cost? Is there competition in this field so we can bargain hunt yet? Our heating bill is horrible in the winter and worse is still to come. And last, I really get discombobulated trying to research on the internet, putting in generic/general search terms and coming up with 130,000+ sites. No can do. Please help! :)

9/5/2008 9:34:34 AM

Many of us are on a limited budget and feel overwhelmed with all the ideas. I urge everyone to go to the information sites and look at the ideas. Don't get overwhelmed by all of it. Choose one avenue to take and do that, the savings will start to mount. As you save a little more then choose another avenue and soon, very soon, you will have completed all the simple items and can then concentrate on the next level of savings ideas. This is what we are doing here on the ranch and each year we notice that the furnace runs less and less and still we are pretty darn snug in the winter and cool in the summer. Being on a REA that does not like interconnect, we will see that barrier taken down in a few years and by that time, we hope to have the money saved and also some subsidy to help and then we can install the maximum allowed home system solar power system and help supply a few homes from our unused pasture areas on our small ranch. in the meantime, I managed to snag a few surplus, headed to the junk pile, hot water panels that I will refurbish so we will have solar hot water and maybe a little extra for a hot water baseboard heater or two in the basement.

matt hirschfeld
8/28/2008 4:24:53 PM

I researched a similar topic and was surprised at what's available out there to help homes become more energy efficient.

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