Post by Cheryl Savit, Audio Video Designs, EM NARI PR Committee Member
As our lifestyles shifted with the pandemic – more of us spending time in our homes working, schooling, and quarantining – our energy consumption has shifted as well. Are our homes as energy smart as they can be? How are we advising and helping our clients when it comes to energy? Here are suggestions on ways to be mindful, and lessen the impact on the environment and budgets.
- Household Energy Audits – Massachusetts created the Mass Save program for energy efficiency. They offer free audits for homes and business. https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/energy-assessments/homeowners/
- Go Solar – Solar energy reduces carbon emissions and bi-product pollutants by generating power from a renewable source. Given the popularity of having the option to add solar, make sure you check with a NARI electrician to be sure the house is wired and ready for that addition.
- There are federal and state tax incentives for installing solar panels. There are companies that lease panels as well. Massachusetts has a solar loan program for those who qualify.
- Fix leaks – Whether air or water, leaks waste resources, and pile up the bills. Proper insulation, replacing faulty plumbing, and even keeping windows locked when closed, will aid in energy conservation and lower expenses. Installing new low-flow fixtures conserves water and provides savings.
Energy Efficient HVAC Systems
It is possible to be both comfortable and energy efficient when it comes to choosing heating and cooling solutions in the home. In many of the more complex remodeling projects – particularly with additions or older homes where ducting is a challenge – a ductless min-split is a great option. NARI member Lavallee Systems offers heating, plumbing, and electrical services and has found the demand for these flexible, efficient systems is growing. Jim Lavallee, owner at Lavallee Systems, says “ductless mini-splits allow our techs to create zoned comfort solutions so we can achieve unmatched evenness and comfort, and reduce energy usage by creating multiple zones that are used only when the space is occupied.”
Smart Home Technology
“Using automation for lighting, temperature control, and window coverings is the most cost-effective way to reduce waste, and manage and save energy use in your home. Today’s products sync with circadian rhythms and the astronomical clock for personal and precise customization. For example, lighting apps adjust for the time of day relative to sunrise and sunset over the course of the year, and automated window coverings open and close at the appropriate times each day,” says Brad Smith, President, Audio Video Design.
Integrated control systems like Savant, Control4, Crestron and Elan offer whole house solutions. Some monitor HVAC and detect leaks, automatically turn lights on and off when no one is in the room, and open and close window coverings – saving energy and money.
Even switching to LED lightbulbs and purchasing Energy Smart appliances can produce savings and help the environment. For many homeowners and small business owners, investing in more sophisticated systems and retrofits will provide enough benefit to make the cost worthwhile.