Mark Twain once wrote “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” – which is also unfortunately true for many of us when it comes to the high cost of oil, natural gas, and electricity. Unlike the weather, there are many easy and cost-effective ways we can control our energy bills and make getting through another cold New England winter a lot easier on our budgets – and the environment too!
Waltham has a diverse mix of single and multi-family homes, apartments, and condominiums, with a majority of the housing stock constructed when energy use was not a major consideration. The average single-family home in Waltham consumes between $2,000 and $3,500 per year in energy, which is a big financial burden for many families. Fortunately, we are not simply at the mercy of the oil and utility companies – most of us can save 15 - 25 percent, or more, with easy, low-cost efficiency improvements.
How? Call MassSave at 1-800-632-8300 to schedule a free, no-obligation home energy assessment. MassSave (www.MassSave.com) is a non-profit organization sponsored by the utility companies in Massachusetts, and funded by you, the ratepayer! An energy expert will visit your home and advise you on energy savings opportunities, install free air-sealing measures to cut drafts, and also tell you about generous rebates to weatherize, insulate, and upgrade equipment throughout your home. Free compact fluorescent bulbs are also installed. Renters will need to obtain their landlord’s written permission prior to scheduling a MassSave visit.
For many homes, the most cost-effective energy saving opportunity is quite simple: sealing gaps, cracks and spaces where cold air gets in and creates drafts. If this is the case in your home, MassSave offers free air-sealing improvements by a professional contractor. Making your home less prone to cold drafts makes a big difference in your comfort and heating bills.
Proper insulation of attics, walls, basement piping, and hot air ducts is the next major target for savings. If the energy auditor finds that insulation is needed, you will be eligible to receive a rebate for 75 percent of the project cost, up to $2,000 in assistance. Insulation improvements can save big, usually 10 – 20 percent on heating (and cooling) expenses. If your home needs a lot of insulation work, and you hit the rebate limit of $2,000, no problem! You are eligible for $2,000 annually in insulation rebates, so put part of the project on “to do” list for next year. For example, insulate the attic now, and then do the walls next year to receive 75 percent rebate assistance without “maxing” out.
Selecting a contractor to perform the work is also easy – a list of pre-screened, licensed contractors who adhere to stringent pricing guidelines will be provided by MassSave. You can pick whichever one you like – and some on the list are local Waltham businesses.
A new and even more convenient option through MassSave is provided by Next Step Living (1-866-867-8729). Next Step Living will serve your energy efficiency needs from the FREE initial energy efficiency assessment through installation of air-sealing, insulation and other measures, with no need for you to arrange additional contractors. One call does it all
Don’t let another winter go by talking about the high cost of energy but doing nothing about it. And then, sit back, relax, and enjoy saving energy, money and the planet!