As someone who has devoted much of my professional and personal time to sustainability work, I am excited to share my experience with Energize New Castle and the home energy assessment process.
The need to reduce residential energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in a wholesale fashion first grabbed my attention when I became a member of New Castle’s Sustainability Advisory Board and learned that 52% of our town’s greenhouse gas emissions came from our homes!
At first, this amazed me, but then as I thought about it, it made perfect senswe tend to overheat our homes in winter and overcool them in summer. How much were we losing through insufficient insulation or leaks to the outside? What a waste…and how will we ever become independent from global petroleum supplies if we waste a large percentage of what we use? Now, as Chair of our town’s Sustainability Advisory Board and someone who does sustainability professionally, I felt it was my duty to look into solutions for residents whose homes are losing precious dollars in wasted energy and contributing to global climate change. So I reached out to Energize New York, a program that launched last year in Bedford and is now rolling out in towns across Northern Westchester, to see what I could do for my own home.
I learned that the Energize program has the potential to save Northern Westchester residents $52 million annually if one in three homeowners pursues efficiency upgrades that eliminate energy waste. It didn’t take long for me to agree to participate in the program’s free home energy assessment, becoming one of the one in three that reaps the rewards of a high returning investment. If it saves me money, increases the comfort in my cold and drafty home and improves my community, then I felt, it’s a no-brainer! The home energy assessment was a fun and interesting experience. I worked closely with the Energize New York team and an energy efficiency professional who came into my home to measure where and how much energy my house was leaking. After he conducted the energy assessment of my home, I received a detailed report on my home’s true use of energy. I immediately approached the Energize New York team about next steps. They walked me through the process and remained a trusted source on everything from choosing a contractor, to filling out the paperwork, to even bringing in an energy coach who independently gave me insights on my home and opportunities for energy improvements. With the help of the Energize team and my home energy professional, I was able to make the best possible choices for my home and family.
I decided to complete the recommended energy efficiency upgrades, since it was clear that I was losing money and comfort as a result of the leaks in my home. In the winter my home was so drafty, my family teased me that they didn’t enjoy visiting or had to wear their jackets the entire time! In the summer, my home was very warm on the second floor, making it impossible to evenly and efficiently cool the entire house. The contractors helped me understand these problems could be fixed with relatively few upgrades. Once the upgrades were completed, the contractors calculated a 42 percent reduction in airflow across my home! What was even “cooler” was that I could feel the difference. I walked into my bedroom for the first time since the upgrades and immediately sensed that it was warmer than it had ever been in my recollection.
I am so much happier with my home now that I’m using less energy and know that I’m living more sustainably. I test-drove the process so that I could speak honestly with fellow New Castle residents about the program. Now that I know the difference it can make for my home and for the environment, I’d like to challenge others to follow my lead and look seriously at their own home’s energy use. With programs rolling out in 13 towns across Northern Westchester, I challenge New Castle to take the lead and show others that we care about our community, the globe, and our future together. Go to energizenewcastle.org and sign up for your home energy assessment now!