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- Home Energy Efficiency
Home Energy Efficiency
Here you will find a step-by-step guide of information about different energy efficiency and cost saving solutions for your home. Also provided is the most up to date rebate programs for energy efficiency projects. For additional information on all of these topics, please visit Efficiency Maine.
First Stop: Home Energy Assessment
Before you start your energy efficiency journey, we recommend you start with a home energy assessment. Home energy assessments will provide you with a workplan of projects that will greatly improve the energy efficiency of your home. Typically, home energy assessments, or energy audits, are around $500 in the greater Bangor area and Efficiency Maine currently has a rebate of up to $400. So your out of pocket cost for an energy assessment is around $100 and typically includes a couple of hours of air sealing!
Next Up: Insulation
It is important to have your home well insulated before you invest in appliances like heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, etc. otherwise those applicance will not be as efficient. The home energy assessment (step one) will identify areas where insulation will be needed. Efficiency Maine recommends that the entire building envelope be insulated: attics, cathedral ceilings, all wall cavities, rim joists, basement walls, and crawl spaces. There are insulation rebates available for up to 80% of project cost up to a $8,000 depending on eligibility.
Air Sealing: Air sealing is a form of insulation that reduces drafts and heat loss by eliminating air leaks in a building around windows, chimney, plumbing penetrations, recessed lights, trim, etc. Companies typically perform a blower door test where they can detect air leak areas with a heat sensor gun and then seal the areas that contribute drafts.
Attic Insulation: The Department of Energy recommends attic insulation of a minimum R-value (a measure of resistance to transferring heat) of 49, however the majority of Maine houses have only R13.
Windows: Windows can be a major heat sink. Window inserts can be a great low cost way to provide additional insulating factors to your windows provided by WindowDressers. Low income residents can benefit from this program with up to 10 free window inserts.
Little things that can make a big difference!
Switching out your lights to LEDs: LEDs have the cheapest annual cost and are 83% more efficient than incandescent! You can find discounted LEDs here!
Updating your thermostat from a dial thermostat: Dial thermostats are the least efficient. You can upgrade to a simple digital one for less than $30, explore a programmable one, or you can invest in a smart thermostat. Either way, thermostates control most of the home's energy bill and should be upgraded for greater efficiency.
Weatherproofing: Being diligent about replacing your weatherstripping on your doors and windows to seal out air leaks is important. Over time, weatherstripping wears down and becomes less efficient. It is recommended that weatherstripping be replaced every few years.
And then, Cleaner Energy Options!
PassiveHaus and Building Science
Check out the local PassiveHaus being built in Orono! Visit Renovate 207 for more details on the house and building science events.