Save money on home heating costs

  • Nancy Hazard FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 8/19/2020 4:00:40 PM

Do you pay more than $1000-$1500 per year for heating? If yes — renters and owners alike — read on to learn how you can lower your energy bill at no upfront cost to you!

I pay $700 per year for heating a 1,600-square-foot, two-family home. How did I do this?

About 40 years ago when I was a carpenter, I started insulating my home. I used old-fashioned pink fiberglass insulation. Then 20 years ago, I had a blower door test, did “air sealing,” added cellulose insulation (shredded paper) to the attic, and changed my gas heating system to a new modern efficient gas heating system.

Recently, I discovered that my neighbor, who has a carbon copy of my home and has not upgraded her home, has been paying over $5,000 per year for heat. So, in the past 20 years, I have put over $80,000 in my pocket, which more than covers the cost of my upgrades. And my home is so much more comfortable year round.

If I did the work today, instead of 20-40 years ago, my heating bill would be considerably less. I would have cellulose insulation everywhere, have a new efficient electric heating system called an air source heat pump, or mini-split — which not only provides heat, but also air conditioning.

Additionally, I would not be using any fossil fuels. My electricity comes from Greenfield Light & Power via Eversource. GL&P provides 100% renewably produced electricity that does not pollute the air or contribute to global warming and climate change.

Here is how you can do this too, at no upfront cost to you.

■In this era of COVID-19, Mass Save is offering some special deals until the end of September.

■Virtual audits — Mass Save will assess potential savings on the phone. No one will enter your home.

■Free air sealing and insulation, up from the usual 75% off.

■And they continue to offer a 0% interest loan for replacing your heating system and other upgrades. You will immediately see your utility bill go down, usually more than the loan payment, and you will realize more savings in 5-7 years once the loan is paid off.

Offerings are tied to your income, so call today to find out the details! 866-527-7283

Mass Save’s program is not charity. They use money that we pay every month on our electric bills. The program was created so that everyone could upgrade the buildings they live in. Today over 50% of Massachusetts homes have not yet been upgraded. If you live in an upgraded home, please ask your friends and neighbors if they want to reduce their heating bill, and tell them about this program.

Want to do more?

Are you interested in installing solar electricity aka Photovoltaics, solar hot water or purchasing an electric vehicle? Google “Department of Energy and Sustainability, Greenfield, MA” for a comprehensive list with links that they have compiled. You can find out not only about Mass Save, but how you can install solar with $0 down, and your electric utility bill will not increase. I know I sound like a snake oil salesperson, but it is true.

If you’d like help figuring out your next step, assistance is on the way. This fall the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will roll out a program that offers one-stop-shopping for your home. Staff will walk you through available incentives and clean energy options and help you figure out how much you might save over time.

Watch for an announcement of this program, called AARC, which stands for Affordable Access Regional Coordination. The AARC program can help renters, homeowners, landlords, building managers and developers.

I’m excited about this program for a lot of reasons. In this time of COVID and scarce money, this is a great way to save. But also, reducing energy use and shifting to modern efficient electric heat, has many other benefits. In the short term, your home will be more comfortable and new heating systems deliver air conditioning, so you can survive our ever-increasing summer heat. In the longer term, if we use locally produced, zero-carbon electricity, it will help slow down global warming, clean our air, create jobs and improve our economy.

Please contact Mass Save at 866-527-7283 or go to MassSave.com before the end of September, or go to Greenfield’s Department of Energy and Sustainability to learn more. Remember to share this information with your friends and neighbors as well.

Nancy Hazard is the former director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and sits on several city committees. She can be reached at Nancy.Hazard@worldsustain.net.

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