Making Your Home More Comfortable and Affordable

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energyconservation1By: Jess Windham, VHCA Planning Committee

Homes in Virginia-Highland are as diverse as they come, but one thing is the same for everyone – we all receive a power bill. We spend money each month to keep the lights on, keep our homes air conditioned, and operate our appliances and electronic equipment. These days some of us might even plug in our cars for a charge. But how many of us actually feel ‘in control’ of our home energy consumption? It can be daunting to consider all the options. Should you spend a little more for an efficient HVAC unit or instead use those funds to purchase LED’s? Which energy investments yield the greatest ROI?

The first step for any home energy improvement is blissfully simple: hire a certified professional to perform a home energy assessment. The assessment will identify areas where your home is using – and, more importantly, wasting – the most energy. The audit will also provide guidance for what changes might resolve that draft in your living room or lower the spikes in your electric bill during the extreme temperatures of summer and winter.

th-10Finding a professional you trust is made a bit easier by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI certifies contractors and companies to ensure a high level of understanding of how buildings function and how to make homes both comfortable and safe. They have a useful question and answer guide on their website, as well as a listing of certified contractors from which you can choose.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation with assistance from EPA has put together some special guidance for historic homes. That information can be found here.

Last but not least, there are financial resources for improving the energy efficiency of your home. Georgia Power offers rebates for its residential customers. More information on these rebates, including up to $200 toward a home energy assessment, can be found on their website or by calling 877-310-5607.

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