Home Energy Efficiency Improvement/Overview

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The Home Energy Efficiency Improvement project team aims to make it much easier for Needham residents to identify and implement high-value home energy efficiency improvements. We are targeting the key barriers preventing people from taking advantage of opportunities that would reduce their energy use, save money and increase their comfort and the value of their homes.

These barriers include:

  • Inertia - simply getting started
  • Lack of clarity and hard information about which improvements would provide the most value in their homes
  • Having identified a possible need, a bewildering array of information and no roadmap for the most important questions they need to ask
  • Concern and confusion about how to finance and evaluate the return on those improvements

As a general rule, the two large improvements that can produce the highest value for the largest number of existing homes are:

  • Replacing the core of an older heating system (boiler or furnace)
  • Combined air-sealing and insulation of a significant portion of the home

Needham has a housing stock that is particularly well positioned to benefit from these improvements.

  • 2/3 of Needham's single family homes are 50 years old or older
  • 40% of Needham's single family homes are between 40 and 60 years old - many may not have undergone a significant renovation recently, if ever

We will overcome those barriers through a coordinated program that walks residents through three three phases of the process, providing high-quality, actionable information:

  • Energy Audit - determining whether one of these high-value improvements is worthwhile for the homeowner
  • Scoping and Selection - providing an understanding of the options for completing the improvement, what the components are, an estimate of costs and benefits and questions to ask of prospective suppliers
  • Financing - providing an understanding of financing options most appropriate to the homeowner's situation so that it is easier for them to ask for and receive comparable options from financial providers

  • The program will kick off with a pilot seminar early this fall.
  • An ongoing series of seminars, incorporating what we learn from the pilot, will follow
  • Defining and reaching out to specific audiences will enable more personalized information to be delivered and make it easier to reach and attract participants. These might include:
  • By age or home, type of heating fuel, or other characteristics of the homes
For example, older homes heated by oil
  • By defined location, group, or affinity
For example, members of a civic organization or families in an specific elementary school or neighborhood