Let’s face it – most of us have been spending a lot more time at home since COVID-19 disrupted our lives back in March. Whether you’re working from home, distance learning, quarantining, or just trying to lay low until things get a little more “normal”, you’ve likely gotten to know your home more intimately over the past few months. With that, comes noticing all of your home’s little imperfections and discomforts. The good news is that there are an assortment of energy-efficient upgrades that can not only make your home more comfortable to live in, but can help you save money as well.
A good place to start is with a free virtual home energy assessment. Mass Save® is currently offering this free service to Massachusetts homeowners, while National Grid is offering a similar option to RI homeowners. National Grid also offers Rhode Island residents a quick Online Home Energy Assessment as well. These energy assessments can help you understand which energy efficiency upgrades could save you money.
Let’s take a look at some improvements you might consider after a home energy assessment:
1. Installing cooling equipment. A central air conditioning system is probably one of the most effective and efficient ways to keep temperatures from climbing inside your home. Another cooling option to consider is a heat pump which uses electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, thus helping to cool a home in the summer and heat it in the winter. The good news is that if you’re a resident of Massachusetts, you may be eligible for an interest-free loan to help install these types of energy-efficient cooling upgrades through the Mass Save® HEAT Loan program. There are also rebates available to Rhode Island homeowners who are considering home cooling improvements.
2. Replacing your windows. Old, drafty windows let hot air into your home, and rising temperatures and humidity levels make your air conditioning system work harder. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that heat transferring through windows accounts for up to 30% of residential cooling bills. By replacing your old windows with energy efficient ones, you can help make your home a more comfortable place to live and reduce your energy bill in the process. Residents of Massachusetts may even qualify for no-interest financing to install ENERGY STAR® replacement windows through the Mass Save HEAT Loan program.
3. Insulating your attic. Not only will sufficient attic insulation protect you from heat escaping during the winter, but it can help keep your home cool in the summer as well by preventing hot air from getting in. The bulk of home heat transfer occurs through the roof, so it’s a good idea to ensure your attic is properly insulated. Residents of both Massachusetts and Rhode Island could be eligible for interest-free loans for insulation upgrades via the Mass Save HEAT Loan program and National Grid’s 0% Financing Program.
4. Installing solar panels. Solar panels are another way to help reduce your home’s energy bills, and some studies have even shown that they can help to shade and insulate your home by blocking the sun from hitting your roof and preventing heat from entering your home. Massachusetts homeowners who are interested in going solar may be eligible for financing through the Mass Solar Loan Program.
5. Replacing your heating system. If you have an old heating system, replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model could help improve your home’s comfortability and reduce your utility bills. Installing a more efficient system could also potentially qualify you for rebates in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. MA and RI homeowners may be eligible for interest-free financing to cover the cost of approved heating system upgrades as well.
Not only will an energy efficient home be more comfortable in the summer and winter months, but it can have a positive impact on your wallet and the environment as well. It can also make your home more attractive to buyers when you’re looking to sell it down the road. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you improve your home’s energy efficiency. Visit our Energy Efficiency Loans page for more information on scheduling a virtual home energy assessment and detailed instructions on applying for no-interest financing for eligible home energy upgrades.