The general public isn’t yet awake to energy saving possibilities for the home. When the public does wake up, the government subsidies will cut its whoppingly big subsidies. That was the message of Princeton Air’s Scott Needham at the Princeton Chamber breakfast on September 23 at the Nassau Club. “They are trying to compel people to take action and change the market. The current subsidies are approved only through December 31. So decide whether you are going to do something and do it soon – or decide to do nothing.”
One of his case studies: Homeowners added 50 percent more space but were able to reduce the heating plant by 60 percent and reduce their bill by 60 percent.
Here’s how it works: Get a Building Performance Institute certified contractor to do a $125 Comprehensive Home Assessment, refundable when the work is done. If your projects effect at least a 25 percent heat energy savings, you will get 50 percent of the cost back as a rebate check, up to $10,000. That’s in addition to $1,500 in federal tax credits and $1,000 in free air sealing paid for by the NJ Clean Energy Program.
Needham’s test used to cost much more than $125 but he reduced the cost to meet state requirements. His upscale test both an infrared tester and a blower door to create a vacuum and chart the leaks more accurately than the infrared equipment alone.
Among his favorite remedies: replacing fiberglass with cellulose (newspapers shredded and infused with fire-retardant boric acid), which is also excellent for noise reduction. And sealing the basement where the sill plate hits the rim joist to prevent cold air from infiltrating and moving through the house, which also helps in the summer to keep the cold air in. Plus, of course, sealing those leaky ducts.
Get the low tech stuff done first, he advises. Of course if you decide to replace your furnace or hot water heater with a more efficient model, he won’t object and that’s where you might qualify for the subsidies. You might even choose to install solar panels to heat your water.
Other ways to get on the sustainable energy bandwagon: Attend one of the two conferences in October. On Friday, October 16, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School is a Policy Research Institute conference: Where Are We Growing? Planning for New Jersey’s Next 20 Years” featuring a host of eminent speakers. Register
The very next day Sustainable Princeton partners with We Are BOOST (Building Open Opportunity Structures Together) on a conference “Filtering the Green Noise: A Symposium, Part 1: on Saturday, October 17, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Center at 45 North Stockton Street Princeton. Though admission is free, RSVPs are encouraged. Call 206-202-2883 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.