Success Story on Home Energy Efficiency

The Energize Missouri Homes program, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, was introduced last year to offer significant financial incentives to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  This included energy audits, insulation and air sealing, and heating and cooling upgrades.  These improvements save you money on your utility bill and enhance the comfort of your home.

We had an energy audit done, which included an analysis of our HVAC equipment, the insulation and how well our home’s exterior was sealed against air leaks.  By upgrading our attic insulation and our 50-year-old boiler and 12 year-old air conditioner, our overall energy costs would be reduced by over 25%, so we were eligible for the program.  Our initial application in December 2010 was wait-listed due to the high volume of responses, but we received an approval to proceed in August and were awarded a $7,500 rebate to help pay for the three improvements.

We had our attic insulation upgraded to R49, which is a total of about 16 inches of blown-in cellulose that largely covered our air conditioning supply lines.  They also installed foam board boxes caps around the recessed lights in the house to minimize drafts through the light fixtures.  We installed a high-efficiency (16 SEER) air conditioner and heat pump along with the dual-purpose boiler/tankless hot water heater that I wrote about in my November Going Green column.  While these are the most expensive appliances in our home, they also use the most energy and thus offer the greatest opportunity for energy savings.

The total, including the audit, came to just over $11,000, factoring in about $1,200 in rebates from Ameren and Laclede Gas.  Plus, we are eligible for a $500 tax credit when we file next year, so our net cost will be only about $3,000.  This should save about $600 on our utility bills next year, and get more and more valuable as energy costs continue to climb.

While this program is no longer available (I’d love to hear from those of you who were able to use it!) the payback is still there, particularly given the rising costs of energy.  The St. Louis County SAVES program offers low-interest financing of home energy efficiency projects, which can be spread out over up to 10 years.  This program lists pre-approved contractors that you can work with, and can handle the necessary paperwork.  This financing was essential for us, since it’s likely that we won’t receive our Energize Missouri Homes rebate for months.

If you haven’t already done so, get an energy audit done on your home and see what you can do to save energy and money!

This was published in the Going Green section of the December 2011 issue of Spirit Seeker magazine.

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