Efficiency First weighs in on a controversial study
National home performance association Efficiency First has weighed in on last month’s controversial claim by researchers at the E2e Project that the costs of residential energy efficiency upgrades outweigh their energy benefits.
The researchers based their conclusions on a study of more than 30,000 Michigan households enrolled in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which funds the full cost of energy efficiency and safety upgrades for low-income households. They found that while efficiency improvements did reduce overall energy use, those realized savings were only 40% of the average predicted savings and that “when measured by the energy savings and emissions benefits, these efficiency upgrades were not a good investment.”
Homeowners who make certain energy-efficient improvements, including air sealing and insulation, may get a federal tax credit for 10% of cost of those improvements – up to $500.
The 25C Energy Efficiency Tax Credit is part of a proposed tax extender bill that the Senate Finance Committee began working on last week. Tax extenders are a handy way to offer relief to families, individuals, and small businesses without overhauling the entire tax code, and in recent years, Congress has passed tax extender bills retroactively. That means the credits were passed in December or January, rewarding taxpayers for past decisions but doing nothing to incentivize those decisions going forward.
At Evergreen, we use the best insulation product for the job. In attics and sidewalls, that's usually cellulose. In basements, it's often spray foam - a product some homeowners have questions about.
We don't always use spray foam insulation, but when we do, we insist on these best practices:
Maine is among the 10 most “energy expensive” states in the country, according to finance website WalletHub.com. The site compared monthly energy expenses in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and examined the consumption rates and prices of four energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.
Maine’s total monthly energy cost per household is $341, with almost 32% of that going to heating oil.Mainers spend a higher percentage of their energy dollars on heating oil than residents of any other state, despite having the ninth most affordable home heating oil prices.
Though the Legislature is still wrestling with Governor LePage about the fate of much of this session’s proposed legislation (including the 19 bills LePage attempted to pocket veto this week), the fate of Efficiency Maine funding is secure.
Education is big part of the work we do at Evergreen - and of the work our friends do at ReVision Energy. See, no one starts out understanding R-value or air sealing or photovoltaics. Years of training and hands-on experience has made us all a bunch of building science geeks and we're ridculously eager to share what we know. After all, the only reason we know this stuff is because someone taught us.
At Evergreen, we pride ourselves in good communication and customer service. This month, we're focusing on the connection between those goals and another top priority: workplace safety.
General Manager Brian Schortz and three of our Production Managers – Nate Spectre, Michael Bunker, and Byran Pringle - are attending a Specialty Certificate Program in Leadership. The four day course, sponsored by MEMIC, is designed to help organizations fully integrate workplace safety and business goals by supporting the leadership skills of managers and supervisors.
Evergreen has an excellent record of keeping crew members safe as they install insulation and other efficiency upgrades, but working in unfinished spaces like basements and attics demands constant attention. "This is a great opportunity to review of my own strengths and weaknesses,” said Production Manager Bryan Pringle, "and to nudge my leadership style along.”
The simple fix to a clerical error that could cut Maine’s energy-efficiency funding by $38 million dollars was overwhelmingly approved by the Maine House of Representatives and is awaiting hearing in the Senate.
LD 1215, proposed by Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport), corrects a one-word typo in the 2013 energy bill that set Efficiency Maine funding levels. There has been broad bipartisan support for simply restoring the missing “and,” and Gideon’s bill sailed through the House with a 138-1 vote on May 6.
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