A few months ago we had an energy audit performed by Next Step Living courtesy of the Mass Save Home Energy Services program. They identified several areas where we could improve including adding an addition layer of insulation in our lower attic and sealing the airgaps at the top cap of our interior walls. They even installed a low flow shower head at no cost at the completion of the free audit. The quote for the work to improve our insullation layer came in at a cost of $1,219 but the cost to us was roughly $305 due to subsidization by the state for this program. Needless to say, the Mass Save program was an incredible deal and provided significantly more value per dollar than working with our previous contractor, who – two years previously – added cellulose insulation in the upper attic and into the walls at a cost of nearly $6,000. The Next Step Living contractors identified and repaired the shoddy work performed by that previous contractor in the upper attic where they had not dammed the air conditioning unit and had blocked the exterior vents in the attic with the insulation they had blown in over the existing decayed insulation.
We also considered the free installation of solar panels offered by Next Step Living through their relationship with SunRun – however the penalties for exiting the contract at 10 years amounted to roughly 40% of the cost of an outright purchase of the equipment (roughly $25,000 after tax credits and rebates – $2000 through Mass Save) – and those early termination fees would not be applied toward a purchase of the equipment already installed on the house.
We’re also looking into ways to decrease our electricity consumption, which is somewhat out of control with 3 kids in the house that have a hard time turning off lights when they leave a room or finish traversing a hallway. We have CFL bulbs in many of our fixtures, but they contain mercury and frankly are not as efficient as LED based lighting. Massachusetts utility customer can purchase LED lighting at a discount at estarlights.com courtesy of the relationship established by the Mass Save program
The Next Step Living contractors also provided us with quite a bit of collateral including an energy savers guide with some good information that is replicated out on EnergySavers.gov in a PDF format.