For those of you who have followed my quest for sustainable heat this winter, don’t despair that I have given up. Not only am I still working on it but I am making very good, if slow, progress. Just to update you, in the first installment I discussed my terror at my estimated oil bill, and in my second, my sense of overwhelm but with an inspiring tip.
I want to tell you about the audit results I just pulled up within about 10 minutes using the U.S. Department of Energy’s cool DIY energy audit tool, but first know that I haven’t given up my quest to get off my oil burner this winter. Am I ever learning the value of second opinions! I’ve had some expensive recommendations from professional heating and cooling contractors that would fail to meet my heating needs once installed. All those I have consulted with conclude that putting in geothermal would cost about $50k in my pre-existing home. I’d have to live here for a very long time to have that pay off. But what is exciting is that I am hot on the trail of cold weather heat pumps that would heat my house down to 20 below zero and cool it in the summer. More in a week or two about that.
Back to the Home Energy Saver audit tool. I am paying attention to the results whatever my sustainable solution is because with a few steps the tool notes that I’ll save $2,613 a year and my payback after 10 years will be $25,240. While I am not going to spend the money for some of their upgrade suggestions, you can bet I am going to install an Energy-Star labeled programmable thermostat with a 312 percent return on my investment of $70, and hire an expert to plug air leakage (in a non-toxic way) for an estimated $400 and a 238 percent return on my investment. The third highest return on my investment is to switch to CFLs in high-use fixtures for an estimated cost of $96 and a 115 percent return on my investment.
Find out what will be your best energy-saving investment!