Energy makes up a substantial part of most people’s budget. We use energy almost every hour of every day to fuel for cars, to heat and light our homes and workplaces and to run appliances. Until recently, most of us took this energy use for granted.

In this era of climate change and fluctuating energy costs, saving energy is becoming increasingly important. There are many different ways to reduce energy usage and associated costs.

Home heating, lighting and appliance use is one area in which people can reduce energy usage and cost. To reduce loss of energy from our homes, we can improve home insulation and install more efficient lighting. (More on this in future web updates and workshops). We can reduce the cost of energy coming into our homes by installing more efficient heating systems, or even better, installing a solar energy system.

Solar energy

One way to reduce energy costs is to install roof-top solar panels. Solar panels use sunlight, a renewable, less polluting, less costly source of energy. After the initial installation, they help to lower electricity bills. Improved financing has made them more affordable. Installing solar electric panels requires professionals. For more information, contact Solarize Hudson Valley, RUPCO or NY-Sun.

We will hold a workshop on solar energy early in 2016.

Financing  

Two financing methods are available, purchase or lease.

Purchasing

There are tax breaks from both the federal and state governments along with other incentives when purchasing solar. Additionally, under state rules, the value of the installation is not subject to property tax.

Leasing  

This is a lower cost alternative, although it provides lower incentives.

For more information see below.:

Who to contact for solar installation

NYSERDA lists contractors in our area that meet a stringent set of standards, including training and insurance. There are also many certified by NABCEP, The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners,including one in the Town of Olive.  Factors to be considered include: structural integrity, projected lifespan of the roof, and the  current electrical system.

A pre-installation inspection and report is mandated.

Overall Guide to Energy Saving and Renewables:

Start with an energy assessment.  Conduct a do-it-your assessment before calling in the professionals.

Reduce energy waste on existing buildings by using the longer lasting energy-efficient LED or fluorescent bulbs and sealing around windows and electrical plates.

The most thorough option is an energy audit, which is free for most homeowners.

More information is available from RUPCO.

For more on do-it-yourself energy saving techniques, go to the U.S. Department of Energy website, www.energy.gov.

 

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