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Cost of Energy Efficiency

Q: I'm planning to build a new home, and would like to make it as energy efficient as possible, but how much more will it cost to implement energy saving strategies?

A: When the topic of energy saving strategies is approached, one of the most commonly asked questions by anyone building a new home is "yes, but how much will it cost?" Energy efficiency expert Doug Rye is fond of emphatically saying: " Energy saving strategies cost you nothing, they make you money!"

As improbable as it may sound, it's actually quite true.

He uses the following example to illustrate his point: A couple wants to build a $150,000, total electric home, using conventional construction methods. The mortgage payments will be $1250 a month plus $200 for electric utilities ($1450 total monthly expenses) If the same house is built using energy saving strategies, it will cost approximately $7000 more up front. This sounds like a lot, but figured into the mortgage, the monthly payment is only $50 more each month. However, since using these strategies can decrease the utility bill as much as $100 per month, total monthly expenses would only be $1400. Now which home sounds more appealing - $1450 a month for a non-efficient home, or $1400 a month for a comfortable, efficient home?

Doug Rye points to three elements that are key to maintaining comfort and saving energy in a new or existing home:

  1. Good insulation is a must- products like cellulose and foam will effectively seal openings easily missed with fiberglass installation.
  2. Caulk is your best friend-use it to fill every gap you can find and
  3. There is no substitute for Low-E glazed windows.


You can get more easy energy saving tips when you attend one of the REMC's New Home & Energy Efficiency Seminars. The information is great for anyone who is buying, remodeling or just wants to improve the performance of his or her current home.


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