Are In-Home Clean Energy Assessments the Future of Sustainability?

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By Ken Liebeskind

How can blower door and duct tests increase your home energy efficiency?

These are two of the techniques technicians from the Home Energy Solutions (HES) program utilize to assist Connecticut homeowners in a Clean Energy Communities program sponsored by United Illuminating (UI) and other state energy providers.

The town of North Haven has used a $30,000 grant from UI to offer free home energy assessments to 300 homeowners. Most of the slots have been utilized, but at the time of publishing, around 30 remain.

“The town of North Haven earned a Bright Idea Grant through their commitment to clean energy, and they used it to offer our HES program to the residents who sign up for it,” said Sherri Borelli, UI’s Clean Energy Communities program manager.

“The program offers a comprehensive physical checkup of the home that includes a blower door and duct test, lighting and water saving measures, including the installation of aerators and low flow shower heads, and the installation of LED lighting. The technicians do caulking, sealing and weather stripping.”

North Haven First Selectman Mike Freda paid $99 for a home energy assessment before the UI grant was received. “I wanted to set an example for our residents, and they found energy leaks and drafts in my home they were able to fix,” he said. “They caulked windows, sealed drafts and made recommendations for other energy improvements, including adding insulation in the attic to prevent heat escapes.”

Over the last six years, 1,900 residents (more than 21 percent of the town) have participated in the HES program.

“This has been a mutual effort between the town and our committed residents, and we are elated to have the ability to reward their determination by offering free Home Energy Solutions assessments to further improve their homes and help reduce their energy bills,” Freda said.

Photo courtesy of Energize CT

Photo courtesy of Energize CT

So, how does it work? First, HES technicians conduct blower door tests to identify and seal drafts and air leaks in homes. They also conduct tests to measure and seal air leaks in ductwork systems.

Then, technicians  identify areas in the home that can benefit from additional insulation and install up to 25 LED bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs.

At the conclusion of the home energy assessments, technicians conduct kitchen table wrap-ups with homeowners to discuss the work done in the home and offer recommendations for upgrades, such as adding insulation or replacing appliances.

This hands-on, locally supported clean energy initiative might just be the future of sustainability. The Home Energy Solutions model is powerful—even when it pursues innovation one home at a time.

HES energy assessments are available around the state. For more information visit EnergizeCT.com or call 1-877-WISE-USE.

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