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Friday, May 3, 2013

Want to make your home more energy efficient?

Recently I received some information about a new way to make your home more energy efficient. This is the information sent to me:

"Many homeowners have a room in their house that is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter, have consistently high energy bills, and experience poor indoor air quality due to improper ventilation or leakage. Energy efficiency upgrades can address these issues, boosting home comfort, lowering energy bills, and reducing a home’s environmental footprint. However, many homeowners put off upgrading their home due to concerns about cost, finding a contractor, or uncertainty about how to start the process. Groundswell makes energy efficiency upgrades more affordable and accessible. 

Through the Strong Homes Program, Groundswell galvanizes and bundles communities’ demand for home energy efficiency services. By pooling their collective power and investing in efficiency as a group, homeowners are able to achieve discounts for their upgrades. Groundswell helps connect participating homeowner groups to local contractors that have been vetted for expertise and experience in the field, and for their commitment to social and environmentally conscious business practices.

Maryland homeowners can also benefit from one of the most generous weatherization rebate programs in the county. Every project begins with assessing how a home consumes energy to pinpoint where a house is losing energy – and in Maryland, residents pay $100 for this comprehensive energy audit, which normally costs $495. Following the audit, homeowners receive a professional report that prioritizes a home's efficiency improvements from the greatest to the least cost-effective. Common recommendations for weatherization work include sealing air leaks and adding insulation, fine-tuning heating and cooling systems, and improving duct work. Groundswell reviews audits to address concerns and answer questions. 

In Maryland, homeowners who move forward with efficiency upgrades can get up to $2,000 back from their utility for weatherization, and are eligible for a federal tax credit of 10% of the total project cost, up to $500. While the average total cost for weatherizing a home ranges from $4,000-$6,000, these incentives combine to cover more than half the cost on the project. Groundswell works with homeowners at every step of the process to ensure that it goes smoothly and efficiently."

Interested in joining a group in your neighborhood, or interested in learning more about the program? Contact:

Lindsey Warren-Shriner
Field Organizer, Strong Homes Program, Howard County
T: 301.744.7809
lindsey.warren-shriner@groundswell.org

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