Efficiency First–A Vermont View

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There was an interesting piece in today’s Burlington Free Press about the value of energy-efficiency and the good economics of starting with efficiency rather than with renewables.  This is the same mantra we’ve been repeating at GreenHomes, the conclusion reached in this year’s McKinsey Group report, and that a group of contractors and other members of Efficiency First was repeating to House and Senate members last week in Washington, DC.  [While you’re hitting the Free Press, check out a Q&A with Bill McKibben.]

Quoting the article:

Here are three options to substantially reduce heating cost and energy use, assuming current fuel prices:

 • Solar electric panel at a total cost of $185,000 with a homeowner cost of $74,000 and a taxpayer cost of $111,000. This amounts to $2,700 in savings a year.

• Geothermal heat pump at a total cost of $80,000 with a homeowner cost of $56,000 and a taxpayer cost of $24,000. This amounts to $1,670 in savings a year.

• 80 percent reduction in energy use through efficiency at a total cost of $55,000 with homeowner cost of $53,000 with taxpayer cost of $2,000. This amounts to $2,200 in savings a year.

Hmmm…that third option sounds better for the homeowner, the taxpayer, and the utility.
And speaking of Vermont, Vermont Congressman Peter Welch spoke to that above-mentioned group of contractors Wednesday night at Union Station in DC.  Congressman Welch has taken a strong leadership position on energy policy.   He was quoted from earlier remarks several times through the week.  “We should have the policy of efficiency first.”  Yes we should!

Thanks,
Mike

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4 Responses to “Efficiency First–A Vermont View”

  1. Nick andrews Says:

    I would love to put solar panels on my house but the up front cost of about $40,000 stops me from doing it. I hope in the future the solar companies can create a wide variety of finance packages which can help the low and middle income homeowners lower or cut out the upfront cost. Doing this would create more customers and more jobs. A win win for both the solar companies and the consumer.

  2. greenhomesamerica Says:

    The high up front of solar points to the need for energy-efficiency first. The more you reduce your “load” (your need for energy), the small solar system you’ll need when you decide to get one. And smaller means less costly!
    Thanks,
    Mike

  3. greenhomesamerica Says:

    An earlier quote from Peter Welch: “Investing in energy efficiency is a practical, commonsense strategy to create jobs, save on energy costs and do our part to fight climate change. Families and business owners want to save energy and money. This program [REEP] will give them the resources they need to invest in their homes, businesses and future.”

    Practical, common sense, jobs…yes, yes, yes.

  4. Speaking of natural gas, the fracking debate heats up. Where is efficiency is the conversation? « GreenHomes America Says:

    […] in homes.  But it’s time a lot more people got on board with the common sense approach of energy efficiency first.  As we make reduce our energy needs, solivng the energy problem gets a lot […]

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