Weatherize! Take advantage of incentives to make your home more energy efficient. This will lower your carbon emissions and make your home more prepared for extreme temperatures. You can start by having a no-cost energy assessment (if you’ve never had one or you had one more than 3 years ago). HomeWorks Energy, Green Needham’s Mass Save partner, can conduct an assessment — virtually or in-person — and tell you how to take advantage of Mass Save offers of 75% to 100% off insulation, plus no-cost air sealing of leaks in drafty areas of your home. Do you rent? See energy-saving tips for renters, from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance.
Get solar panels, if possible. Many houses in Needham have roofs just waiting for solar. It doesn’t necessarily have to be facing south. Unshaded roofs facing east or west may also be candidates for solar. Consider battery storage with your solar panels to keep your house powered during extreme weather events. Installers can tell you about generous federal and state incentives. Where to start.
Buy green energy. Your city or town may offer green energy through its “community choice” program. (Watch for a discussion coming up about this in Needham.) If not, you can sign up Green Energy Consumers Alliance “Green Powered” program, which offers 2 levels of green power.
Electrify! When it’s time to replace equipment, choose to get off fossil fuel. Mass Save offers generous incentives for air source or geothermal electric heat pumps which heat and cool efficiently. Gas dryers and stoves can be replaced with electric.
Don’t forget a no-cost solution that you can start immediately. After getting your living quarters snug with insulation, air sealing, and efficient equipment, save even more energy by moderating the temperature. For heating season, Eversource suggests a thermostat setting of 68 degrees, with energy-saving setbacks when you are not home or at night. (See special considerations for heat pumps, which may not benefit from setbacks.) In summer, Eversource suggests an AC setting at or near 78 degrees. Ceiling fans are effective in keeping the room comfortable. Opening windows at night and keeping blinds down during the day can often avoid the need for air conditioning. Turning the AC on in May and keeping it on until October misses many opportunities to go without air conditioning.
Time to replace your gasoline-powered car? Make the next one an EV — electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid. Investigate the Green Energy Consumers Alliance “Drive Green” discount program and get answers to your questions about EVs. See also Green Needham’s Driving Green page.
Purchase with the environment in mind. When purchasing electronics and household appliances, get the most efficient products. There are many Energy Star options.
Fly less! Video meetings can replace some business in-person meetings.