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Sheep Dog Hollow: an eco-friendly renovation

For a more energy-efficient home, ample insulation is key

Want a home that's more energy-efficient and saves money on heat and cooling? Upgrading your insulation is key.

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“To incorporate spay foam in a retrofit, traditionally the roofline can be done, crawl spaces, or any kind of basement perimeters,” says Anchor’s Marek Ropiak. “Walls can also be done, but there can’t be any insulation in them at all.”

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For houses that already have some insulation, but not enough, there are plenty of other options. The Energy Star website lists them, from increasing the amount of fiberglass batts to blowing in extra insulation through the walls.

Simply Insulate also has a handy tool that can help homeowners find the various state incentives that can help pay for an insulation upgrade. I was surprised when Mr. Ropiak mentioned that, at least here in Connecticut, sometimes the incentives and rebates can end up paying for the upgrades.

“There are phenomenal programs for existing homeowners through local electric providers,” he says. “A lot of these programs have been around for years. Now, with the cost of energy, they’re marketing it more significantly.”

The federal government, in a public-private partnership, also hopes to spur more homeowners to insulate with a proposed program that’s been called “Cash for Caulkers.” Its formal title is Home Star. The head of the coalition pushing it recently explained how it could work in a commentary on Forbes.com:

The exact structure of the Home Star program is still being worked out in Congress. The general idea is to provide near-term financial incentives that, in combination with private-sector investment, will stimulate a sharp increase in consumer demand for home energy improvements. The incentives were designed for rapid deployment in all 50 states, with rigorous standards and procedures in place to assure quality workmanship and prevent fraud.

I had heard there was an attempt to get the “Cash for Caulkers” program included in the current proposed jobs bill, but I still haven’t heard back from various sources as to whether that will happen or not.

I’ll let you know in the next blog what I can find out.

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Alexandra Marks blogs twice a week about her green and budget-friendly restoration of a 1902 farmhouse in Connecticut. Click here to find all her blog posts and articles.

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