Getting Started with Energy Efficiency in My Home

As some I know I am in the midst of making some energy efficient upgrades on my home. I am finding that the $2500 dollar prize is great, but its only just a start.

To truly realize energy efficient gains I am faced with the choice of spending an additional three to five thousand dollars (and could easily spend more). I could get the blown insulation, but will really see and feel differences with spray foam insulation. Which costs a lot more.

$2500 would let us achieve at least 15% energy savings, but I want (and really need) more savings and a more comfortable home.

As with everything new, there is a learning curve. New experiences, new products bring new things to learn and new questions to ask. There are potential negative and unintended consequences to sealing one area of your house and not the entire unit. One of these unintended consequences is the off gassing from the spray foam insulation. It is something that I never knew about. I never knew you’d ask. I never knew not to ask.

This is a process … of learning, of asking questions, of digesting answers and asking more questions. It’s also one of budgeting.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the exceptional loan program offered by the UVA Credit Union.

To truly make my home much much more energy efficient I believe that I would have to spend realistically between twelve and twenty thousand dollars. If I was going to spend that much, I’d be very tempted to use the UVA Credit Union’s Power Saver Loan:

UVA Community Credit Union is one of only eighteen national, regional and local lenders selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to participate in the new PowerSaver loan program, a two-year pilot program offering low-cost financing for energy-efficient home improvements.

For many consumers, PowerSaver Loans will be less expensive than other kinds of financing for home improvements. This is because FHA is providing mortgage insurance and other incentives to lenders to lower costs for homeowners.

These new PowerSaver loans will offer qualified homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, such as replacement doors and windows, metal or asphalt roofs, HVAC systems, water heaters, insulation, duct sealing, solar panels, ground source heat pump systems and more.

Will we recoup these expenses when we sell? Who knows. I remain skeptical about the federal government’s ability to implement a “MPG for Houses” but I do foresee a time when energy audits will be as commonplace in the home buying process as are regular home inspections (much more on this in a later post).

For now, quantifying green improvements is a challenge, a challenge that is s slowly but surely being defined and solutions attempted.


** Wendy Edwards was kind enough to invite me onto her radio show Saturday morning to talk about our winning the LEAP prize and what improvements we are going to do. If you’re interested, you can listen to the show here.

* Photo courtesy of

(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Mark January 19, 2012 at 17:55

    How much does a home energy audit cost?

    The one thing holding me back is the energy assessment that it’s required to enroll in LEAP and qualify for the loans. There is a $250 rebate off the cost- I’m not sure what the actual cost is, though.

    Seems like a waste of money to pay someone to walk around your house and tell you you need to add insulation and replace your windows.

    Probably a lot of cronyism going on there too.

  2. Pingback: How Much Does this House Cost? (To Run) | |

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *