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3 Common Barriers to Energy Efficiency, And What to Do About Them

How much of our nation’s energy would you guess single family homes use?

Hint: include businesses in your guesstimate.

It’s somewhere around 20%. And that’s a big chunk.

And, believe it or not, some contractors don’t construct even the most modern homes to be anywhere near energy-efficient. Yes, this does happen on brand new homes.

At the same time, we get that while you’re all about energy-efficiency, sometimes things get in your way.

Here are some of those things, and what you can do about them:

1. Upfront Costs

Yeah, you’d love to have solar panels. But, they cost $20,000 or more to install. That’s the cost of a couple new cars!

Plus, you can’t wait two decades before they start paying for themselves.

You’re all for energy-efficiency. But you gotta be practical too.

You could use a home equity loan. But, fail to pay that, and you lose your home.

One solution could be “on-bill financing” offered by utility companies. Their goal is to finance your energy efficiency improvement so you can afford it.

But, they also want to make sure you get to the point where you’re actually saving money as fast as possible.

They may not help you finance solar panels. But, you may be able to finance smaller projects which pay for themselves quickly.

2. Waiting Too Long Before You Save

We hinted at this one already. And yes, it’s a true pain.

Why install new windows in your home if you won’t save a single dollar until 15 years from now?

And even when you do save, are the savings significant enough to make any huge difference to you?

You might only save a couple hundred bucks a year after 15 years. Is that worth the wait?

One way to reduce this barrier is to take advantage of state and federal tax credits, if available.

The other lies in focusing on projects with quick payback periods.

For example, a smart thermostat pays back for itself in just a few months. LED lights, bought on sale, do the same.

You’ll have to Google the topic for more ideas. But, do be certain energy-efficiency improvements with quick returns exist.

3. No Standard Energy Efficiency Measurement

There’s no one magic number that says: your home operates at 80% efficiency when you could be operating at 95%.

Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s the way it worked?

But, that’s too easy.

Until someone comes up with that, you can actually successfully measure your home’s efficiency.

That comes with a “home energy audit.”

Some utilities offer these for free. Some contractors do these for a charge.

You can also Google “do your own home energy audit” to get a close estimate on your own.

Then, you can learn, project by project, what you can do to optimize your home’s energy efficiency.

It could be a great opportunity to teach your kids too!

Energy efficiency can seem hard or impossible. But, you now have strategies in place to overcome the most difficult barriers.

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