In this column, staff at the Center for EcoTechnology offer advice on easy ways for people — and businesses — to introduce green changes in their daily lives.
Q: I've signed up for a home energy assessment. Now what?
A: Excellent! A no-cost home energy assessment (HEA) through the Mass Save program is a great way to save energy and money.
Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts' gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including The Berkshire Gas Co., Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Cape Light Compact, Eversource, National Grid, Liberty Utilities and Unitil.
A home energy assessment involves a Mass Save energy specialist coming to your home to examine your home's current energy use and developing an audit report that provides recommendations for energy-efficiency measures that you can implement through the Mass Save program, including applicable incentives.
It also includes the installation of instant-savings measures including energy-efficient light bulbs, programmable thermostats and water-saving devices for your faucets and shower heads, as needed — and all at no cost.
Before your energy specialist arrives, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to make sure you get the best, most accurate assessment possible:
• Gather your bill history. Upon arrival, your energy specialist will assess this information to get a quick idea of how much energy is being consumed each month.
• Move storage. Clear the way for access to all attic and basement spaces. This allows for the energy specialist to assess those tucked-away places in your home, which may be the source of leaky spots or low insulation levels.
• Write down your areas of concern. Is there a room that's especially cold? A drafty spot on your second floor? Inquiries about the condition of your hot water heater and heating system? Ask your energy specialist to check it out and share feedback on possible solutions.
• Make sure you have fuel. If it's the summer, your oil tank may be out from the previous winter. As part of the home energy assessment, the specialist will test your combustion appliances. Passing results are required for proposed air-sealing and insulation work to receive the Mass Save program's incentives.
Make sure you have fuel so the tests can be completed on the day of your assessment.
• Ask questions. The specialist can offer insight for customers about what's going on and how it effects the conditions of their homes.
• Corral your pets. Restrain your pets while the energy specialist is in your home.
• Make time for the full two hours. Home energy assessments are scheduled for two hours. Allow a half-hour window for your energy specialist to arrive at your home.
Stay tuned for more about what to expect during your assessment. Still need to sign up for your home energy assessment? Call 1- 866-527-7283 today.
Look for this column every two weeks. Send Go Green questions to GoGreen@cetonline.org.