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Clark and Val with their rebate check. Just kidding: we obviously photoshopped this. But wouldn't it be cool of they gave giant checks for energy savings?

Clark and Val with their rebate check. Just kidding: we obviously photoshopped this. But wouldn’t it be cool of they gave giant checks for energy savings?

When was the last time you got paid $1,000 for doing the right thing?

This week, our son, Clark, and daughter-in-law, Valerie, learned that they will receive  a $1,000 check from their local utility company. You heard me right: their electricity provider is paying them one grand for participating in an energy audit program and completing ten simple projects that will continue to save them money and energy for years to come.

Last August, I wrote about the baseline energy audit of Clark and Val’s 1920’s bungalow. For a token investment of $25 ($600-$700 value), they received an attic-to-basement energy inspection of their home, including a blower test with an infrared camera to identify places where the house was leaking air.

A few weeks after the audit, Clark and Val received a report with the auditor’s recommendations for energy savings. If they completed the recommended savings within three years, Clark and Val would qualify for up to $1,000 in incentives from the utility company. The auditor suggested that they start at the top (the attic) and work their way down. He estimated that all of the recommended fixes could be completed for two thousand dollars–or half of that if they did the work themselves.

Even though Clark is a medical resident (who can “only” work 80 hours per week!) and Val was starting her first year as a physician assistant, they did the work themselves and still finished in a year. Some of the projects took just a minute or two–like screwing in a low flow showerhead or plugging in the smart strip outlet that the auditor provided. Other projects were spread out over several months–like sealing the identified air leaks. The least pleasant job was installing plastic in the dirt crawl space under the front part of their house; the most expensive improvement was adding insulation to the attic ($700). All together, the projects cost $1,000 and took about 40 hours to complete.

Here’s the list of recommendations:
Install 1 low flow showerhead (provided by utility)
Install 4 energy-saving light bulbs (provided by utility)
Set thermostat to 78 (cool) and 68/65 (heat)
Seal crawl space and other air leaks
Tune up cooling system
Tune up heating system
Seal ducts
Plug in one smart strip outlet (provided by utility)
Increase attic insulation by 3-4 inches

Insulate water pipes

This week, Clark and Val scheduled a follow-up infrared air blower test, which revealed a whopping 30 percent reduction in air leaks. The auditor verified completion of the ten recommended improvements and awarded the highest rebate: $1,000.

Overall, Clark and Val reduced their electricity usage by one third–which is especially impressive, since their energy bills were significantly below average to start. Their electricity costs are now lower than ninety percent of similar homes in our area. Bonus:  Statistics show that for every $1 reduction in their utility bill, the resale value of their home will increase $20. More importantly, these projects have given our children tangible opportunities to love Jesus and their neighbors by becoming better stewards of God’s creation.

Although the specifics will vary from state to state, nearly every utility offers energy saving incentives for their customers. So don’t delay; schedule an audit today. It may be the best investment you make this autumn!
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