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Blog Apr 13, 2016

4 Most Common Barriers to Energy Efficiency

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Big business projects get all the energy efficiency attention. It’s true – businesses account for the vast majority of energy use today.

But, single family homes still use about 20% of our nation’s total energy. That’s still significant.

And with looming threats of global warming and all the chaos that could cause, it’s more important than ever to take a closer look at this.

So why don’t more homeowners maximize their energy savings?

Here’s why, and some possible solutions:

1. The Upfront Cost is Too High

Middle and low-class families don’t have the access to the hundreds or thousands of dollars necessary to finance these projects.

You can get 0% down financing from contractors. But can you make the payments? You can also finance the projects with your home’s built-up equity.

Stop making those payments, though, and you could lose your home!

To counter this challenge, some utility companies let consumers spread the charges for energy efficiency improvements over the course of several bills. It’s called “on-bill financing,” and the goal is to quickly reach the point where the dollars saved exceed the dollars spent by the consumer.

2. Too Long To Wait for a Return on Investment

Would you put new windows in your home to boost your energy efficiency? You bet you would, if it made sense.

But, it could take 10-15 years, or even longer, before you actually experience the savings. And by then, will there be new windows you’re supposed to purchase that save you even more energy?

For most homeowners, that’s simply not practical.

The government does offer tax credits. Those help.

3. Personal Attitudes

The small things matter. Ever catch yourself thinking,”This won’t make a difference,” when you do something little like leaving the lights on while you go out for the evening?

Maybe you have another situation that’s more relevant to you. Now, multiply that by several million times, the number of other US citizens who likely think and do the same thing.

What seems little now looks large. You’ll never manage your own energy use perfectly. But you may know one to three ways you can do it a little better. So follow through on those steps.

4. No Standard Method of Measuring a Home’s Energy Efficiency

Your furnace has an AFUE rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient it is. 100 is perfect efficiency, but that doesn’t exist. However, you can easily get 95 – 98.

So simple, isn’t it?

Well, with your home, no such standard scale exists. The builder might tell you. You might see some bills from the previous homeowner.

But you might use the electricity differently than them. The truth is you don’t know.

There’s no standard for measuring the energy use of a home. However, you can find some contractors who will test and analyze that for you. That at least gives you a ballpark idea.

So, it isn’t easy to be efficient at your home. However, with these tips, you can certainly improve your efficiency some.

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