We applaud your interest in searching for the best way to make your home more energy efficient , more comfortable, and less expensive to operate. Solar power is a wonderful, renewable resource, and one that clearly has an important role to play in how residences in California will be powered in the future. That said, the industry is still evolving, and it is important to fully understand the many important considerations that go into making an intelligent, responsible, and cost-effective solar purchase.
Unfortunately, trying to sort out fact from fiction can be a difficult and sometimes overwhelming task when it comes to household energy efficiency options. It is for this reason that we have put together this educational, fact-based booklet to help you to cut through the clutter and focus on the most important issues critical to ensuring that you make a good energy-efficiency decision.
One fundamental mistake that most homebuyers make when buying a solar system is to allow the solar company to sell them a large solar system which is required based upon their home’s current energy efficiency level. However, the major flaw in this process is that solar power is NOT the most cost-effective investment in aiding household energy efficiency, and therefore, should be implemented only to the extent that more cost-effective investments can not provide the desired comfort level and cost savings.
Typically, many of the home improvements listed below can provide a higher Return on Investment — and may do more to enhance your comfort during both the summer and winter than investing in a solar system:
- Window caulking and sealing
- Heating and Air Conditioning Upgrade and Duct Sealing
- Energy-efficient water heater, lighting and appliances
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
How do I make an informed decision?
Of course, no solar contractor will tell you this, as their interest is in selling you the largest solar system they can economically justify. You have heard the old adage that “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”? Well that certainly applies here. Most solar companies will show you how your solar investment will perform relative to your current utility bill, but THAT IS NOT YOUR ONLY OPTION. You should demand that they also show you how an investment in a new solar system will compare economically, aesthetically, and from a quality of life perspective relative to a new HVAC system, house sealing, improved insulation, new and more energy-efficient windows, etc.
In the end, you may still want to get a solar system, but you will likely need a much smaller system, which will save you thousands and thousands of dollars!
The only way to make a truly informed decision is to get an energy-efficiency audit from an energy efficiency expert certified by your local utility company. These energy audits are currently very inexpensive (and in some cases free), as they are being subsidized by SMUD, PG&E, and other regional utility companies to make sure that homeowners within their service areas are getting the most bang for their energy buck.
These energy assessments include a utility bill analysis, combustion safety inspection, an Infrared scan, a detailed inspection of your insulation, your lighting needs, your appliance usage, your indoor air quality, door and window leakage, and a duct evaluation. A comprehensive, detailed computerized report provides you with a comprehensive view of your home’s energy usage, so that you can choose the best solution to maximize your comfort and potential savings.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation today, contact us here!