"affordability goes beyond first cost;
onsiderations for greater durability, lower operating costs & superior performance must be included when it comes to calculating affordability"

 - Ron Jones, One of the fathers of the green building movement  More Quotes Please! 


There are several steps you can take to reduce your utility bills by as much as 66 %, ranging from low to high investment, and from a quick to somewhat slow return.


Examples of a high investments and slow return would be photovoltaic solar panels and geothermal heat pump, requiring a minimum investment of roughly $20k and $30k, respectively.  It should be noted that some states (in addition to the Feds) offer generous incentives and/or tax credits, therefore reducing the initial costs.
More info on tax credits here :  Link 1  Link 2  Link 3


Needless to say, the return on of your investment on the above can be as long as 10 to 15 years, with or without the government incentives.  Not particularly appealing and certainly not the first steps I would recommend taking in lowering your bills.


The investments I recommend first are somewhere between medium to high, but the great news is that the return that can be as short as 2 or 3 years.  Each home is rather unique in many ways and does need a personal evaluation, but as a rule of thumb, the following upgrades are necessary:


1.  Replacement of your existing heating unit with a sealed combustion condensing natural gas or liquid propane boiler.  Other "fringe benefits" from the units we use are, among a few others, their compactness and the fact that they are virtually silent.
Average investment:  $10k to $12k.  Average return:  2 to 3 years.


2.  Replacement of your domestic hot water heater tank with a tankless condensing water heater.   Water heating represents between 13 & 17% of residential energy consumption, making it the third largest energy guzzler in homes.  Average investment:  $3k to $4k, or $0.  That is correct - Not a typo - Zero dollars.

The boiler we have been using for a few years now can be ordered and installed as a combination unit, making it two appliances in one!  - Imagine all that extra room in your basement!

I often hear from skeptics on the fear of running out of hot water;  I have a wife and two teenage girls, all three with long hair, not once have they run out of hot water, with two, sometime three showers running at once!
Average return:  0 to 1 year.


3.  Bringing the attic "inside".  We are not talking about insulating your attic floor, but your attic roof.  And not with fiberglass batts, but with sprayed wet foam.
My mother used to say that, "in the winter, you loose 75 to 80% of your body heat from your head - So wear a hat boy!"
Same rule apply to your home.  Don't sweat about the old doors or the drafty windows, most of your heat loss is by far through your attic (if your home is built over a crawl space, the issue there need to be addressed too).
Other benefits are significant noise reduction (airplane, road traffic, etc.) and more importantly, indoor air quality control.  Average investment: $8k to $12k

 It should be noted that mechanical ventilation via a heat recovery ventilator should be installed in conjunction of sealing the attic, for an added cost of $4k to $5k.

Average return:  No $ return on this one, except this huge one:  A much, much better health for all the occupants - And how much is that worth?!?  (...)


4.  Your lighting.  All (or most) of those incandescent and halogen light bulbs should be replaced.  On the average, 20 to 25% of your electric bill goes to your lighting.  By replacing your bulbs with LED’s and/or CFL‘s, you will be cutting your electric bill  by 1/3 to 1/4. 
Average investment:  $1k.  Average return:  1 to 2 years.


5. Your appliances.  First, make sure your central air conditioning is not oversized, a very common mistake, and that your AC condenser has a minimum efficiency of 15 SEER.

Second, make sure your refrigerator is not the highest energy guzzler appliance of your home, which is often the case in most homes.  As a rule of thumb, the newer the fridge, the more efficient.

And then there is two more major appliances:  If your clothes dryer and/or your cooking range is electric, well, sorry to say but half of your money to operate them is "going out the window" - or the duct, to be more accurate.  And if you are a serious cook, you can not compare electric versus gas - It is a loss battle.


You say you there is no natural gas in the street, so you can not do any of these upgrades?  - Not a problem;  Large liquid propane tank (500 or 1000 gallons) are installed out of sight (underground or hidden behind shrubs) at a relatively low cost $5 to $6K installed).  Bonus:  We can then hook up your BBQ grill too, so no more running out of gas in the middle of your party!


Did we mention your price per gallon for liquid propane is still less than $2.50 per gallon, as of October 2008?  You see, liquid propane companies are a bit smarter than oil companies - The larger the tank, the better the rate;  The thinking is that they do not need to come back as often to refill.  Makes perfect sense to me!


Also, for those of you who are entertaining the thought of having a whole house back up generator, the installation of a large LP tank is a significant step in the right direction...




Triple Your Miles, Guaranteed.


The five areas mentioned above are by far the most significant ones.  In fact, we are so confident that if, and only if, you follow all of our recommendations and proceed with all of our proposed upgrades, we can guarantee, in writing, that your total for your utility bills will be a third of what you paid last year*.


So please, go ahead, Make The Appointment, it is after all a green-free consultation!


- The results are starting to pay off for a number of our customers!  - Read Testimonials


*The last year of all utility bills must be presented.  A Home Energy Rating - HERS - must be performed for a minimal fee.  Yearly service contract is also required for a yearly minimal fee of $200.  If the total amount is not 2/3 less than forecasted,  the difference will be either reimbursed by us, and/or more upgrades will be performed at no extra charges to you.  Either options remains solely at the discretion of Absolute Green Homes.


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