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Community and Q&A

What can I add to my “green shopping cart”?

Seth_Maine | Posted in Plans Review on

Howdy all! I live in Portland, ME (zone 6A). I was recently approved for an energy loan of $15,000. What prompted me to do this was my kitchen renovation. As with most people, money is tight, and I was looking for away to finance part of the renovation. This loan will cover the energy star appliances and some replacement windows.
House: 1960’s cape with added on 1st floor 350 first floor bedroom.
Insulation: Fiberglass batts with vapor barrier, not too bad.
Heat: Hot water baseboard, fairly new oil boiler, no natural gas currently availble. We also have a fireplace insert that we use a fair amount.
Hot water: Indirect 40 gal super store off the oil boiler (I’m estimating that summer hot water is approx 25 gallons/month)
We use approx 650 gallons of oil/year for heat and HW
My loan currently consists of:
– Windows $4,500
– Basement foam (joist band and down 3′ below grade) $1,800
– Appliances: $4,200
TOTAL: $10,500
Can anyone think of any reasonable things I should add to my loan? I got a price quote of $6,000 on 3 mini-splits installed. However my wife isn’t quite sold on these on the wall, and we would be about $2,000 out of pocket (above the loan of $15,000).
– Heat pump hot water?
– We are redoing some lighing and such, but I’m not going to bother add these to the loan. I don’t need to finance the “little things”.
– I will be doing some 2nd floor closet (attic) sealing around pipes and such.

I’ve been “having some fun” playing with different ideas and scenarios, but haven’t come up with any real money/enery savers other than the mini-split (FYI: $0.16 electric rate here). I thought someone here, smatter than me, might have a good idea as to what we can… short of magically building a double wall for $4,500.

Thoughts? Questions?

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  1. CramerSilkworth | | #1

    What about ventilation - do you have good bath fans, etc? If that's an area of interest, it might be a good time to think about heat recovery ventilation, especially if you end up getting things pretty air tight. You might just be able to squeeze in a Zehnder system for that 4.5k (barely), but there are other less expensive options, too.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    To answer your question, you need to have an energy audit by a qualified RESNET-certified or BPI-certified energy rater. Every house is different.

    In many cases, the answer would be air sealing work.

  3. wjrobinson | | #3

    Audit, air seal, pellet stove.

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