We were very excited when the Department of Energy (DOE) set the goal of weatherizing approximately 600,000 homes using upgrades like insulation, air-sealing, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. Not only would this program put people to work at home and save individual homeowners money every month, it would also set the national focus squarely on energy efficiency and those small steps we all can take.
Last week the DOE announced that the weatherization program has hit an important milestone, reaching the nationwide halfway point. Through the month of November more than 300,000 homes have been weatherized, greatly reducing the impact of expensive home energy bills on low-income families and creating 15,000 jobs nationwide.
DOE’s Secretary Steven Chu says that the weatherization program will help grow our economy, keep the focus on energy efficiency, and help people save money. DOE estimates that within a year of installation, the 300,000 homes will save a total of $161 million dollars in energy costs – an average of $400 per family!
Perhaps the best part about the national push toward weatherizing homes as a way to save both energy and money is that anyone can take steps to make their home more energy efficient and receive tax incentives for doing so. The federal government, and many state and local governments, are offering financial assistance for every kind of upgrade from air conditioners to plantation shutters. And while these tax incentives will not last forever, the long term energy conservation offered by something as simple as a set of plantation shutters is phenomenal.
We know that windows are a major source of heat transfer, releasing your cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. Many homes can lose 25% to 50% of their home’s generated heat through uncovered windows. A set of wooden plantation shutters can greatly reduce the loss of warm or cool air because the material does not transfer heat like a pane of glass or metal blind. A wooden shutter is also preferred by many home owners because, let’s face it, it looks a lot better than generic metal or plastic blinds.
At the risk of sounding like a shameless commercial… if you take the insulating properties of a shutter and add some PV cells, you put your personal energy efficiency goals on steroids!