A green home can save money too

October 23, 2008 6:02:01 PM PDT
Going green has been popular in the Bay Area for a long time, but as the earth warms up and the economy slows down, it's taking on a new urgency.

Working to make your home green is always a good project and many of us have made at least a few attempts. Getting energy efficient appliances perhaps, or switching to CFL light bulbs. Still, for those who really want to go for it, there are as many options as you have time and money for.

When Jim Simon decides to do something, he goes all out.

"This is high efficiency duct work it has very little leakage," said Simon. "Over here, this cellulose insulation that was blown in. Here you can see it is 14 inches deep."

A while back, Simon decided to make his San Ramon a house green and energy efficient. Underneath the home in the crawl space it is completely sealed off. The duct work is extremely efficient and sealed as well.

There is an energy saving thermostat compact florescent bulbs and power strips so electricity can be easily turned off so electronics don't use power when not in use.

You've heard about a lot of this before, but what makes this project so unique is the work was not done piece meal. There was a plan. It is called an energy audit and Matt Golden of Sustainable Spaces did that work.

"This approach really is different is part of Energy Star Program, taking account the entire building and being able to create a prioritized step by step plan. So with $5,000 we can do things that will have some real impact and then five years later do the next steps," said Golden.

An audit costs about $800, but the cost is applied to any work that is done and no work must be done right away.

PG&E says they are seeing more and more consumers commit to green and energy savings.

"People start with their CFL's, unscrewing one CFL at a time, seeing the energy savings there and then say, 'What can I do more,'" said Katie Romans, from PG&E.

Simon spent $20,000 and is saving about $50 a month, but for him that's just part of what has been accomplished.

"The indoor air quality is very important to me and over all comfort of the house that's improved is very important to me, and I don't know how to put a value on that," said Simon.

You don't have to do everything at once. You can do it over time and choose to do some of it yourself and hire professionals for other parts.

Sustainable Spaces: click here
PG&E Save Energy and Money tips: click here
Energy Star: click here


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