Residential and commercial buildings account for about 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States due to burning gas, propane or oil along with the use of electricity generated from fossil fuels.
One of the biggest steps you can take to make your home more climate friendly is to improve heating and cooling services along with switching to renewable sources of electricity.
Heating and cooling are the largest source of CO2 emissions in our homes followed by lighting out homes and running electric devices.
Matt Sharpe, a senior energy consultant for Efficiency Vermont said “Space heaters you might plug in or baseboard electric are one of the more expensive ways to heat your house. If you did have a heat pump, that is a form of electric heat that is much more efficient and will bring down the cost comparted to some fossil fuels…”.
Some cost saving upgrades include high efficient heat pumps, energy smart appliances, more eco-friendly insulation and even LED lighting.
“We have some energy kits that are free right now that have things like light bulbs, low flow shower heads, those can get you started” said Sharpe.
In terms of making larger scale changes, switching to solar power can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
“The next biggest thing for being climate friendly is where you get your energy from” said Paul Lesure, president of Green Mountain Solar. He adds “Solar is one of the best energy resources we have, even here in somewhat cloudy Vermont. What you are doing is you are not only helping the climate by going solar, but you are investing in the energy your home uses”.
There are great solar incentives in the state of Vermont currently including the federal tax credit which right now is set at 26%. However, at the end of 2022 the tax credit will be reduced to 22%. For that reason Lesure recommends getting in ahead of time, to take advantage of these incentives.
As the days continue to get colder, experts say to start arranging plans now if you want to upgrade your home.
“Like a lot of other trades, contractors that do weatherization are very busy and just getting the process started would be in your benefit to get on the list and be prepared to make the change.” said Sharpe.