Energy Challenge Workshop Nov. 16 at Douglas County Public Library

by Vicki Bates, Special to the Carson Valley Times

The 2nd Energy Challenge workshop will be Sat.,  Nov. 16th at 1pm at the Minden Library meeting room (1635 Library Lane). Mike  Noble will be presenting “DIY Saving Energy at Home” and demonstrating how to  make a simple storm window. The presentation will offer do-it-yourself ideas for  maximizing passive solar to warm your home, even if it the house isn’t ideally  situated to get a lot of direct sun through the windows. Mike taught science at  Lake Tahoe Community College for 25 years, solar classes at LTCC and WNC, and  has had experience in building an off-grid home. Admission is free and  refreshments will be provided.

Last month’s workshop was a home energy audit  demonstration by Mary Winston of Energy Masters in Reno. After a thorough  inspection of the attic, subfloor and a blower door test, several air leaks and  weaknesses in the home’s insulation were found and detailed in a 17 page report  with photos, clear explanations and suggested remedies. (She also tested the gas  appliances for carbon monoxide leaks and found the ovens were leaking enough to  recommend having an appliance repairman adjust the flame.)
In addition, we learned about some cost saving  programs that would help defray the cost of the audit and upgrades. Energy Fit  NV (” target=’_blank’>mhtml:{A1B238E7-62C7-4A95-88AC-2F72D99B5B90}mid://00000023/!x-usc:  is a program that subsidizes the cost of a home energy audit so the homeowner  pays only $199 (for a home under 3,000 sq ft, more for larger homes) for an  audit worth $399.
Home Free Nevada, at the same website, offers rebates for  certain energy efficiency upgrades, and tax credits are also  available.
In the case of our demonstration home, the owner  simply filled out the form online at the Energy Fit NV website and was quickly  contacted to confirm an appointment to have the audit done. This audit  recommended sealing air leaks, installing R-19 sub-floor insulation, and  upgrading attic insulation to R-49.
The cost of these upgrades, if done by the  contractor, would be $3,691. With a $1,000 rebate from Home Free Nevada, the  cost drops to $2,691, plus a tax credit of $221 would be earned. Low interest  financing is available through the Green Chips program. The return on investment  (the amount of time it would take to make up the cost with energy savings) was  estimated at 3 years for the sealing of air leaks, 4 years for the attic  insulation, and 7 years for the sub-floor insulation. A handy person with skills  could the work themselves for even less, but wouldn’t be eligible for the  rebate.
But money isn’t the only thing being saved. Less  fuel would be used and less pollution created. The estimate for the test house  is a yearly savings of $722, at today’s prices, and almost 9,000 lbs of carbon.  Multiply that by all the homes in our area and imagine what we, as a community,  could do for our local economy and the well-being of the planet.
The Energy Challenge is a project of the  Sustainable Living & Renewable Energy Roundup, a local volunteer-run  educational non-profit.”

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