by Dave Moser
Utility costs can make up a big chunk of a household’s budget. In our home, we pay about $800 per year on natural gas for heat. That’s a lot!
To help cut down on those costs, the Energy Trust offers free energy assessments of your home. They’ll identify low-cost ways to reduce your heating bill, like sealing air gaps around windows and doors, and tell you about cost-effective upgrades. They offer these audits online, by phone, or in-person. I did the online assessment and found it easy to use, but I have doubts about its accuracy - it said I could save about as much energy as I already use!
I’d recommend an in-person audit. Contact the Energy Trust at 866-368- 7878 or visit them at energytrust.org to learn more and schedule an energy audit. Some friends of ours here in Sabin have a success story to share about cutting down on heating costs. When they moved in to their home a few years ago, they were paying as much as $250 per month in natural gas bills to heat their home. After they patched some leaky ductwork, a very simple and low-cost fix, their winter time bills dropped to $150 per month! Then, after insulating their walls and upgrading their furnace the next year, their bills dropped even further, to $100 per month. They did this with the assistance of the Energy Trust.
Another way to learn about home energy efficiency is to partner with Energy Conservation Training Company. Available only to NE Portland residents, they team up with homeowners who agree to occasionally have students and an instructor perform energy audit procedures on the home. In addition to learning about ways to improve the energy performance of their home, homeowners are paid $100 for each 4-hour session. To find out more, contact Linda Kimbrough at 503.206.7470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.