You can't make a decision about energy savings without asking the right questions

Saving money by making home improvements that reduce energy costs doesn't have to be scary. University Park and Riverdale Maryland participate in the Small Town Energy Program to help.

You feel the drafts from around the doors and the windows when the wind is blowing hard and you think to yourself, maybe it’s time to take a look at taking care of that. But there are always other expenses and other priorities that keep you from getting to those less than noticeable issues.

University Park residents Tassie Hanna and Jayson Amster are only the second owners of their house, which was built in 1957. They knew there were some issues with their home, having lived there for 20 years. But when it came right down to it, they felt that insulating the attic wasn’t really a priority since it was used only for storage,  was very cluttered and messy, and finding the time and energy just to clean the space out to do work was a daunting task. 

Then they saw the STEP informational flyers being distributed in their community.  Even though they thought the program seemed too good to be true,  they attended the launch event, listened to what was being presented and even spoke to some contractors. But they weren’t setting out on their own. The STEP program offered some guided support.

Following an energy evaluation, and a framework for making improvements, they set about the task of “making up for lost time and money.” They started by replacing a freezer that had been failing for a couple of years but which was, by Tassie’s estimate, about 40 years old. 

Replacing the old freezer with an Energy Star appliance made an immediate difference. Within the first two months we saw our energy bill drop close to 20 percent,” Tassie said. But the real shock for Tassie came when the attic project was getting started. “I dreaded having to pull everything out of the attic so the contractors could work, but they told me it wasn’t that bad. All I had to do was move the storage to the center of the attic, they covered it with plastic, and they worked around it. Had I known it was going to be that easy I might have done something sooner.” 

Tassie said their house is much more comfortable and the temperature is more consistent than it was before the work was done. She said it lost the ‘draftiness’ and realized that they had been ignoring a significant problem. She said they  continue to see the benefits of the work in reduced bills. “We could’ve done everything that was recommended on our own, but we probably wouldn’t have,” said Tassie. “We’re so thankful we took the time to learn about the STEP Program and for the wonderful and objective advice we received.”

See how much Tassie and Jayson saved and find other examples a http://smalltownenergy.org/residents.

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