Can I make a difference?

Government PolicyFor many years I was told that if I don’t like a bill or policy that is being discussed at the federal level or at the state level, that it is important for me to call or write my representatives to make my voice heard.

For the most part I have shied away this advice because I’m really not interested in politics. I don’t understand how the system works, I don’t like that money seems to be able to buy votes or sway politicians, and I don’t like all the money that goes into lobbyists and Political Action Committees.

Ready for 100% Clean Energy

Ready for 100Can we as individuals completely reduce our fossil fuel consumption to get to 100% clean energy? What would that look like? How about at the city, state or federal level?

I was skeptical but very hopeful when I attended a discussion on Sierra Club’s campaign called “Ready for 100“. The goal is to get to 100% renewable energy for ourselves, our towns and our country by 2050. I’m very hopeful because we have to get there to prevent very serious and irreversible damage to the planet, and I want to believe it can happen. At the same time I was very skeptical because I don’t think we have the political will especially at the local, state, and federal government.

Will a Solar Array Increase my Home’s Value?

Solar Appraisal

As a REALTOR® , I am asked if solar systems increase the value of a home for sale. My short answer is “yes” – solar PV definitely adds a premium to a home’s value; however, quantifying that additional value depends to some extent on the appraisal process.

Ben Hoen, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Sandra Adomatis, an appraiser and specialist in appraisal of solar systems, authored “Appraising into the Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sales Analysis”. This report was based on a 2015 study of samples taken from a database of 4000 home sale transactions in California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania, combined with an evaluation of 43 pairs of home sales in local markets within each of these states, thus combining the paired sales method typically used by appraisers, in which the sale of a home with solar PV is compared with the sale of a comparable home without PV, with a statistical analysis of the larger database . The report concluded that the average premium for a home with PV in this study varied from 2.5% to 6.4% of the sale price, depending on the location.

Home Energy Score

 

Energy Star Homes logo

Almost two decades ago the Energy Star rating system was introduced to help consumers understand something about the energy requirements of one product compared to another. The idea is that even a little bit of information posted on an appliance can get people thinking about saving energy and saving money.

Wood, Electric, and Propane! Oh My!!

I live in a 1000 square foot house which has three different means of heating: wood, propane, and electric. I currently heat the house primarily with the wood stove and use the electric as backup source. I think the advantage of using the electric as back up is that I can set it to a much lower temperature than my propane wall heater and I can keep it on only in locations where I am concerned about pipes freezing. I’m not 100% it wouldn’t be better to use the propane as back up but that’s a topic for another post.