350: Tips on tightening up your home

By Global Warming Action Coalition

Thu Dec 18, 2008

Lexington - It’s a fact: Nearly 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are generated from residences.

The good news is that there are many ways in which you can tighten up your home and reduce both your carbon footprint and your heat and electric bills.

• Start with some very simple things you can do yourself, such as sealing doors and windows. Sealing materials are available from your local hardware store. They include rope caulk, insulating foam sealant, transparent shrink-film window insulating kits, door sweeps, and caulking compound.

• To really do the job, get a home energy audit. You can get a basic free energy audit and report of recommended energy efficiency improvements, through your local utility (i.e., National Grid and NSTAR).

• For an even more comprehensive diagnostic of the thermal efficiency of your home, including blower-door tests, infrared scans, blower-door tests, and long- and short-term solutions to stop heat loss and cold air leaks and make your home more energy efficient, hire a qualified contractor who provides these services. Global Warming Action Coalition members have used Next Step Living and Byggmeister.

• Check out current heat-related rebate programs for residential customers at www.masssave.com. For example, National Grid customers can receive a 75 percent rebate up to $2,000 to complete recommended energy efficiency improvements.

Watch for our next column: “What You Can Learn from Blower Door Tests.”

The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth.” (CO2 levels in the atmosphere are now at about 387 ppm, up almost 40 percent since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years.) Brought to you by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition.