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Five Money Saving Green Upgrades
Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings, as well as make you feel good about doing your part to help preserve our planet. As an Oregon resident, it is also important to understand the laws and guidelines that you need to follow for some of these options, as well as being aware of some of the incentive programs that are available to homeowners that implement these options. If any of you have first hand experience with these options please share your experience with a comment response.
- Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity. Oregon gets plenty of sunshine for making solar power, and it’s more affordable than you may think. Cash incentives from Energy Trust and federal tax credits can offset as much as 50 percent of your installation costs. You can start your research on installation costs and the benefits at https://www.energytrust.org/programs/solar/.
- Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
- Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills. You can also apply for cash incentives of $0.25—$0.50/sq. ft. for professionally installed insulation, details for this program are at https://www.energytrust.org/incentives/professionally-installed-insulation/.
- Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden. It's important to note that Oregon does have laws on how you can legally collect and store rainwater, so make sure you download and review the PDF guidelines issued by the State at https://www.oregon.gov/bcd/Documents/brochures/3660.pdf.
- Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment. For more information on this program go to https://www.energytrust.org/incentives/renewable-energy-geothermal-electricity/.
As a long term resident of Southern Oregon I understand both the wonderful lifestyle the area has to offer as well as the diverse micro markets we have here and I look forward to helping fulfill your ....