Home Energy Curtailment

Live comfortably while saving energy at home: it may be easier than you think. Depending on our home, our goals, and our budget, we can:

  • just change some habits, like lowering the thermostat at night

  • make simple, low-cost modifications to the home

  • make moderate-cost upgrades that don’t significantly affect the structure

  • make deeper (but more costly) energy retrofits

 

The big challenge is to stop burning fossil fuels in our homes (and our cars). This path— which is the gist of St. Paul's climate action plan— calls on us to:

  • reduce the energy we need: insulate and air-seal the home, choose efficient appliances, etc.

  • electrify everything: water heater, stove/oven, clothes dryer, and yes, even space heating and car

  • rely on the electric utility to follow through on its goal of becoming carbon-free. 

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One SAP neighbor added 10 inches of insulation to his attic floor. Another built a net-zero house with garage-roof solar panels.

Discussing energy efficiency at the Transition Festival, April 2013.

Resources

At the Energy Star Certified Products website, find ENERGY STAR products, learn new ways to conserve, find tools to help you save, and get rebates and offers.

The US Department of Energy's Energy Saver site has resources for conservation and using renewable energy technologies at home, including Do-It-Yourself Guides.

This Home Energy Guide shows how to lower your bills, make your home safer and healthier, and contribute positively to the environment. From the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Following Passive House Principles leads to deep reductions in space heating needs. 

The St. Paul Climate Action & Resilience Plan outlines the city's framework for addressing climate change.

The home also needs to be ready for the smart grid: allowing certain appliances to draw electricity from the grid at the most efficient time— not necessarily at the moment it's tapped for use. For example, the smart grid will tell your home when the grid can most easily supply power to your electric tank water heater. 

Figuring out how to cut energy use, maintain comfort and convenience, and help the grid is not straightforward. Here's opportunity for adventurous homeowners to lead.

For more ideas, contact Tim Wulling.

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Partnering with Hampden Park Coop, we gave away clotheslines to spread this earth-friendly practice.