An action plan and peace of mind – from my non-technical perspective that’s the result of my recent engagement with Community Energy Services, an initiative of the Center for Energy and Environment. CEE is a nonprofit organization that “promotes the responsible use of natural and economic resources.” Though that’s about what I know – or need to know – about CEE, their website is replete with detailed information about their resources and services – check it out.
My experience began when Anita, my daughter-in-law, asked me if I’d like to go with her to a CES introductory workshop at a nearby school – one hour, child care and treats provided. The hour was packed with background information, tips, graphics and logical explanations that made sense even to me, a homeowner with no clue about how to conserve or what to do about energy use and planning. On top of the great lecture and informed Q&A it’s important to note that grandson Will, age 2, spent a delightful hour with Bridget, the charming and kid-loving “babysitter”.
In the wrap up of the one hour lecture attendees were invited to make arrangements for individualized home audits ($30) to be scheduled in the near future at our convenience. The speaker listed good reasons for the audit, the general areas the auditors would cover, and the free energy savers they with which they would be equipped. What a deal! Anita and I both signed up for sessions (1½ – 2 hours), paid our $30, scheduled audits within the next couple of weeks, packed up the bag of energy saving products and tips – and Will – and went home with heads full of ideas.
Less than two weeks after that orientation both of our homes have been audited by energy audit teams from CES. We both live in older homes and have never had any good idea of the basics of insulation, windows, leaks and other structural issues, much less a clear notion of how to regulate appliances, replace energy eaters or how to incorporate energy saving technologies or techniques into our daily routines.
Both teams (one three member, one two member) were magnificent. They came ready to make the most of the 90 minutes – fully equipped with equipment I didn’t really understand but I know it was able to identify leaks and air flows. They checked crawl spaces, the attics no one had ever visited, measured air loss around the windows and doors, replaced old fashioned light bulbs, then sat down for a heart-to-heart about defects, strengths, options, priorities, sources of funding, rebates, financing and more – all delivered one-on-one with a written game analysis and plan.
I was left breathless but not rudderless. I know now what needs to be done and to stop fretting about problems that don’t exist. I know about financial assistance, possible contractors and, most of all, priorities and potential savings of energy and money.
In other words, I ended the auditors’ visit with a manageable action plan and much appreciated peace of mind.
For more information about Community Energy Services, visit the website at mnces.org or contact Kyle Boehm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-219-7334.