Home Energy Upgrades

Home Energy Upgrades

Below you’ll find some basic information. For personalized guidance, contact an Energy Coach! Our Energy Coach volunteers will answer your questions, and will come to your home and walk through priorities, options and next steps, all at no cost to you.

 

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a system made up of an outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor units. Together, they move heat between themselves to heat or cool a home as appropriate. This means they provide both heat and air conditioning There are four main kinds of indoor heat pumps: wall units, floor units, ceiling cassettes, and ducted.

Heat Pumps are a great option for Maine homeowners to consider as they lower your heating bills and your carbon footprint.

Click here for information about Heat Pump Rebates

Solar Panels

We all know that the sun’s energy can be captured by the photovoltaic cells in solar panels. But, did you also know that the cost of solar has declined substantially in recent years? Combined with the 30% tax credit from the Feds, solar has become affordable for the average homeowner. Now, there is no “free solar” as the ubiquitous ads suggest, but the monthly cost for a 10-year loan to finance your home’s solar array will be nearly comparable to your electric bill. (This depends on the variable cost of electricity). When the loan is paid off in 10 years, you will have nearly free electricity. 

There are 5 factors determining your roof’s suitability for solar:

  • Orientation – Use a compass or Google Earth to determine the orientation of your roof. Due south is ideal but there is a lot of wiggle room here. If you are 30 degrees east or west of south, there will be only a 3-5% reduction in annual energy output. Even a full east/west orientation is feasible with a 30% reduction.
  • Degree of Shading – Observe your roof at different times of day. Google Earth may be a helpful supplement to your own observations. When you are ready to get a professional estimate, solar installers have software to precisely determine shading.
  • Roof Pitch – A rule of thumb is that the ideal pitch is the same number as our latitude (43 degrees). The typical pitch for a cape is 12/12 or 45 degrees. 
  • Complexity of the Roof – If there are dormers or intricate gables, the number of panels you can install may be limited. Roof simplicity wins here.
  • Age of the Roof – The more expected life for your roof the better. It wouldn’t be advisable to install a solar array on an old roof, and then have to incur the cost of temporarily removing the panels in order to replace the roof. 

If you have adequate property, there may be a site for a “ground mounted array” with full control of the orientation, pitch and shading. However, expect to pay more for a ground mounted array.

Weatherization and Home Energy Audits

Home energy audits cost around $300 and provide a crucial look into how your home is performing, and areas where insulation and air sealing are needed.

Click here for information about weatherization rebates.

Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters

Regardless of inceom, rebates for heat pump hot water heaters make them just as affordable as less-efficient, conventional hot water heaters. For low-income residents, heat pump hot water heaters are free of charge. Click here to see what rebates you qualify for.