The Green Needham Collaborative, a volunteer organization dedicated to securing a better future through local action, has been encouraging residents to sign up for home energy assessments. Two years ago the collaborative teamed up with HomeWorks Energy, a Mass Save partner, to help connect residents to the program. Since then, many Needham residents have made their homes more energy efficient.
Carolyn Yates, who lives on Manning Street, has had two energy assessments since moving into her 1909 house.
“There clearly was no insulation when we moved in. It was always cold,” Yates said.
She first learned about the Mass Save program through a direct mail piece that showed up at the house. She picked it up and thought, “Why not? It’s free.” Yates had the first assessment a couple of years ago, where the home energy assessor changed out a number of lights from incandescent to LED bulbs.
“That was huge,” she said about having the no cost LED lights installed. “We have this kitchen island and the bulbs above it were burning so hot … so it was really good to change those out.”
Yates said the first time around the company recommended insulation work, but for whatever reason missed some key areas. Yates had another energy assessment completed in February of this year. HomeWorks Energy recommended more insulation to be installed in the attic and in knee walls, which double as closets.
She said the first time insulation was installed it did make a difference, but because there were still areas left untreated some warm air was still rising up and out of her home. This time around she said the insulation work has made more of a difference.
Yates said she would “absolutely” recommend an energy assessment to her neighbors.
“For one, it’s free,” she said. “And certainly everyone wants climate control in their home.”
Another Needham resident said an energy assessor came through his house a few years ago and changed out all of his old incandescent light bulbs to LEDs. The specialist who assessed Tom Kaminsky’s house also recommended insulation work, but he didn’t go through with it at the time.
Early this year, Kaminsky replaced his boiler and during the process he signed up for another no- cost energy assessment. Again, insulation work was recommended, but the boiler replacement was so expensive that he didn’t go through with the work.
Then COVID-19 hit, and the Mass Save program began offering 100% off approved insulation. In more normal times, the program incentives pay for 75% of approved insulation.
Kaminsky heard through friends that the insulation incentive had changed.
“I called back and that was, in fact, the truth,” Kaminsky said about the incentive change. “So we went ahead with the work.”
Kaminsky said the house was built sometime in the 1970s, although they’ve done a lot of work to the place since then. Before the insulation was installed he noticed that it was cold in the bedrooms and a den that pushes out away from the house.
In late July, an insulation team from HomeWorks Energy came to the house and spent three days working in the attic.
“I have no clue what they did up there,” Kaminsky said laughing, adding that he hasn’t taken a thorough look yet.
He does know the crew ripped some flooring up, sprayed blown-in cellulose across the attic floor, and installed a thermal dome around his pull down staircase.
He anticipates noticing the change once winter comes. Was it a good deal? “It wound up costing us $36,” Kaminsky said of all of the work that was done in the attic. He is looking forward to feeling the benefits of the insulation in his home in the coming months.
To take advantage of Mass Save's 100% incentive on insulation projects, schedule your no-cost assessment by September 30. HomeWorks energy is offering virtual and in-home energy assessments, schedule your no-cost appointment today!