It’s listed on the energy bills of many Massachusetts residents, yet few know about the highly beneficial service that they already pay for. Appearing as an “energy efficiency charge,” the monthly fee actually supports home energy assessments and other energy efficiency incentives that customers can take advantage of – at no additional cost.
These benefits are provided by Mass Save, a collaboration between natural gas, electric companies and energy efficiency service providers. Together, they connect renters and homeowners with home performance contractors who offer these assessments and other incentives at no additional cost.
One of these contractors, American Installations in western and central Massachusetts, is determined to help homeowners make the most of this valuable program.
“We help our clients take advantage of every single Mass Save offering,” says Wyatt Couture, CEO of American Installations. “It saves people money, makes their homes more comfortable and creates healthier interior environments.”
What is a home energy assessment?
The building professionals at American Installations perform home energy assessments on a daily basis. They identify problem areas within one’s home that could be leading to wasted energy – and higher costs. The analysis is offered at no-cost to homeowners who utilize a number of the state’s utility companies, including National Grid, Eversource and Columbia Gas.
“It’s all part of their utility bill, and they’re funding this with their own money,” explains Couture. “We’re responsible for getting them as much of their money back in these energy saving incentives as possible.”
What does an assessment entail?
In the initial phase, American Installations qualifies residents for the program by working directly with their utility company. Once eligibility is confirmed and an appointment is set, home energy assessments are typically completed in about two hours. “Each home is different,” notes Couture. “There is more or less opportunity for improvements from home to home, and there is always value provided.”
Each assessment involves a number of tests, starting with those centered on health and safety. American Installations examines all of the home’s combustion appliances, such as gas ovens and stoves, hot water heaters and heating systems.
”We’re checking to ensure that carbon monoxide levels are safe and the draft of the combustion gas is at the correct rate,” Couture explains. “We want people to know if their systems are operating safely and inform them if there are any dangerous living conditions in their home that they may be unaware of.”
A complete analysis of the home’s thermal envelope, which encompasses the areas that should be tightly air-sealed and insulated, is also performed. “The house should not be leaking air excessively,” says Couture. “We identify all areas of energy loss and provide people with the recommendations and incentives to improve those spaces by bringing them up to today’s standard – for the least possible cost.”
Are there other no-cost incentives?
While every home energy assessment through the Mass Save program is already paid for, so are other incentives that come along with every analysis. In addition to receiving a custom report outlining all opportunities for energy efficiency improvement, customers are also eligible for a suite of instant savings measures.
These include the installation of an array of complimentary energy-saving products. For instance, American Installations will replace incandescent lighting with higher efficiency ENERGY STAR® LED lighting options, like different styles of bulbs and candles.
“We also look at old thermostats and replace those with programmable ones, which clients can set to their schedule,” Couture explains. “So when they’re away from home or sleeping under the covers, their heating and cooling systems can create less of a demand in their house and save energy that way.”
Customers are also able to take advantage of low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce water usage and preserve energy when using hot water. In addition, advanced power strips are available that are ideal for computers and entertainment systems.
“When you plug your phone charger into the wall, even if your cell phone is not plugged in, it’s still drawing electricity,” Couture says. “These smart power strips control the electric delivery to those attached devices while reducing energy consumption.”
What if I need repairs or other services?
If problem areas are identified during the home energy assessment, American Installations guides customers through their next steps. “We show customers all of their options and perform the back end work,” says Couture. “Whether it is the no-cost air sealing that seals homes to the perfect level of air tightness, or insulation that is discounted 75% – if folks are looking to take advantage of the money they have been funding Mass Save with, we are here to help them.”
American Installations also reduces energy usage and increases comfort by installing high-efficiency air source heat pumps and replacement windows, which often qualify for Mass Save’s 0% interest loan program. It all starts by taking the initiative and committing to have a home energy assessment at your home.
“When people take advantage of all the energy saving incentives available, they’re not only getting the money back that they’ve paid into Mass Save already, but they are cutting their future energy consumption significantly, adding value to their home and making it healthier and more comfortable,” says Couture.
To request a home energy assessment, contact American Installations today at 413-552-0200.