Home Energy Efficiency in Philadelphia
While sealing up the crack in the Liberty Bell might get your arrested, sealing up the cracks in your home is a great way to improve your home's energy efficiency. In addition to air sealing, there are lots of other ways you can make your home more energy efficient, and there are several factors that might help you decide which projects do.
Making Your Home Comfortable and Efficient
Here is some information to ponder when considering energy-efficiency improvements.
- Prices for natural gas (around $14/thousand cubic feet from utility providers like Philadelphia Gas Works) and electricity (around $12/kilowatt-hour from PECO) in the Philadelphia area are fairly average compared to the rest of the country.
- Philadelphia is a city of varying temperatures, ranging from a January low of 25 degrees to a July high of 86. Temperatures like these make insulation and efficient windows important components in creating an affordable and comfortable home.
- The average age of homes in Philadelphia is 52. That's not bad compared to the bell, but with the advances in energy efficient technologies and rising energy costs, many homes are in need of an energy efficiency retrofit.
Home Energy Audits in Philadelphia
An energy audit will help you learn how efficient your house is and which upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck. An in-home energy audit typically costs a few hundred dollars, but in many cases, it'll identify easy problems to fix that'll result in at least a few hundred dollars of savings in the short-term, paying for itself!
If you'd like to find out — for free and within minutes — whether your home is a good candidate for an energy audit and for upgrades, take our online home energy report. We'll give you a home energy report and estimate your savings potential.
Home Energy Upgrades in Philadelphia
If you're living in a beautiful old house and its only downfall is the utility costs, here are some projects you might consider.
- Attic Insulation: For older homes with only three to four inches of attic insulation, ENERGY STAR recommends adding R38 rated insulation to the existing layer. Also, your walls should have a minimum of R5 and your floor should have a minimum of R25 insulation.
- Air Sealing: Creating an airtight home is like putting a cap back on the soda bottle. If you want to keep the warm air your heater is working hard to create inside your home and the cold air out, you need to make sure the structure is properly sealed.
- Solar Panels: Utilizing the sun's energy, solar panels can power your home and even put electricity back into the grid.
Have a project in mind? Find the right contractor.
Energy Rebates and Tax Credits in Philadelphia
Home Efficiency Upgrades: The Keystone HELP Energy Efficiency Loan Program supports the installation of high-efficiency heating, air conditioning, insulation, windows, doors and whole-house improvements by lending up to $35,000 to homeowners whose annual household income is $150,000 or less. Several efficiency upgrades, like insulation, roofing, appliance replacement and more are also eligible for the federal efficiency tax credit, which is a credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of improvements with a $1,500 cap.
Renewable Energy Systems: The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program provides rebates of $2.25/W for solar panels based on system capacity and up to $2,000 for solar thermal water or space heating systems. Solar panels and solar thermal systems are also supported through the federal renewable energy tax credit, which offers a credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of the system and installation. The credit also applies to wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps and fuel cells.
Check out all energy rebates and tax credits in Philadelphia.
Home Energy Resources from EnergySavvy
- Home Energy Report: How efficient is your home? Find out how to improve your home's efficiency and comfort, without spending tons of money, with EnergySavvy's free online home energy report.
- Energy Rebate and Tax Credit Directory: EnergySavvy's guide to energy rebates and tax credits can help you find all the energy tax credits and rebates that are available locally for you.
- Energy Contractors: If you've got a project in mind to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable and you'd like to talk with an energy expert about it, we can help. We focus on the relatively small group of contractors nationwide who really understand home energy auditing and energy retrofits.
- Educational Content: Home energy efficiency is complicated stuff. It's not just as simple as laying some insulation in the attic. We've put together a library of easy-to-read topics that cover the basics of energy efficiency. And if you have a question about anything, you can ask one of our energy experts using our "Ask an Expert" feature.
Last Updated: March 2010
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