There are countless reasons to consider improving a home's energy efficiency: decreased heating and cooling costs, helping the environment and creating a better, more civic-minded community are just a few. But for one Katonah family, going green also meant being able to love the winter again.
"We live in a very old house, built in 1902," said Andy Chintz, a Katonah resident. "The house was not well insulated and in the dead of winter there were drafts and heating bills that sometimes totaled over $1000 a month." Realizing something had to be done, both for their comfort and to reduce their dependence on home heating oil, Andy and his wife Barbara sought the help of Bedford 2020 and its Energize Bedford initiative.
The Energize program was first piloted in the Town of Bedford in 2011 under the leadership of Bedford 2020, which is currently working to reduce the town's greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.
Designed to help improve efficiency and promote savings for Northern Westchester residents, Energize Bedford works with homeowners to conduct in-home energy audits. These walkthroughs are designed to pinpoint the cause of energy overconsumption and offer solutions to jumpstart savings. In the case of the Chintz family, they learned their historical home was suffering from heat loss in a few easy-to-fix areas.
"Our auditor recommended we replace our basement door, add closed cell foam around the door jamb and re-seal the windows," said Barbara. However, the family was also presented with the opportunity to make a significant change when their oil-heated boiler unexpectedly broke in the midst of the repairs.
After lengthy deliberation, they opted to upgrade to a state-of-the-art gas boiler, which, although more expensive than traditional oil offerings, promised an increase in both comfort and overall savings. "Because we’re getting such better efficiency out of our boiler, we’re able to keep the heat higher, drafts go away and it helps heat rise," said Barbara.
In addition to an increased comfort level, the Chintzes were also able to track their annual energy savings. "Bedford 2020 performed a post-analysis of what we saved after undergoing the renovations," said Andy. "The year after installing the new boiler and insulation, we used roughly 30 percent less energy and saved 50 percent in overall heating costs," he said. "We ended up saving considerable money and are continuing to save even more."
The Chintzes aren't alone in their savings. Since the Bedford pilot began more than half a decade ago, the Energize program has expanded to 14 communities throughout Westchester and saved homeowners nearly $400,000 in energy costs.
As the Chintz family enjoys time together in their warm home this holiday season, they're thankful for the benefits organizations like Bedford 2020 provide to the community. "Bedford 2020 is remarkable," said Barbara. "It makes me proud to live in Bedford."
For more information on Bedford 2020, click here.