Lights Out: Energy Efficiency

As with any old house, the next surprise is just around the corner.  With several to contend with, I have to believe they’re all an open door of opportunity to make some much-needed changes.  The most surprising (and expensive) was when the public utility came to investigate how half the electricity in the house went out, and discovered it’s not them…

After reviewing the options, it’s time to upgrade the house’s electrical panel, and in the meantime figure out how to do more renovation work myself to keep the controllable costs, well, under control.  Researching how to fix things right the first time might be time-consuming, but it means saving time down the road when the repair doesn’t have to be done twice.

There are many ways to keep energy costs down overall, and the EPA has some great tips.  The Healthy Home Project will include energy-efficient lighting retrofits and appliances. Since budget is a priority, most of the lighting fixtures are from Green Demolitions, which keeps gently used building supplies out of the landfill by giving them a second life and donating the store proceeds to charity. The fixtures in this house will hold LED light bulbs, which are healthier than CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights).  CFL’s contain small amounts of mercury, a known neuro-toxin.  When a lamp gets knocked over and a CFL breaks, that mercury gets released into the room and poses a health hazard. EPA has recomended cleanup instructions which any homeowner can follow.  

For now, here’s to getting the lights back on, conquering the fear of being on top of a ladder as I take on more “sweat equity,” and knowing the best opportunities are those that aren’t planned.

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