Malcarne Blog

Do Energy Improvements Really Work?

Jan 3, 2014 | Energy-Smart

It’s a new year, which means a fresh start and new goals and resolutions to keep. But while losing weight, eating right or planning that much-needed getaway may be near the top of your list, it may also be time to put your energy bills on a diet. Don’t touch that thermostat: Energy-efficient improvements by Malcarne Contracting can transform your home, lowering your energy costs while keeping you comfortable at the same time.

When the means to implement energy-improvement measures began in the early 2000s, it wasn’t popular: With oil prices around $1 a gallon, heating your home with traditional sources wasn’t that expensive. These days, though, with oil skyrocketing close to $4 a gallon, and in some places more, even skeptics may consider an energy-efficient option.

Still, while a lot of people are interested in energy improvements, many have the same question: Does this stuff really work? With our free energy audit, the experts at Malcarne invite you to experience first-hand just how much these improvements change the feel of your home and make a difference in your bills.
And yet, don’t only take our word for it: We are lucky to have many amazing clients whose homes are proof that energy-efficient upgrades make both environmental and financial sense.

Stephen Mac Nish, Pleasant Valley: Solar
As a retired energy engineer with a background in energy law and 30 years of experience working with energy efficiency programs and utility rate regulation, Stephen Mac Nish knew how important talking to Joseph Malcarne would be in 2010. The first challenge Joseph gave him? Cut the home’s annual energy use – before even attempting any solar upgrades.

“Among other things, we discovered that the whole house fan that we had put in a number of years earlier to be used in the summer as an alternative to air conditioning actually used more energy than our recently installed new air conditioner,” Stephen said. “We replaced the fan with a new unit that provided the same comfort level while using between 70 and 140 watts.” When they were ready to install the solar PV system in 2012, the Mac Nishes had already reduced their annual usage on their 1973 total-electric home by 4,000 kWh.

And the financial savings kept growing: Of the total $40,000 cost of the system, $23,000 was covered by a NYSERDA grant and State and Federal tax credits, while their monthly electric bill shrank from $135 to $60. “While that looks like a payback that approaches 20 years, consider that the unit price of electricity in our area has increased by almost 50 percent over the last seven years,” said Stephen.

Plus, the Mac Nishes got a little bit more than they bargained for, even on top of the savings: “Our [solar] system is a bit unusual in that it is a ground mount system rather than the more prevalent roof mounted arrays,” he said. “The thing that most impressed the various inspectors who came out to certify the installation was the elegance of the assembled array structure.”

Brian Binetti, Stanfordville: Insulation & Energy-Efficient Upgrades
For Brian Binetti, going energy-efficient came as a kind of happy accident: “I thought I needed a new furnace, and I was looking to go solar thermal,” he said. “That led me to having an energy audit of my home. I discovered the NYSERDA on-bill recovery program through Malcarne, which made a lot of the energy upgrades I wanted to do very affordable and easy.”

This past September, Brian’s home was transformed after Malcarne sealed the basement with foam insulation; sealed doors, windows and sources of air leaks; changed lights over to energy-reducing LEDs; and converted showerheads and faucets to low-flow, energy-saving alternatives.
“I can noticeably feel that the house is retaining the heat better as it gets colder,” Brian said. “I’ve already noticed that my electric bills have gone down equal to or more than the cost of the monthly payment. I’m definitely using less oil.”
Plus, he said, Malcarne’s team of experts, who assess the energy usage of your house and recommend upgrades accordingly, is what sets the company apart: “I worked with Mike at Malcarne, who’s a great guy,” said Brian. “He explains everything well, and the list of upgrades is clear without hidden costs. The on-bill recovery requires nothing out of pocket, so I was able to do most of the energy upgrades I wanted without feeling the sting of the overall cost.”

Sandra Orr & James Rangitsch, Poughkeepsie: Insulation & Solar
For Sandra Orr and James Rangitsch, both saving money on energy bills and using renewable energy resources were key when they chose Malcarne Contracting to tackle their home’s energy challenges. In April of 2007, the couple’s basement was insulated after Malcarne completed an energy audit on their home. Then, two years ago, Malcarne insulated and air-sealed their attic, improved the structural requirements in their attic by installing a weight-bearing beam, added solar panels for electric and hot water, and upgraded electric service to include a connection to a back-up generator.

Since then, they’ve seen substantial saving on their energy bill – while their home’s value has only gone up. Said Sandra, “we believe it is smart to invest in solar energy for not only the monetary benefits and increase in real estate value, but for the infinite resource of energy that the sun can provide, even in the winter when it is lowest on the horizon.”