How the Program Works:
Saving Money and Energy
- Everyone wants to save money and energy, but families and businesses in Eastern Kentucky could save more than most. The average utility rate in the region is just a little less than the national average, but the average monthly residential bill is much higher than the national average. This suggests that Kentucky homes are less energy efficient than the housing stock nationally and have greater reliance on electricity for heating, therefore have greater potential for savings.
- How$martKY takes the “whole-house” approach to energy efficiency, realizing that the various systems in a home — insulation, appliances, air-leakage, health & safety, and HVAC — interact to degrade or improve performance of the home. Rather than provide single-item incentives which may not make much difference, the utilities rely upon a whole-house energy-assessment to determine the best package of improvements.
How$martKY assessors are certified Building Analysts by the Building Performance Institute (BPI).
- While a whole-house assessment is important to identifying the most efficiency combined package of improvements, there are typical improvements from which most homes could benefit.
- Insulation | The recommended amount has increased in recent years, particularly for the ceiling and floor (if over a vented crawlspace/basement). Many older homes do not have sufficient insulation. Additionally, incorrectly installed insulation can greatly degrade its usefulness.
- Air Sealing | Everyone knows that drafts can chill a room in a hurry, but houses leak air in and out at much greater amounts than most people realize. This is measured in Air Changes per Hour (ACH), which is what percentage of all the air in your home is replaced each hour by outside air — in other words, how much of the air you pay to heat or cool is lost to the outdoors each hour. Some ventilation is necessary to prevent indoor air quality issues, but most homes leak far more than is necessary. Air sealing involves caulking around windows, doors, baseboards; foaming up plumbing and wiring penetrations to the exterior; weather-stripping doors and windows; and sealing around recessed lighting fixtures.
- Duct Sealing | Why heat or cool air if it never reaches where it is intended to go? Many HVAC systems have leaky ductwork where pieces fit together. Often-times there is no attempt at sealing and if there is, duct tape is applied. Despite its name, duct tape is not a good way to seal ductwork. For that, mastic — a rubbery compound — is the best material.
- Heat Pump Upgrades | In moderate climates, such as Kentucky, heat pumps are often the most efficient way to heat and cool a home. An existing electric furnace, space heaters and window A/Cs, or very old heat pump may need to be replaced.
Fixed Monthly Charge
- The fixed How$martKY monthly charge is a way for customers to pay for the improvements through installments rather than upfront all at once. Furthermore, the charge is calculated to never exceed the projected savings from the improvements, meaning that the customer will at least break even initially and will hedge against future rate increases.
Any rebates or other sources of funds can be used to buy down the investment by the utility, reducing the amount of the monthly charge.