Greening Your Home in the District

by Shilpi Paul


I live in Ward 7’s capitol view neighborhood. I wanted to share what I am doing. I am having panels installed on my house through a leasing program, which has made going solar more affordable. I’ve also taken advantage of the district’s
Energy audit program. So Ive implemented a lot of the audits recommendations.

My house was built in 2007. So the energy audit didn’t have big surprises. I did the simple tips of caulking cracks that were recommended. I also closed vents in rooms that I don’t use and keep doors closed. I have yet to implement the maintenance steps that I need to do for my appliances, heat pump, etc. I just think its a great, free service that DDOE offers to D.C. residents. They send consultant to your home that will look at every inch of your home and give you recommendations. Don’t know if VA or MD have similar programs. Since the audit, my energy costs have been reduced but that may have more to do with the warm winter and the cool spring we have had thus far.

As for the solar program, I am waiting for D.C. to approve the building permits to install the panels. I don’t know when your article is going to be published, the panels will be installed this month or in June. After installed, the panels will account for about 75% of my electricity production. Typically, a project of this size would cost out of pocket maybe 12,000 after federal incentives and DC grants. The actual cost is about $50,000. I couldn’t swing that. The solar installer with whom I am working offers a leasing program. I forego the SRECS and tax incentives and pay a one-time upfront fee of about $5500. I then lease for 20 years the panels on my home. They have a warranty. The system pays for itself in 3 years. If I sell my home, I assign the lease to the buyer and she pays nothing. There are various leasing options. Some allow for the person to still collect the SREC’s. There are pros and cons but I like it a lot. For some reason, electricity is a lot higher in D.C. than what my family and friends pay in Virginia. For me, it makes sense.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/greening_your_home_in_the_district/5540

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