By KAITLYN NAPLES
Since 1973, the People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) has been advocating for energy efficiency and healthy energy alternatives, while praising home owners who have taken it upon themselves to change the way they live.
On Saturday, May 3, PACE will be praising one of those families in Plainville while giving those interested a tour and seminar of this 1960s home that was retrofitted to be more energy efficient and sustainable.
“This is a very unique home,” said Judi Friedman, chairperson of PACE, because it was a retrofit of a home “that is like thousands of homes in Connecticut.”
She said newer homes are being built with energy efficiency in mind, but they can be elaborate, she said. This Plainville home is a ranch that was built in 1960, and the family insulated their attic, installed solar electric panels, a solar hot water heating system, and air-to-air source heat pumps, among many other energy-saving upgrades, Friedman added.
The Schwartz family, who owns the Plainville home, “were very brave” in the retrofit of their home, Friedman said, adding that “this is, without a doubt, such a great investment.”
Friedman said they refinanced their home so they could pay for this project, and now they can become a “net zero energy home.” Friedman added that after tax credits and rebates, and using a conservative 4 percent cost escalation, the family should see a complete recovery of their investment in seven years. “And that’s a conservative estimate,” she added.
Friedman, a Canton resident, is no stranger to energy efficiency, as she began retrofitting her 1960s-built home in 1976, starting with the addition of solar panels.
“Solar energy is free fuel, no pollution; to me it makes all the sense in the world,” Friedman said, adding she is able to get her lights, appliances, heat, “all of my electric needs,” even in the winter time.
She said it takes some research before these projects can begin, for instance, does the home have enough sunlight on a property. But she said she believes “solar energy is a solution to economical issues, health issues and peace issues.” She added there is something about solar energy that is so appealing. “It makes you aware of the time of day.”
PACE hosts about four tours each year, Friedman said, and the Plainville seminar/tour will be on Saturday, May 3 from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the home in Plainville. The public is welcome to purchase tickets to see what the family did to their home to increase their energy savings.
There will be experts on installation, heating and cooling, and financing will be available for discussion, and in addition to tours of the smart solar financing house, literature will be available and electric cars will be on display (Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, and Tesla). Visitors will also able to see the GE electric car charging station. The non-refundable tickets are $15 per person. To order tickets, go to www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on Events, indicating the choice of time for the tour/seminar. Information should include the ticketholder’s phone number, address and email address. For ticket information, call (860)623-5487. For tour information, call (860)693-4813.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver.com.
By KAITLYN NAPLES