Somehow in the scheme of personal economic priorities, retrofitting your home with a "smart" new set of energy-efficient appliances or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems probably isn't at the top of your list.
While intellectually those retrofits might help save you up to 30 percent off your energy bills, it's hard to know exactly which resources are the best ones or how much you should be expecting to pay up front.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is keen to encourage those retrofits, however, for more reasons than one. Addressing the energy efficiency of the average middle class home could have a profound impact on power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates the consumption can be cut by up to 40 percent per home, while could cut home energy bills by $21 billion annually in aggregate. Retrofits could also be a source of new jobs.
That's why the agency has just released a new report called "Recovery Through Retrofit." The document details elements of the "Home Performance with Energy Star" program, which offers recommendations for addressing energy efficiency through your household. It suggests ways homeowners can evaluate their retrofit options, highlights certain communities that could provide proofpoints or examples, and offers ideas about how to fund the upfront cost of retrofits. The EPA also seeks to establish certifications and standards for those handing retrofit projects, so that homeowners have a better idea of what they can expect when they hire someone.