In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
We've started to experience some pretty chilly nights, and we all know what this means—the start of the heating season is upon us! Many Vermonters heat their homes with fuel oil, and know that this requires a storage tank that is owned by the fuel recipient, not the fuel dealer. In order to ensure that the tank is safe for the homeowner and the environment, Vermont fuel dealers are required to inspect a tank prior to the initial delivery of fuel to a new customer, and some new regulations for Vermont oil tanks are now in effect.
What’s cool during the summer, warm during the winter, and environmentally friendly throughout the year? A heat pump! Heat pumps (also referred to as ductless or cold-climate heat pumps, or mini-splits) can be an energy efficient home heating solution, depending on the layout and building envelope of your home and the heating systems you already have in place. And they double as an air conditioner in the summer. What could be better than that?
If you care about the environment, you’re probably doing what you can to preserve natural resources and reduce fossil fuel use. Maybe you’re recycling and using energy efficient lighting. Maybe you’re even sharing rides to save gas. You may buy environmentally friendly products and, if you’re really serious about how to protect the environment, invest in companies and options that are kind to the planet.
In today’s world, there are very few reasons NOT to go solar. So why go solar? Solar equipment is becoming more affordable and community solar arrays make it possible for those who rent their home, or have a site with poor sun exposure or other barriers to a solar installation, to benefit from an off-site solar array. This article will focus on 7 more reasons.
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Arrays that Power Small Communities of Like-Minded People Community solar arrays (CSA’s) are large solar installations that power small communities of homes and/or businesses. You may also hear them referred to as “farms” or “gardens.” CSA communities are not necessarily bound by geographic location. They arise through the connection of like-minded folks who want to go solar without hosting the solar infrastructure on their property. The participants in a CSA can be neighbors, or they can live many towns apart. They participate by owning or leasing a “share” of the whole array, and the economy of scale of shared equipment reduces the costs for all participants, making community solar a more affordable option.
“Transportation costs are the second biggest budget item for most families.” -from the Location Affordability Portal Save Money and Time by Locating Your Home near Your Life Location efficiency is one of many choices you can make that will result in savings of money, time, fossil fuels, and energy. The concept is simple—you locate your home within a short distance of the places you visit most often. By living close to work, shopping destinations, friends, and favorite hot spots, you spend less on gas and auto maintenance fees, waste less time in travel, and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
Is Biking Your Next Winter Sport? If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the winter landscape, here’s an idea for you – how about fat biking? Fat bikes have extra-wide tires with more aggressive tread that, when coupled with low tire pressure, grips the snow and provides cushioning for the rider. The sport is gaining “traction” in Vermont, with more and more bikers taking to the winter trails.
Energy efficiency projects can cost a lot. But they save a lot over time. The trick is to eliminate the financial impact on the front end by financing the project with a low-interest loan. If you can do that, and put your energy savings toward the loan payoff, you can experience no increase in your monthly payments. And once you pay off your loan, all your energy savings are money in the bank. How does it work? Here is how two Vermonters achieved energy efficiency without losing their shirt.