Photo: Daniel Portnoy
Homeowner finds going green will pay for itself - eventually
A 40-year-old, 4,000-sq.-ft. ranch-style home in the Miami area can cost a lot of money to cool.
Steven Dan was frustrated by the $500 monthly utility bills during the summertime. So he checked out the insulation in his attic — old, blown-in fiberglass. A neighbor suggested he look into icynene, a spray foam insulation that would better protect his home from the summer sun.
He found a south Florida company called ThermaSeal that sold icynene but was deterred from proceeding with the project by the $10,000 cost, which he would have had to pay upfront.
Later, ThermaSeal called him pitching a new program called PACE run by the Ygrene Energy Fund. “I didn’t get it at first,” Dan says, but became enamored of the idea when he understood how the program worked. One attractive feature: He wouldn’t have to make the first payment until his property tax bill is due.
“This seemed to me to be a very trouble-free way of doing it,” Dan says. “I didn’t have to go through the bank process of getting all my tax returns and getting an appraisal. It felt like a lot less hassle.”
After submitting the paperwork through Ygrene, ThermaSeal installed the icynene in his attic in July. He won’t pay the first $3,500 assessment of his five-year term until 2014. He ended up financing $15,000 due to the expense of removing old insulation and financing costs.
Meanwhile, his first post-icynene utility bill was $380 vs. the typical $500-plus his bills usually are in the summer. But that could be because he was on vacation some of that time. “I can’t wait to start charting this over time,” he says. “I’m expecting a minimum of $100-per-month savings.” Still, Dan says it could be as long as nine years before he breaks even.