The recent brutal cold spell will be recognized by most people more in the cost of heating bills than as part the bigger disruption of weather patterns caused by climate change. Homes and other existing structures are a significant source of energy use and studies show responsible for more than 45 percent of green house gases contributing to climate change.

While there are existing federal and state incentives for energy conservation retrofits, these incentives are often unavailable for use because homeowners and small businesses often lack the capital and ability to use the offered tax incentive. Identifying knowledgeable contractors willing to retrofit older homes can also be an impediment.

A federal or state energy conservation incentive program aimed at contractors that gives them the ability to cost share materials, labor would make the upgrades for home or small business owners more affordable. A contractor would be in the position to take tax breaks or refunds in return for the cut in cost to the homeowner/small business. Such a fund would encourage a specialized hot market for energy retrofit. An energy conservation incentive program could require a license that would put the contractor on a special list of qualified businesses available to retrofit their specialty of storm windows, insulation, efficient heating etc. and as a check on inappropriate use of incentives or unscrupulous work.

Climate change is not going away and it will take every effort to cut our carbon footprint now to slow the change. We need creative incentives and to market them to encourage energy conservation in homes and businesses.

Ruth Cutler lives in Ashford.

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5 Comments

  1. “federal or state energy conservation incentive program”
    “energy conservation incentive program”
    “require a license”
    “creative incentives and to market them”

    Wonderful thoughts and I’m all for conserving energy, but these things all come with a cost that we all will have to endure. The best incentives are those that offer an attractive profit to the providers and no burden on those of us who pay taxes.

    1. Solar cutting global warming benefits us all, so subsidies are justified. What is unjustified is not charging fossil the fuel industry and users for the external costs we all pay for their deeds.

  2. In terms of government involvement in a timely effort to transition to green-energy independence and the necessary reversal of the man-made contribution to global warming: Can it be denied that the government-initiated, government-directed, government funded effort to accomplish space travel and our moon landing — with the tremendous impetus it provided for scientific/technological discovery — was the sine qua non from which our current IT/electronic age, and the modern economy were born?!

  3. When it comes to “climate change” think China – world’s largest CO2 producer. When it comes to making CT more livable “think jobs”. And that’s not going to happen without major reductions in our CT State budget, State taxes and local property taxes. Jobs before CO2. Now and forever.

  4. Can someone tell me what the total ‘carbon footprint’ for putting PV panels on someone’s rooftop or backyard?

    TOTAL footprint from:
    – panel manufacture to
    – manufacturing all the components that go into a functioning system to
    – manufacturing all that is required for a complete installation?
    – transportation of all of the above to the site where it will be installed?

    Inquiring minds need to know these things in order to have some assurance that it WILL reduce the total carbon footprint.

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