Rethinking energy: carbon neutral at home


As the world goes through an unprecedented climate crisis, many of us wonder what we can do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint. An important step can start right at home.

In Arlington, residential buildings represent 23% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce this is to make homes “net zero” energy – capable of producing as much energy in a year as they consume. This is done through heat pumps, a super tight barrier between inside and outside, insulation above codes, energy efficient windows, lighting, appliances and solar power.

If you are looking to replace appliances, heating systems, build a new home, renovate, or add another level to your home, consider these seven elements to guide your home toward carbon neutrality:

  1. Take advantage of Arlington’s free admission Green Home Choice Program. This points-based program can guide you through decision-making to ensure you make the most impactful choices. On average, a Green Home Choice home uses 50% less energy than Arlington homes of the same size and can save between $ 600 and $ 1,600 per year on utility bills.
  2. Select a architect and or builder experienced in zero or near zero energy construction.
  3. Consider using only electrically powered equipment when you need to replace items (eg, stove, dryer, water heater, or furnace).
  4. Insulate and air seal as you build or renovate. Air leaks and anemic insulation are hallmarks of Arlington’s aging housing. A renovation gives you the opportunity to make significant improvements in terms of comfort and energy efficiency.
  5. Upgrade your electrical panel and install a circuit sized to electric vehicle (EV) charging and other electrical devices. Electric vehicles are arriving faster than expected. If you are doing electrical work on your home or renovating, take this step now. Installing the EV charging later can be more expensive and complicated without an upgraded panel.
  6. Filter your roof for solar potential and install it if your roof is suitable. Arlington Solar Cooperative will start again in spring 2022 and may help. Thank you to the 300+ Arlington families who joined this year.
    Mark your calendar for November 4th for EcoAction Arlington Virtual Event Achieving Carbon Neutrality at Home.

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