Kathryn McKenzie, Living Green: Improving the energy efficiency of your home

May 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Jay Gentry is a man with a mission: raising community awareness about the importance of making our homes more energy efficient, and then helping homeowners take advantage of the opportunity.

Gentry, a Carmel resident and the Central Coast regional director for the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project, is taking his message to groups of residents throughout the region.

He’s working with homeowners to evaluate opportunities within their homes to save money — and, at the same time, help the community and the Earth.

Gentry is also reaching out to Realtors by organizing workshops that will be sponsored by Build It Green. The sessions will help them better understand green homes and how that increased understanding can provide value to their clients.

Gentry has been consulting in the corporate world for 30-plus years, and in 2008 became involved in the home performance industry. He said he realized that “making our buildings more energy efficient is by far the biggest lever that we have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the associated environmental impacts.”

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 40 percent of our carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases come from the energy used in our buildings — and much of that energy is simply wasted.

In 2012, Gentry learned about the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project, a successful program that began when the Southern California city of Claremont committed itself to reducing energy use by encouraging home retrofits. He decided to work toward bringing that program to the Central Coast.

Why do homes need retrofitting? According to Gentry, “Most homes are leaky. In a 10 or 15 mph wind, a typical home will exchange the entire volume of air inside several times an hour. That is why the heater is always running, the home seems drafty and allergies are heightened.”

Also, Gentry says, “Ducting for a forced-air furnace typically leaks 30 percent or more, and is often drawing replacement air from the crawlspace or attic — not the source you want for the air you breathe.”

These are just some of the factors that Gentry and local building science professionals examine and quantify during their home energy assessments. Homeowners who want to improve their energy efficiency, comfort or indoor air quality can arrange for Gentry to do a free in-home consultation, walk-through and review of your PGE bill.

If the results of the consultation indicate a more thorough assessment would be worthwhile, the homeowner may choose to have a trained building science professional give a tailored assessment and recommendations.

If the homeowner wants to go forward from there, either Gentry or the building science professional can recommend a qualified contractor to do the work. The building science professional can also provide the necessary documentation and certifications for rebates and other incentives.

Gentry is happy to meet with anyone or any group that wants to learn more about improving homes’ energy efficiency. He can be contacted at 831-626-1340 or jaygentry@cherp.net.

Do you have questions or tips about sustainable living? Send them to Aromas resident Kathryn McKenzie at pardonmygarden@att.net.

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