When considering a switch to cleaner energy sources, the first step is to invest in improving the energy efficiency of your home or business. Regardless of whether you are renovating your home or business, thinking of installing renewable energy systems, or just trying to improve comfort and lower energy bills, reducing usage is the clear first step. After all, the cleanest, cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one you never use!
Invest in Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Explore the following DIY guides to conservation and energy efficiency to assess your current energy usage, and note low- to no-cost changes you can implement right away.
- 100+ Ways to Conserve Resources
- Lowering Your Electric Bill
- Home Energy Checklist
- DIY Energy Audit
- Housing & Energy
- Home Energy DIY Guides
- Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit
Planning efficiency upgrades for a school, business or place of worship? Check out these helpful guides explaining where to start:
A home energy audit by a qualified professional is the best way to identify problems with your home's energy performance and create a list of improvements that will provide the greatest return on investment.
If you live in the High Country region of North Carolina, check the Appalachian Energy Center's Energy Extension Services portion of our website. We may be able to assist while providing an experiential learning opportunity for college students!
Want to learn more about the assessments and services provided through an energy audit?
- Dept. of Energy - Living Comfortably: A Consumer's Guide to Home Energy Upgrades
Guide to choosing a home energy contractor or auditor and list of questions to ask
- Energy Saver 101 - Home Energy Audits
Infographic explaining some of the science behind building performance as well as tests an energy auditor may perform
- Green Tune-Up and Remodel ROI Charts
Return-on-investment charts calculate the payback of energy saving measures
Explore the following resources to find a qualified energy specialist near you:
- RESNET - Find a Contractor Near You
Database of home energy professionals within the Residential Energy Services Network
- NABCEP - Associate Directory
Directory of NABCEP-certified energy professionals
North Carolina Resources:
- N.C. Building Performance Association
Directory of NCBPA-associated installers, contractors, auditors, nonprofits and consultants for a variety of building performance needs
- Green Built Alliance
Directory of energy and green building professionals serving western North Carolina
Western North Carolina and East Tennessee Resources:
- Blue Ridge Energy - Contractor List
List of energy efficiency professionals serving the High Country of North Carolina
- Tennessee Valley Authority - Quality Contractor Network
List of contractors who are trained and approved to take part in TVA's EnergyRight® program
Despite providing a strong return-on-investment, many home energy upgrades come with a significant up-front cost. Check out the following links to explore financing, as well as rebates and incentives for which you may qualify:
- ElecTel Credit Union - Energy Efficient Loans
- DSIRE Incentive Database: NC, Energy Efficiency, Residential
- DSIRE Incentive Database: NC, Energy Efficiency, Non-Residential
Boone and the High Country:
Rural and Agricultural Resources:
Are the weatherization, efficiency or energy cost-reduction measures you need still beyond your ability to finance? Or maybe you simply aren't sure if investing in an energy audit and retrofit is right for you? Check out these local and state services that are designed to support low-income households, as well as funding opportunities for business owners, homeowners and renters who are on the fence about energy efficiency upgrades.
- W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Inc. - WAP
- Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission - WAP
- Blue Ridge Community Action - WAP
- Duke Energy Helping Home Fund
- Energy Savers Network
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
Find WAP assistance for residents outside of Western N.C.
- Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Business, Agricultural and Other Selected Resources: