Parker County Today November 2016 - Page 51

First Things First BY RICHARD A. FLOREY Marketing Director EcoVantage Energy, inc. www./ Ready, Set, Plunge! For you homeowners who have decided to take the plunge into energy savings and are looking to add solar or battery backup or both; there’s something we at EcoVantage Solar highly recommend you do beforehand: Prepare your home for energy efficiency. A thorough energy audit of most homes reveals the need for extra attic insulation, modern efficient widows, LED lighting, a programmable thermostat, an energy efficient water heater (as much as 25% of your electric use is heating water), new door and window seals and a selfcheck on your own power consuming habits. That sounds like a lot, and it is. However, going solar is a lifestyle change, not just a power change. will be needed to cover it. The upside to reducing your usage will also reduce the number of panels needed. This step is also critical for knowing how many batteries you’ll need if you decide to go with a backup system as well. A total win, win. Aesthetically More Pleasing Now think about this; with today’s 300+ watt solar panels and a reduced load, there will be fewer panels on your roof. That will please your HOA, as that can be a sticky situation with them. In Texas, an HOA cannot stand in your way if you want to add solar, but they may have a say in how it looks aesthetically. Not Just Lowering Costs. The purpose of going with LED lights, better insulation and all this, is not about lowering your overall electric bill, which it would, it’s about lowering the overall wattage load in the house so that your solar system can cover it. The point of which is why many people chose to go solar in the first place; nullifying their evening electrical use, otherwise known as Net Zero. PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY When a customer calls up and wants to get an estimate on solar, the first thing we do is look at their bill to see what are their peak months are and get an overall idea of how much solar Just for grins, take a wattage survey of your home of just the lighting. Seeing how much you could save using a 20 watt LED bulb vs a 100 watt regular bulb down on paper is very eye opening and motivating. It’s true that doing all this prep work can be initially expensive, but you know how to budget and get it done, right? Besides, how does one eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time. NOVEMBER 2016 Eating the Elephant 49