Exploring Green Interiors – Energy Challenge

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exploring green interiors – Energy Challenge

I live in an historic district, Davidson County’s District 18, to be exact. We have been given a challenge, “Go Green, District 18,” to reduce our energy consumption by 5 percent by the end of 2010, therefore decreasing our carbon emissions and thus our carbon footprint. This challenge asks us to sign up for the NES In-Home Energy Evaluation. I was really excited to hear about the challenge and signed up with the initial run. NES mailed me an evaluation to fill out which asked me to identify the details of my inner home workings using a #2 pencil. I don’t know about you, but I have several #2 pencils in my home but no pencil sharpener. And the questions required going into my basement and examining my hot water heater and going outside to look at my HVAC unit.

As a busy working mom, this was enough to keep me from filling out the evaluation. The survey has been sitting on my countertop for several months patiently waiting for me to complete it and mail it in. I was also disappointed that they were going to do my “In-Home Energy Evaluation” from the survey I was to mail in. I wanted personal interaction. I was afraid that the survey would result in standard recommendations that would not inspire me to do the work and not be detailed enough for me to know what specifically my home needed.

Last week, I received an email from one of my clients saying that she was waiting on some of the items she and I were working on because she had gone with the recommendations from her Go Green evaluation.

My interest was renewed; I emailed her back, curiously asking how satisfied she was with the process and results. She responded saying it was amazing! She is living more comfortably with her thermostat 10 degrees lower. She spent more than the representative said it would cost, and is not going to get much of a tax credit, but she was very happy with the results. Her house is old, like mine. It is leaky and has single pane windows. After hearing her results, I was newly inspired to complete my survey. It was not as difficult as I had imagined—I completed it over two slices of pizza and a couple oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

Now the ball is back in their court. My friend told me that once they receive the form, a TVA-certified evaluator will meet with you, inspect your home, and report detailed recommendations. You will be given a list of approved certified contractors to do the work, members of their “Quality Contractor Network.” This in-home evaluation costs up to $150, which you are reimbursed for if the improvements you make cost more that $150. You are also reimbursed 50 percent, up to $500, for the installation costs.

Once the work is completed (within 90 days—incentive not to procrastinate!), the work will be inspected for proper installation.

Tax credits, cash incentives, and financing are available and outlined on the NES website: http://www.nespower.com/home_evaluation.html.  
There is also a list of recommendations that are not covered with cash incentives. I love a checklist! It was quick and easy to navigate. NES offers more information about community support on their website.

So, if you feel so inclined and motivated, you can start a program to challenge your community, neighborhood, street, and friends to “Go Green,” too. By 2030, the American Institute of Architects, wants to make our built environments, both new and renovated, carbon-neutral, which means not using “fossil fuel greenhouse gas-emitting energy to operate.”

I know it sounds overwhelming, but not if we start taking steps. Join me and my neighborhood in making changes in our homes: changes that affect our quality of life, our environment and our future. For more information on how you can make a difference in your home or business, take a look at the following websites: http://www.gogreendistrict18.com/index.html, http://www.nespower.com, http://www.nashville.gov/mayor/green_ribbon/index.asp, and http://www.aia.org. For links to other websites in surrounding counties visit  http//www.HouseAndHomeNashville.com.

Together, let’s Go Green!
—By Beth Haley of Beth Haley Design
Editor’s Note: Beth Haley Design, an urban interior design firm, assists clients with all phases of renovation, remodeling, new construction, and décor. Haley has won awards from the Tennessee Chapter ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). She is a member of ASID, HGTV Designers Portfolio, Home Builders Association Remodelers Council, National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and the USGBC. E-mail your questions to her at ngregg@ ngregg.com or visit

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