The election of Obama opened a new era for energies and pollution associated with it. There are around 112 millions houses in the US , and less than 1% of them are enough well insulated. A lot of saving can be made for the houses as for the buildings as Dr Lang presented to us during the lecture on green building. Fossil fuels are getting more expensive than before
First, an energy audit needs to be done on the house to see if the insulation is good, if there is any leak because of the door, the windows or the attic. This is what Tom Zeller from the New York Times did with his house :
Make a house more efficient can cost a lot of money, so priorities have to be taken. The main sources of energy consumption must be removed which consist of air sealing door, windows, attic, basement etc. A good insulation in a house can save a lot of money by reducing the consumption of heating or air-conditioning. Typically, 25% of heating or cooling is lost in nature and is not used to heat the house . in the case of Tom Zeller, just to make the insulation of windows, door, basement and attic is costing around $4,000. That's a lot of money that you will get back by a smaller heating consumption.
If you got more money, you can spend it also by creating electricity with solar panels on your roof. Some states will have some incentives as rebates, low-interest loans, state tax credits and exemptions , so it might not cost you so much to install these panels and starting to save money.
To have a really efficient house, the best is to build it this way; it is hard and maybe impossible to make a house after its construction zero-emission greenhouse gas. The conception has to be good from the beginning and especially the choice of materials to maintain a good insulation. Of course, all houses in the US cannot be destroyed and built again, but in my opinion, everybody owning a house can start reducing emissions and saving money by having a better insulation in its house.