Smyrna couple goes green to cut energy costs

7 10 2008

When Jon and Brenda Gallagher decided to embark on a kitchen overhaul last year, they consulted Smyrna neighbor and energy-efficiency expert Matt Hoots, president of the Hoots Group. But for Hoots, a contractor specializing in EarthCraft homes, a remodel isn’t just about an attractive floorplan. He wanted to give the Gallaghers a “greenovation.”

“Because Matt is so knowledgeable about green building, we realized, ‘Oh, we can remodel and save some money, too?’” Brenda Gallagher recalled.

The project included new ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, new lighting, locally sourced cabinetry (cutting down on fuel use in transport, Hoots said), and paint low in volatile organic compounds. Hoots also installed programmable thermostats in three areas, allowing the Gallaghers to regulate heat and cooling in the rooms they use most. A crawlspace was draped in thick plastic, inhibiting humidity, odors and mold growth from seeping into the home. The couple plan to swap out old windows with energy-efficient models.

Products that carry the WaterSense and ENERGY STAR labels are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But you don’t have to make sweeping changes in your home to save on your energy bill, said Georgia Power spokeswoman Lynn Wallace. Cutting down on costs can be as easy as swapping out old light bulbs in favor of ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs, such as the ones found throughout the Gallagher home.

“I know in this economy people don’t have a lot of extra money, but if you spend a little upfront, you’ll save money in the longterm,” she said.

Not sure where to begin conserving energy in your home? Wallace said Georgia Power customers can request a free energy audit of their home with an ENERGY STAR expert.

Read on here.

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