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Stephen and Deb Bond bought their Florence home in 2003 with intentions of flipping the single level ranch for a profit. But the house needed a substantial amount of work before it could be relisted—the yard was overgrown, the windows were drafty and the house was almost completely uninsulated.
The couple began working on the property. They cleared the weeds and planted flowers and gardens in tidy square plots. They built a small deck and replaced the windows. Over time, the Bonds began feeling comfortable calling the house a home so they decided to retire there.
Stephen was interested in learning how the house lived. On windy days, he searched for drafty spots in the basement, filling the foundation with insulating foam anytime he found a leak. He spent a month checking the power usage of every item in his home, from table-side lamps to the refrigerator.
“You’re either involved in learning about your home and how to make it more efficient or you’re involved in paying for it.”
“If you spend time learning about your home and how to cut down on your usage, you pay for that one time, if you don’t learn about your home and how to reduce your usage, you pay for it everyday. What’s easier?” he asked.
Despite all the work Stephen put into the house, the energy bill was still to high. The all electric home was expensive to heat and cool. The hot water tank was inefficient and the attic still needed insulating. When energy rates went up last February, the couple knew that they had to make a change.
“We called a oil company to have oil installed and we never got a call back. Then we called a gas company and they said we couldn’t have gas installed because of a moratorium on new residential gas. We thought we were stuck but then we found you guys.”
Stephen called Northeast Solar after paying over 16 cents per kWh.
“Our electric bill was running around $400 dollars every month. We couldn’t keep playing this game, if we were going to retire here, we needed another card up our sleeve,” Stephen said. “It was either that or move and we didn’t want to move so we gave Zach at Northeast Solar a call and listened to the information and it was really a no brainer.”
Stephen said that he had always thought about solar, but it wasn’t a realistic option for him in the 70’s and 80’s.
“I’ve always been interested in it since the 1970’s when it first came out. But then it was all concept on paper, the technology hadn’t caught up yet. You’d see solar in Popular Science and everyone thought it was a great idea but nobody was behind you with tax incentives and it just wasn’t were it’s at today,” Stephen said.
The Bonds had a photovoltaic system installed on their garage roof. They just celebrated the activation of their system in June and they’re already seeing the results.
“I’ve been looking at how many kWh we’ve been making and this weekend we created all the energy we needed. We did laundry, ran two window air conditioners, used the hot water heater and ran the lights and we still broke even,” Stephen said.
The Bonds still have projects on their to-do list. They plan on replacing the hot water heater and purchasing a new energy efficient refrigerator in the near future with the goal of reducing their energy bill even more.
“My goal is to have a $50 dollar electric bill, and I’ll do it!” Stephen said.