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Best of Arlington 2017

AIRE’s Energy Lending Library

Best Home Energy Saver

Photo by Adam Segel-Moss

Adam Segel-Moss is used to fielding panicked phone calls. “People will say, ‘I just bought a home and the utility bill is $800!’ I think people assume because they have a new home it’s efficient, or that a small home will have low utility bills,” says the outreach specialist for the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE). But that isn’t always the case.

If you’re looking to lower your heating bills this winter or reduce your electrical consumption once A/C season kicks in, the first step may be to pinpoint your home’s leaky spots where conditioned air is escaping and outside air is getting in. And AIRE has come up with a handy set of free tools to help you do just that.

Through its new Energy Lending Library, anyone with a library card can check out energy-saving tools from the Arlington Public Library. The most popular items are 11 thermal imaging cameras that can connect to your phone and detect hot and cold spots where breaches are occurring. (Once identified, these drafty areas can be remediated with products like spray-foam insulation.) Also in the collection: electricity usage monitors to help identify power-hogging devices, a box of LED lightbulbs that you can try out in place of conventional incandescent bulbs, and an array of books with other DIY solutions to home energy problems.

—Laurie McClellan