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It’s Easy Being Green

From the cozy three-season porch of their charming Sandwich home, Judith and William Holt are saving money, energy and the Cape’s most enviable resource: the environment.

In Judith and William Holt’s stylish kitchen, the phrase, “A watched pot never boils” is never used. Like much of their home, efficiency is key—right down to the induction cooktop which boils a pot of water without ever igniting a flame. And, the stovetop itself stays cool to the touch throughout. While it might seem like a process that belongs in the magical pages of “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings,” there’s actually nothing mystical about it; Judith and William’s unwavering commitment to green living is to thank, with not only the wondrous induction stovetop, but also the heat pump that meant the duo never even turned on their gas heat last year, the 100 percent renewable electricity that fuels their home, and the restful nights they spend knowing that they are doing their part for the planet while, believe it or not, saving money.   

Bench swings and 270 degrees of French doors make the porch a light and airy escape.

“When we chose this house, we wanted to have a good ‘walk score,’” laughs Judith, explaining that their home is only a short stroll away from both the hustle and bustle of Sandwich and the dreamy shores of the beach. “But, beyond that, the first thing we looked at was whether or not we could make the home energy efficient.” As principal of her own interior design and architectural firm, Judith is no stranger to sustainable design; in fact, it’s a foundational principle of her company, as well as her lifestyle. 

This custom wooden kayak, built by the homeowner’s father, George, is a feature element on the living room wall.

“About 40 percent of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which is a driving force behind climate change, comes from buildings, and particularly in Massachusetts, that refers to residential buildings,” explains Judith. To elaborate, the 2017 United Nations Environment Program reported that the global buildings sector is growing at rapid, unprecedented rates. “Over the next 40 years, the world is expected to build 230 billion square metres in new construction—adding the equivalent of Paris to the planet every single week,” the U.N. surmises. For people like Judith and William Holt, this means that reducing their carbon footprint is more than just a way of life; it’s an impassioned last pass into the endzone for the world’s environment. And, it’s a pass that they hope will be caught by others around them—their friends, neighbors, and clients serving as the running backs in the fight against climate change—which is why Judith Holt Design’s main tenants are saving people money and reducing the amount of carbon put out by residential homes. 

Working with Cape Light Compact saved Judith and William an astounding 80 percent of the cost of the energy-saving updates they made, and Judith contends that this is important to note for existing homes. A no cost energy audit can show homeowners a variety of ways to save energy, money and stress.

“It’s a grave misconception that green design has to be expensive,” says Judith. “Through Cape Light Compact, we received a no cost energy audit followed by $8,800 worth of work, of which we paid only $1,500.” Together with other local providers, Cape Light Compact (CLC) is a sponsor of Mass Save, a collaborative of energy efficiency providers working to save customers both energy and money that has earned Massachusetts a ranking of number one in the country for energy efficiency (as per the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy). “Mass Save, which on Cape Cod is represented by Cape Light Compact, offers incredible incentives and rebates to take measures toward an energy efficient home,” says Judith, referring to the astounding savings she was able to achieve through working with CLC—more than 80 percent of the cost of the work completed. “Now that our remodel is complete, we save money every day by using less energy. Last year, we never even turned on our heat thanks to the heat pump we had installed by Cape Cod Heat Pumps. It’s so important to make these kind of green-focused changes to existing buildings.”



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