Energy Efficiency

-Why Make Your Home More Energy Efficient?
-9 Easy Things You Can Do
-Resources

Before considering renewable energy, make your home as energy efficient as possible. Homeowners can save money by installing proper insulation, air sealing, and using ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, heating and cooling equip­ment, kitchen appliances, and lighting systems. Smart use of water, avail­able daylight, proper landscaping, and native vegetation can also improve the energy efficiency of a home. A good place to start is with a home energy audit.

And did you know that DC offers free home energy audits? Click here to learn more: http://ddoe.dc.gov/ddoe/cwp/view,a,1209,q,492915.asp. You can also get tax credits for energy efficient home improvements. For more information, click here: http://ase.org/resources/energy-efficiency-home-and-vehicle-tax-credits.

Why Make Your Home More Energy Efficient?
Aside from cutting down on greenhouse gases, there are numerous rebates, tax Credits, and financing related to energy efficiency. Check out these offerings: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/financing/consumers.html and
http://www.energysavers.gov/pdfs/48148.pdf.

The best description of 2 programs offering financing for energy-saving home improvements (FHA’s PowerSaver and Fannie Mae’s energy improvement mortgage add-on) can be found at: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/business/2011/apr/30/TDBIZ04-the-nations-housing-two-loan-programs-with-ar-1006876/

9 Easy Things You Can Do
Making a few small changes in your home and yard can lead to big reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

 1.     Change 5 lights
Change a light, and you help change the world. Replace the conventional bulbs in your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the ENERGY STAR and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household in the U.S. took this one simple action we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

 2.     Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products
When buying new products, such as appliances for your home, get the features and performance you want AND help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products in more than 50 product categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.

 3.     Heat and cool smartly
Simple steps like cleaning air filters regularly and having your heating and cooling equipment tuned annually by a licensed contractor can save energy and increase comfort at home, and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When it’s time to replace your old equipment, choose a high efficiency model, and make sure it is properly sized and installed.

 4.     Seal and insulate your home
Sealing air leaks and adding more insulation to your home is a great do-it-yourself project . The biggest leaks are usually found in the attic and basement.  If you are planning to replace windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows for better performance.  Forced air ducts that run through unconditioned spaces are often big energy wasters.  Seal and insulate any ducts in attics and crawlspaces to improve the efficiency of your home.  Not sure where to begin? A home energy auditor can also help you find air leaks, areas with poor insulation, and evaluate the over-all energy efficiency of your home. By taking these steps, you can eliminate drafts, keep your home more comfortable year round, save energy that would otherwise be wasted, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 5.     Use green power
Green power is environmentally friendly electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. There are two ways to use green power: you can buy green power or you can modify your house to generate your own green power. Buying green power is easy, it offers a number of environmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, and it helps increase clean energy supply. If you are interested, there are a number of steps you can take to create a greener home , including installing solar panels and researching incentives for renewable energy in your state.

 6.     Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.

 7.     Be green in your yard
Use a push mower, which, unlike a gas or electric mower, consumes no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. If you do use a power mower, make sure it is a mulching mower to reduce grass clippings. Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that you send to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. See EPA’s GreenScapes program for tips on how to improve your lawn or garden while also benefiting the environment. Smart Landscaping can save energy, save you money and reduce your household’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 8.     Use water efficiently
Saving water around the home is simple. Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Look for products with EPA’s WaterSense label; these products save water and perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts.  There are also simple actions you can take to save water:  Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape; only water when needed and do it during the coolest  part of the day, early morning is best.  Turn the water off while shaving or brushing teeth. Do not use your toilet as a waste basket – water is wasted with each flush. And did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away. See EPA’s WaterSense site for more water saving tips.

 9.     Spread the Word
Tell family and friends that energy efficiency is good for their homes and good for the environment because it lowers greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Tell 5 people and together we can help our homes help us all.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Resources
Find detailed solutions:
http://www.energysavers.gov/

Calculate your household’s greenhouse gas emissions:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html

Online, Interactive Tools
The GreenUp DC interactive tool [http://greenup.dc.gov] provides property owners the chance to explore existing projects in their neighborhoods and around the city and to then plan their own green projects. Its interactive mapping features allow users to see existing green energy, stormwater reduction, and energy conservation projects and to immediately calculate the potential benefits of these types of conservation projects on their property.

In addition to planning retrofit projects, GreenUp DC allows users to learn more about these projects and to access lists of qualified professionals to do the work. The web tool also generates reports that allow DDOE to fulfill its legal obligations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and be transparent and responsive with up-to-date statistical reporting on green energy performance and stormwater reductions.

The GreenUp DC tool can be used to plan a project for the new RiverSmart Rain Garden and Pervious Paver Rebate program. The rebate, based on the square footage of impervious (roof or pavement) area being treated, will reimburse homeowners $1.25 for each square foot of impervious surface treated by the system up to $1,000. To learn more about the Pervious Paver Rebate, visit www.ddoe.dc.gov/riversmarthomes.

The Green Dashboard [http://greendashboard.dc.gov] offers an easy to read and engaging platform to access information on approximately 60 indicators in six categories – air quality and climate, energy and building, nature, transportation, waste and recycling, and water. The Dashboard is intended to help users to better understand the environmental impact of each indicator and see how the District compares with other jurisdictions. Users will be able to organize and analyze dashboard data by time period and various metrics and download raw data and graphic images for their use.