Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Energy 101 at CCDC

What better way to refine and BETTER my twelve-month home energy efficiency plan than by getting inspired with a community workshop given by one of my favorite people, Eric Gilchrist, the program coordinator for SPARK!! Which if you haven't heard of by now, you really are living in the dark, so to speak. SPARK! is the Charlottesville Community Design Center's initiative to help our community reduce its collective carbon footprint, increase our energy efficiency, and save some money while saving the planet!

Last week's Home Energy 101 was a wonderful primer on how to save energy and money in your home. 43% of regional carbon emissions is coming from residences. That's right. Me and you in our homes. The average person contributes 24tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere/per year/per person.

Heating and Cooling accounts for 49% of that.

So Eric recommends first you
1) collect utility bills - create a personal baseline to see how you are doing
2) Figure out your area of conditioned space
3) Plan some strategies - whether hiring a home auditor (check out under "H" for home in the Betty directory) or using a DIY version at

Now implementing some change:
*Fink the leaks and seal them tight! (around vents, windows, plumbing, fireplaces - be careful with the latter)
*Maintain - replace filters every 3 months!
*Increase insulation in attics, around your water heater! (We talked about the pros and cons of fiberglass, cellulose, denim. Ask an insulation expert, but I think we'll opt for a 12" thickness of cellulose)
*Install a programmable thermostat (My husband and I go back and forth on this one - he contends lowering and raising the thermostat takes more energy than keeping it at a consistent low temperature - we have it set at 60-62 in the winter. The choose will be made by June on my 12-month step-by-step plan) In the city, you can get up to $100 rebate!
*Replace old inefficient appliances with Energy Star appliances
*Do the little things - use CFLs, don't blow dry your hair every day of the week. Turn down the water heather thermostat to 120F degrees or the lowest setting
*Take advantage of a free water saving kit from the City or the County

Go by CCDC today and get their list of top 10 energy saving renovations and tips and start acting today! Also, check the Better World Betty events page to see when the next workshop is being held. This Wednesday at 6pm will be Home Energy Saving for Renters at CCDC.

Thanks Spark!

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