Posts filed under ‘Watts Hospital-Hillandale’
We love hearing when neighbors have done household projects to decrease their utility bills. Here is a recent email that Gary in Watts Hospital-Hillandale sent to his neighbors.
I just wanted to pass this on. I recently had to replace an obviously leaking toilet and found out that the City offers some real incentives to do so. First is the $100 credit towards the new toilet. The new toilet has to be a brand and model that is: (a) a high-efficiency toilet (1.28 gallons per flush or less, a.k.a. ‘HET’), and (b) on the list that Durham City keeps of qualifying toilets. It’s real—as I purchased a qualifying model at Home Depot that cost me $117, netting me only a $17.00 replacement cost. In addition, since my old toilet was leaky and it led to a higher than normal water bill, the City retroactively refunded a portion of my water bill. All I had to do was demonstrate that I replaced a leaky toilet and they verified that next month’s bill went down considerably—in my case it was an almost $100 refund!
You do have to keep track of your receipt for the qualifying new toilet and fill out the forms (I think they can only be done by hand) and personally take them down to City Hall, but it was certainly worth it for me.
Leaky toilets are often times hard to detect. According to a site I was reading recently, leaks account for over 13% of daily water usage in this country. Also, replacing a toilet is a pretty easy to do plumbing task—and you should always know what is going on underneath your toilet. The City’s site has instructions for replacement and of course there is YouTube for instructional videos. You can contact the City at 919-560-4381 or visit the website here or here.
Check out this recent email we got from a neighbor in Durham:
My house is all-electric, so a gas tank or tankless water heater approach was not an option. And my roof doesn’t get enough sun to go the solar route. What I ended up with is a retrofit heat pump water heater. I bought an Airgenerate AirTap heat pump unit from Lowe’s. The unit is fitted to an existing hot water tank. You can use the electric or gas heater for the tank as backup, or turn it off completely and rely only on the AirTap only. I went the retrofit route, rather than a standard heat pump or hybrid heat pump unit because it had to go in my crawl space and most standard units are too tall—so I side-mounted the AirTap to a low boy water heater.
It’s working great so far, in that I haven’t had any problems and have had enough hot water (with the tank turned off). Airgenerate claims the AirTap is better than gas and as good as solar (but cheaper than solar to install).
I haven’t done it yet, but the cool, dehumidified air it produces can be redirected to the air conditioning duct work to help out the air conditioning. For the same reason, you do not want the unit in a conditioned part of the house unless the cool air can be vented to outside during the heating season.
Thanks Judy, we love getting feedback from neighbors that can benefit the whole community! If you have questions or want to be connected to Judy contact us at Clean Energy Durham or call 919-323-3244.
Listen to what a neighbor had to say about a workshop in Watts-Hospital Hillandale recently:
I wanted to share some of the home energy-saving tips I learned at the DIY Energy-Saving workshop at Liz Sappenfield’s home. We talked about how energy is lost in the home with simple, easy-to-understand explanations, and then made actual repairs around Liz’s home. It was a great way to learn how to limit waste!
Proper insulation in the attic is one of the biggest ways to save energy in the home, but we also learned that one large source of energy waste comes from air leaking in and out of the house through cracks in the wall and around windows, doors, and access to the attic. We also learned that one very easy in-home fix is purchasing a programmable thermostat, which will control the temperature of your home automatically to save energy.
Thanks to the volunteers, to Liz for being a generous host, and to everyone that came to provide their own energy-saving tips.
- Doug Garrison, Hands-On Workshop Attendee
On a recent Saturday in August, Durham bike owners got a helping hand with free bike tune-ups and advice. While tuning-up bikes, neighbors got a chance to catch up with each other on summer happenings, and children played together in the park.
A big thank you to everyone who showed up at Oval Park. One or two bikes were even miraculously revived from the dead! An even bigger thank you goes out to the fantastic volunteers who put together their tools, time, energy, and even wit to make this a successful event.
Interested in promoting biking in your neighborhood through this kind of event? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your family’s bikes need a tune-up before school starts, this is the time. Bicycle Transportation Trainer, Teddy Salazar, will be at your service to help make your rides smooth and safe. Speaking of ‘smooth,’ there will be free smoothies to anyone who hops on and blend it themselves with our fabulous bike blenders!
Hope to see you at Oval Park, August 20th 10am-12pm!
Teddy is one of the new Bicycle Transportation Trainers for Watts Hospital-Hillandale. Like many Durham residents, Teddy enjoys leisurely solo rides down our region’s scenic roads, but when he is riding in the neighborhood, you are just as likely to spot Teddy riding with his family as by himself. He and his wife transport their kids to and from E.K. Powe Elementary School by bicycle daily. As a result, their young children are already accomplished bicycle riders.
Teddy was one of the parents at an E.K. Powe Bike/Walk to School day, where parents where noting that the school’s bike racks were all full to the brim. The bicycle is a great option for many of Durham’s families who live a bit out of comfortable walking range from their district school.
When gearing up your family for bicycling around town, Teddy has a few simple tips:
- Use the neighborhood listserv. Teddy jests that the Watts Hospital-Hillandale listserv is similar to the room of requirement from Harry Potter, and thus a great place to find and pass along children’s bicycles.
- If you buy a bike, neutral colors are best. It will be easier to pass along.
- Kids bikes don’t need fancy suspension shocks or 21 speeds. A good quality basic bike will do the trick.
If your kids are students at E.K. Powe, keep an eye out for Teddy, as he is planning on starting a bike club at the school. So if you want your kids to know how to signal turns and fix their own flat tires, sign them up.
To be connected with Teddy, contact email@example.com.
Phil Lehman is energy conscious and is well-informed about the environmental impacts of driving. However, until recently, he drove daily from his Durham neighborhood to work in downtown Raleigh.
He has been making the same commute for years, and years… and years. After so many years of traveling by car, it would not have been surprising if Phil had kept on driving even as traffic and gas prices increased. Instead, he took the first step towards a new approach to commuting by getting the bus pass he qualified for as a state employee. He planned to try the bus soon. But soon turned into later, and a perception of the bus as slow an unreliable kept him firmly seated in his car.
Then a friend, fellow Watts Hospital-Hillandale resident and bus commuter Jean Cary, vouched for the bus to Raleigh and suggested they ride in to work together. The bus far exceeded his expectations and quickly dispelled his previous perception of what commuting by bus would be like. Rather than an onerous task for the carless or über-green, riding Triangle Transit replaced the hassles of driving and provided time for some light non-fiction reading on why our economy collapsed.
Flexibility can still be a challenge. Phil now appreciates that the bus forces him to keep a tight schedule, but he still commutes by car a couple of times a week, when his schedule does not fit nicely with that of the Durham-Raleigh Express. So what does choosing the bus three days a week mean over the course of a single year for Phil?
- 7,500 fewer miles of wear and tear on his car
- 2 fewer oil changes
- 250 gallons of gas saved
And the cost? Nothing! Plus he gets extra reading time.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with Phil or to learn more about your commuting options.
Jean lives on Club Boulevard and for almost 20 years commuted 50 miles each way from her home in Durham to her job at Campbell Law School in Buies Creek, spending at least 2.5 hours a day driving. Naturally, she was delighted when Campbell Law School moved to downtown Raleigh – much closer to home. Jean could have reveled in her shortened commute and approached her new drive with the positive outlook of less time spent in the car and less money spent on gas. However, instead of being satisfied with these clear improvements to her commute, Jean chose to upgrade her commute further, based on the suggestion of several acquaintances to give Triangle Transit a try. Now, on the bus, Jean doesn’t spend her commute to work behind the wheel, and she doesn’t have to stop on the way to fill up her gas tank. Her ride is especially speedy thanks to Triangle Transit’s Durham-Raleigh Express (DRX).
Jean’s own words speak for themselves: “I love the bus. I can read the newspaper. I can read a book. Sometimes I get there and I do not even know what has gone on the previous half an hour because I have been reading.” Not only is the actual ride pleasant, but the bus has also been very reliable. Jean recalls, “the only time the bus has been delayed is because of traffic and I am just delighted to not cope with the traffic as a driver.”
Jean has shared her enthusiasm with other Watts-Hospital Hillandale neighbors. “I talked it up with Phil Lehman and now he is a regular rider.” She also has a student just a few blocks down from her whom she regularly picks up take to Durham Station, where they catch the express bus together.
She still thinks about how often she used to have to get oil changes and fill up the car with gas. “Now I go a few weeks before I fill up,” Jean remarked.
If you would like to speak with Jean about taking the bus, contact email@example.com to be connected.
Our Clean Energy Durham neighborhood workshop was so fun and so informative! I was excited about the workshop going into it but a little worried that it might be informative but boring and not much fun. The workshop was incredibly informative and also so fun! The presentation was incredibly interesting and engaging. I’ve been quoting what I learned about household energy use with friends and family ever since. The projects we did were easy and fun. My favorite was cleaning the dust and dirt out from under our refrigerator. Our trainer Dave said that it would make our fridge so much more efficient that we’d have to lower the temperature setting. I was amazed and impressed that the next night we found that our milk was frozen, and we have already lowered the temperature setting. The learning was fun and interesting, but maybe the coolest part was meeting and connecting with new neighbors. My neighbors are so cool, and I am excited to know them better and to see them at the next workshop. I loved the workshop and can’t wait for the next two! Thank you Clean Energy Durham!
Paul Feldblum has been working in RTP for 30 years and commuting from the Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood. Through his younger years he drove his car most days, but about once a week, on a nice day, he would venture out with his bicycle for the 10 mile commute. As age started catching up with him, commuting both ways by bicycle started putting strain on his legs.
Then, about three years ago, a friend pointed out he was eligible for a TTA pass. After getting his TTA pass, he hasn’t looked back. Now he bicycles from home to Durham Station and puts his bike on the bus, which drops him off a bike-able 1.5 miles from work (visit gotriangle.org to find your best route). “The bus has always been there and departed within three minutes of scheduled time,” Paul said, attesting to the bus’ reliability. He added that, since this summer, all the buses he rides are new and have sturdier bicycle racks.
Paul does not worry about the bike rack on the bus being full, because as he recalled, “Only two times in my three years was the bicycle rack full.” On these rare occasions, he has a back up plan: ride to work.
There are many reasons Paul chooses to travel to work and around Durham by bicycle. Referring to the quality of life, fitness, economic, and environmental benefits, Paul says, “It is not a win-win situation, it is a win-win-win-win situation.” “But perhaps most of all,” he points out, “being on a bike makes me feel like a kid. I love it!”
Paul does what he can to share his love of bicycles with others in the neighborhood. One way he has done this is to lend out a spare bicycle at various times to neighborhood youth who need bicycle transportation. Paul is thankful to the friends and colleagues who pointed him toward the buses and taught him how to bike in cold weather. If you are curious about commuting by bike or bus, Paul is happy to pass on tips to any other neighbors in Watts Hospital-Hillandale.
To talk with Paul, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will connect you.