Posts filed under ‘Energy Tips’
Duke Energy provides up to $450 in rebates to North Carolina customers through their Smart $aver® Incentive Program who insulate and seal their homes using a contractor on the participating contractor list. Visit Duke Energy’s website or call 866-785-6209 for more information.
Air sealing is one of the most cost-effective energy efficiency improvements you can to your home—decreasing energy costs and improving comfort!
Attic Insulation & Air Sealing $250
Duct Sealing $100
Duct Insulation $75
Check out these other Smart $aver® Incentive Programs.
Now that the New Year is well under way, why not take a moment to think about making some real changes to your energy habits this year. Consider attending a 1-hr Basic Energy Eduction Workshop or a 90-minute Hands-On Workshop to learn do-it-yourself projects to save energy and money. Contact us for more information about workshops in Durham, NC; Wilson, NC; Siler City, NC; or Warren County, NC at email@example.com.
The first weekend of November once again brings us the annual tax holiday on certain Energy Star Qualified products. During Friday-Sunday, November 2-4, these products will be exempt from both state and local sales taxes:
- Clothes washers;
- Freezers & refrigerators;
- Central air conditioners & room air conditioners;
- Air-source heat pumps;
- Ceiling fans;
- Dehumidifiers; and
- Programmable thermostats.
This list is all-inclusive. For more details.
Now that the oppressive heat and humidity of mid-summer are upon us, we need to find ways to stay comfortable yet not pay a fortune on cooling. There are two basic ways to save, 1) turn up your thermostat to 78°F or higher most of the time, and 2) stay out of the house and raise the thermostat or turn off the air conditioning altogether (this applies to window units as well)!
Here are some things I do during the hottest part of the day (around 1-5pm)…
- I take myself…I mean the kids…to the pool—we could spend hours and hours there!
- I go shopping (or better yet, window shopping)—if a grocery store, indoor shopping mall, shop, or restaurant is already going to be cooled, I figure I might as well take advantage of that cool air rather than cool my home! Eating out avoids the hot oven or stove from heating your house up further.
- I go to work—going to work AND turning up the thermostat or turning the air conditioning off altogether can save significantly on cooling costs.
- I go to the library—public libraries are a great replacement for the home office on hot days. The library will already be cool, so I might as well enjoy it along with energy savings by turning off my air conditioning at home.
- I go to museums—there are several in the Triangle, Duke Homestead in Durham is free, and at least two in Raleigh are free (NC Museum of Natural Sciences and NC Museum of History)!
Does the 100°+ heat have you down? Are you dreading those summer electric bills? Well here are some great tips on how to save energy.
- When you are away at work or out of the house turn up your thermostat to 78° or more to save.
- Better yet, install a programmable thermostat AND program it to adjust up and down as needed.
- Use fans to cool your body, but remember fans cool people not rooms, so turn them off when you leave a room.
- Close binds/shades on the south and west-facing sides of your home.
- Cook outside on a grill and avoid cooking with the hot oven or cook top.
- Get out of the house! Hot days are a great time to go swimming. Do indoor activities such as going to a museum, to a movie, grocery shopping, or to a shopping center.
Now, tell us some energy-saving actions and activities you do in the summer to save money and beat the heat!
The thought of installing and maintaining solar panels is one that can frighten or may be under the radar of many homeowners. Not for John and Hildy Lindsey, who live in American Village. After always wanting to generate her own power, promote clean energy, and save energy, Hildy told us that they began installing the on-roof solar panels in January of this year and were finished less than a week later. Even after installing only a couple of panels, the couple was saving significantly on their energy bill, which is now totaling only $48. Not only can homeowners save energy, save money, and lower their carbon footprint, but many people don’t realize that solar panels are low maintenance, include a return on investment, increase the home and property value, and require no additional charges to the energy company.
Here’s the best part: subsidies can cover a significant portion of the price of solar panel purchase and installation. Increasing numbers of energy companies have rebate and incentive programs to assist homeowners in installing solar panels. North Carolina provided a 35% tax credit and there is a 30% federal tax credit. When asked if she had any advice for others thinking about installing solar power, Hildy said, “It’s something we have to do as a society. More people need to work together and the prices will decrease for installing solar panels and working with them.” And she’s right.
Finally, Hildy told us that the most rewarding part about having solar panels was watching their power use go down and knowing how much they’ve saved. The couple plans on installing many more solar panels next year
-Paige Newman, Clean Energy Durham intern
I have talked to a lot of people who have told me their fathers were always telling them things like, “Stop heating the whole neighborhood!” or “Make sure to turn off the lights!” or better yet “Close that refrigerator!” Good old dad…always so concerned about the environmental impacts of energy use! HA! Or was he just a ‘cheapskate!’ Well…whatever the reason he was right! Making small (and sometimes big) behavior changes can make a huge difference in energy use and can save you $$! So this Father’s Day take a moment to think about ways your father taught you to be a little bit of a ‘cheapskate.’
Want to save $32 on your Duke Energy bill this year? Then consider signing up for Duke Energy’s Power Manager program—it’s free to enroll (you used to have to pay a one-time fee to enroll), and you get an $8 credit on your bill each month from July to October.
What is Power Manager?
The Power Manager program is designed to periodically turn off for short periods of time your air conditioner’s compressor during times of high electric usage—typically seen in the hot summer months. For instance on a steamy 95° day with 95% humidity at 4pm in the afternoon businesses all have their air conditioning on and folks are starting to come home from work and school and turn on their air conditioners, which means a lot of electricity is needed! So, Duke Energy will remotely turn off a whole bunch of air conditioner compressors simultaneously for a short while (somewhere between 10-20 minutes we have heard), turn them back on, and then turn off another set of air conditioning compressors in waves. This can make a big difference in the amount of peak electricity used and at a relatively minimal inconvenience to most customers. Folks usually don’t even notice that the compressor has been cycled off and are just as comfortable—especially since the blower fan stays on during this period to continue recirculating air. Also, many folks are out at work during the day, so they are in a position to not be affected by the program much at all.
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.
The North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance, in partnership with the NC Energy Office, recently completed a study investigating the market advantages of Energy Star homes in a five-county region around Durham. They compared a random sample of new Energy Star homes built in 2010 against homes with no building certifications that were appraised as similar by a third-party appraisal company. The study found that Energy Star homes sold for an average of $5,566 more overall, and at a rate of $2.99 per square foot more. They also sold almost three months quicker on average. Read the full study.
This illustrates the market value of energy-saving home features. The City of Durham still has a few openings in its Home Energy Savings Program providing up to $2,000 for a home energy upgrade for qualifying homes at a cost of only $400!