Posts filed under ‘Learn Do Teach workshops’
Clean Energy Durham completed the third in a series of “Learn Do Teach Track” workshops in Woodcroft last week. Neighbors gathered at the home of host Abbie-Stuart Fox, where they learned and did energy-saving projects around her home. Each neighbor took a turn sealing leaky windows—folks were amazed at how easy it was to fix leaky windows without costly window replacement! These workshops are so successful because neighbors learn together, do projects, and help share ideas. One neighbor mentioned using a leaf blower to help clear her clogged dryer vent—now that’s creative thinking and sharing!
Thank you Abbie-Stuart for being an energy leader in your Woodcroft neighborhood!
Clean Energy Durham is looking for Durham residents willing to host groups of neighbors for FREE in-home, hands-on, do-it-yourself energy-saving workshops. Instruction is free, and there is no cost to attend. Hosts pay for the materials used on their own homes for demonstrating techniques to the neighbors, a cost of less than $100. Projects are customized to the home and the neighborhood. The goal is to start a group of neighbors who can do a variety of energy-saving techniques in their own homes and tell their neighbors about it. These are very popular workshops, so call me now to reserve one for your neighborhood! Email firstname.lastname@example.org .
A recent research article points out that, in the United States, the energy used directly by households and personal driving is responsible for around 38% of national carbon dioxide emissions and constitutes the largest sector of emissions – more than the manufacturing, commercial, or transportation sectors and more than the total emissions of any nation other than China. Wow! That’s one reason why Clean Energy Durham’s mission is to move America toward cleaner and safer energy by creating organizations of neighbors helping neighbors save energy. The article has many more interesting points about household energy use.
How can you save money on energy if you are a renter? You’re probably not going to buy a new refrigerator, or pay for insulation in the attic. However, there is a list of the TOP 10 TIPS for renters on the EPA (Environmental Protections Agency) website. Hint: using cold water, opening curtains on sunny winter days, unplugging unused items…hey, this sounds a lot like things renters AND owners can do.
CFLs are gaining in popularity as people realize that they save energy and money by using ¼ the amount of energy as a standard incandescent bulb. But, some concerns have been raised about mercury in CFLs. We hope to set the record straight so you can feel comfortable using CFLs and saving money!
What is a CFL?
A compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) is a fluorescent bulb designed to be used in a standard incandescent light bulb socket. Because incandescent bulbs work by heating up a metal filament until it is hot, they produce mostly heat (only 2% of the energy used is converted to light). A CFL is 4 times more efficient (8% of the energy used is converted to light), which is why a CFL using only 14 watts of electricity can produce light comparable to an incandescent bulb using 60 watts. On average, a CFL saves $25-35 in energy costs per bulb.
What about mercury?
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 mg – about half the mercury found in a linear fluorescent lamp (office building lighting), and an amount that would cover the period at the end of this sentence. Mercury is a developmental neurotoxin that can damage brain cells, so it is a chemical of concern. Newer CFLs use about 1.4-2.5 mg. By comparison, older mercury thermometers contain from 500 to 1,000 mg of mercury. Mercury is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. A coal-fired power plant will emit 8.8 mg of mercury into the air to sustain a 60-watt incandescent bulb over the time period that a typical CFL lasts (~10,000 hr), which is four times the amount of mercury released by an equivalent14-watt CFL (2.2 mg). Even if you factor in the 4 mg of mercury in the CFL if it is put into the landfill (worst case scenario) plus the coal-fired power plant release of 2.2 mg, this is 6.2 mg released max by the CFL. This compares to 8.8 mg of mercury released by the traditional incandescent bulb. Also, mercury in the air is more of a health risk than mercury in the landfill.
So should I be concerned about mercury? Researchers at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory liken the amount of exposure from a broken bulb to “one bite of albacore tuna.” Here is a copy of the original article. YOU BE THE JUDGE!
The US EPA has prepared a GREAT report through its Energy Star program summarizing the mercury issue. We highly recommend that you look at it if you have additional concerns about mercury in CFLs. Here is another interesting take on the mercury myth.
What a heart-warming experience it was to see Iris teaching one of her neighbors how to program a programmable thermostat the other weekend! It wasn’t long ago that Iris needed a lot of help understanding how to program the new thermostat Clean Energy Durham helped her install in her home in Northeast Central Durham. There were several times she needed to call on others to come help her troubleshoot how to do it. But with practice, Iris learned how to program the digital thermostat, and the other weekend she used a demonstration thermostat mounted on plywood to show a neighbor how it’s done. That’s what Clean Energy Durham is all about: learn, do, teach!
Last week, Grove Park “lake side” (the neighborhood’s homes are situated around a golf course on one side of NC 98 and a lake on the other side) hosted its first Clean Energy Durham workshop. The host, Amy Scurria, ordered several large pizzas and provided a place for her neighbors’ kids to play while the grown-ups learned their first set of hands-on home energy efficiency projects. Everyone had a good time while helping Amy save energy. By the end of the workshop all of the participants were interested in inviting more neighbors to the next workshop in this series of three.
On Monday, Morehead Hill resident Will Elliot hosted the first in his series of Clean Energy Forward Workshops. Will lives in a historic home with lots of charm, and lots of air leaks. Neighbors who attended this first workshop helped Will to seal some of those leaks by installing window caulk and floor vent caulk. They also cleaned Will’s fridge coils with the “fridge brush” and used the crowd favorite, Power Cost Monitor.
Will is going to propose that the neighborhood association buy a Power Cost Monitor, and one of Will’s neighbors agreed to become the Morehead Hill’s Power Cost Monitor Guru. This means Clean Energy Durham will train her in the use of the Power Cost Monitor, and she will be a resource for teaching her neighbors to use this device in their own homes!
We’re looking forward to working together with neighbors in Morehead Hill to increase Will’s home energy efficiency at his next workshop in the series!
Woodcroft’s new neighborhood energy group hosted its first workshop last Saturday at the home of Cindy Streett. Eleven neighbors gathered for a 3-hour hands-on demonstration of no-cost and low-cost energy-saving techniques taught by Clean Energy Durham Super Trainer volunteers Diana Peronis and Robert Kamara.
Neighbors caulked and weatherstripped and learned simple do-it-yourself ways to save money on their energy bills. “My favorite part of the workshop was learning which kind of caulk is best to put around window frames to prevent drafts,” remarked host Cindy Streett.
Congratulations to Woodcroft neighbors for getting organized to save energy!
Last week Joe and Sarah Hensley hosted a Clean Energy Forward workshop at their home in Morehead Hill. The Saturday morning workshop was led by Super Trainers Robert and Brian.
The Super Trainers showed the group of 12 neighbors how to clean the coils beneath the refrigerator by swiping a large pipe cleaner underneath it. Joe Hensley had the honor of cleaning the coils, and everyone was amazed at how much dust was removed from beneath the fridge. Joe joked that he had deliberately left the dirt there so that people could see just how dirty the area could get. Dirty coils make the appliance use more energy to keep food cold, so regular cleaning saves money.
The group also applied foam insulation to pipes, cleaned out the vent on the dryer, and went throughout the house with caulking guns in hand to seal up cracks and crevices in windows and places where plumbing comes through the flooring, such as under the sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms and around the windowsills. In the second floor bathroom, guests noticed that the Hensleys had already placed a full water bottle inside the tank of the toilet to reduce the amount of water required per flush.
Robert and Brian also demonstrated the impact of specific appliances by using a PowerCost monitor to compare the base electricity use in the house with the amount of electricity used when a variety of appliances were switched on.
The group also helped insert a plastic air flow redirector in the floor in the kitchen beneath the newly installed cabinets in order to redirect the hot air from the basement furnace.
Thanks to the Hensleys and their great neighbors from Morehead Hill for learning skills to teach other neighbors!