Posts filed under ‘Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP)’
Durham resident and avid urban farmer Frank Hyman recently wrote an opinion piece for The Durham News highlighting the value of the Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) (formerly known as Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program or NERP). HESP provided subsidized energy upgrades for homeowners in Durham with the goal of improving energy efficiency of homes by more than 20%. Clean Energy Durham was involved in organizing the outreach and workshops to educate neighbors on the value of this program and additional easy no-cost and low-cost ways to save household energy and money.
Durham’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) is about to finish up. There are still a few open spots, so hurry up and get your application in!
- Homes can be 2-story
- Homes can be almost any shape and configuration (no more requirement to be a “box” shape)
- Homes up to 2,300 square feet are allowed
Participating homes will save an estimated 20% of their home energy use. Participants pay $400 and HESP will pay up to an additional $1,600 per house.
The work done on qualifying homes includes the following:
- Sealing air leaks in heating and air conditioning ductwork
- Sealing air leaks in the attic floor and the crawl space ceiling
- Installing attic insulation
- Installing high-efficiency shower heads and faucet aerators
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors
- Installing programmable thermostats
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!
Duane Smith insulates homes. Or, as he puts it, he helps people keep their same comfort level while lowering their heating and cooling bills. City dwellers are often spurred to think sustainably because nature is already in short supply around them. For Smith, a native of Louisburg, North Carolina, the motivating force was the opposite. Close contact with nature growing up shaped his views about the importance of conservation. “Things keep changing and changing,” he says. “But if things change too much, we will adversely affect the environment.”
Smith Insulation is a family business, making it sustainable in another way. Duane’s father, Tommy, started the business when he was 18 years old. At the time, homes were intentionally built a little leaky. A little air flow between the interior and exterior of the home was considered necessary for comfort. There were also no code requirements for insulation, so few homeowners bothered with the extra expense and complication. Today’s insulating technology has evolved by leaps and bounds. Homeowners have a range of options to choose from, and air sealing stops uncontrolled leaks, those energy holes once considered a normal and necessary part of home construction. “A home has to be treated like a complete system,” Smith says. To attract business, Smith Insulation is constantly researching the latest technologies—insulation bats, spray foams, and fi-foil to name a few.
Smith Insulation was inspired to become a 2030 Society Founder because of its involvement in the City of Durham’s Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program. This program has a goal of making 700 Durham homes more energy-efficient at a very low cost to the homeowners, with Clean Energy Durham training and organizing neighborhood volunteers to promote the program and do basic energy education, plus Smith Insulation and two other contractors providing the professional home improvement work under the supervision of the City of Durham.
2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
More than 100 Neighborhood Energy Retrofit volunteers helped to make this neighbor-to-neighbor program successful. Below are reasons given by some of the volunteers for their extraordinary volunteer service.
- “I thought it was a good project, something to help me and my family. It was community centered and everybody could learn about energy conservation and how to make their home more energy-efficient.” Deborah Brame, Fisher Heights
- “I thought it was a good opportunity to improve my home and to show others how to make improvements to their home as well.” Yulanda Horton, Fisher Heights
- “I volunteered because it seemed like a useful program and not too time consuming. I also used to organize workshops in my job so it was something I knew how to do and it was an opportunity to meet people.” Liz Sappenfield, Watts Hospital Hillandale
- “I support Clean Energy Durham and I saw it as a way to give back to Clean Energy Durham and I like my neighborhood and it was a way to give back to my neighborhood as well.” Mary Wible-Brennan, Tuscaloosa Lakewood\Lakewood
- “It was interesting and I wanted to know more about the program. There weren’t many people volunteering for the program and it didn’t seem all that hard.” Erin Kennedy, Colonial Village
- “I am an environmental educator by profession. This program gave me a chance to promote environmentally responsible decisions in my own community. It involved direct action, really doing things.” Beth Cranford, Tuscaloosa Lakewood/Lakewood
Check out the recent article in the Herald-Sun about Durham’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP). HESP is an energy-saving program that provides energy upgrades to existing homes that meet certain criteria at a fraction of the retail cost. The program’s predecessor, NERP, has been wildly successful and has received much praise for helping residents save energy and money (check out what people are saying)!
This is what one satisfied resident of Fisher Heights told us after getting her home energy retrofit as part of the City’s Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program:
“We had the retrofit completed and are so very satisfied. Our home is so much cooler and uses less energy. Air flow is even. It’s hard to believe it’s the same house. Last year at this time, we had to turn our thermostat to 65° in order to be cool. Since the retrofit, we turn it to 75° and it’s perfectly cool. I can hardly wait to see our next light bill.
“The programmable thermostat is wonderful to have! Clean Energy Durham is to be complimented. You did a great job in getting word out about the project and stayed connected with residents ‘every step of the way.’ Additionally, the contractors were very professional.”
Driving down the street the other day, I happened across this truck and then realized I was passing the home of a participant in the City of Durham’s Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program who was getting insulation blown in. I immediately parked the car and ran over to see what I could see. Beth of Tuscaloosa-Lakewood neighborhood took these pictures of her house.
1. Above, we see the truck with its long hose which brings the insulation into the attic.
2. Above, the hose snakes down the hall. Notice how the contractor covered the pathway with drop cloths. This is to ensure minimal residue in the house.
3. Above, the entry to the attic in this house is via the closet ceiling. One of the workers is guiding the hose out of the attic as they have finished blowing in the cellulose insulation.
This house is now finished. So Beth can sit back and enjoy a cooler home in summer and warmer home in winter – AND save money!
Last week I was once again reminded of two of Clean Energy Durham’s core truths: (1) dedicated volunteers are at the heart of what we do, and (2) our volunteers are among Durham’s best people.
Two weeks ago we had planned to share our Basic Energy Education workshop at a Self-Help program in Southwest Central Durham. Our volunteer trainer from that neighborhood who was going to lead that workshop was called away on a family emergency the night before the event.
When I received the news the next morning, I was confident that we at Clean Energy Durham had other reliable and trained volunteers who could present the workshop. The question was whether anyone would be available and willing to fill in on 6 hours’ notice. All of our staff resources were previously committed that evening. I was delighted when the very first volunteers I asked, Sean and Sally of Northgate Park, gladly agreed to help us out.
By all accounts they did a fabulous job engaging the two dozen neighbors who attended the workshop. They taught basic ways to save energy in their homes and had some fun along the way. Thanks to Northgate Park for assembling such a committed group of volunteers who stepped in and effortlessly shared their knowledge with others.
Clean Energy Durham applauds the goodwill and altruism exhibited by the Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP) volunteers over the past year. Volunteers from 13 neighborhoods donated 3,233 hours to promote the Clean Energy Durham neighborhood model. The level of commitment demonstrated by NERP volunteers sets an extremely high standard for all of our neighborhood volunteer programs and Clean Energy Durham is very humbled to be the recipient of such generosity. We at Clean Energy Durham cannot say “thank you” enough to our volunteers. We truly appreciate you for your professionalism, creativity, caring, patience, perseverance, guidance, assistance, and all of the precious time you contributed to make the NERP program successful. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!