Reducing Energy Bills for Renters in Old Five Points

December 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

Photo: Jason Smith and Carrie Hill check out a fill cycle diverter for a toilet tank.

It was Halloween and the sun had not yet set, but one father and son team searched their apartment to exorcise wasteful energy phantoms.  Stephen Hopkins and Jason Smith are community advocates who take great pride in advancing community initiatives to benefit low wealth communities.  Stephen’s concern that renters often pay high utility bills led him to open up his apartment to an energy assessment for low- and no-cost ways to save on his energy bill. Clean Energy Durham helped Stephen identify ways to lower the $95 monthly energy bill for his two bedroom, 1 bath, approximately 800 sq ft. apartment located in Old Five Points. Jason, Stephen’s son, pointed out that energy is a hot topic, and said that he wants to increase his knowledge about energy efficiency.

Stephen and Jason are also helping Clean Energy Durham establish an energy assessment curriculum for rental units.  Currently, Clean Energy Durham’s programming focuses on homeowners, and the new curriculum will be Clean Energy Durham’s first program to help renters lower their utility bills. Renters face different energy efficiency challenges than homeowners because they pay the energy bills but typically don’t have control over the types of appliances installed in their home.

Stephen and Jason replaced the traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs in their apartment with 20-watt CFL (equal to a traditional 75-watt) light bulbs made by General Electric. They purchased two packs of bulbs, 3 in each pack for $15.  The bulbs are expected to last 5-7 years, and their cost should be repaid within the year. The Clean Energy Durham team suggested that Stephen make a note of the date he installed the bulbs either on the bulb box or taped to the light fixture or other obvious place so that he could verify the lifespan of the bulbs. So far, Stephen and Jason are pleased with the light from the new bulbs.

In addition to switching light bulbs, Stephen, Jason and Carrie Hill (one of Clean Energy Durham’s Neighborhood Energy Committee Members) learned more tricks from Clean Energy Durham Super Trainer, Morgan Crawford. Morgan showed them how to clean the refrigerator coils and install a low-flow shower head, sink aerators in the kitchen and the bathroom and a fill cycle diverter in their toilet tank. Low-flow shower heads are available for sale at City Hall at the heavily discounted rate of $3 each. These low-cost and no-cost measures could save Stephen and Jason 12%-20% on their electric bill.

Entry filed under: Northeast Central Durham (NECD), Old Five Points. Tags: , , .

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