Guest Post by Shelly Koetje
Energy Efficiency. We’ve all heard those words before. Whether or not you have a passion for being “green,” energy efficiency is something that can save you money, in addition to saving natural resources. Here is a list of a few local resources that can help you make your home more energy efficient.
- PGE’s website has a wealth of information regarding home energy consumption. For example, did you know that an estimated 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off?
- Instructions on how to safely lower the thermostat on your water heater
- Switch Labs – short videos that investigate the most energy efficient way of doing household chores, such as hand washing dishes versus using a dishwasher.
- If you live in Oregon or Washington, Energy Trust of Oregon offers cash incentives on many energy-saving home improvements.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Appliances – $100 cash back on washers with a modified energy factor (MEF) of 2.46 or higher. $100 incentive on Energy Star refrigerators and $50 incentive on freezers that are at least 30% above federal standards.
- Windows - $3.50 per square foot of windows installed, U-Value 0.25 or less. $2.25 per square foot of windows installed, U-Value 0.26 – 0.30. The U-Value is the rate of heat loss through the window; the lower the value, the better the insulating ability.
- Wall Insulation: $0.30 per square foot, Requirements: If R-4 or less, must insulate to R-11, or fill cavity; all heated exterior walls must be insulated
- Free Energy Saver Kit – Enter your address online to see if you qualify. If you do, they will mail you compact fluorescent light bulbs, an energy saving shower head, and a faucet aerator. I received my kit within about 3 weeks of ordering it, and I like the low-flow shower head better than my old one!
- Recycle your old refrigerator or freezer and get $40. They even come to your home to pick it up. It doesn’t get much better than that!
:: NW Natural
- On NW Natural’s website you’ll find safety information, energy conservation tips, and special offers for people thinking about switching to natural gas. Here are five easy changes they list for making your home more efficient:
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Change your furnace filters four times a year or more
- Caulk small holes and cracks around plumbing pipes, exhaust fans, dryer vents, sink and bathtub drains, fireplaces, and countertops
- Lower the temperature of your water heater
- Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
- Energy Efficiency Assistance - You may be eligible for no cost weatherization if your household income is between 200-250% of the federal poverty level.
- You have to be a customer to qualify for their free water efficiency products. If you don’t live in the Portland metro area, check with your own water bureau to see what programs and services they offer.
- Fill out this form online for water efficiency devices and information including:
- Toilet leak detection tablets
- Bathroom faucet aerator
- 5 minute shower timer
- Watering gauges to measure rainfall and/or sprinkler output
- Conservation stickers for kids
- If you’re already thinking about the most affordable way to water your garden this summer, check out Emily’s post on drip irrigation systems. When it comes to energy conservation, a little bit can go a long way in reducing consumption and lowering your utility bills.
Leave a comment! What have you done to make your home more energy efficient?
Shelly Koetje is a wife, mom, and energy efficiency enthusiast living in the Portland area.
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