Green Right Now Reports
October, like many months, is stocked with special campaigns. As almost everyone knows, it is Breast Awareness and Diabetes Awareness Month (interesting duality there as we load up kids with Halloween sweets).
Lesser known commemorations: “Eat Country Ham Month” and “Vegetarian Month” — which weren’t well coordinated, eh?
Who knew that October also hosts National Weatherization Day, which is October 30? So as we prepare our haunted mansions, we might also consider those scary power bills to come after Hallows Eve.
According to the federal government:
- Since the the federal weatherization program started in 1976, over 6.4 million homes have been weatherized with funds from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Energy savings average 35% of consumption for the typical low-income home.
- Low income families will save an average of $437 in reduced first-year energy costs, at current prices.
- In 2010, weatherized homes nationally will save $2.1 billion for low-income families.
- Weatherization measures reduce national energy demand by the equivalent of 24.1 million barrels of oil per year.
Here are some ideas for tightening up our building “envelope” from various sources, including the Cool Cities Home Audit Checklist:
- Seal up leaks. Double duh, but have you done it? Wherever you feel air seeping in, know that heated air can waft out. Cool Cities says stop door drafts with a draft stopper, or just put down a towel. For outside window frames, caulk is your best friend.
- Remember to set your hot water heater at 120 degrees. Excessive heating of water during cool months can needlessly hike up bills, and your carbon footprint. It’s like the phantom in the attic, or basement, keeping hot water at the ready — even when you don’t need it.
- Don’t just close off the chilly attic. Seal it off with foam weatherization tape, or buy or make an attic door cover.
- Close the drapes at night; open them to let the sun in during the day.
- Check your furnace filter monthly, and check the vents to make sure you’ve got good air flow. See the EPA’s Heat and Cool Smartly Guide for more.
- Remember to close that fireplace damper after the coals after burned out. An open fireplace literally sucks the warmth from your home, and that’s just ghoulish or foolish.
And if you’re making serious improvements, remember it’s not just solar panels that qualify for federal tax breaks. Windows, insulation, new furnaces — all that — can earn you some return at tax time.
- Get more energy saving tips at http://www.energysavers.gov/
- See the EnergyStar website for details on federal incentives
- For more about insulation, see our story