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Press Release: Get Efficient Launched in Cincinnati

For immediate release

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance today launched the Get Efficient program, a low-cost way for residents of Cincinnati and other local area communities to improve the region’s overall energy efficiency.

The Get Efficient program offers residents a free, web-enabled, whole-home energy assessment, access to professional energy advisors and extended-term financing for residential energy efficiency upgrades. The program gives homeowners an affordable way to invest in their home, resulting in decreased energy consumption, lower utility costs, and increased property values.

“Our city continues to demonstrate its position as a national leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, and the Get Efficient program is a shining example of the impact local governments can have by enabling private investment in energy efficiency,” Mayor Cranley said.

“Homeowners consistently rate energy efficiency as one of their top requirements when considering a new home purchase, and the City of Cincinnati is going to support our residents in making their homes energy efficient,” he said.

Mayor Cranley was joined by Jerry Schmits, President and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA), in announcing the Get Efficient Program during a Monday morning press conference on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall.

“This program is just another example of the City of Cincinnati’s commitment to making our region a great place to work, live and raise a family affordably,” Schmits said. “I applaud the Mayor, City Manager and the Office of Environment & Sustainability for recognizing the role they play in enabling programs such as this which ultimately helps attract and retain the strong workforce necessary to keep our region competitive.”

Get Efficient works like this:

  • Using a Smartphone or other device, users engage in a whole-home energy assessment by completing a brief web-enabled survey
  • The homeowner sees immediate results with potential savings and recommendations for energy efficiency upgrades
  • Homeowners have the option to connect directly with a professional energy advisor to discuss the recommended improvements that will have the greatest impact on their home’s energy efficiency and utility costs
  • The energy advisor facilitates contact with  certified contractors to visit the home, determine the best course  of action and generate  price quotes
  • The homeowner is provided with a comprehensive list of improvement costs, associated utility rebates and estimated energy savings
  • Upon homeowner authorization of improvements and selection of financing options, installation is scheduled
  • A Quality Assurance inspection will occur on a portion of all upgrades.
  • The homeowner can finance the improvements and upgrades themselves or through the program’s unique long-term, fixed-rate, unsecured financing

“Today’s homeowners are more aware of the environmental-impact of their lifestyle, and this program makes it easy for them to identify potential efficiency upgrades, connect with qualified contractors and make their homes energy efficient in the most affordable way,” Schmits said

The major benefits of Get Efficient include a low-cost way for homeowners to improve their primary asset while reducing living expenses, upgrading the communities housing stock and creating a more desirable and livable community.

“Over the past several years, our partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has produced great results in reducing residential energy consumption and lowering utility cost for our residents, Mayor Cranley said. “The Get Efficient program will ensure that our region continues to lead by example helping the Cincinnati metro area maintain its position as one of the nation’s most sustainable places to live.”

For more information about Get Efficient, including how  other  local municipalities can make this program available to residents, call 513-562-4831 or visit www.GetEfficient.org.

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit organization facilitating investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for commercial and residential energy consumers throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. In addition to the Get Efficient program, the organization offers residential solar programs and serves as the PACE financing program administrator for several communities in southwest Ohio and throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For more information visit www.greatercea.org, www.ohpace.org, or www.kypace.org.

Contact

Jerry Schmits, President and CEO
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
513.621.4232 ext. 110

Tips to save money and energy

When it comes to reducing your energy consumption, you do not always have to spend a lot of money to save a lot of money. Follow these simple energy saving steps from the Department of Energy and you will be on your way to saving energy and putting some money back in your pocket.

DOE_energyTips_092513-01

For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s original blog post for this infographic.

 

 

Evolution of Appliances

The Evolution of Appliances

Over the past 30 years, national appliance efficiency standards have helped households across the U.S. reduce their utility bills and the impact they have on the environment. The standards cover a wide variety of appliances and equipment that account for about 90 percent of a home’s annual energy use.

$62 Million in Annual Savings

While the first system for establishing standards was passed into law in 1975, it wasn’t until 1987 when the first federal law establishing minimum efficiency standards for household appliances was passed. Since that time, the number of products subject to standards as well as the standards themselves have continually been updated to push for additional energy savings. The standards are estimated to save consumers more than $62 million a year.

1980 Refrigerator = 2 Modern Refrigerators

ACCCE Chart: Amazing Drop in Home Appliance Energy Use

This graph from our friends at ACEEE, a national non-profit for energy efficiency, demonstrates the remarkable impacts that efficiency standards have had over the years. While it only focuses on four of the 65 different products that have standards, it is easy to appreciate the impact it has had in other areas as well. It also demonstrates quite clearly why it is a great idea to get rid of that old refrigerator in your garage or basement and replace it with a newer ENERGY STAR model. ACEEE has an article that looks at the amazing decline in home appliance energy use in more depth.

Taking Standards to the Next Level

Now that you are equipped with a basic understanding of federal efficiency standards, it’s time to add ENERGY STAR into the mix. Most people know to look for the ENERGY STAR label when they purchase anything from a refrigerator to a computer, but they don’t know what it means. Products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label go above and beyond the national energy conservation standards. To give you an idea of what this means, take a look at the comparison of the federal standards and ENERGY STAR standards for dishwashers:

Graphic_Websiet_Post_Evolution-of-Appliances_Dishwasher_table

What’s next?

The amount of energy savings attributable to appliance and equipment standards will continue to grow in the future. The Department of Energy is expected to begin work in 2016 on standards that will further improve the performance of one of the major sources of energy use in households, heating and cooling equipment. In addition, a number of revised standards for many common household products are also expected to be released in 2016.

 

Landscaping for Energy Savings

Tips to help you save energy and improve comfort

Guest writer Michelle Andersen is the Design Director for Flourish Landscape and Interior Design.

Properly insulating and air sealing your home will improve your overall comfort and reduce your energy usage. However, even after these improvements, your home likely remains exposed to the impacts of the sun and wind. A well planned landscape design can enhance the curb appeal of your home and provide energy saving benefits.

Here are some of my top landscaping tips that can help you improve the savings and comfort of your home year-round.

  1. Screen areas that have high wind exposure with evergreen trees to protect your home from heat loss. For smaller urban yards a columnar arborvitae or juniper screen in a zigzag line works well. I place them in a zigzag for a more natural look. If you have more space, try Spruce or Spring Grove Arborvitae.
  2. Plant a deciduous tree to shade parts of your home that get hot from sun exposure. While the leaves on the trees will block the summer sun, the winter sun will be allowed to warm the home after the leaves drop. Choose a tree that has a full canopy such as a Maple and find out how tall it will grow – there are Maple cultivars that will stay as small as 25’ tall that work well for small yards. Be sure to place the tree at least that far from the foundation of your home. For narrow spaces try the Franz Fontaine Hornbeam in a row of 3 or 5.
  3. Tree lined streets create a microclimate that cools neighborhoods and can lower your cooling needs by as much as 20%. Check with your municipality to see what street tree programs they have. The City of Cincinnati’s Releaf program provides a free tree for homeowners in the fall that they can plant in their front yard. Sometimes you can request a tree or pay to have one planted in your tree lawn, the strip between the sidewalk and the road. For those without a tree lawn, consider planting trees on your own and encourage the neighbors to do the same for and added bonus of increased property value.
  4. Lawns are a beautiful and conventional way to keep a low maintenance landscape, but they don’t have many environmentally friendly qualities. Transform portions of your lawn into landscape beds that contain a small native tree such as a Serviceberry, Dogwood, or Redbud to create a cooling effect in the summer as well as reduce the mowing needed.
  5. Hardscaping can attract and hold heat from the sun. Patios, driveways, and any other hard surface made of concrete, stone, asphalt, or pavers can improve your property value, but they also attract and hold heat from the sun. Shade hardscape surfaces with trees or a roof structure or choose a light color surface. This will also make these spaces more enjoyable and usable during our hottest days.

Properly designing your landscape can greatly enhance the way you function in your outdoor space and provide energy saving benefits. Try implementing some of these tips on your own or consult with a landscaper or designer for a more professional approach.

For information on consultations and design plans contact Michelle at michelle@flourishcincinnati.com or 859-815-0068.

What is your heating footprint?

In the winter when we are all trying to stay warm, the last thing on most people’s mind is the impact that their heating choices can have on the environment. ENERGY STAR developed this great infographic to show the impact that one household can have when they switch to ENERGY STAR heating equipment.

Energy_Star_Heating_infographic

For more information, visit ENERGY STAR’s original post for this infographic.

 

Lighting made easy

With all the changes to lighting that have occurred over the past few years, it can be difficult to know where to begin when you need a new light bulb. This infographic from ENERGY STAR explains everything you need to know about how bulbs are rated and can help you make smart decisions the next time you venture down the lighting aisle.

DOE_Lighting_Made_Easy_Infographic

For more information, visit ENERGY STAR’s original post of this infographic.

 

 

Energy Saver 101: Home Heating

Heating is the largest consumer of energy in your home so learning about how your home’s heating system works can be a great first step towards reducing your energy bills. The Department of Energy developed this infographic to help homeowner’s learn everything they need to know about heating their home.

homeHeating_FINAL_long

For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s original blog post for this infographic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Saver 101: Water Heaters

Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home and typically accounts for around 18% of your utility bill. This infographic from the Department of Energy tells you everything you need to know about water heaters including simple steps that you can take to reduce your water heating bills..

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For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s blog post that accompanied this infographic.