Lucas County’s Living Green, Saving Green pilot project will demonstrate how homeowners can easily cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions with the installation of different energy efficient products in 11 homes next week.
The homes, chosen by an independent review panel comprised of representatives from the United Way of Greater Toledo, Owens Corning, Neighborhood Housing Services, Gross Electric, and Columbia Gas, will be retrofitted with products donated by donating companies.
The products will be installed by the participating homeowners, Living Green Saving Green volunteers, and corporate sponsors.
Each home will undergo a comprehensive energy audit by the University of Toledo’s College of Engineering. Following the energy audit, recommendations will be made to address each home’s specific energy deficiencies.
In addition to the homes participating in this project, Toledo Neighborhood Housing Services will be weatherizing five additional homes as part of their low-income home rehabilitation program.
Homeowners can also make the same changes to their homes to cut energy costs, including:
• The installation of a programmable thermostat, which could reduce heating and cooling bills by $180 per year. Columbia Gas is offering a $25 rebate, which can be downloaded off its Web site, toward the purchase of a qualifying programmable thermostat;
• Reducing water usage. The Toledo/Lucas County Rain Garden Initiative is offering qualifying homeowners grants up to 50 percent of the cost of installing a rain garden on their property. And Columbia Gas offers a $10 rebate on qualifying low-flow fixtures, such as shower heads and qualifying accessories that reduce water usage;
• A home energy audit, which will identify where energy is being lost and how it can be addressed;
• The addition of insulation, which can cut 20 percent from an annual energy bill;
• Caulking and weather stripping cracks along windows and doors, electric outlets, vents and ductwork;
• Switching incandescent light bulbs with new Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.
“The goal of this project is to demonstrate that everyone can take these simple, cost-effective measures to reduce home energy use, save money and protect the environment,” Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak told The Press last week.
“Just as important, if every homeowner in Lucas County made these improvements, it would provide a substantial boost to the economy,” she said. We will be monitoring the energy use of these homes and next year we’ll go back and see how much money they saved by making these energy efficiency upgrades.”
Wozniak, and an official from Owens Corning, who met at a meeting a few months ago, expressed frustration at the approaching winter and how homeowners would have to deal with high heating bills. They wanted to get the message across that homeowners could make some easy cost effective improvements to significantly reduce their energy expenses and protect the environment, which spawned the Living Green Saving Green project. “A few months back, I was talking to Gale Tedhams from Owens Corning about the challenges many families will face as their home energy bills increased because of winter. From that conversation came an idea to demonstrate how almost any homeowner could make a few simple improvements that have a huge impact on their utility bills,” said Wozniak.