Event: Pepco’s Appliance Swap

Fridge on the fritz? Air conditioner gone AWOL? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Bring your old, inefficient, energy-sucking appliance to Pepco’s 2010 D.C. Appliance Swap on Saturday 7/24 from 10 am to 2 pm at The Home Depot at 901 Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast DC.

At the event, you can drop off appliances for recycling at no charge and pick up applications for rebates on certain ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

During the event, Pepco will also announce the winners of its $5,000 ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebate Sweepstakes. Five D.C. customers will receive $1,000 gift cards to The Home Depot to be put towards the purchase of new, more efficient appliances.

The event will also feature live entertainment, refreshments, interactive displays on energy conservation, and family-friendly activities. Several D.C. government agencies, including the D.C. Department of the Environment, the District Public Service Commission, and the D.C. Office of People’s Counsel also will be on-hand.

Home Energy Savings Program Launches in Maryland

Guest post by Brooks Lape of Home Turned Green

A home energy assessment is a great way to identify hundreds of dollars of potential savings in yearly utility costs. The trouble is, it will cost you several hundreds of dollars upfront, not to mention the cost of actually fixing sources of energy loss.

The Home Energy Savings Program, a recent initiative by Pepco for Maryland homeowners, is making energy efficiency investments more affordable for local homeowners.

The Pepco program, which was announced on Earth Day 2010 and began at the end of April, will be subsidizing home energy assessments that are offered by local companies. All Maryland Pepco homeowners can receive a comprehensive energy audit for just $100. Purchased before the Energy Savers Program, this same audit would run anywhere from $300 to $500 dollars.

A home energy assessment, or audit, identifies sources of potential energy savings. All Pepco subsidized audits consist of a blower door test, infrared camera scan, and a discussion with the homeowners about behavioral patterns affecting energy use. This information is then synthesized into a report that prioritizes energy efficiency upgrades by their expected payback period.

ecobeco and greenNEWit are two local companies offering $100 energy audits through Pepco. greenNEWit provides a 350 point inspection and includes many do-it-yourself options with instructions in their audit report. ecobeco offers customers a free second visit after air sealing work is performed to check for safety and performance.

“Pepco’s Home Performance with Energy Star program is designed to empower Maryland consumers to make the right choices to improve the energy efficiency, comfort, and safety of their homes,” says Brian Toll, founder of ecobeco. “The Home Energy Audit is the first step every home owner should take the ensure that the most cost-effective solutions get done first. It’s the best $100 you’ll spend this year.”

According to The National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), before contracting with any energy auditing company, you should:

  • Get at least five references, and contact all five. Ask if they were satisfied with the work.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau and ask about any complaints against the company.
  • Make sure the auditor uses a calibrated blower door.
  • Make sure they do thermographic inspections or contract another company to conduct one.

In addition to subsidizing the cost of the initial energy audit, Pepco is providing up to $1,200 in rebates for making energy efficiency upgrades. These incentives apply to most energy efficiency improvements, including HVAC equipment and servicing, compact fluorescent bulbs, and insulation.

The Home Energy Savings Program represents a great opportunity for Maryland homeowners to save big when making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Although the Pepco program is only available to Maryland homeowners, DC residents may qualify for a free energy audit from the DDOE.

Energy Saving Challenge and a Delicious Reward

If the frigid weather has you dreading your next heating bill, take heart. Washington, DC-based energy start-up Earth Aid has teamed up with Farmers & Fishers to launch an energy-savings challenge that could lead to lower bills and give you the chance to win a free mixology class for eight at Farmers & Fishers.

To participate, visit Earth Aid and create a free account that will link your gas, electric, and water utility accounts to Earth Aid’s platform.  Then use the “Invite Your Friends” feature to invite friends, family, and colleagues to sign up and join your team.

Earth Aid will then retrieve the household usage and savings information for each individual as well as each team, and will provide easy online energy monitoring along with tips and ‘how-to’s’ to reduce usage and increase savings. This type of effort results in greater energy savings and lets individuals see how their savings – when combined with the savings of others – can really add up.

Earth Aid will compare the utility (electric, gas, and/or water) usage of the group from now through Earth Day (April 22) to the past usage of the group during that window of time to determine which area team achieves the largest total reduction and wins the mixology prize.

The winning team will enjoy a private class of mixology basics and recipes with F&F’s Chief Mixologist Jon Arroyo, along with menu samples and of course, cocktails.

You Had Me at “Free Energy Audit”

Does the sight of a Pepco bill fill you with dread? Yeah, me too. With skyrocketing gas and oil prices, what used to be a minor expense has turned into a full-on investment. And while apartment owners are out of luck, those of you who own single family homes can now get a free energy audit courtesy of the DC Department of the Environment. The DDOE Home Energy Rating System program pinpoints your home’s energy deficiencies and provides you with cost-effective, energy improvement recommendations.

First, a RESNET-certified auditor will come to your home and check out existing energy conditions including walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, hot water heating, heating and cooling mechanical systems and other related aspects. Once the home audit is complete, you will get a detailed HERS improvement analysis report with recommendations that range from no-cost behavioral changes (turning off lights, conserving water) to major improvements (a new HVAC system, insulation) to reduce energy loss in your home.

To schedule your free audit, email willie.vazquez@dc.gov.