Neighborhoods Go Green Beyond Earth Day
For Immediate Release: April 19, 2011
Neighborhoods Go Green Beyond Earth Day: Federal program helps homeowners save energy, money
Earth Day reminds us to take small earth-friendly actions, like turning off our lights or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, but this year some neighborhoods are taking it a step further by working to get every home on their block to save energy with simple upgrades that will last for years. Lathrup Village is the latest neighborhood to offer homeowners “energy makeovers” through BetterBuildings for Michigan, a Recovery Act program coordinated locally by the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office (SEMREO).
Over 200 homeowners have already participated in the program, which was also offered in Ferndale and Rosedale Park earlier this year. Together, they have saved over 100 tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of planting 4,000 trees. Energy efficiency is also the cheapest form of energy, costing an average of 2.57 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour to produce energy at a new power plant.
“It’s a win-win-win,” says Amanda Dentler, outreach director at SEMREO. “People are surprised that they can save energy while making their home more comfortable, not less. We’re able to save homeowners money, create green jobs in our communities, and make Michigan a leader in renewable energy.”
Each participating homeowner gets an energy assessment, in which a professional energy team inspects the house from attic to basement, identifying opportunities to save energy. The team seals up any major air leaks they find, and installs energy-efficient light bulbs, a programmable thermostat, faucet aerators, and insulation around the water heater. These measures alone can save homeowners hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills.
The energy team also helps homeowners prioritize other energy-saving upgrades, and clues them in to tax rebates, financing, and incentives from the utility companies that can help them make bigger improvements, like getting an energy-efficient furnace or adding attic insulation. “It’s a good investment,” added Jacob Corvidae, co-director of SEMREO. “With energy prices rising, we’re seeing a lot of people get interested in energy efficiency. It makes sense for individuals, and it makes sense for our region.”
The program will be offered in Lathrup Village through May 17, and will move to Detroit’s Hubbard Farms neighborhood in June. Applications are also being accepted for eight more communities to participate.
Contact: Amanda Dentler, Outreach Director
Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office
Short video: http://www.betterbuildingsformichigan.org/News/ResidentialProgramVideo.aspx
Ms. Carolyn Cruse, President, Rosedale Park Improvement Association and participating homeowner in Rosedale Park
Mr. Robert Prudhomme, U.S. Green Builders Association, and participating homeowner in Ferndale