Durham Seeks Home Energy Savings Program Applicants


200 Homes to Receive Energy Improvements Resulting in Utility Savings

Durham, NC – August 18, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Approximately 200 Durham homes will soon be saving energy and money thanks to the Durham Home Energy Savings Program.

The Durham Home Energy Savings Program, overseen by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office and the City’s Community Development Department, works to increase energy efficiency to save homeowners on their energy bills while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions into Durham’s environment. The program, offered for a limited time on a first-come, first-served basis, is currently seeking 200 applicants who live in either the city or county.

According to Tobin Freid, manager for the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, the program is helping Durham meet its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan, which calls for a 30 percent reduction in emissions from residences, businesses, and institutions by 2030.

“The reduction in greenhouse gases from these retrofits could be roughly the same as if you stopped driving your car for five months of the year, which improves air quality and reduces health care costs due to pollution,” Freid said. “We are anticipating that a family of four can reduce their energy costs by 20 percent in one year, which translates to a savings of over $300 in just the first year. To top it off, the retrofits themselves will also create local green jobs, so this program is really an all-around win for the environment, the homeowner, and the economy.”

Qualifying homes will receive a variety of targeted energy improvements including sealing air leaks in heating and air conditioning ductwork; installing programmable thermostats; sealing air leaks in the attic floor and the crawlspace ceiling; installing attic insulation; installing high-efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators; and installing carbon monoxide detectors. The retrofits have a market value of between $800 and $2,000 depending on the size and characteristics of the house.

To qualify, homes must be:
• Single-story or two-story with top and bottom stories that have the same footprint.
• 2,300 square feet or less of heated space.
• No unvented gas, propane, oil, or wood appliances in the living space.
• No major structural, moisture, or hazardous materials issues.
• Owner-occupied, or rental property with approval from the landlord and tenants and demonstrated stable occupancy by the same tenant for at least two years.
• Occupants must agree to allow access to energy use data for one year prior and two years after the retrofits.
• Occupants or landlords must provide the contractor with the $400 payment at the time of the initial home assessment with the Durham Home Energy Savings Program paying up to an additional $1,600 per house.
• Occupants must be available to be home when contractors come to do the work (between two and four visits).
• Occupants must remove contents of attics and/or crawlspaces to allow contractor access to those spaces.
• Occupants and landlords must be current on all local taxes.

According to Freid, all-electric homes will receive first priority for the program. However, completed applications for homes with properly vented gas appliances will be date-stamped and entered into a database to be considered only if the program is not able to recruit 200 all-electric homes. Homes that have unvented gas appliances in heated living spaces or that may have other hazardous combustion features are not eligible for this program since such appliances, including gas hot water heaters, stoves, or furnaces, could leak carbon monoxide back into the home.

The Durham Home Energy Savings Program is funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Showcase Communities grants.

To apply online, or for more information on the Durham Home Energy Savings Program, visit www.GreenerDurham.net, e-mail Energy (at) DurhamNC (dot) gov, or contact Freid at (919) 560-7999.

For more information on the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, visit www.GreenerDurham.net or www.Facebook.com/GreenerDurham.net.


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