Energy Check-Ups

By: News Release
Oct 19th, 2018


The Clayton County Energy District (CCED) in partnership with Green Iowa Americorps has opened the season for home energy check ups for Clayton County residents.
Green Iowa Americorp (GIA)  is a non-profit service organization based out of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education working to promote energy efficiency in homes throughout Iowa. Across the state, Green Iowa teams are providing free home energy assessments and helping people improve appliance combustion safety, home comfort, and take action to shrink their energy bill. The Winneshiek Energy District hosts the GIA team which provides home energy work throughout Northeast Iowa.

The GIA home energy assessment has two components: an energy check-up followed by direct installation of simple efficiency measures. The energy check-up is led by a BPI-certified service member and begins with a quick check of attic insulation and combustible appliance testing. The team checks for potential gas leaks and carbon monoxide around water heaters, furnaces, pipes, and other gas appliances. After confirming that the house is safe, the team sets up their blower door to pull air out of the home in order to calculate how much cold winter air infiltrates into the home. When homes are insufficiently sealed, the Green Iowa team works to identify and fix the leaks. The direct installation of window frame caulking, weather stripping, plugging holes, and other measures, makes the home more air-tight .

Next, the GIA team installs LED lighting throughout the home. The switch from incandescent lighting to LED leads to most significant energy savings. Additionally, the team installs low-flow water fixtures.  Clayton County Energy District, Program Coordinator, Joleen Jansen explains, “The GIA teams are helping residents make real and immediate reductions in their energy costs. For sure, people are seeing the largest energy savings by converting their homes to LED lighting.” Since 2016, 84 homes have been audited and transitioned to LED lighting leading to a reduction of 69,600 kwh used or a collective $9050 county-wide annual savings.

Home efficiency or direct install materials are provided free to qualified Low Income Home Energy Program (LIHEAP) recipients, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, veterans, and low-to-moderate income households. Non qualifying participants pay only for the cost of direct install materials and LED light bulbs. Typical out of pocket expense for non qualifying participants range from $15 to $150. Jansen says, “Energy Districts are working to create awareness for the benefits of home energy efficiency. In many cases, residents are even getting first step home efficiency materials including LED bulbs at no cost, but even those non qualifying participants incurring the cost of materials see an almost immediate payback.” Energy and water savings resulting from the home energy assessment saves between $50 and $350 per year, with the improvements lasting between five and twenty-five years. All assessments include a written report summarizing the work done, estimated cost savings, estimated carbon savings, and site-specific notes and recommendations to take additional action.

Jansen concludes, “When we calculate the total impact of this program to date we have evaluated 84 homes leading to a per household energy cost reduction of $122/yr or collective $10,260 each year, and overall 87.88 carbon ton reduction. By primarily lowering energy bills and carbon emissions, and also improving home comfort and providing combustion appliance safety this work is a tremendous benefit to area residents and our building community effort.”

To schedule your first steps home energy checkup contact Clayton County Energy District Program Manager, Joleen Jansen, (563)880-7915, joleenj@energydistrict.org or visit ClaytonCounty.EnergyDistrict.org.

For more information about GIA services go to http://energydistrict.org/programs/green-iowa-americorps-home-efficiency/ Or contact: the GIA office (563) 387-4207



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