UCD Promotes Home and Business Energy Efficiency

Did you know that you could be saving hundreds—even thousands—of dollars in energy bills by having an energy audit? University City District is spreading the news in West Philadelphia through a partnership with the non-profit, Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA).

Created in 1984, ECA’s goal is to conserve energy and educate the community about energy conservation techniques and programs.

At the September 14 workshops, Jack Strong from the ECA provided energy saving techniques, tips, and programs for commercial property owners as well as residential property owners. 

For commercial property owners, energy audits can be a great tool to find ways to decrease energy costs, particularly with the recent rate increases from PECO. Several PECO programs can help to reduce energy costs, such as rebates and credits.

Through the EnergyWorks program, homeowners can receive a discounted energy audit. The audit informs the resident about potential areas to improve their home’s energy efficiency and takes about four hours for the average house. In less than a week, the homeowner receives a detailed report and where improvements could be made. Also, the report compares other houses in the area, and rates the house’s energy efficiency compared to the neighborhood. Strong says that this may be important when going to sell your home, as people are now paying more attention to the importance of energy efficiency.

EnergyWorks has licensed contractors that will work with residents to then install energy efficient products in their home, including insulation, energy efficient HVAC systems, and other items. Through the Keystone HELP program, residents have the option of financing with very low-interest loans. Residents are also eligible for other programs including rebates, tax credits and other low-interest loans available.

The goal of the program is to reduce energy bills by at least 20%. Tara, a recent energy audit recipient, cut her energy bills in half by working with an EnergyWorks contractor to air seal and insulate her home.

Queens Village was the first neighborhood in Philadelphia to participate in group-audits. About 15 houses participated in the program. These homeowners received a reduced rate on audits as well as energy-efficient improvements because so many participated in the program. Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill, and south Philadelphia are other area communities participating at group rates.

For residential properties, UCD is organizing as many households as possible to participate in a home energy audit. The more houses that participate, the lower the price of the audit.

For more information, go to http://ecasavesenergy.org/ or contact Seth Budick from UCD at seth@universitycity.org.

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