It's Energy Awareness Month!

October plays host to a variety of events: playoff baseball, Columbus Day, Halloween, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But one side of October often escapes the public eye. October is Energy Awareness Month. Who knew?

Energy Awareness Month isn’t exactly a household phrase. After all, there’s no World Series of Insulation, you don’t get to skip school on Weatherization Day (October 30th, by the way), and green is not nearly as fun to wear as pink.
But that may be about to change – at least in the Greater Philadelphia region. EnergyWorks, the first serious effort to upgrade the energy efficiency of the region’s buildings is set to launch. EnergyWorks brings together an unprecedented array of rebates, tax credits and low interest loans with highly trained and certified building analysts and contractors to deliver real energy savings and better, more comfortable buildings to the Philadelphia region. 
EnergyWorks has been made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to the City of Philadelphia, and is available to all homeowners in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. The Gold Star level, which leads to the highest energy savings, starts with an energy analysis by a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified Building Analyst. Homeowners can qualify for IRS tax credits of up to $1,500, significant rebates from PECO Energy, and a 0.99% interest rate loan through the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (Keystone HELP).  
Energy efficiency is the best investment any homeowner can make right now. The rate of return is typically 12% to 20%. With all the financial incentives included in EnergyWorks, that could double. The benefits of home energy efficiency improvements typically include:
  • Significant savings of $250 to $700 per year every year
  • Improved comfort
  • Elimination of health and safety problems in the home: high carbon monoxide, gas leaks, moisture, mildew, etc..
  • Higher home value
  • Local job creation
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions permanently
With PECO rate caps expiring at the end of December, and PGW and Water Department rate increases already in effect, there will never be a better time to act. So celebrate Energy Awareness Month by Saving Energy and Saving Money. Learn more about EnergyWorks at www.ecasavesenergy.org or by calling 215-609-1052. The sooner you act, the more you save.
And of course, Happy Weatherization Day.
Cool Roofs Follow-up:
Thanks to the inquiring minds of “Earth to Philly” readers, I have received phenomenal follow-up questions about cool roofs. Why, you ask, is it beneficial to put a cool roof on when winter is already upon us and it gets so cold? Wouldn’t my home benefit from a hot, dark roof in the winter?
A cool roof combined with insulation is the most effective way of keeping both heating and cooling bills down. The climate in Philadelphia can help us understand why that is.
During the summer, the sun is higher in the sky, which gives us more hours of sunlight and hotter roofs. , A cool roof helps you keep your house cool for less in the summertime, reducing cooling load by 22%. During the winter, the sun is lower on the horizon, and the hours of daylight are shorter, so the heat gain from the sun on your roof is not as substantial.   In Philadelphia, there is a theoretical 3% heat gain from solar radiation on a black roof. A properly insulated, cool roof is the best solution, keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
Thank you for the insightful questions—keep ‘em coming!

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