Friday, April 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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?

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!
About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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