Updating your home can have a dramatic effect on energy savings. One Central Washington couple reduced their energy use by about one-third.
You don’t have to drop your thermostat and pile on sweatshirts and blankets to lower your home’s energy bill. Shirley and Richard Ehrenberg found that out after making a few changes to their home. Now, they say, they’re more comfortable than ever. And conserving more energy.
The Wenatchee couple has lived in their home for about 15 years. But they recently took on some energy efficient projects, like adding:
Shirley: “Insulation behind the outside walls. Behind the outlets and switches.”
Richard: “Seals around the doors.”
Shirley: “A few of our light bulbs.”
Richard: “And the windows.”
The retired couple enjoys relaxing in their living room. In the evening they listen to music softly play. Their favorite brown recliner sits right next to a sliding glass door. Shirley says the draft used to chill her in the winter.
“You could hear the whistle of it between those two door pieces. And now with that little bit of insulation there, it stopped that and the draft. And it’s so much warmer to sit in that chair now.”
Many public utilities in the Pacific Northwest are promoting energy conservation -- like those in Boise, Seattle, and Portland.
Susan Gillin is a spokeswoman with the Chelan County Public Utility District. She says most ways to weatherize your home are relatively inexpensive. Insulation will get you the biggest bang for your buck. New windows and doors cost the most.
“It’s not just all do without or sacrifice. It really isn’t. If you think about the comfort that you gain from adding some of these things to your home, or taking small measures to improve your energy efficiency, it’s really a win-win.”
Shirley and Richard Ehrenberg say they’re also using less energy in the summer. They say the payoff for their roughly $4,000 investment all adds up.
Reporter: “Would you recommend other people to do this?”
Shirley: “Very much so. Yes, it doesn’t take long. If I can do it anybody can do it.”
Richard: “It might be an initial investment, but if you’re going to live in your home for any length of time, it’s something that really is a very good investment. Just for the comforts to begin with and then for the energy conservation.”
The Erhenbergs’ conservation project didn’t just lower their utility bill. It also helped them win their local utility’s Reduce Your Use Contest.
Eight other central Washington homeowners participated in the competition. Their combined energy savings over one winter was enough to power one home for an entire year.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio