Being green this holiday season doesn’t just mean finding the perfect tree for the living room or composting the fruitcake that’s still hanging around since last year. The cold weather means it’s time to batten down the hatches (literally and figuratively) to save big on heating costs. Last year Pepco customers in DC and Maryland that only had electric heating used just over 600 kilowatt hours more of electricity to stay warm in January than cool in July. We spoke with Ronnie Kweller, a spokesperson for the DC-based Alliance to Save Energy, about ways to stay warm while spending less when the weather outside is frightful.
“The most important thing is just making sure your home is nicely sealed and air tight,” says Kweller. Older homes may be under-insulated, and all those tiny leaks can add up to the equivalent of a three-square-foot hole in your wall. Sealing and properly insulating your home can save you up to 20 percent on your energy bill, she explains. Seal the area around windows and doors with weather stripping and caulk, and close up electrical outlets on exterior walls with foam gaskets.
Audit Your Energy
District residents can get a free energy audit and there are several companies in the region that offer them for a fee. “They will give you a written report identifying areas where you’re wasting energy, what you need to do to fix them, and exactly how much it will cost,” says Kweller. Or you can perform your own audit by lighting a stick of incense and taking a tour of your windows and doors. If the smoke blows inward, you know you have a leak.