Rebuilding Together Alexandria to Help Winterize Homes
Non-profit will help about 25 families and individuals around Alexandria upgrade their homes with more energy-efficient measures.
Rebuilding Together Alexandria will be performing energy upgrades as part of its Energize Alexandria event, a day of winterizing homes across the city.
With support from Lowes and Sears, RTA volunteers on Oct. 20 will weatherize and provide free energy-efficient upgrades to homes of low-income veterans, disabled, and elderly residents.
These efforts will help approximately 25 families and individuals maintain and afford to stay in their homes.
These upgrades improve low-income housing, which tend to be older, and sometimes in poor condition and energy inefficient, according to RTA.
As a result, the families in these homes spend three times the average for heating and electricity.
Most of Rebuilding Together Alexandria’s clients earn less than $26,000 a year, and typically spend about 14 percent of their income on energy—as compared to 3.5 percent for higher income households.
“With winter on its way, a little weatherizing can go a long way in keeping homeowners who face health and income challenges living in their homes," said Katharine Dixon, executive director, Rebuilding Together Alexandria. "In advance of our Energize Alexandria event, we are encouraging more people to winterize and do energy upgrades for neighbors in need. It can help them remain in their homes—which is good for them and the community."
The group offers some winterizing tips for households:
10 Easy Energy-Saving Tips to Help Homeowners in Need
1. Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills: According to EnergyStar, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills. By using a programmable thermostat, homeowners can save about $180 annually.
2. Insulate attic hatches: Attics—including attic doors—are a great place to add more insulation to make a home more comfortable and efficient.
3. Air dry dishes: Instead of using the dishwasher’s drying cycle consider air drying them to save energy and money—up to 50 percent.
4. Set water heater to 120 degrees: According to the Department of Energy, every 10 degree reduction in water temperature will save between 3–5 percent in energy costs.
5. Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps: Energy saving light bulbs cost as little as $6 and last 12 times longer, saving up to $40 on electric bills over the life of the bulb.
6. Install ‘foam gaskets’ for electrical outlets: With very little time and money, foam pieces can be inserted under the faceplates of outlets and switches on external walls, saving significant energy and money.
7. Cover AC and Hot Water Tanks: Covering window or wall-mounted air conditioning units with a “jacket” during the winter months will keep a home warmer and save money. Also, putting a three inch insulating jacket on a hot water tank will save about $40 a year.
8. Caulk around doors and windows: Caulking—along with weather-stripping—will cut energy use, saving nearly $200 a year.
9. Use power strips: Plug multiple home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips. Then turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use to fuel savings.
10. Install low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets: According to Energy.gov, using low-flow fixtures can achieve water savings of up to 60 percent.