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Reducing Fuel Costs and Energy Use on Minds of Thousands of Visitors to Green Buildings Open House

Submitted by: Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA)

Categories: Green Building, Sustainability

Posted: Oct 14, 2008 – 08:00 AM EST

 

Oct. 14 /CSRwire/ - GREENFIELD, MA. - October 14, 2008 – With winter approaching and fuel costs rising, the tremendous interest in learning how to use alternative energy and sustainable design to lower fuel bills and heat and cool homes and other buildings is increasingly relevant, exemplified by the over 10,000 people who toured more than 600 sites during the Green Buildings Open House on Saturday, October 4. Organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), Green Buildings Open House took place in the six New England states as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. This annual event is held in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour. A record 282 new sites were open to the public this year in the northeast.

Sustainable energy features were on display at private homes, businesses, public buildings, schools, farms, colleges, and nature centers, where owners graciously opened their doors and welcomed the public to tour, ask questions, and discover the variety of ways they are saving energy, money, and the environment.

Incorporating sustainable and energy-efficient elements into buildings helps address many of the problems headlining in today’s news. Green buildings can reduce heating costs over traditional buildings; reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil; slow the pace of global warming; reduce pollution-induced increases in asthma-related illnesses; reduce the incentive to drill for oil and gas in pristine landscapes; and even generate surplus clean energy to power other buildings.

“NESEA is pleased to offer an event that not only allows the public to increase its knowledge of sustainable and energy efficient buildings but gives them an opportunity to connect with proven professionals in the industry. Visitors can clearly see how the installations and technologies used by their neighbors are steps they, too, can take to help reduce our dependency on oil and reduce their fuel costs,” said David Barclay, NESEA Executive Director.

Green Buildings Open House was a successful day for site hosts. Jean Camire of Manchester, NH stated, "We had approximately 30 people visit our home, it was a perfect sunny day to see the meter spin backwards and demonstrate solar hot water."

Peter DeDuck of North Chili, NY stated, "The interest level and commitment to conservation and sustainable energy sources was very high."

"Over 100 people streamed through our passive solar home non-stop from 10am to 4pm," said Alan Spector, Lafayette, NJ, "everyone was eager to learn about solar energy and determine how to apply solar or other energy-saving ideas to their homes."

Mary Biddle, Program Manager of the Green Buildings Open House, stated that, "A number of visitors were surprised to learn how affordable it is to purchase energy efficient features and renewable energy installations. From conversations I had with many of the hosts, it sounded like as many as 50% of their visitors intend to add a "green" feature to their home in the next two years."

The use of renewable energy, green building principles, and energy-reducing features were among the many highlights visitors could see. Examples include the use of solar heating ("passive solar"), wind and geothermal power, energy-saving appliances, and the use of resource-efficient and allergy/asthma-sensitive building materials. Many of the buildings demonstrate how solar hot water is collected and stored, and how photovoltaics (solar panels) can be placed on or integrated into the shell of a building to generate electricity. Many of the Open House sites also demonstrated water-saving fixtures and practices and the variety of green materials including paints, insulation, carpeting, and renewably harvested wood products.

By talking with the building hosts at the Green Buildings Open House, the public learned how to make a difference starting at home. Steps in the 'What You Can Do' list suggest relatively simple ways to reduce energy consumption.

The Green Buildings Open House is sponsored by Efficiency Maine, a Division of the Maine Public Utilities Commission; GroSolar; National Grid; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); and NRG Systems. Media partners include CSRwire, E/The Environmental Magazine, ecological Home Ideas, Environmental Design + Construction, Green Builder Magazine, Green Living Journal, High-Profile Monthly, metrogreenbusiness.org, New Jersey & Co., the New England Real Estate Journal, New York House, and Smart HomeOwner magazine.

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is the Northeast's leading organization of professionals working in sustainable energy, whole systems thinking and green technologies. NESEA facilitates the widespread adoption and use of sustainable energy by providing support to industry professionals and by educating and motivating consumers to learn about, ask for and adopt sustainable energy and green building practices. NESEA accomplishes this through a number of ongoing programs and annual events including: The Building Energy Conference and Trade Show, K-12 Education, the Sustainability Workshop Series, and the Sustainable Green Pages. For more information, visit www.nesea.org or call 413-774-6051.

2008 Green Buildings Open House
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE MONEY AND...


Most of us are dependent on fossil fuels, which are causing havoc for our health, wallets, environment, and future.

However, you can make a difference on a global level, by incorporating responsible practices daily.

Here are the top 10 steps you can take to save money and energy, reduce climate change emissions (CO2) and reliance on foreign oil, and improve our air quality and quality of life.

  1. Purchase green electricity; it's easy and quick to do!
    Contact your electricity supplier, check their web site, or go to www.green-e.org to learn about purchasing "clean electricity" and support renewable energy production. Depending on your supplier, you can pay a little bit more for clean renewable electricity or you can purchase renewable energy certificates.

  2. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent energy-efficient light bulbs
    Compact fluorescent bulbs use about one-fourth the electricity of an incandescent bulb, reduce CO2 emissions, last roughly 9,000 hours longer than incandescent bulbs, and offset approximately 1.5 tons of emissions per household per year. They may cost slightly more to buy, but they save you money in the long run.

  3. Turn off your computer when done and unplug appliances if not used often
    Save money on electricity bills, reduce electricity consumption, and reduce CO2 emissions. Most appliances and computers use electricity even when "off." In hot weather, an idling computer adds heat to a room, forcing air conditioning to run longer and use even more electricity to lower the temperature. Use a power strip to shut off audio-visual and other similar equipment.

  4. Choose Energy Star labeled appliances when purchasing new ones
    Save money on energy bills, reduce electricity consumption, and reduce CO2 emissions by choosing energy efficient appliances with the Energy Star label.

  5. Weatherize your home
    Seal cracks in your home by weather stripping and caulking, and add insulation to reduce heating and cooling bills, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions. Many electricity and heating suppliers offer low cost or even free home energy audits to help you pinpoint areas that need attention, and make the changes. To achieve the greatest savings, contact a professional about air-sealing your home.

  6. Install solar panels and/or a solar hot water heating system
    Invest in reducing energy consumption by harnessing the power of the sun and reduce CO2 emissions, and take advantage of tax incentives. Two sources include dsireusa.org and energysavers.org.

  7. Ask for a Green Home when purchasing, renovating, or building a home
    It's healthier and saves money on energy bills, reduces electricity consumption, and reduces CO2 emissions.

  8. Purchase a fuel-efficient automobile
    Save money on fuel and reduce CO2 emission concentrations.

  9. Use alternate transportation
    Consider walking, biking, using public transit, or an electric scooter before you drive your car.

  10. Purchase locally grown organic food as often as possible
    Reduce CO2 emissions since the food travels a shorter distance to your plate, and buying organic assures that petroleum-based fertilizers are not used.
Here's a bonus...for the activist in you, whether bold or shy, this is a great way to communicate your opinion!

* Be active in your community, vote, and write letters
Let your voice be heard and your thoughts be known to your state and federal representatives! You can make a difference by supporting the installation of a clean renewable energy facility such as a wind turbine, a biofuel facility, or landfill gas recovery facility in your community.

Sources: nesea.org; ucsusa.org; uspirg.org; sierraclub.org; populationconnection.org

A list of green professionals throughout the Northeast - the Sustainable Green Pages directory - can be found on the NESEA website at nesea.org.

Contact NESEA at nesea@nesea.org for copies of the following brochures:

  • The 10 Most Effective Ways To Save Energy In Your Home
  • Photovoltaic Systems For Homes And Businesses
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • NESEA's Sustainable Green Pages Directory

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 508-698-6810
Phone: 413-774-6051 x22

 

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