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Save money in January by saving energy

When: Jan. 10, 2012

What: As colder winter weather moves in, many people find their energy bills ballooning. Homes with inefficient heating systems or poor insulation suck money from owners’ pockets as expensive heat goes right outside. For people looking to save money this winter, it’s smart to start with the home. Simple and inexpensive improvements not only lower bills, but add value to houses. Help consumers save money with easy home improvements on National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, celebrated on Jan. 10.

Background: As the cost of gas, oil, and electricity continue to rise, consumers have been embracing ways to help offset higher costs while improving the value and efficiency of home appliances and systems. National Cut Your Energy Costs Day was founded to promote energy-saving home devices that can make a major difference in bringing down home energy costs. With heating costs going up dramatically in the middle of winter, the day is held in January each year to encourage consumers to take a close look around the home to find out what’s driving up their energy bills.

Story Pitch: A number of industries can use the day to promote their energy-saving products. Home weatherization services and insulation installers will want to use National Cut Your Energy Costs Day to promote their more efficient products, as well as inspection services that help homeowners pinpoint where they have leaks or inadequate insulation. Many states and energy providers offer tax breaks or money back on home improvements that help save electricity, so the event is a great opportunity for contractors and home improvement specialists to educate consumers on how to take advantage of these incentives. Companies that make easy-to-use, inexpensive devices that help lower energy costs, such as programmable thermostats or compact florescent light bulbs, can use the day to target homeowners and renters looking to make small changes to save on energy costs.

Story Hook: The phase out of incandescent light bulbs will begin in January 2012, when the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 goes into effect. Incandescent light bulbs will no longer be legally manufactured in the U.S., and the phase out aims to replace bulbs with more efficient types, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). What are the advantages of these new types of bulbs? How much money can they save consumers? What should consumers be cautious of when using them, and how should they be disposed of? Consider the following as you make your pitch:

  • In a poor housing market, homeowners may not see the advantage of putting money into their homes. How long does it take for consumers to offset the initial financial investment of adding energy-efficient upgrades and improvements to their home?
  • How can renters save money on energy costs without making major changes to a house?
  • What efficiency benchmarks should consumers look for as they comparison shop products?
  • Should consumers wait for even more efficient products before making changes to their homes? What new technologies are in the works?

Tips: Someone who has significantly improved home energy efficiency and can talk about how these changes have saved money and improved the value and enjoyment of their home would make a good contact. Additionally, a contractor or builder with an energy-efficient approach is a great person to speak about what is involved in improving effectiveness at home.

Resources:

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
www.aceee.org

Energy Star – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(703) 412-3086
www.energystar.gov

U.S. Department of Energy
(202) 586-5000
www.energy.gov

U.S. Green Building Council
(800) 795-1714
www.usgbc.org

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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