It Pays to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Denison University in Granville, Ohio; Photo by Pbass1956

Denison University in Granville, Ohio; Photo by Pbass1956

According to a recent opinion essay in the New York Times, retrofitting old buildings to make them more energy efficient is a great way to save money.

Mark Orlowski, the founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute explained that,

“The returns are tremendous, and there’s virtually no risk.”

SEI is an organization that supports research, education and practical tools to encourage institutions, usually of higher learning, to invest in ways to reduce climate change.

An example is cited of how Denison University in Granville, Ohio, invested $108,000 to install sensor-controlled heating and cooling systems in Burton D. Morgan Hall. They also had energy efficient lighting installed in the ten-year-old building, completed in 2003. Between the lowered gas and electric bills since the retrofitting, the University has saved about $28,000 per year. It took less than 4 years to recoup their investment, and can expect to continue saving money.

To learn more keep reading here.

New DSIRE Expected in December 2014

Energy efficiency

DSIRE Helps Consumers and Businesses Find Great Ways to Save Money Through Saving Energy

The highly useful Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency has been helping people discover a wide range of programs and ideas for saving energy in New York as well as the rest of the US.

A collaborative project of the US Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE is a “comprehensive source of information on Federal, state, local, and utility incentives” which are in place to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

As new information becomes available, which is often on a daily basis, the database is updated. Founded in 1995, the database is composed of two searchable subsets: a database for renewable energy and another one for energy efficiency. Searches can be conducted either on the state or at the federal level, and the searches are organized into one of two possible categories: financial incentives; and rules, regulations and policies.

The new database, which will be ready by December, 2014, will offer “significant improvements over the current version.” Those improvements will include: greater data accessibility and a selection of new search tools for users. When December arrives, check it out, or better yet, check it out today.

Wise Ideas from NYSERDA

logoNew York State is one of the nation’s most energy-aware states. Take for example the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. This public benefit corporation gives to the public not only information and analysis of the most pressing energy issues of the day, but also offers innovative programs, technical advice, funding, and lots more, to help citizens be as aware and energy-savvy as possible.

The NYSERDA has been in service of the people since 1975, creating and promoting solutions to protect the environment, save money, create clean energy jobs, and much more.

Here is a small sample of some of the programs NYSERDA offers to the public sector.

Home energy efficiency programs– NYSERDA assesses home energy usage using contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute. Home owners receive a list of recommendations for ways to improve energy efficiency, including improved insulation, efficient lighting, better heating systems, and more.

Energy Star Certified Products– A product is eligible for an Energy Star endorsement when it meets or goes beyond the federal standards for energy efficiency, with no loss of product quality or performance. The Department of Energy determines these guidelines. Always look for the Energy Star when buying new appliances.

EmPower New York– This program helps those who are eligible base on income, to upgrade their living spaces to more energy efficient dwellings, but without having to spend any of their own resources to do it. After the home or apartment is transformed into a more energy efficient abode, EmPower New York will send workers to provide tips and strategies on how to further manage energy usage every day.

IDT Energy is a New York based company helping consumers use energy wisely, and save money, too.

Choosing Energy Saving Appliances

energuideWhen the time comes to purchase new appliances, consumers often base their choices on how energy efficient the new appliance will be. Luckily most of the work involved in figuring out just how energy efficient and appliance is has already been worked out, by the people who endorse appliances with the Energy Star. Combining the Energy Star endorsement with the Energuide rating system, which tells consumers exactly how much energy the appliance uses, will help shoppers make the best possible purchases.

Efficient Lighting Leads to Lower Emissions

Begin with Lighting to Reduce Emissions and Improve Energy Efficiency

Begin with Lighting to Reduce Emissions and Improve Energy Efficiency

One of the best ways to reduce the carbon footprints of households and businesses is to concentrate on improving the efficiency of energy usage. And one of the best places to begin efficiency improvements is with lighting.

Richard Yancy, Executive Director of Green Light New York explains why starting with lighting to improve energy efficiency: “Because it’s the cheapest efficiency improvement you can make, and also because people can see it.”

Yancy explains that Project Green Light New York is trying to be a “living room for energy efficiency.” The project combines education with interactive models, while also creating a space for learning and discussion. The location for the GLNY resource center exemplifies the goals of the project: the juxtaposition of cutting-edge lighting in one of New York City’s oldest and most historic buildings, on Chambers Street near City Hall and the federal courthouse, shows that efficiency can easily begin with lighting, even in the oldest of buildings.

Improving consumer’s energy efficiency and lowering their carbon footprint is a goal of IDT Energy.

New York Puts Their Money Where the Energy Savings Is

logoThe Energy $mart New Construction Program in New York was launched in order to encourage buildings to incorporate energy efficient and renewable energy resources into construction and operation. A large variety of entities are eligible to become part of the program, including government facilities, non-profit organizations, health-care facilities, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities.

The NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is behind the program, which also allows agricultural, commercial, industrial/manufacturing, institutional and multi-family buildings over 5 units to participate.

The sum of $91 million has been allotted to conduct technical assessments of how efficient energy use can be utilized in a particular building’s design and structure. The money will also be used to compensate for the extra capital expenses required to purchase and install energy efficient equipment and devices, up to 75 percent.

There is also money available from the program for technical assistance, whole-building design, LEED projects and commissioning services. The program began on January 4, 2012, and will continue funding on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2015.

IDT Energy Offers Some Energy Saving Tips from the DOE

Programmable thermostats can help save energy

Programmable thermostats can help save energy

The US Department of Energy has a wonderful, concise booklet to help consumers save on their energy bill throughout the year. Saving energy is not only good for the individuals and families by helping them save money, it is also beneficial to the country as a whole. As the DOE puts it,

“Saving energy reduces our nation’s overall demand for resources needed to make energy, and increasing your energy efficiency is like adding another clean energy source to our electric power grid.”

Here are just a small number of suggestions to help people save on their electric bill, which IDT Energy supports:

  • Have a programmable thermostat installed to run heating and cooling systems more efficiently.
  • Don’t use your dishwasher’s drying cycle; just let the air dry off your clean dishes.
  • Remember to turn off appliances when not in use
  • Even better, unplug your appliances when not in use to save on “ghost” electric usage. You can have a number of appliance all plugged into a power strip which can be turned off, making this task easier.
  • Lowering the thermostat on your hot water heater down to 120°F keeps your water hot enough, but can save lots of energy.

The DOE has lots more tips and suggestions for saving energy. It’s good for you and its good for our community.

Cut Back on Heating Costs

As winter rages on and another polar vortex threatens the United States, families can benefit greatly from learning a bit about heating and ways to conserve energy at home. Home Energy Saver recently shared this infographic in an effort to boost awareness and support energy conservation:


Geoff Rochwarger on Creating Value

IDT Energy CEO Geoffrey Rochwarger recently shared some advice for businesses, explaining that creating value is essential in any industry.

“Managers must evolve their business plans to meet customers’ changing needs. Every business, if it wants to grow, needs to identify how customers’ behaviors change and how this creates new markets—large and niche—that are as yet untapped. This goes for companies large and small,” he said. ““It is crucial for businesses to understand how they can leverage their customer’s additional needs to produce new revenue streams. This can be done in many ways. It may mean offering more services, tailoring existing services to further serve customers’ needs, or adjusting pricing tiers in a way that makes the product or service better for customers while augmenting the business’ earnings potential.”


Your Attic and Energy Efficiency

Air leaks can often be traced to your attic- resulting in a house that’s too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter. The Residential Energy Services Network offers several tips for insulating your attic:

  • Seal holes or gaps around chimneys or furnace flues to prevent air leaks.
  • Use metal flashing for larger gaps and high temperature caulk for smaller ones.
  • Identify and seal all air leaks before adding additional insulation.
  • Seal small gaps around plumbing stacks and electrical wiring.
  • Use caulk for small gaps and spray foam for gaps up to 3 inches in diameter.
  • Use a combination of foam board and foam spray for gaps larger than 3 inches in diameter.
  • Use weatherizing materials or a pre-made attic cover to insulate your attic hatch or door.
  • Make sure attic soffit and gable vents aren’t blocked to ensure free airflow.