SOURCE: Neighborworks America

NeighborWorks America

April 19, 2012 11:53 ET

NeighborWorks America Gives Five Earth Day, and Everyday, Tips for Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficient Projects Underway in the NeighborWorks Network

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Apr 19, 2012) - This Earth Day, NeighborWorks America, one of the largest community development nonprofit corporations in the U.S., and its network of more than 235 local nonprofit affiliates are urging consumers to save money and strengthen the environment by following a few simple, everyday steps in their homes and neighborhoods. The NeighborWorks network is one of the largest builders of affordable housing in the U.S. each year, and the network owns more than 90,000 affordable rental homes, adding more than 5,000 new apartments each year to its portfolio.

"Small changes to the way that consumers do things can save money each year in energy and water utility bills," said Michelle Winters at NeighborWorks America. "Everything from turning the thermostat up a few degrees in the coming summer months, to watering lawns at the right time this current growing season and throughout the summer can all add up to measurable household savings."

Tip One: Set your home thermostat to 78 degrees, and save between six percent and 18 percent on your electricity bill. Purchasing a programmable thermostat makes regulating household temperature a breeze. Many utility companies offer rebates and discounts reducing the cost.

Tip Two: If you want to know where you could begin to make substantial cuts in energy usage, arrange a home energy audit. Most local utilities provide basic reviews, and there are professionals in the market who provide deeper audits for a fee. You should be sure that whoever you select to audit your home's energy usage is certified. Check state certification procedures with a local utility.

Tip Three: Water lawns between five A.M. and 10 A.M. to maximize absorption and minimize evaporation.

Tip Four: Take action to buy food produced locally. The availability of farmers markets are increasing in many communities. By choosing to buy locally grown food, you reduce the amount of fuel used to transport goods and support local businesses too.

Tip Five: Choose your appliances wisely. "Energy Star rated appliances are what to look for," says Winters. "NeighborWorks builders use highly rated Energy Star appliances when developing new houses and apartments and when completing substantial rehabilitation to existing houses and apartments."

Below are examples of new and rehabilitated homes and homeowners services from the NeighborWorks network.

Alliance Apartments, a 184-apartment complex developed to LEED standards by Aeon, a NeighborWorks network member based in Minneapolis, MN. Aeon worked with other local nonprofits to transform a vacant nursing home into a vibrant part of the community.

Recognizing that it takes expertise to transform homes into more energy efficient places to live, Community Housing Partners, a NeighborWorks organization based in Christianburg, VA and operating in several states manages the New River Center for Energy Research and Training. NCERT has trained more than 23,000 people in state-of-the-art residential energy conservation techniques.

Boston-based NeighborWorks member Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services (MA) recently earned the first LEED for Homes Platinum Certification in Massachusetts for its affordable housing rehab project on 95-97 Pine Street, which also received the Cambridge Historical Commission Preservation Award and a City of Cambridge Go Green Award.

NeighborImpact, a NeighborWorks organization in Bend, Oregon, recently rehabbed a 60-home apartment complex by installing solar panels to the Healy Heights Apartments. NeighborImpact expects to reduce the energy costs by $17,000 each year.

In Santa Fe, NM, NeighborWorks network member Homewise, Inc. is selling new homes that embrace the values of today's homebuyers who demand quality, value and energy efficiency. All of the homes in the new Rincon del Sol community have Energy Star rated appliances, whole-home fan cooling systems and dual-pane windows for overall energy efficiency and lower utility costs for homeowners.

About NeighborWorks® America
NeighborWorks® America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

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