Home Energy Efficiency in Washington DC
In a city where debates get as hot as a July afternoon and moods can turn as icy as the side walks in February, it's important for both politicians and homeowners to have thick insulation. In an era of rising energy prices, there are several measures people can take to reduce their energy consumption.
Making Your Home Comfortable and Efficient
Here are some important factors when considering energy efficiency in Washington, D.C.:
- The average temperature high in July is 88 degrees, and the average low in January is 27. A properly insulated and sealed house will be easier to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.
- The average Washington home was built in 1950. Sixty years ago, the cost of energy was much cheaper and insulation wasn't as great of a priority as it is today, which is why many homes have only three to four inches of attic insulation – not great because heat rises.
- The District of Columbia has one of the highest overall energy prices in the United States due to high natural gas and petroleum prices. The cost of electricity purchased from Pepco is around $0.15/kilowatt-hour and natural gas from Washington Gas is around $14.58/thousand cubic feet.
- Two-thirds of Washington residents heat their homes with natural gas.
Home Energy Audits in Washington, D.C.
If you don't know where to start, consider having your home audited. The goal of an energy audit is to find the energy-inefficient areas of your home that are causing your utility bills to be more expensive than necessary. Once you know the problems, it's easier to identify which upgrades will give you the most ban for your buck.
An in-home energy audit typically costs a few hundred dollars, but the District Department of the Environment will audit District of Columbia residents' homes for free! An audit will identify easy problems to fix that'll result in at least a few hundred dollars of savings in the short-term.
If you'd like to find out — for free and within minutes — whether your home is a good candidate for an energy audit and for upgrades, take our online home energy report. We'll give you a home energy report and estimate your savings potential.
Home Energy Upgrades in Washington, D.C.
Feel like the heat in your home is slipping through the cracks? Here are some projects that will make your home cozier and your utility bills affordable.
- Attic Insulation: If you have been scraping by with the bare minimum insulation in your attic, the pros at ENERGY STAR recommend adding R38 insulation to the existing layer to reduce your heating bill.
- Storm Windows: Many older homes were built with single-pane windows with a very high U-factor, which is what measures a windows ability to keep heat from transferring through the pane (lower U-factors are more efficient). Rather than replacing your old windows — an expensive project — adding storm windows to your existing panes may be your best bet.
- Programmable Thermostats: Adding a programmable thermostat to your home can save you cash on your heating bill by automatically turning down the heat when you and your family head off to work and school.
- Solar Panels: If you live in a newer, energy-efficient home, you might want to look into solar panels for electricity. A solar photovoltaic system will capture energy from the sun and use it to power your toaster and other handy appliances.
Have a project in mind? Find the right contractor.
Energy Rebates and Tax Credits in Washington, D.C.
How can you afford to make your utility bills ... affordable?
Home Efficiency Upgrades: Pepco offers up to $195 in rebates for buying energy-efficient refrigerators, water heaters and room air conditioners. Also, the U.S. government offers an efficiency tax credit of up to $1,500 for replacing old water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, etc. The tax credit also extends to roof replacements and insulation.
Renewable Energy Systems: Washington Pepco customers can apply for the Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers a rebate of up to $33,000 to homeowners who install wind energy or photovoltaic systems to power their homes. Also, a renewable energy tax credit offered by the federal government is a credit intended to cover 30 percent of the cost of a renewable energy system including the cost of installation.
Check out all energy rebates and tax credits in Washington DC.
Home Energy Resources from EnergySavvy
- Home Energy Report: How efficient is your home? Find out how to improve your home's efficiency and comfort, without spending tons of money, with EnergySavvy's free online home energy report.
- Energy Rebate and Tax Credit Directory: EnergySavvy's guide to energy rebates and tax credits can help you find all the energy tax credits and rebates that are available locally for you.
- Energy Contractors: If you've got a project in mind to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable and you'd like to talk with an energy expert about it, we can help. We focus on the relatively small group of contractors nationwide who really understand home energy auditing and energy retrofits.
- Educational Content: Home energy efficiency is complicated stuff. It's not just as simple as laying some insulation in the attic. We've put together a library of easy-to-read topics that cover the basics of energy efficiency. And if you have a question about anything, you can ask one of our energy experts using our "Ask an Expert" feature.
Last Updated: March 2010
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