Energy-Efficiency Home Makeover Launches National ‘6 Degrees of Energy Efficiency Challenge’ | Alliance to Save Energy

Energy-Efficiency Home Makeover Launches National ‘6 Degrees of Energy Efficiency Challenge’

Release Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Makeover of Inner-city DC Row House is First Step in Campaign to Connect Nation’s Individuals, Communities in More Efficient Use of Energy

WASHINGTON, DC, November 15, 2006 – From the inner-city of our nation’s capital, to the small Midwestern suburbs, families across the nation continue to struggle with rising energy bills. Average U.S. households will pay nearly $5,000 to power their homes and vehicles this year—32 percent greater than just two years ago. In fact, the Energy Information Administration estimates that America’s families will spend an average of $902 on heating their homes this winter.

Even as consumer pocket books are hit hard by these huge costs, all of that energy use—much of it wasteful—also is affecting the well-being of our families, our communities, our states, our country, and ultimately our world. From insulating an attic in the suburbs of Michigan to sealing cracks around the door and window frames of a Washington, D.C., row house, homeowners who take “small steps” to repair problems and save money also are collectively making a big difference for everyone.

To demonstrate the important connections between our individual energy use and the world’s environment, economy and security, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Gas Association (AGA), The Dow Chemical Company Inc., and 27 additional Power is in Your Hands partners today launched the 6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge by making cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements to an old row house in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol owned by a family struggling to meet rising energy costs.

Speakers at the home energy-efficiency makeover event included: Alliance President Kateri Callahan; Mark Pryor, U.S. Senator from Arkansas and Alliance Chair; Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Peter Molinaro, VP for Government Affairs, Dow; Roger Cooper, Executive VP for Policy and Planning, AGA; Red Cavaney, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute; and Mike Calkins, Manager of AAA Approved Auto Repair.

The energy-efficiency home makeover marks the first step in connecting the important collective benefits that will come from families and communities across the U.S. who “take the challenge” and begin to save energy and thereby help the world. Taking the challenge is easy to do on the interactive 6° Challengewebsite.

With a simple click of a mouse, the 6° Challenge website will:

  • Inform consumers that increasing and wasteful energy use affects six key areas of our lives -- the energy prices we pay at the pump and in our homes, our home comfort, the air we breathe and our respiratory health, our energy security, our economic well-being, and the world we leave behind.
  • Provide consumers with six easy energy-efficiency tips they can implement in their own homes and vehicles.
  • Challenge them to take at least one of those six easy steps.
  • Provide money-saving coupons for energy-efficient products.
  • Encourage consumers to then challenge six friends and family members to become part of a global community by taking the Challenge and sharing their stories.

“Energy efficiency is for everyone,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “We’re conducting a makeover of a needy family's home to demonstrate many of the easy things consumers can do to start saving energy and money today. The Power is in Your Hands partners, which include 30 companies, government agencies, trade associations, environmental groups, and others, are committing their time and resources to teaching consumers how to take individual steps to not only save themselves money, but also by doing so to improve their communities and the world by advancing energy efficiency. This campaign uniquely links tens to hundreds of thousands of people together to leverage individual action for the greater good.”

Today’s energy-efficiency home makeover illustrated several steps consumers can take to save energy in their own homes and cut their energy bills, including:

  • Conducting a home energy audit and a blower door test to determine the air-tightness of the home (demonstrated by CMC Energy Services).
  • Air-sealing the home to stop air leakage through hidden holes, gaps and cracks (demonstrated with Dow’s GREAT STUFF foam sealant).
  • Insulating the home, which not only makes the home more efficient, but also makes consumers eligible for the 2006-2007 federal energy-efficiency income tax credit (demonstrated by Knauf Insulation).
  • Installing an ENERGY STAR-labeled programmable thermostat to efficiently moderate climate control (demonstrated by Honeywell which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the programmable thermostat).
  • Installing several “winterizing” products like door sweeps and weather-stripping (demonstrated by Niagara Conservation).
  • Replacing regular light bulbs with ENERGY STAR-labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), energy-efficient alternatives that last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs (demonstrated by OSRAM SYLVANIA).
  • Providing certificates for vehicle energy-efficiency improvements. Following AAA’s Gas Watcher Guide®, a compendium of practical tips that help motorists save fuel by slowing down, avoiding gas-guzzling accelerations and paying attention to your tires, filters and vehicle maintenance schedules. (API and AAA will jointly provide vehicle energy-efficiency improvements)

The D.C. row house made over today has been in the Robinson/Fauntroy family for three generations and is currently occupied by the grandchildren of the original owner and owned by their two aunts and uncle. These children, who have lost their father, grandmother, and mother, moved three years ago from their family home to this home next door and remain there as they strive to make their childhood home livable once again. They are simultaneously paying utility bills for both homes and taxes on their original family home. With winter coming, they, like so many other families, face staggering energy bills, which these efficiency improvements will help to lower.

“In a time when we’re constantly reminded of how overwhelming our nation’s energy challenges are today, we often feel as though we can’t or won’t make a difference. That’s why I’m a strong believer in this campaign. The entire focus is based on how simple, individual actions can add up to make a big difference,” Pryor said. “As we embark upon the new Congress, I’m looking forward to working with the Alliance to build a comprehensive approach that encourages improved energy efficiency from farms to factories and homes to headquarters.”

"Natural gas utilities want households to know there are plenty of simple steps they can take to lower their home heating bills this winter, from adding weather-stripping, to checking the efficiency of their furnaces, or spreading out their winter bills by signing up with their local utility for a level-payment program. 'Six Degrees of Energy Efficiency ' truly does put the power in the hands of the consumer,” said David N. Parker, President and CEO of AGA. "Natural gas utilities are proud to be a part of this campaign.”

“Every consumer has a part to play in energy efficiency,” said Dow’s Peter Molinaro. “We are proud to support the 6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge because it demonstrates that each person's energy use has a much wider impact. By linking us all together, we help turn small steps into big change.”