Free energy audits for homeowners

January 28, 2009 7:05:32 AM PST
Several Bay Area cities have just begun providing house calls for their residents. Not to help out an ailing family member -- but instead to find out if the house itself is environmentally sick.

Lorna and Davena are two of more than 100 house call volunteers recently trained by the environmental non-profit group Acterra - as part of their free green at home program.

"They are looking to save energy in anyway they can," said Twana Karney, Acterra program director.

The volunteers test the faucets and offer a free aerator to help save water. If your shower head is not low flow, they'll make it so. Also available free of charge is a solar and wind powered device - known as a clothesline.

"They may seem small - its turn down the thermostat here, a retractable clothesline in the backyard there - all of these things add up and they make a difference," said Karney.

Redwood City is one of four Peninsula and South Bay cities participating in this public-private program. Homeowner Diane Howard, who as the vice mayor of Redwood City gladly offered her house for today's inspection, says this is city money well spent.

"I'd like to see if people with unlimited resources and some people do not have the same kind of jobs they had before - let's save our money and use it well. And some of these ideas that are coming through Acterra and green@home will actually do that," said Howard.

The volunteers even check the pressure in your car tires to help you get better mileage.

"Ideally the whole neighborhood will take this on and the neighborhood would have green@home signs on their front lawns and there would be a real sense of pride in what they are doing to improve the environment," said Beth Ross, Redwood City environmental initiatives manager.

The vice mayor discovered a couple of things she didn't know about being green at home.

"What I didn't realize is that I could buy more efficient energy saving lighting for the fixtures that are in the ceiling of my kitchen and I'm going to look into that," said Howard.

If you would like to have a green@home sign in your front yard, and you live in Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Menlo Park or Sunnyvale, just contact Acterra and set up an appointment. The money you save will be your own.

For more information, please click on:

www.acterra.org/greenathome


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