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Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency and Save Money with Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance's Green Umbrella Energy Challenge

Jan 23, 2013 5:56:45 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance


With winter in full effect, it is a great time to learn about the residential energy efficiency home improvement program of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. Available to all homeowners in Hamilton, Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, the Energy Alliance provides reduced-cost energy assessments, a roadmap for energy efficiency improvements, and financial incentives. You can also help "Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy" celebrate the energy saving improvements our team makes in the region by taking the Green Umbrella Energy Challenge and selecting "Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy" as your Green Umbrella affiliate.

What You Can Do – Compete in the Green Umbrella Energy Challenge
Green Umbrella and the Energy Alliance are challenging you to improve your home’s energy efficiency and help the region around greater Cincinnati reduce energy consumption. Your collective efforts will help reduce the region’s consumption of energy and reduce the stress on our environment and resources.

How An Individual Can Participate:

1 Identify Your Organization
The first step towards taking the challenge is selecting your affiliated Green Umbrella organization. Strengthen our collective impact by joining your colleagues in reducing energy consumption.

2 Request An Assessment
Once you have selected your affiliate, continue to request a home energy assessment to get started from one of our Home Performance Contractors.
 Reduced Cost Energy Assessment
 Pre-Qualified Home Performance Contractors
 Comprehensive Energy Assessment Report

3 Complete Your Improvement
Your selected Home Performance Contractor will provide you with an energy savings roadmap identifying energy efficient home improvements.
Program benefits:
 Upgrade Incentives Low-interest financing option
 Improved Comfort A Healthy, Safe Home
 Reducing Air Pollution Third party quality assurance

4 Multiply Your Impact

The Energy Challenge is a chance for you to have a positive impact on several levels.
 Personal impact: improve your home’s energy performance, comfort, and savings.
 Organizational impact: help Green Umbrella and its member organizations in reaching an important goal for energy use reduction.
 Regional impact: help the entire Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area by reducing the stress on the environment we live in.

For more information contact: Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance 513-621-4232, info@greatercea.org or us.

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New Residential Building Code for Ohio

Jun 26, 2012 9:33:14 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance


In May, Ohio adopted a new residential building code requiring new homes to be more energy-efficient, be tested for air leaks and come with carbon monoxide detectors. The code is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013.

The new rules are estimated to add between $1,100 and $1,200 to the cost of a 1,800-square-foot two-story home. Homeowners can expect reductions in their utility bills, justifying the increased cost of construction. A similar code change in Boston back in 2009 found homeowners could save approximately $230 a year in energy costs with the new rules in place.

Among other code requirements, carbon-monoxide detectors must be installed outside each bedroom in a home that uses gas or propane or includes an attached garage. Homes must meet an air-tightness standard that includes a blower-door test, in addition to the requirement that at least 75% of light bulbs must be high-efficiency, such as compact fluorescent bulbs.

• Require that floor joists between the basement and first floor that are less than 10 inches deep include a gypsum or wood layer underneath for additional fire protection.

• Increase the efficiency of windows by reducing the maximum U-value from .40 to .35.

• Remove the requirement that sump pumps and garage door openers be plugged into GFCI outlets after homeowners complained that sump pumps and garage openers were kicking off.

While it won't radically change the way homes are constructed, the code had sparked considerable debate since its introduction more than three years ago.

Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club favored the tougher energy requirements, while Ohio homebuilders argued the new code would excessively boost the cost of a new home.

The Ohio Home Builders Association opposed the initial proposal. But at the urging of builders, the code now includes a compromise provision to provide contractors two ways to meet the tougher energy requirements. They can either follow the International Code Council guidelines or follow an alternative set of guidelines designed by builders to achieve the same energy efficiency.

"I think they came up with a code that works," Vincent Squillace, executive vice president of the Ohio Home Builders Association, told the newspaper. "We came up with an equivalent code that's more strict but is about $2,000 cheaper per home to implement than the original code."

Debbie Ohler, staff engineer for the Ohio Board of Building Standards, said the code also recognizes new materials and methods of construction. The board will administer the code.

"It's definitely an improvement," Ohler told the media. "It also incorporates requirements that provide for safer homes, but at the same time, it incorporates more stringent energy requirements, which should save homeowners money."


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