by April 8, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]


Change the light bulb. (Luis Gomez Photos)

With spring right around the corner, you might be thinking about washing your carpets and sweeping the porch, but have you thought about cleaning out your energy bills? The average DC household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy.

With summer months of higher energy usage ahead, spring is a great time to evaluate your in-home energy use and take advantage of rebates to upgrade your appliances and lighting.

Lighting and Appliances

Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, ENERGY STAR qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills.

  • Save water, energy, and time. ENERGY STAR clothes washers use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. Most ENERGY STAR clothes washers do not have a central agitator which causes less wear and tear and fewer wrinkles, plus, it increases the capacity.
  • Save money. Using advanced technology and better insulation, ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use half the electricity of standard models and can save you up to $1,100 on energy costs over their lifetime.
  • Upgrade for less. The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) is offering discounts on energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Download $50 easy-to-use mail-in rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers and refrigerators at  DC SEU.
  • Brighten up. Lighting accounts for about 20 percent of annual household electricity bills, or approximately $200 per year. Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) and long-lasting light emitting diodes (LEDs) offer higher quality light than incandescent bulbs and use less energy. Find retailers in your area with CFLs for prices as low as $1 and download $5 and $10 rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs.

Heating and Cooling Maintenance

Nearly 50 percent of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. To prune your energy bill this spring, maintain your cooling equipment.

  • Keep it clean. Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system failure.
  • Schedule a checkup. Have a licensed contractor make sure your system is operating at peak performance.
  • Check your system’s air filter. When it is dirty, change it. At a minimum change it every three months.

For more information on the DC SEU, visit their website or contact Hanna Grene at 202-309-3839 or hgrene[AT]

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by January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]


The DC SEU offers help and technical assistance. (Luis Gomez Photos)

SEU Offers Help Center

New regulations are rolling out that will affect all buildings in DC over 50,000 gross square feet (gsf) in size. Effective January 18, with deadlines phased in through 2014, owners of large DC buildings must measure and report their energy and water use to the District Department of Environment (DDOE) using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s no-cost ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool.

These new regulations were established as part of the Green Building Act of 2006 (GBA) and the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (CAEA).

In order to help building owners and property managers comply with the new requirements, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) is offering a Benchmarking Help Center that will provide technical assistance on reporting and connect building owners to the SEU’s energy efficiency programs. The Help Center can be reached at (202) 525-7036 or at mbenchmarking[AT] Details of upcoming trainings, to be held on Wednesdays in February and March, can be found on the DDOE website.

“The Benchmarking Help Center complements the wide range of sustainable energy services the DC SEU currently offers to District building owners,” said DC SEU Managing Director Ted Trabue. “This is a great resource to help these building owners understand their requirements under the new regulation, and more importantly, harness the information they will be gathering to help them save money and energy.”

The reporting deadline for all buildings over 100,000 gsf is April 1, 2013. Buildings larger than 50,000 gsf are due to report by April 1, 2014. Thereafter, all commercial and multifamily buildings over 50,000 gsf will be required to report benchmarking data to the District on April 1 of every year.

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