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 March 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm 0

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


DC SEU  won a 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) a 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award as part of the Northeast Retail Products Initiative. DC SEU won the award in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting our environment through energy efficiency.

The initiative, facilitated by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and made up of utilities and energy efficiency program administrators in New England, New York and DC, will be recognized at an awards ceremony on March 26, 2013.

In 2012, the DC SEU sold more than 43,000 compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). This year, the DC SEU has already sold more than 80,000 CFLs and now offers rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified light-emitting diodes (LEDs), clothes washers, and refrigerators.

“Working with local retailers, the DC SEU is committed to ensuring energy-efficient products are available to all District residents throughout the city,” said Ted Trabue, managing director of the DC SEU.

An ENERGY STAR Partner since 2000, the Northeast Retail Products Initiative will be honored for its long-term commitment to energy efficiency. During the last 13 years, the Initiative has won 14 awards including six Excellence Awards.

“Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships is committed to speeding the adoption of high efficiency products in the region through our partnership with the DC SEU in the Retail Products Initiative,” said Sue Coakley, Executive Director of NEEP.

For more than 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2013 Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a select group of organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, employing innovative approaches, and showing others what can be achieved through energy efficiency. Award winners are selected from about 20,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

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