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Federal Agencies Combine Efforts to Protect Environment and Reduce Home Energy Bills

July 11, 2005 - 2:07pm

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Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Energy; Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON, DC- The Bush administration today announced a major new partnership aimed at reducing household energy costs by 10 percent over the next decade.  The Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency will provide energy saving solutions for all households across the country and support research and implementation of a new generation of energy efficiency technologies.

The Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will consolidate and coordinate home energy savings information for consumers on a web portal, http://www.energysavers.gov/, giving Americans access to the latest innovations to make their  homes more energy efficient.

"In this time of high energy costs and uncertain energy resources, it's important that the federal government help Americans find ways to reduce home energy use and save money on their energy bills," DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman said.   "Under President Bush's leadership, we have developed new technologies and we continue to invest new dollars in finding ways to help homes become more energy efficient.  We want to pass along this knowledge to the American people as quickly as possible."

Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light and live in their homes.   By taking advantage of home energy efficiencies, an average American family could save $150 a year.

"For most owners and   renters, utility bills are the second largest household expense," HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said.   "That's why housing affordability and energy efficiency go hand in hand.  By reducing the price of utility bills, we reduce the cost of living for the nation's low- and moderate-income families."

In addition to the billions of dollars lost through energy inefficiencies, household power waste contributes to the power plant emissions that create soot, smog and acid rain and lead to increases of greenhouse gases.   Today, about 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases come from residential energy use, and while newly-constructed homes are more efficient than they were 30 years ago, more can be done.

"Last year, through the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans chose to invest in cleaner air and healthier lives -- all the while saving enough energy to power 18 million homes and cutting $10 billion from their energy bills," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said.   "We are delighted to work with our federal partners offering households energy efficiency solutions that lower energy bills, avoid emissions from power plants and provide the next generation a healthier, cleaner environment."

Goals of the Bush administration's Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency include:

  • Expand efforts to promote ENERGY STAR® products;
  • Develop durable, comfortable, affordable homes that use 40-50 percent less energy;
  • Develop new energy efficiency services to provide homeowners with greater savings, such as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®;
  • Deliver energy efficiency savings to low income and subsidized housing;
  • Continue to invest in innovative research in building science technologies, practices, and policies; and
  • By 2020, provide design technologies and building practices to allow cost- effective net-zero energy homes.

In addition, individuals can take many simple steps today to help make their homes more energy efficient.   They are:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with lights that have earned the government's ENERGY STAR® label.
  • Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioner to adjust the setting warmer at night, or when no one is home.
  • Use a fan with your window air conditioner to spread cool air through your home.
  • If your air conditioner is old, look for a new one that has earned the ENERGY STAR® label.   New energy-efficient models can save you up to 50 percent on your cooling bills.
  • Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs.   Daytime air temperatures can be 3 to 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.          
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but do not block the airflow. 
  • Sunny windows can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.    Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • If you want to replace your windows, look for windows that qualify for the ENERGY STAR® label, and consider the new double-pane windows with spectrally selective coatings. 
  • Check to see that your fireplace damper is tightly closed.

For more information on the Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency, please go to:  http://www.energysavers.gov/.

Media contacts:
EPA Press Contact: John Millet (202) 564-4355
DOE Press Contact: Craig Stevens (202) 586-4940
HUD Press Contact: Dustee Tucker (202) 708-0685

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