Empower Announces Community Energy Efficiency Grants

green|spaces is excited to partner with the City of Chattanooga Department of Economic & Community Development to expand the work of their Empower Chattanooga program. Over the past two years, the organization has provide educational classes to over 1000 renters and homeowners teaching simple low and no cost ways to lower their utility bills. 

This Spring, the Empower program will fund 12 community projects up $1000 each to help residents implement community energy efficiency ideas. “Residents have amazing ideas on ways they can help solve the issue of high utility bills in their neighborhoods," stated Sam Fulbright, Empower Coordinator. "The idea of the grant program was inspired by “Project Porch Light”. A resident in the Highland Park neighborhood wanted to reduce crime activity and thought that by giving people a free LED light bulb, they would be able to keep their porch light on all night with adding just $1 annually to their utility bill.” The residents went door to door to hand out the light bulbs while also giving out information on other low cost energy efficiency tips and upcoming Empower workshops. To date over 125 residents have signed up to participate in Project Porch Light with a second round planned for this Spring.

Grant applications will open March 6th and will be due April 10th, 5pm. Applicants must reside in the 37406, 37404, 37407 and 37410 zip codes and can be an individual or part of a neighborhood association. Grant winners will be announced at the end of April at the Jen Lewin “The Pool” art installations. Those selected will be connected with a mentor from EPB and additional resources to help them complete their project by November 2017. 

Download Grant Application

Judging Criteria:

Applications will be based on the following criteria:

  • How well does the project educate or achieve energy efficiency?
  • How many people will be impacted by the project?
  • Can the project be replicated in other neighborhoods?
  • Does this project address any other community issues ie safety, blight, health? 

 

Project Timeline:

  • March 6, 2017 – Grant Applications Open
  • April 10, 2017 – Grant Applications Close
  • April 21, 2017 – 37406 Zip Code Winners Announced at The Pool Exhibit Opening at old Harriet Tubman Site
  • April 25, 2017 – 37404 Zip Code Winners Announced at The Pool Exhibit Opening
  • Opening at Highland Park Commons
  • April 28, 2017 – 37407 & 37410 Zip Code Winners Announced at The Pool Exhibit     Opening at East Lake Park
  • May 1, 2017 – Winners Matched with EPB Mentor
  • November 1, 2017 – All Projects must be complete

Buyers Guide to LED Lights

Overview

We all know turning off the lights is one of the easiest ways to save money on energy bills. Most people likely grew up with their parents and grandparents frequently telling them to turn off the lights. Turning off the lights is an important savings step. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with high efficiency LED bulbs is a great way to take that savings even further. Lighting attributes about 12% of the monthly utility bill at home. Switching to LED lights can take that 12% down to 2-4% of your overall utility bill. 

Cost

LED's are more expensive than their CFL or incandescent bulbs. The average bulb cost between $2-$12. Some silver lining is the prices on LED's have dropped 94% since 2008, and while the upfront costs may be a bit higher than LED's the life span more than makes up for the higher initial cost. The average LED bulb last 25,000 hours, between 20-25 years, compared to 1,000 hours, 1-1.5 years, for the average incandescent bulb. 

Savings

Switching your home over to LED's saves an average of $180 per year. The average home has 45 light fixtures. An incandescent bulb costs around $5 to operate each year compared to $1 for an LED. That pencils out to $225 for incandescent lighting each year vs. $45 each year for LEDs

Buying Tips

Shop smart! LED bulbs come in a wide range of prices so it can be easy to over pay for bulbs. Know what wattage equivalency you need to be replacing most lamps and overhead lights run a 60 watt bulb, so look for a 60 watt equivalent bulb. Most stores offer packs of 4, 6, or 8 bulbs that are typically a lower cost per bulb. 

Want to learn even more about saving money on your utility bill? Join us at one of our free basic energy workshops! 

Brrr.... Cold temperatures bring high energy bills.

When temperatures drop energy bills rise. In Chattanooga's winter months homes of East Chattanooga, East Lake, Alton Park, and Highland Park/Ridgedale use an average of 43% more electricity per square foot than the average Chattanooga home. With winter upon us it's important to pay extra attention to energy use. Take a look at the tips below to get started on saving. 

Don't let the cold cause an unexpected jump in bills for you. Learn more ways you can save on your home energy bill. Make sure to mark your calendar for an upcoming free basic energy workshop to learn all the basics to saving on your utility bills. Participants receive a free energy efficiency kit with all the tools necessary to get started.