Last month in this column we talked a little bit about winterizing your home. Experts recommend doing many things to prepare for the winter, including installing energy-efficient doors and windows, maintaining your furnace, adding insulation, and more.
But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. Here's a tip: BGE offers lots of useful information on its website. And the company also offer customers the option to save on their energy costs and lessen their carbon footprint through participation in one or more of the BGE Smart Energy Savers Programs, which were established in 2009.
According to BGE spokesperson Rachael Lighty, “BGE Smart Energy Savers Program is a suite of programs that enable all customers to control energy use, leading to more efficient use of electricity and lowering energy bills from where they otherwise would be."
The can programs help lessen "peak demand," energy use during high-demand periods, and slow consumption in general, she said.
And, "the Smart Energy Savers Program supports EmPOWER Maryland’s goal of a 15 percent per capita reduction in energy consumption by 2015."
Through the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program, BGE customers have achieved an annual energy savings of more than 800 million kilowatt hours (kWh); equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of an EPA estimated more than 68,000 homes for one year.
If you’re a BGE customer, these programs are worth a second look. There is one in particular that will rapidly speed you on your way towards lower bills, a warmer home in the winter (and cooler in the summer!) and a more environmentally responsible home.
The “Quick Home Energy Check-up” essentially an efficiency audit, can be a fast and easy way to increase the energy efficiency of your home and help you start saving right away.
You must schedule a check-up with one of BGE’s “energy efficiency professionals,” who will come to your home and, during a one-hour walk-through, check the insulation, the heating and air cooling system, your appliances, lighting and more.
The "efficiency professional" will focus on condition of the insulation and the insulation levels, air leakage, your furnace and air conditioning unit, windows and doors, appliances, and your water heating equipment.
BGE will work with you to identify opportunities to help you save both energy and money and you will receive a report summarizing the most important findings, some recommended improvements, and opportunities to reduce your energy use and costs, while improving the comfort of your home.
The check-up used to cost $40, but that fee has recently been eliminated.
Lightly told me that “After the walk-through and with your permission, the Check-up professional will provide and install the energy-saving measures you mentioned in your home at no additional cost for the items or the cost of installation.”
That means that you could get up to six CFL bulbs, two faucet aerators, an efficient-flow showerhead, water heater pipe insulation (installed on hot and cold pipes for six feet from water heater) and a water heater tank wrap (electric water heaters only) completely for FREE. Not to mention other energy savings ideas for your home!
All BGE residential customers are eligible to participate in the Quick Home Energy Check-up; so far, more than 30,000 people have participated in the program.