Now that the weather is starting to change, it’s the perfect time to do your own energy audit and get your home ready for winter. As much as one-third of the energy you use to heat your home may be slipping through windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other cracks. Check out one of the Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers that use infrared technology to measure the surface temperature in areas of your home. Just “point and shoot” at the exterior of your home and you can literally see where the heat is leaking out of your home! The Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers are kept at the Reference Desk and can be checked out for one week.
Public Green Category: Weatherization
The Energy Impact Illinois Program, in conjunction with your local utility, offers energy efficiency rebates to residents and businesses to help lower their energy bills. In fact, if you are a residential customer, you may qualify for rebates up to $1,750 for air sealing and building insulation installation. Commercial, industrial, and multifamily complexes can receive incentives based on performance and energy efficiency savings. Go to www.energyimpactillinois.org and use the “Find Energy Savings Actions” tool to see all the programs you qualify for based on your location and home or business type. You can also call 1-855-9-IMPACT (toll-free) to learn more about the program OR set up an appointment to schedule an energy assessment (cost $99). They are open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.
•Consider using non-toxic de-icing substances such as clean clay cat litter, sand, or fireplace/stove ash to prevent hazardous waste from chemicals. Chemical de-icers can be hazardous to your pets, your trees and shrubs, and the environment. Antifreeze that leak from car engines and chemical snow melters on driveways, roads, and runways can pollute surface waters and groundwater through the soil.
•Winterize your vehicle by checking your air filter and fluid levels, checking tires for tread wear and proper inflation, and checking the condition of your windshield wipers. Ensuring your vehicle is ready for weather changes will reduce damage, which prevents waste from broken parts, and will keep you safe on the road.
•If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save your ashes in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden.
•Use electric snow removal products rather than gasoline-powered ones. While electric products consume energy, they do not emit greenhouse gases. As alternatives, use snow shovels, ice crackers, and brooms to clear snow from your sidewalk, porch, or driveway.
•If you have a manual thermostat or no thermostat at all, one way to save energy and money this winter is to install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat. When installed and used with the four pre-programmed temperature settings for weekend and weekdays, you can save about $100 each year while staying comfortable. Before leaving for vacation, turn down your thermostat (or use a programmable one) so that you don’t waste natural resources by generating unneeded heat. You can also buy outdoor and indoor lights with timers so that lights don’t stay on all night.
•Close the recycling loop. Many articles of clothing, such as jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots, are now made from recycled materials. Most fleece products are made from recycled plastic soda bottles, and certain clothing and shoe manufacturers use recycled cotton scraps and rubber tires to make their products.
•Winter storms often cause power outages. Prevent waste by keeping rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones stored throughout your house with your flashlights. If you do use disposable batteries, prevent hazardous waste by buying batteries with low mercury content.
•Recycle old newspapers by making rolled paper logs for your fireplace. Roll newspaper sheets around a broom stick until your log is the desired size, then soak your log thoroughly in water. Dry the log overnight and use like ordinary wood. Always follow proper safety precautions when burning anything around your home.
•To make sure your heating system (boiler, furnace or heat pump) is operating at its most efficient, it is a good idea to have a contractor perform a routine check-up and any necessary maintenance on the equipment before freezing weather drives up your energy bill.
•If your heating equipment more than ten years old, it may be time for a replacement to a more energy-efficient unit. While initially an expensive investment, replacing old equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment saves more energy and money in the long run.
See more energy saving tips from the EPA.
The Village of Mount Prospect is offering matching grants up to $1500 for home weatherization projects to the residents of Mount Prospect. Projects that can be funded by the grants include: roofing; weather stripping; energy efficient windows; floor, attic and wall insulation; and energy efficient furnaces and water heaters. Applicants must have owned and occupied home one year prior and gross household income must not exceed HUD’s low-income limits according to household size. For more information including income limits please visit: http://www.mountprospect.org/index.aspx?page=160
The Village of Mount Prospect’s Energy Efficiency Home Weatherization Rebate Program offers residents the opportunity to perform energy efficient upgrades to their homes. The Village will provide matching grants of up to 50% for energy efficient projects such as home insulation, Energy STAR window, door, water heater, furnace and air conditioner upgrades. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds run out. To see if you qualify and for more information on the program, go to www.mountprospect.org or call 847/818-5328.