Thursday, June 18, 2009

Understanding Energy and How to Reduce

The following is a recent Q/A session with the Scranton Times Business Weekly- This was an interview related to the Energy Expo that occured on June 13 - 14, 2009. The responses are as written by the reporter for the newspaper.

"Q: What are some simple and low-cost ways to conserve energy?

A: Turn off and unplug computers, DVD players, lights and chargers when not being used. Consider the use of energy star appliances. Have heating and cooling systems inspected and make sure to change the filters. Seal and weather-strip windows and insulate-wrap hot water heaters and piping. Change incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent bulbs or simpler bulbs and use dimmers, timers and motion sensors on lighting systems. Get educated. There are many workshops and the Internet is a great resource for free information on conserving energy and improving the efficiency of your home or online distance learning courses in alternative and renewable energy. Consider the use of area heaters for heating occupied rooms. Have an energy audit completed.

Q. What is an energy audit?

A. If you are considering significant or costly improvements to your home or business or your experiencing problems with mold, ice dams, drafts or high utility bills, it would be advisable to have an energy audit conducted. For a home, an energy audit, conducted by a certified and trained professional auditor, can determine the energy efficiency of your home and suggest remedial measures that can maximizes your homes energy efficiency using a cost benefit analysis approach.

Q. Should I have an energy audit completed?

A. If you are considering renovations to your home, you are experiencing significant problems with heating and cooling your home, or you are looking to finance an alternative energy project, it would be advisable to have an energy audit conducted. The energy audit should be completed by a trained professional that has been certified by a reliable company or organization, such as Building Performance Institute and Residential Energy Services Network.

Q. What are some of the new alternative energy options available?

A. Many of these systems are not new, but there have been significant improvements in the technology and efficiency-plus combination of the federal and state tax credits may account for up to 65 percent of the cost. The systems include geothermal heating/cooling systems, solar energy supply, solar water heating, solar heating systems, biofuels and biomass and wind energy timber.

Q. What are the benefits of using alternative energy systems?

A. The benefits would include reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy, decrease in peak energy demand, potential revenue source by sending excess energy to the grid for resale and creating and supporting regional and local energy solutions.

Besides the potential long-term energy savings and added value to your home and business, the federal and state governments are providing a combination of tax credits or rebates. Rebate programs not only include alternative energy, but windows, insulation, roofing systems, on-demand water heaters and HVAC efficiency improvements. Federal tax credits are typically 30 percent of cost with some preset limits and of Pennsylvania up to 35 percent. There are many different incentive packages out there on both the state and federal level. It is best to visit the Web site

Q. What will people learn at today's event?

A. This expo is a grass-roots community effort to help educate and inform the public about conservation, alternative and renewable energy and the environment in a family-friendly atmosphere. There are more than 70 non-profit organizations, associations, community groups and business involved in this 16-county regional event. It will provide citizens, local officials and businesses the opportunity to meet, discuss and obtain information on energy conservation and alternative and renewable energy. In addition to the vendor display area, the event will have education sessions on wind, solar, geothermal, energy audits and much more. Wilkes University is giving free continuing education certificates for attending the education sessions".

These are my responses to questions from an interview - the interview was conducted by writing responses and submitting the responses to the journalist. The information contained in this blog is the final printed interview.

For the full article - please go to
Staff Writer at Scranton Times - DENISE ALLABAUGH (STAFF WRITER)

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