Durham Program hopes to cut energy costs

The first of a potential 700 Durham residents who applied for the Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program(NERP) will soon begin saving money on their energy bills.  The program seeks to increase energy efficiency by at least 20 percent through home upgrades, which will reduce homeowners energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   Upgrades will include sealing air leaks in ductwork, installing programmable thermostats, and adding insulation.

” Once we have those 700 homes completed, the program will ultimately result in reduction of more than 2,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, making a significant impact on Durham’s environment, ”  Tobin Fried, manager of the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, said in a news release.

Neighborhoods participating in the program so far include:  Colonial Village, Duke Park, East Durham, Fisher Heights, Frenchmans’ Creek, Hillside Park, Lakewood, Lochhaven Hills, Morehead Hill, Newhal Village, Northgate Park, Parkwood, Spring Valley, Trinity Park, Tuscaloosa Lakewood, Watts Hillandale, and West End

In addition to the retrofits, residents will receive education on do-it-yourself energy efficient projects as well as how to pay for more upgrades through grants, rebates and tax credits.  “This program is designed to get neighbors talking to each other about energy efficiency and helping one another to reduce energy use even after the grant money is gone,” Freid said.

Currently, over 375 homeowners have applied for the program. Applications are still being accepted for homes that meet the program criteria in the identified neighborhoods.  To be eligible, the homes must be single-story, 2,000 square feet or less,, and be free of unvented combustion appliances, such as some gas hot water heaters, stoves or furnaces that could leak carbon dioxide back into the home.  Residents who are interested can apply online at  www.DurhamNC.gov/NERP or call (919)560-7699.

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