A neighborhood group whose aim is to reduce energy consumption, chaired by Mig Little Hayes.
Download our latest newsletter: Watts Busters Newsletter – March 2009
Who We Are
We are a group from the Watts Hospital-Hillandale Neighborhood who are interested in collaborating and sharing ways that we can cut back on pollution and make more environmentally sound decisions in our lives. We can also save money in the process.
We are focusing on our homes and neighborhood because household energy use continues to rise. Savings estimates listed are according to national averages and will vary they are from the EPA Global Warming Resource Center, Energy Star, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Alliance to Save Energy.
This website has just a few of the fun, make-a-difference activities of Watts-Busters. All are welcome to join and participate in an existing project or start a new W-B initiative. Also, kids are essential in this effort! Please spread the news about Watts-Busters to middle and high school students. Check back here, there is more to come.
Send an email to mhayes7 (at symbol) nc.rr (dot) com if you’d like to be added to the Watts-Busters email list.
What can we do in our homes?
Everything we do can affect our energy use. There are so many ways we can cut down on energy use and reduce pollution and waste. Those listed here are just a few. We’d love to hear what others in the neighborhood are doing!
Turn off the lights! Also change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They consume a quarter of the electricity and last up to 12 times longer. This can save $60 and 770 lbs. of emissions.
Use low-flow showerheads. Particularly replacing models made before 1994. This can potentially save $145 a year and 370 lbs of emissions.
Energy Star appliances are much more efficient. Replace a pre-1993 refrigerator with an Energy Star one and save $70 a year and 1,720 lbs. of emissions.
Adjust your water heater. Lower your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees to restrict heat loss. This can save $450 and 215 lbs. of emissions.
Fill the dishwasher. Energy Star dishwashers can actually save more than hand washing. Run full loads and air dry. This can save $25 and 110 lbs. of emissions.
Moderate your thermostat. Lower the temperature by just 2 degrees in the winter. Turn the heat down 10 degrees and night and when you arenÕt home. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you with this. This can save $100 and 500 lbs. of emissions.
Wash clothing in cold water. Some stains and bed linens may need hot water but most clothing may be washed in cold water and the savings can be $300 and 330 lbs. or emissions.
Unplug. Many electronics use energy even when they are turned off. If you are not using something unplug it. This can save $200 and 480 lbs. of emissions.
Weatherize your home.
Protect and plant trees.
Reduce peak use of electricity. For example, do not run the clothes dryer during the day while the air conditioner is on in the middle of the summer. Better yet, dry clothes on an outside line.
What you eat matters. Growing fruits and vegetables requires less energy that raising meat for consumption. Also buying locally grown foods or growing your own makes a difference. There is at least one CSA in the neighborhood and the Durham Farmer’s Market and the Durham Food Co-op are great resources.
Existing Watts Busters Groups
Solar Hot Water Panels
Our neighborhood solar hot water committee is planning to identify which houses/roofs in the neighborhood are suitable for solar hot water systems. An exciting project with promising results. Want to join in this effort?
Call Sandy Smith-Nonini at 286-7396 or scsmith (at symbol) email.unc (dot) edu
Want to immediately conserve energy?
A simple place to start…
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs!
Change out your incandescent lightbulbs to CFLs and save $$ on home lighting.
Not Just Paper, an office supply store at 1010 W. Main St. offers discounts to our neighborhood on all CFLs. These bulbs are also available at any home building store.
As an added incentive, we (a small neighborhood volunteer crew) will come to your house and help you swap out lightbulbs. Immediate savings and new friends to boot!
Energy Star Appliances!!
Look for this label on appliances for energy-conscious goods! We’re also looking into the possibility of local businesses offering discount pricing for collective neighborhood purchases.
We have organized one hands-on workshop to learn how to weatherize our homes and help interested neighbors learn about weatherization and hope to do more
Some resources we have found useful are:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/ – Low income families may qualify for weatherization assistance
http://www.waptac.org/ – The weatherization assistance program technical assistance center – This is connected with the above program, however, it does provide some resources for all of us.
http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/oeo/weather.htm – NC weatherization assistance for low-income families.
http://www.weatherization.com/ – This gives tips on do-it-yourself weatherization.
http://www.urbanoptions.org/resources/guides/weatherizationGuide.php – A resource to weatherizing urban (often older homes).
We have had the assistance of Clean Energy Durham and Judy Kincaid. Learn more about Clean Energy Durham at: http://www.cleanenergydurham.org/
One option that many people and companies use to lower their carbon footprint or to go carbon neutral is to use programs that offset energy use. Native Energy and Sterling Planet are programs that are used for offsetting home energy and transportation. If you are interested in learning more, check their websites for calculating your carbon footprint and figuring how you can offset your energy use. See http://www.nativeenergy.com/individuals.html and http://www.sterlingplanet.com – both sites have great information on reducing your carbon footprint. These programs do not replace the energy you use at home, they ensure that clean energy is produced and sold to offset the amount you choose.
http://www.Treeflights.com – offset flying by funding having a deciduous tree planted.
http://www.thegreenguide.com/ — Subscription to information on green shopping and green living.
http://www.energync.net/ – North CarolinaÕs state energy office. The State Energy Office is North Carolina’s lead agency for energy programs and services and serves as the official source for energy information and assistance for consumers, businesses, government agencies, community colleges and schools and the residential, commercial and industrial sectors
http://www.greenlivingjournal.com/ – A practical journal for living green.
http://www.greenhomeguide.com/ – Reviews and advice from home owners.
http://www.cep.unc.edu/level_2/outreach.html – Outreach and Public Service programs at The Carolina Environmental Program at UNC – Chapel Hill.
http://www.earthforce.org/ – Earthforce engages young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future.
There are many more wonderful resources. If you have one you love, send it to us to share. You can send information to Caroline at caroline4peace (at symbol) yahoo.com