More More Home Energy Services – Wisconsin does it right

A self revelation here. I started this because I was bored. Well, I am ending it because I am bored. From here on I am going to blog about what is topical and interesting TO ME. I have done this blog for 8 years and I deserve this freedom. But first, Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources provides services to Wisconsin qualified residential households with energy assistance and weatherization needs.  For more information call 1- 866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) administers the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Public Benefits Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP and its related services help approximately 230,000 Wisconsin households annually. In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:
  • Emergency fuel assistance,
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets,
  • Pro-active co payment plans,
  • Targeted outreach services,
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

Services are provided locally through:

  • County social services offices,
  • Tribal governments,
  • Private non-profit or other government agencies.

For more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

To log in to the WHEAP System click here

To log in to the Home Energy Plus System click here


The Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance Program (WisWAP) uses
energy conservation techniques to reduce the cost of home energy.
Correcting health and safety hazards and potentially life-
threatening conditions is the first consideration in WAP activities.


To log in to the WisWAP System click here



Go there and read. More next week.


Micro Housing Units – Save energy by thinking small

We Americans created sprawl and with it a massive amount of energy consumption. Could this be one of the answers?

New York City’s first ‘micro apartments’ are coming this spring — here’s what they’ll look like

In 2013, a project called My Micro NY won a design competition for the New York’s first “micro apartments” sponsored by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Intended to create affordable housing for singles in New York City, those promised prefabricated affordable units are finally being assembled in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be unveiled this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, according to The New York Times.

The city’s first “micro” building will have 55 rental apartments, all ranging from 260- to 360-square-feet with big windows, ample storage space, and Juliet balconies.

Because the architects believed amenities are important to micro-unit dwellers, the building will also have a public meeting space, café, and common rooftop garden for residents, as well as a laundry room, residential storage space, a bike room, and fitness space.


Go there and read a little (chuckle). More next week.


Some Of These Energy Tips Seem Aimed At The Dim Bulbs

But then again they could be 10% of the population and the tips are supplied by Dominion. I mean really a producer advising you how to not consume. Still.

10 Tips to Save Energy and Keep Cool This Summer

  1. Raise your thermostat to 78º. This is the number one way to conserve energy.
  2. When you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see a 1% savings for each degree of setback. This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you’re away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
  3. Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
  4. Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  5. Install ceiling fans. Don’t underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Residential Energy Services – Am I pimping for a new utility

I do not think so but you be the judge.

Illinois Electric Choice

Save on electricity by choosing Integrys Energy as your electric supplier

Enrollment is Fast, Easy, and Convenient

The fact is, Integrys Energy charges less per kilowatt-hour (kWh) than you’re paying now1 with Ameren or ComEd. Same reliable electricity, just a lower rate.

Take it step further. Switch your electric supplier to Integrys Energy and we’ll lock in a low rate for 12 billing cycles (24- and 36-month rates also available). The utility rate changed in June, and will change again in October, if you enroll with Integrys you’re assured your competitive price is locked all year. Guaranteed.

Switching to Integrys Energy is Easy

In about 10 minutes, you can start saving at least 8.5% on your electricity rate1.

  1. Grab your electric bill. You will need your Account Number and Name as it appears on your bill.
  2. Choose a Rate Plan below or call 1-888-688-1848.
  3. Click the ‘Enroll’ button and complete the online enrollment form.

A Leading Supplier of Power Throughout North America

  • One of the “World’s Most Admired Energy Companies” four of the past five years by Fortune Magazine®
  • Integrys Energy Services serves retail electric customers in the United States throughout the following Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs): IESO (IMO), ISO-NE, MISO, NY ISO, PJM.
  • Integrys Energy Services offers a full complement of power products and services that vary from market to market, which may include Full Requirements, Block and Index, Index Rate, Load Response, Renewable Energy Credits, Heat Rate


More tomorrow.


Chicago is such an energy dog – Tear it down and rebuild

Forget the skyscrapers, and forget the suburbs, when you tear down buildings and then replace them you waste tons of energy. Not to mention the crap that they put in landfills. This is especially true when you produce negligible results. If you address the economic issues instead of the housing issues, you solve the problem. Case in point.

Chicago hope

Ambitious attempt to help the city’s poor by moving them out of troubled housing projects is having mixed results, MIT study finds.

Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

In December 2010, the last remaining resident was removed from the last high-rise building standing in Chicago’s notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects, long a national symbol of urban blight. The relocation was part of Chicago’s ambitious Plan for Transformation, a 15-year enterprise aimed at breaking the poverty cycle in which tens of thousands of the city’s poor have lived, by moving them out of the projects and into better, safer living environments.

So far, according to a study by MIT researchers, the Plan for Transformation is faring only moderately well. Leaving the projects has produced positive psychological effects for some of Chicago’s poor, but has not appreciably improved their economic prospects, while relatively few participants in the program are living in drastically different types of housing.

“The results are mixed and nuanced,” says Lawrence Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT, who produced the report along with Erin Graves, a former postdoctoral research associate in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. The report, “The Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation: What Does the Research Show So Far?” released in October by the MacArthur Foundation, surveys 83 previous studies of the Chicago plan conducted by social scientists.

On the positive side, the report notes that people leaving Chicago public-housing projects display better mental health; one study showed that the percentage of residents suffering anxiety problems in a given year dropped from 30 percent to 21 percent. Relocated residents also said they felt safer.

However, it is not clear that relocation helps residents increase their employment prospects and incomes. One study shows that among working-age public-housing residents, the proportion employed between 1999, when the plan was founded, and 2010, remained between 50 percent and 55 percent, including part-time workers. “The question of whether they’ve made significant economic gains is unresolved,” notes Vale.

Moreover, as Vale and Graves emphasize, only about 2,100 of the 26,000 households relocated as part of the Plan for Transformation have moved from the projects into mixed-income housing: the smaller, safer developments, where middle-income families are mixed in with low-income households.

“The public perception is that Chicago is replacing all of its infamous public housing with low-rise mixed-income communities,” says Vale. But as the report notes, about 9,000 households have moved to senior-only public housing, and 6,000 households have stayed in renovated public buildings that house only low-income residents. Similarly, Vale says, “The academic literature has focused on the least common experience, not on what the city has done with the majority of the housing.”


Read the rest of the article, but it doesn’t get any better. More tomorrow.


Renters And Energy Conservation – Here’s what the government thinks

It’s Jam Band Friday –

So here is the governments thought for you renters out there.

Top 10 Tips for Renters!

Even if you rent an apartment, townhouse, or a home, you can make a big difference, too! These tips will show you how to be more energy efficient and save energy, money, and reduce the risks of global warming. If there are things you can’t change on your own, share these tips and encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better.

  1. Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR qualified lights can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide high-quality light output, use 75% less energy, and last 6–10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs.
    • Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year!
  2. Considering purchasing a room air conditioner? Consider an ENERGY STAR qualified model. They use at least 10 percent less energy than standard models.
    • In the winter, be sure to insulate room air conditioners from the outside with a tight-fitting a/c unit cover, available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This keeps heated air from escaping outside. Alternately, you can remove the window unit in the winter months to prevent energy losses.
    • Be sure the window unit fits tightly in the window so outdoor air is not getting in.
  3. If possible, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings when you’re away or sleeping.
    • When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. Proper use means setting the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures without overriding that setting. You should also set the “hold” button at a constant energy-saving temperature when you’re away or on vacation.
  4. Consumer electronics play an increasingly larger role in your home’s energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use. Many consumer electronics products use energy even when switched off. Electronics equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR helps save energy when off, while maintaining features like clock displays, channel settings, and remote-control functions.
    • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone charger!).
    • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using equipment.
      • Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment often use a small amount of electricity. For home office equipment, this stand-by or “phantom” power load can range from a few watts to as much as 20 or even 40 watts for each piece of equipment. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
  5. A ten minute shower can use less water than a full bath.
    • With a new 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head, a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, saving you five gallons of water over a typical bath. A new showerhead also will save energy — up to $145 each year on electricity — beating out both the bath and an old-fashioned showerhead.
    • To avoid moisture problems, control humidity in your bathroom by running your ventilating fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths.
  6. Make sure all air registers are clear of furniture so that air can circulate freely. If your home has radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between radiators and walls. In the winter, this will help heat the room instead of the wall.
  7. During cold weather, take advantage of the sun’s warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours. To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close window shades and drapes in warm weather.
  8. Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher with a full load and use the air-dry option if available.
    • Rinsing dirty dishes before loading your dishwasher uses a lot of water and energy. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
  9. Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
    • Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents. Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually (with an electric water heater) and more than $30 annually (with a gas water heater).
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
  10. Don’t over dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done, use it to avoid over drying. Remember to clean the lint trap before every load. Dry full loads, or reduce drying time for partial loads. Learn more.
    • It’s easy to over dry your clothes, if one setting is used for various fabric types. Try to dry loads made up of similar fabrics, so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends. Many dryers come with energy-saving moisture or humidity sensors that shut off the heat when the clothes are dry. If you don’t have this feature, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load. A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes per load can cost you up to $34, every year.
    • The lint trap is an important energy saver. Dryers work by moving heated air through wet clothes, evaporating and then venting water vapor outside. If the dryer cannot provide enough heat, or move air sufficiently through the clothes, they will take longer to dry, and may not dry at all. One of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency is to clean the lint trap before each and every load. This step also can save you up to $34 each year.

Learn More!

View the full list of tips

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Simple energy conservation measures can lower your utility bills while increasing the comfort of your apartment. Although your landlord or management company is ultimately responsible for your building’s energy efficiency, you make dozens of energy decisions every day.


Many ways for cutting electricity costs in houses also apply to apartments. See our section on reducing electricity use for ways to lower these costs.

Heating and Cooling

Here are some ways to reduce your heating and cooling costs. They can also make your apartment more comfortable. You might need your landlord’s or management company’s permission for some of the suggestions.

Water Heating

If you have your own water heater in your apartment, see our section on energy-efficient water heating. If you don’t have your own water heater, you can still save energy by reducing your hot water use. You may need your landlord’s or management company’s permission for some of these energy conservation measures.


More next week.


Renters And Energy Conservation – Talking to your landlord

I know it sounds sorta dumb but if you talk to the landlord about your interest in saving energy…you may find out that he shares your beliefs or is at least neutral about it. If on the other hand he makes rude comments or says something like, “I ain no treehugger”, then you need to drop it. If he seems neutral or somewhat interested. DO NOT ask him to DO anything right away. Follow the tips I have posted here and that are widely available on the web. Then you should causally mentions some of the things that you have done. Look for things that might interest him. Just as an example if you have access to the water heater and he pays the bills…tell him you turned it down and ask if he notice any savings….

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Exploring ways to save energy, money and the environment

Join Dominion in sharing ideas about how to save energy and money while helping the environment. Learn more about energy conservation from our Energy Experts.


Alison Kaufmann Alison Kaufmann Energy Conservation Specialist
Tom Jewell Tom Jewell
Energy Conservation Coordina

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Renter’s Delight, low energy bill

Even while renting, you have more control over your resources than you think.

  • Buy a water filter and use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic water bottles.
  • Use CFLs in your light fixtures
  • Stop the junk mail by visiting
  • Control your thermostat setting
  • Ask your landlord about making energy efficient improvements for all rental properties
  • Get a green shower curtain, made of organic cotton, like these
  • Use a low flow shower head

Let us know what you do in your place to conserve and don’t forget to share this page with others.


More tomorrow


Energy Conservation And Renters – Some utilities say less then others

Some utilities say nothing at all. Here is a fairly terse response.

Renters’ Guide…To Outfitting Your Energy Budget

As your publicly owned utility, it is our hope that we can help you become a resourceful and efficient customer. By choosing energy efficient housing and by following energy saving habits you will keep your costs at a minimum. Rental property owners are finding that energy efficient units are easier to rent and require less Renters' Guidemaintenance than inefficient dwellings.

If you are a renter, the following information can help you incorporate energy efficiency into your decisions before you rent and lifestyle choices after you rent, resulting in lower energy costs in your monthly budget. The information is divided into two parts:

If you have any questions or comments please contact the Utility Services Department at Columbia Water & Light, 874-7325.


More tomorrow.