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Real Estate & Home

Dominion HPwES program offering energy savings

8/22/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREATER AKRON — Energy costs are projected to continue increasing this year, but area homeowners can get some help to offset this increase through the energy-saving measures of the Dominion East Ohio (DEO) Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (HPwES) program.

According to Vincent DePaul, marketing and community outreach manager with GoodCents, which serves as the program’s administrator, the HPwES program was initiated in 2010 as a service for residential DEO customers to learn about home performance, individual home energy-efficiency and cost-savings measures, and to provide up to $1,250 worth of rebates to make homes more comfortable and energy efficient.

“This program offers savings of up to 50 percent,” said DePaul. “It is subsidized through DEO utility bills, but not a lot of people know about it.”

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR process includes a home-energy assessment resulting in a 15-page report on the energy efficiency of the home, according to DePaul. This assessment is done by GoodCents energy auditors, which are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance, as well as the health environment of homes, he added.

“We take a whole-house approach in this assessment on not only gas but electric consumption,” said DePaul. “It’s a three-hour, nonintrusive look at everything from the attic to the basement. This audit is just as important in the summer, when air conditioners are in use, as in the winter, when gas consumption increases.”

Tests during the assessment include a combustion analysis on all gas appliances, as well as safety inspections on them and a look at mold levels, as well as a blower analysis with a thermal imaging camera on doors and windows, and a look at insulation.

DePaul said the energy auditor will perform simple tasks, such as caulking, pipe wrapping, installing low-flow shower heads and aerators for free, with all work first approved by clients.

The $50 assessment fee for the energy audit is rebated if the homeowner uses one of 137 authorized contractors in Northeast Ohio participating in the program to do any extensive work, according to DePaul. Homeowners also can earn rebates on work done to improve energy efficiency in the home.

“This is not a ‘just too good to be true program,’” said DePaul. “There is no catch. We have had so much positive reaction from participants.”

To participate in the program, residential customers must be an individually metered residential DEO customer with an active account, not on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) and/or not eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). To qualify for rebates through the program, you must use a GoodCents BPI-certified auditor for the assessment and a participating contractor when making improvements.

DePaul said the program has completed 6,485 home-energy assessments through 2012; paid out more than $1.8 million in rebates to 3,581 DEO customers; added $17.8 million into the local economy through the trade ally network of contactors; received the 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award and the ENERGY STAR 2013 Partner of the Year Award; and reduced overall energy consumption by an estimated 1,700 kilowatts and 5.24 Mcf (thousand cubic feet), equating to a savings of 30 percent or more on energy bills, depending on the upgrades completed in the home.

To set up an audit with GoodCents, call 877-287-3416 or visit www.DEOenergysavers.com to schedule an appointment. More information on the program is also available on the website.

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