I want to reduce my energy use

Ready to take the next step to make your home more comfortable? Want to keep money in your pocket and help the environment?
Step 1: Schedule a Home Energy Assessment

The first step to making your home comfortable, whether you live in an apartment, a condo, a townhouse, or a single family home, is to take advantage of the EmPOWER Maryland Programs.

These programs are available to residents who receive a monthly utility bill.

If your utilities are included in your rent, this program is not available to you, but there are other things you can do in Step 2.

  1. Quick Home Energy Check (QHEC)
    • This program is at NO ADDITIONAL COST to homeowners or tenants
    • The appointment takes about 45-60 minutes to complete
    • A contractor will provide you with energy efficient products such as: LED light bulbs, high efficiency showerheads, advanced powerstrips, and more
    • Call your utility to schedule an appointment
  2. Home Energy Assessment
    • The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®  Program costs $100 (a $400 value which is paid by the EmPOWER Maryland Program)
    • The appointment takes about 2-3 hours to complete
    • A contractor will provide you with energy efficiency products such as: LED bulbs, efficient-flow showerheads, smart strips, and more
    • Additionally, you will receive a detailed report with recommended improvements, rebates, and the potential energy savings you could receive
    • Call your utility to schedule an appointment
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Step 2 for Renters: Top Energy Actions

If you are responsible for paying your utility bills as a renter, here are the top things you can do to start using less energy:

  1. Switch to Energy Efficient Bulbs 
    • 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.
    • Replace your old incandescent or CFL lightbulbs with LEDs at a County sponsored lightbulb exchange event, find out if we have one scheduled by going to our calendar.
      • TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS: 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. 2. Monitor your Thermostat
    • You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
    • In the winter, set the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and set it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.
    • In the summer, set your thermostat to 78°F only when you are at home and need cooling. 
  3. Unplug and Use Power Strips
    • Consumer electronics play an increasingly large role in your home’s energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use.
    • 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.
      • VAMPIRE LOADS: Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment often use a small amount of electricity, so make sure they don’t suck your energy.

If your utilities are included in your rent payment, contact your landlord or property management company to find out what energy upgrades they can do to your unit.

For more suggestions to keep your home comfortable and to keep money in your pocket, visit My Green Montgomery.

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Step 2 for Homeowners: Top Energy Actions

As a homeowner, you can take advantage of all the recommendations for renters and MORE.

Here are some additional actions you can take as a homeowner to start using less energy in your home:

  1.  Buy ENERGY STAR®  Appliances
    • ENERGY STAR® is a program of the Environmental Protection Agency that labels appliances and products as high-efficiency. 
    • The ENERGY STAR®  rating doesn’t just apply to dishwashers and refrigerators – it applies to other appliances including TVs, laptops, printers and cable boxes.
    • Purchase your appliances in February during ENERGY STAR® Tax Free Weekend.
  2. Check for Leaks in Your Home
    • Borrow a Thermal Camera from the library. Thermal imaging can see what your eyes cannot.
    • Plug all the holes. Weather stripping, caulk, insulation and outlet covers can help keep your homes energy efficiency high and protect you from the elements.
    • Install insulation in your attic and crawl spaces. Insulation stops the warmth created by your furnace from escaping through your walls to the outside and it makes the surfaces on both sides of a wall similar temperatures. This prevents condensation and mold from growing on the colder surface of the wall where the moisture condenses.
  3. Get Your Hands Dirty
    • Caulking windows, weather-stripping doors, and closing your chimney flue when it’s not being used stops heated or cooled air from escaping your home.
    • Did you know that dirty air filters are the leading cause of HVAC system failure? Clean your coil, ducts, and filters regularly.
    • You can find more DIY (do-it-yourself) recommendations at My Green Montgomery
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Step 3: Find Ways to Pay For Upgrades

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to learn how to pay for these energy efficiency upgrades.

If you are looking for grants or financing options, check out these programs:

REBATES

Go to Program Finder to discover which EmPOWER Maryland Program rebates will work for you.

FINANCING

  • The Montgomery County Green Bank is a publicly-chartered nonprofit corporation dedicated to accelerating affordable energy efficiency and clean energy investment in Montgomery County, MD.
    • Clean Energy Advantage (CEA) Residential Financing Program. This program is available for homeowners making energy improvements. Homeowners can access longer term loans and lower interest rates so that energy savings can cover the cost of monthly payments through this program.
  • The BeSMART Home Loan Program offers innovative financing to improve home energy efficiency through replacement and upgrading of appliances, heating, cooling and ventilation systems and whole house envelope improvements across the state. Homeowners may choose their weatherization and energy efficiency professionals from a list of eligible providers whose qualifications have been reviewed by The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. BeSMART Home Loan Brochure

GRANTS 

  • Residential Clean Energy Grant Program, operated by the Maryland Energy Administration, the  provides grants for a variety of clean energy installations for homeowners, including solar photovoltaic systems, solar water heating systems, and geothermal heating and cooling system. Note that funds often run out quickly, so make sure you reach out to the Maryland Energy Administration for updated information.

TAX CREDITS

  • Montgomery County Energy Efficiency Tax Credit is a $250 in tax credits available for homeowners for energy efficiency improvements such as air-sealing and insulation, heating and cooling equipment, windows, and doors. The credit can be taken once per year for purchases made during that year. The total amount available annually in the County is $100,000, so apply early.  Go to the Department of Finance application for renewable energy credits. Section 2 of the application applies to the Energy Conservation Devices|
  • Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits are available to homeowners for energy efficient upgrades to your home. Please note that not all ENERGY STAR®  certified products qualify for a tax credit. Visit  EPA’s ENERGY STAR®  website to learn about the current Federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency.
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Program Finder

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If your utility costs are included in your housing bill, click here

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