Join the Team!

Join Team ENERGY STAR

Team ENERGY STAR

By: Brittney Gordon

School is just about out for summer, and for many kids across the country this starts the most wonderful time of year. Like many people, my memories of summer bring back some of my most favorite memories of childhood. From summer camps and vacations, to riding bikes with the kids in the neighborhood, my summers were filled with the kind of excitement that can only a child can truly appreciate.

Many parents are probably finalizing their child’s summer plans right now, hoping to find that perfect balance of relaxed fun and intellectual stimulation.  If you are looking for a fun and educational activity to help them fill their day, I have the perfect addition. Get your kids to join Team ENERGY STAR! This is an exciting new initiative from EPA developed to help educate kids about saving energy in order to protect our climate.

This year EPA is working with Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax to help kids save the trees by saving energy at home. By joining Team ENERGY STAR your kids will have access to fun and educational resources that will help them understand the importance of saving energy. After they join, your kids will get access to downloadable resources to help them in their journey, including a comprehensive action kit, a Lorax Activity Booklet, a Lorax Mustache making kit and more. Your kids can even share their energy-saving story with EPA, and get it featured on our website and ENERGY STAR’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Several EPA partners are joining with ENERGY STAR on this project, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Do Something.org. Our partners at Do Something.org are even hosting a Team ENERGY STAR Challenge that your kids can join to win prizes from LG Electronics.

Check out Team ENERGY STAR at www.energystar.gov/team and get your summer fun started today!

Brittney Gordon is a communications team member for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. During the summer months she enjoys trips to the beach, great books and lazy weekends at home with her husband.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The Leak Hunter

By: Danny Orlando

It’s funny how some leaks concern us and we will fix the problem right away.  Suppose you walk up to your car and a tire seems really low or you check your hot water heater and see water leaking.  These are the type of obvious leaks we repair everyday.  But, what about the heated or air-conditioned air in your home?  These leaks are elusive and require a ‘hunter’ mentality.  And so where do you start?

My house is a 1985 cedar ranch with a finished basement.  I purchased the house in 1991 and I quickly saw the energy bills increasing.  At the time, I was only concerned that everything worked and I didn’t know as much as I do now.    An event that stands out in my mind and one that made me realize I had more than a minor problem occurred one cold winter morning.  The temperature approached zero degrees (unusual for Atlanta) and the windows in my kitchen had a considerable amount of ice forming on the inside of the aluminum window frames.  Even if you don’t know much about energy efficiency, this should get your attention because ice inside your house is not a good thing unless it’s in the freezer.  There were other signs of inefficiencies, too.  Back bedrooms were hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  I would dust one day and have to dust again the next day.  A visit to the garage was a pleasant experience because it was often more comfortable than some of the living areas.  And, there was insulation that was turning black.  Time to get busy and start the hunt!

A great way to begin is to have an energy audit performed on your home.  Select a company that specializes in testing your home and finding the big problems.  They will use specialized tools that will reveal what you can’t see.  This type of audit will really open your eyes and will be worth every penny.  It will provide you with the treasure map that you need to move forward.   Since 1991, I have had four of these done and the air leaks in my house are now few.

Be warned!  Leak hunting is addictive.  You will need some cans of foam sealant (there are two types – water-based and expanding), duct sealant (mastic), and some electrical outlet gaskets.  Some places to look for leaks are under sinks, tubs and toilets, the dryer exhaust area, the fireplace damper, wiring holes, electrical sockets, air-conditioning ductwork, and holes on the outside of the house.  If you replace flooring, you also have an opportunity to foam or caulk under the baseboards.

Since I started my hunt, I have reduced my electricity usage by nearly 37 percent, or $600 dollars per year.  I’m still hunting and I do find unsealed holes/penetrations that I missed. For a leak geek this is an exciting moment.  Leak hunting will improve the air quality in your home, reduce dust and allergens, and you will probably see fewer bugs in your house.  Let the hunt begin!

Danny Orlando joined EPA’s Atlanta office in 1991 and oversees the ENERGY STAR program in the Southeastern states.  His family’s quest for lower energy bills has inspired him to become an avid leak hunter. For more information on home improvement with ENERGY STAR, click here.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.