EmpowerSaves energy efficiency program offers Cincinnati homeowners and landlords an accessible way to start saving on utility bills
A partnership between the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) and EmpowerSaves allows homeowners and landlords to take the first steps in implementing energy saving changes to their homes with no initial cost.
The Energy Efficiency Program, available to home owners and landlords in the Duke Energy service territory, brings energy saving updates to homes through installation of Owens Corning Insulation, air sealing of attic spaces, and a Smart Thermostat energy management system that allows for more precise control over heating and cooling of homes so that HVAC systems run more efficiently.
The customer pays for the updates over a period of three to five years, no interest, with the money they will be saving on future energy bills. The program estimates these changes can save customers fifteen to thirty percent annually on utility bills.
This is possible through a grant from the Duke Class Benefit Fund to EmpowerSaves and the CDF.
CEO of CDF, Jeanne Golliher explains she was looking to help renters save on utility bills, “It’s been a goal of mine since 2010.” But, it’s been difficult to have an incentive for landlords who may not be paying utility bills. This update can help properties look more attractive to renters.
Director of strategic initiatives for EmpowerSaves Tremaine Phillips explains the goal to “Figure out a way to increase residential [building] efficiency.” This plan is “Low cost, high impact.”
Homeowners and landlords can visit the EmpowerSaves website to access a personalized online dashboard. Upon entering an address, the site calibrates information from Duke and Hamilton County Auditor to estimate the monthly cost of installation and amount the customer will save on utility bills.
Users then complete a short form and they are connected with a trained energy consultant. The updates can be installed within days.
The program launched January 29, 2018, and so far, has seen success with over 50 customers. But, more participants are needed for the advancement of the program. Phillips emphasizes, “The more customers, the more funds.”
Phillips discusses the high cost of major energy saving updates such as solar. This can be a challenge for many property owners. But, this program allows residents to get a start on increasing the energy efficiency of their homes without an initial cost and a low cost over time. Then, if a homeowner does decide to install solar or another major energy saving unit, they will require a smaller set up as their home is already more energy efficient. This program is the “Lowest cost, highest impact,” ratio.
A contractor can usually implement these updates in an hour or two without invasive impact on a home.
Golliher says of EmpowerSaves, we “believed in what they were trying to do and wanted to support them.”