WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has announced a new partnership aimed at reducing household energy costs by 10 percent over the next decade while improving the nation's air. The Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency is designed to provide energy saving solutions for homeowners and support research and implementation of a new generation of energy efficiency technologies.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide the latest home energy savings information on a Web portal, www.energysavers.gov.

"In this time of high energy costs it's important that the federal government help Americans find ways to reduce home energy use and save money on their energy bills," DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman said. "Under President Bush's leadership, we have developed new technologies and we continue to invest new dollars in finding ways to help homes become more energy efficient. We want to pass along this knowledge to the American people as quickly as possible."

Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live in their homes, the agencies noted. By taking advantage of home energy efficiencies, an average American family could save $150 year.

"For most owners and renters, utility bills are the second largest household expense," HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said. "That's why housing affordability and energy efficiency go hand in hand. By reducing the price of utility bills, we reduce the cost of living for the nation's low- and moderate-income families."

In addition to the billions of dollars lost through energy inefficiencies, household power waste contributes to power plant emissions that create soot, smog, and acid rain.

"Last year, through Energy Star®, Americans chose to invest in cleaner air and healthier lives, saving enough energy to power 18 million homes and cutting $10 billion from their energy bills," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said. "We are delighted to work with our federal partners to help lower energy bills, reduce emissions from power plants, and provide the next generation a healthier, cleaner environment."

Goals of the Bush administration's Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency include:

  • Expanding efforts to promote Energy Star products;

  • Developing durable, comfortable, affordable homes that use 40-50 percent less energy;

  • Developing new energy efficiency services to provide homeowners with greater savings, such as Home Performance with Energy Star;

  • Delivering energy efficiency savings to low income and subsidized housing;

  • Continuing to invest in research in building science technologies, practices, and policies; and

  • Providing design technologies and building practices to allow cost-effective net zero energy homes by 2020.

    In addition, the agencies noted that individuals can take a number of simple steps today to help make their homes more energy efficient:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with lights that have earned the Energy Star.

  • Use an energy-efficient Energy Star air conditioner, which can save up to 50 percent on cooling bills.

  • Use a programmable thermostat with air conditioners to adjust the setting warmer at night, or when no one is home.

  • Use a fan with window air conditioners to spread cool air through a home.

  • Plant trees around the home. Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs. Daytime air temperatures can be 3 to 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.

  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but do not block the airflow.

  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Sunny windows can make air conditioners work two to three times harder.

  • Replace windows with Energy Star models and consider the new double-pane windows with spectrally selective coatings.

  • Tightly close fireplace damper.

    For more information on the Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency, visit www.energysavers.gov.

    Publication date: 07/18/2005