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Rebuilding Together Alexandria

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Rebuilding Together Alexandria Releases Top Five Energy Efficient Home Tips; Encourages Community to Help Neighbors Winterize

Alexandria, VA, October 23, 2011 --( Winter takes its toll on the health and welfare of low-income homeowners —
many of whom are elderly, disabled and veterans. That’s why Rebuilding Together Alexandria (RTA) has produced a suggested list of five, easy energy-saving upgrades and is encouraging residents to use these to help struggling neighbors prepare for the winter. RTA is a volunteer-based nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize the Alexandria community by providing free home repairs.

“Home repairs are an important way to keep homeowners who face health and income challenges living in their homes. This winter, if we can get more people to spend an hour helping a neighbor in need weatherize, we can change a life, save energy, and help strengthen our community,” explained Katharine Medina, executive director, Rebuilding Together Alexandria.

Top 5 Energy Efficient Tips to Help Homeowners in Need

1. Set water heater to 120 degrees: According to the Department of Energy, every 10 degree reduction in water temperature will save between 3–5 percent in energy costs.

2. Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps: Energy saving light bulbs cost as little as $6 and last 12 times longer, saving up to $50 on electric bills over the life of the bulb.

3. Install "foam gaskets" for electrical outlets: With very little time and money, foam pieces can be inserted under the faceplates of outlets and switches on external walls, saving significant energy and money.

4. Cover AC and Hot Water Tanks: Covering window or wall-mounted air conditioning units with a “jacket” during the winter months will keep a home warmer and save money. Also, putting a three inch insulating jacket on a hot water tank will save about $40 a year.

5. Caulk around doors and windows: Caulking—along with weather-stripping—will cut energy use, saving nearly $200 a year.

On November 5, RTA will be performing these upgrades and others as part of its Energize Alexandria event, a day of winterizing homes across the city, including the Arlandria Chirilagua Housing Cooperative. With support from Honeywell, Lowes, Sears, and a federal Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant, RTA is teaming up with Washington Gas employees and other volunteers to weatherize and provide free energy-efficient upgrades to homes of veterans, low-income, disabled, and elderly residents. These efforts will help nearly 100 vulnerable families and individuals maintain and afford to stay in their homes. In addition, RTA is distributing free Energy Efficient Kits to clients interested in upgrading their own homes.

These upgrades are important since low-income housing stock tends to be old, in poor condition, and energy inefficient. As a result, the families in these homes spend three times the average for heating and electricity. In fact, most of Rebuilding Together Alexandria’s clients live near the poverty level—earning less than $22,000 a year, and typically spend about 14 percent of their income on energy—as compared to 3.5 percent for higher income households.

About Rebuilding Together Alexandria
RTA is an award winning, non-profit dedicated to repairing homes for homeowners in need and revitalizing communities. Over the last 24 years, RTA has received support and donations from thousands of volunteers and groups to provide free home repairs. To date, in-kind donations of labor and materials have resulted in $5.5 million worth of value on nearly 1,400 properties. To learn more, visit or call 703-836-1021.

Contact Information
Rebuilding Together Alexandria
Shawn Flaherty

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