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Efficiency First Workshop:

These days almost everyone is concerned about going green to help save precious resources. One of the ways to accomplish this is through educating the public on more efficient ways to save energy.

Santa Monicans had the opportunity to learn how to save electricity, gas, and water at an Efficiency First Workshop that was presented by the Community Energy Partnership (CEP) on September 12 at Solar Santa Monica. CEP Project Manager Laurel Faulkner defined energy efficiency as the use “of technologies to reduce overall energy consumption.” Energy consumption can also be reduced by having people modify their overall energy consumption.

Faulkner suggested some simple things everyone can do to reduce their energy use. These were setting your thermostat to 78-80 degrees on hot days and 69 degrees on cold days, keeping rooms cool by closing window shades and using fans, replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and installing low-flow products. Other tips were to turn your water heater down to 120 degrees, use major appliances before 12 p.m. and after 6 p.m., unplug unnecessary electrical appliances or plug them into a power strip, buy EnergyStar products when replacing older ones, keep your freezer full to keep neighboring food frozen, and properly maintain expensive appliances.

Also mentioned at the workshop is the availability of Home Energy Efficiency Tune-ups which must be done through CEP until October 31. This service is available to Santa Monica residents only who are below the low-income threshold. If eligible you will receive up to $250 in direct services. These services will include an assessment of your potential energy savings, the installation of energy saving products such as fluorescent light bulbs, and weather stripping, recommendations on additional energy saving improvements, and referrals to energy and money saving utility programs. For more information you can call 800.968.5203 or e-mail partnership@energycoalition.org or go to energycoalition.org.

There was also discussion of residential programs available to all customers of Southern California Edison (sce.com) and the Southern California Gas Company (socalgas.com) as well as income qualified programs. In addition, there are federal tax credits available for making energy efficiency improvements in your home. Information on these can be found at EnergyStar.gov.

Workshop participants also got see a demonstration on caulking techniques and on weatherstripping. These products help reduce the loss of heat from residences in winter and the loss of cooled air in the summer. All participants also received a bag containing energy saving products and educational materials.

CEP is a “partnership among 10 Southern California cities [including Santa Monica], Southern California Edison, The Gas Company, and The Energy Coalition. Its mission is to build positive relationships among cities, energy consumers, and their serving utilities, and to educate communities about sustainable energy efficiency practices.” The program is funded by the California utility ratepayers, and is administered by Southern California Edison and the Southern California Gas Company.

Faulkner told the Mirror that the same workshop would be given once again in Santa Monica in the next month at Sustainable Works on a Wednesday evening.

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