Local News

Durham nonprofit shows how to save energy, money

Posted September 7, 2009 6:54 a.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2009 7:43 a.m. EDT

— A Durham nonprofit strives to promote its mission of saving energy and saving money one neighborhood and one house at a time.

Homeowner Iris Fisher attended a workshop with Clean Energy Durham last year. She wanted to learn how to cut down on her electric bill.

"We found a lot of opportunity for things we could do around her house that are low- and no-cost things that even someone like Miss Fisher could do herself," the nonprofit's education director Tom Higgins said.

Fisher changed to energy-efficient light bulbs, got a better furnace filter and installed a programmable thermostat.

"This helps save a lot of money, because when there's nobody here, it's not just running," Fisher said of the programmable thermostat.

She also changed the power settings on her computer, so it turns off after a few minutes of inactivity.

Together, all those small measures can add up to big savings, Higgins said.

"We estimate that on average homeowners can save a minimum of 20 percent," he said.

"My light bill used to be $125 or $150. It came down to like $75," Fisher said.

She remembered opening that first smaller electric bill: "I was excited. I even told the kids about it."

Fisher got inspired to encourage her neighbors to try to save money by being more energy efficient.

"Who wants to save money? Everybody wants to save money?" she said.

The InterNeighborhood Council recognized Fisher as a Durham Neighborhood Hero earlier this year.