Looking at the CEC and greenhouse gas emissions savings

Major Kelly Linville proclaimed 2016 the Year of Energy for Bellingham.

That announcement was the perfect catalyst for us to share details about the Community Energy Challenge (CEC). This awesome program is helping a lot of folks save energy. It is a program that we’re excited about and write about frequently. We’ve never written a comprehensive post about, until now.

The CEC is a joint program run by Sustainable Connections and Opportunity Council. Other key organizations that support it are Cascade Natural Gas, Puget Sound Energy, NW Clean Air Agency and the WSU Energy Program.

[pullquote]We have helped reduce greenhouse emissions by 948,000kWH, which equates to the emissions from 138 Passenger vehicles driven for one year.[/pullquote] The goals of the program are to reduce energy use, boost economic development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They achieve this by helping home and business owners increase their energy efficiency. The CEC provides participating households and businesses with a full energy assessment, customized energy action plans, assistance with utility and tax rebates and provides reliable contractors. We are one of those contractors and have been since 2010.

Since 2010 our crew has completed 158 CEC jobs! What that number doesn’t highlight is how much our crew has learned and how that has impacted the rest of our projects. We have always been passionate about green building but the CEC has helped us increase our technical skills and introduced us to great resources, materials and folks in the building performance industry. The primary building performance measures we use on CEC projects are air sealing, upgrading ventilation systems and adding insulation. Some projects also include upgrading windows, heating and water heating systems.

How much energy can homeowners save?

One of the primary questions clients ask is how much energy they will save. Savings clearly vary from job to job. The average savings are 6,000kWH annually. That reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equate to the emissions from nearly one passenger car. That’s from just one house! Chuckanut Builders has helped reduce greenhouse emissions by 948,000kWH. That is equal to the CO2 emissions from ~60 homes’ energy use for one year, carbon sequestered by 16,761 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or greenhouse gas emissions from 138 Passenger vehicles driven for one year. Pretty amazing. If you’re a green building nerd like us and want to learn more about greenhouse gas equivalencies check out the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies website.

It’s worth noting that the benefits of  building performance measures go far beyond energy savings. They also increase the comfort, health, and durability of a building. These qualities aren’t measurable, but they certainly improve occupant comfort. If you haven’t already chatted with the folks at the CEC and are interested in doing some building performance work on your house give them a call and get started on reducing your greenhouse gas emissions!