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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Neal De Snoo, Energy Officer, (510) 981-5434

How Residents Can Cope

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, October 04, 2005) - PG&E announced that residential gas prices this fall will be 70% higher than last year.  They project that winter prices will be 40-50% higher than last year. Most homes use natural gas for heating water and providing home heat.  There are many ways to help conserve energy and reduce energy bills without sacrificing comfort.

Free Ways to Save Energy

§  Turn your hot water heater temperature down to 115-120 F.  This is usually the setting between “medium” and “warm” on the water heater thermostat.

§  Install a water-efficient showerhead and faucet aerators, available free from East Bay Municipal Utilities District (www.EBMUD.com 

§  Turn down your thermostat to 68F. when your home is occupied, and 55 F. at night or when no one is home. 

§   Check your heating ducts for leaks.  If there are dark streaks in the insulation at the joints, you have a leak.  Use furnace cement and an approved mastic or aluminum faced tape to repair the leak before re-insulating.  Do not use cloth duct tape (it won’t last).

§   Repair any leaking faucets, which waste both water and energy.

§   Don’t use your fireplace and close your fireplace damper or permanently seal the flue. A fireplace draw lots of cool air in which actually cools the house.

§  Use a clothesline instead of a dryer.


Low-Cost Ways to Save Energy

§     Insulate your hot water pipes.  Insulation is inexpensive, and can help retain the heat you’ve paid for. Insulate hot water pipes wherever they are exposed, even under your house.  You should also insulate the first 5 feet of the cold water pipe that enters your hot water tank, since heat escapes there as well.

§    Insulate your hot water tank.

§     Install door weatherstrip on exterior doors, including the bottom door sweep.


Other Ways to Save Energy

§      Insulate your attic with R-30 or greater (thicker) insulation.

§      Insulate your floor from below with R-19 or greater insulation.

§      Insulate your walls.

§      Install Low-E insulated glass windows, preferably wood framed or      fiberglass. Avoid metal or vinyl-framed windows.  Metal window frames conduct the heat out of your house, and vinyl off-gases chemicals, and can warp and fog-over, losing its heat-conserving properties.

§     If your exterior doors have multiple panes of  single-paned glass, replace them with energy-efficient doors.

§   Replace traditional appliances with energy star models, including clothes washers and dishwashers.


The City offers free weatherization services and utility bill payment assistance for qualified low-income households. Call 644-8544 for more information. Other services are available through Green Neighbors at www.GreenNeighbors.org or by calling 510-868-5400.Further information on about the City of Berkeley is available on the Internet from our homepage at www.CityofBerkeley.info/Energy


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