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Is your house ready to be energy efficient?

Utility customers can take advantage of energy reviews online, by phone and at home

Saving energy is easy when you know where to start. This fall, Energy Trust of Oregon is helping utility customers keep their homes cozy and trim energy costs by offering expert guidance with a Home Energy Review, as well as free Energy Saver Kits filled with products that offer quick savings.

'Energy Trust is a great first stop for saving energy this season,' said Marshall Johnson, residential program manager, Energy Trust. 'We can help you evaluate your home to find the best places to start, locate trade ally contractors to do the work and make improvements more affordable with cash incentives.'

Customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas are eligible for the following services and products:

Home Energy Review: A review can help homeowners learn about energy-saving opportunities for their house and receive a personalized list of improvements. They also receive information about Energy Trust cash incentives. The reviews are now available three different ways - online, by phone and in home - so there is a convenient option to fit everyone's schedule.

n Spend a few minutes online and get your Home Energy Profile, which shows how energy efficient your home is, and provides you with a list of energy-saving opportunities.

n Talk with an Energy Trust energy advisor by phone and review your goals for comfort and energy savings. After a 20-minute conversation, you receive recommendations for energy savings, along with referrals to local Energy Trust trade allies who can help install any improvements.

n Schedule a home visit with an Energy Trust energy advisor who will seek out areas of energy loss throughout your house and create a list of prioritized recommendations. If needed, free energy-saving products may also be installed, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and high-performance faucet aerators and showerheads.

- To take part in a Home Energy Review, visit www.energytrust.org/start or call 1-866-368-7878.

Five money-saving tips for fall

In addition to these free services and products, Energy Trust also recommends five no-cost and low-cost tips that everyone can check off their list before cool weather hits:

1. Turn down the heat

Turn your thermostat down and save up to 3 percent for each degree of reduction. A programmable thermostat set to automatically reduce heat at night or while the house is unoccupied can save up to $180 per year, paying for itself in six to nine months.

2. Seal up places where air escapes

Most homes have enough air leakage from gaps and cracks to equal one window open year round. Use caulk or spray foam to seal up small holes and cracks around plumbing pipes, exhaust fans, dryer vents, sink and bathtub drains, fireplaces and under countertops. Use weatherstripping and door sweeps to seal up drafty windows and doors. A professional contractor can also be hired to test your home for air leaks and professionally seal your home. They will even track down hidden spots in the attic or basement. Energy Trust offers a list of Home Performance trade ally contractors that offer this service.

3. Save water, save energy

Set the water heater to a maximum of 125 degrees (or to 140 degrees if your dishwasher does not pre-heat water). When doing laundry, use the cold setting for both washing and rinsing, and install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators to help you automatically use less hot water every day. Discounts on water-saving showerheads are available from Energy Trust at retailers statewide. See a list of participating stores at www.energytrust.org/showerheads.

4. Check your lighting

Where possible, use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Replacing your five most-used light bulbs with CFLs can save up to $60 each year in energy costs. These days, CFLs come in an array of tones from warm to cool, and are even made for specialty fixtures, such as chandeliers, recessed lights and three-way lamps. Discounts on these specialty bulbs are available through Energy Trust at participating stores statewide. See a list of retailers at www.energytrust.org/cfl.

5. Unplug and recycle an older, second refrigerator

Older refrigerators can cost up to $200 a year to operate, compared to as little as $40 for a new high-efficiency model. Energy Trust offers free refrigerator and freezer recycling to Pacific Power and PGE customers, with free pick up and recycling, as well as $50 cash back. Call 1-866-444-8907 or visit www.energytrust.org/fridgerecycling to sign up online.

- Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources. Learn more at www.energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.