Chattanooga grassroots initiative helping residents save some gr - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga grassroots initiative helping residents save some green

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Temperatures plunged several times over the last few weeks, and for most people, that meant utility bills sky-rocketed.

Green Spaces Chattanooga is hosting workshops to help teach residents some tricks and tips to keep utility costs down, even during extreme temperature changes.

"Now we're all receiving bills from this past January and December and they're probably giving you some sticker shock," explained program coordinator Christian Shackelford.

Shackelford hosts regular meetings to help neighborhoods get control of their energy usage. He said most changes come at little or no cost to homeowners.

"Bringing down your utility cost is related to being comfortable in your home too,” explained Shackelford, “So a lot of times you're paying more and you're still not comfortable in your home. So the goal is to pay less and be comfortable where you're living."

There are two big money-saving tips he stressed. It’s probably not a big surprise but roughly 42 percent of energy usage comes from heating and cooling homes. So Shackelford recommends keeping the thermostat set at 67 degrees.

Another big tip is to turn down your water heater a few degrees. He said hot water should not have to be diluted with cold water, and hot water should run at a temperature that’s still comfortable to use.

"Sometimes some homes have one glaring issue that's causing them to be uncomfortable that you kind of have to diagnose and search for,” Shackelford said.

He said it’s important to make sure all windows and doors are sealed. Appliances and chargers that aren’t being used also need to be unplugged.

Shackelford said a lot of small changes can make a big difference.

"We've had reports from some of the people that've gone through our trainings from getting their utility bills from like in the $300 range down to the $100 range on a regular basis," Shackelford said.

The organization keeps track of energy usage in homes from people that have attended the workshops. They said roughly 30 percent of those homes have seen a decrease in energy usage.

To see a calendar of workshops and when they will be offered, visit Empower Chattanooga's website.

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