Cooperative Energy Future buys a range of low-cost products to reduce energy consumption in bulk. These products all save more money within a year than they cost and many of them are portable and reusable, making them accessible for low-income residents and renters.
Prices listed below are non-member prices. Cooperative Energy Futures members receive a lifetime 10% discount on all products.
Insulation and Air Sealing – Saving on Heating and Cooling
Window Plastic Kits (bonus volume 10 windows): $12
Many people think that replacing windows is the most important step towards saving energy. While reducing air leakage around window panes and frames by sealing with rope or tube caulk is a really important step, the actual reduction in heat loss through the glass is very minimal when compared to bulking up on wall insulation. You can achieve nearly the same impact of replacing a window with a double-paned version by installing window plastic annually at a fraction of the cost. Properly installed, window plastic provides a nearly invisible second layer to your window, creating dead-air space that tempers air. You can also reuse the plastic year to year, though you will need to get new tape. If you are adding window plastic, make sure to apply rope calk to movable joints and rope or permanent tube caulk to any cracks in fixed window frame parts BEFORE installing the window kit – this will prevent air from infiltrating the dead-air space behind the window kit so that adding a window kit will be the equivalent of a two-pane window. If you skip this step, you will save much less energy and drafts through the window will also likely wear out the window plastic. We chose RCR Dennis window kits for their combination of low cost and high quality – we have found several brands with tape that sticks poorly, as well as a few of similar quality for a much greater price. The $12 price, usually for a 6-window kit, is available for a 10-window kit for a limited time only.
Rope Caulk (30-ft): $2.50
Rope caulk is a great solution for reducing air leakage in movable joints in windows or for renters whose landlords will not allow permanent caulking or air sealing. Rope caulk is a removable moldable putty that acts as an air seal when used to fill cracks in windows, baseboards, etc. While not as long-lasting as tube-caulk, which cures permanantly, rope caulk has the benefit of being usable on window frames and other joints that you will open again after winter is over. You will still need to keep the windows closed as long as you have the rope-caulk in place.
Tube Caulk (clear or white): $3.50
Use tube caulk for permanent sealing in non-moving cracks up to 3/8 of an inch wide to reduce air leakage into and out of your house. Apply caulk using a standard caulk-gun (CEF can loan or sell caulk guns if needed and can provide training in even application through our workshops). Our standard caulk applies white and cures clear within 24 hours, though products that cure clear or other colors are available.
V-Flex Window Stripping: $3.00
V-Flex window stripping creates a tighter air-seal on windows that slide up and down on their frames, and can remain in place as windows are opened and closed. To install, simply remove the backing, cut the window stripping with a scissors to lengths the width of the window and as far up the sides of the window as you can get it, and stick the V-flex to the bottom and sides of your window frame (not the window). Homes tend to form convection loops with cooler air entering on lower floors and hot air leaving on upper floors, so the “V” of the v-flex would open towards the outside on lower floors and towards the inside on upper floors to trap air in the direction it is moving.
10 Outlet gaskets and 10 Switch Gaskets: $3.00
Your wall can be well-insulated, but behind every switch or outlet cover is an un-insulated box. You can help reduce air leakage through your outlet and switch boxes by installing a thin foam gasket. Simply remove the plastic plate by unscrewing, pop the foam layer around the outlet or switch (the foam is pre-cut to fit a double-outlet plate and a switch respectively) and replace the plastic plate.
Earthmate Compact Fluorescent Light-Bulb (CFL)
13W CFL with light output similar to a 60W incandescent bulb: $3.50
19W CFL with light output similar to a 75W incandescent bulb: $4.00
A traditional incandescent light-bulb converts 90% of the electricity it uses into heat and only 10% into light. A compact fluorescent light-bulb is four times more efficient. While it may cost a few bucks more up front, most people don’t realize that the real cost of lighting is in electricity and replacement cost. A single compact fluorescent light will save around $30 over its lifetime as compared to an incandescent. We chose Earthmate CFLs for their warm light tone and low mercury content (1/5 of normal CFLs) – poor-quality CFLs often create irritating harsh light and tend to burn out much quicker. Remember that while the mercury in the bulb is still much less than that emitted into the atmosphere by the extra electricity needed to power an incandescent, it is still important to dispose of old CFLs properly by returning them to a hardware store. Please remember that standard CFLs cannot be used in dimmable, three-way, or enclosed lighting fixtures, though there are specialty CFLs for these purposes.
LED Night Light: $4.50
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the next generation of lighting technology. At 90% efficiency and lifespans near 10 years, they’re the future of lighting. While we do not yet offer LED light-bulbs for standard light fixtures, this night-light with a built-in light sensor automatically turns on at night and uses only around 3kWh ($0.25) in electricity over a whole year!
Refrigerator Coil Brush: $6
Refrigerators are one of the largest electricity users in your house. Refrigerators keep their insides cool by exchanging heat through coils on the bottom or back of the fridge. When these coils get dirty, the dirt acts as an insulator, forcing the motor to work harder to remove the heat. If you can access your refrigerators coils, use a refrigerator coil brush to clean the dust off the coils monthly to save refrigerator electricity and prolong your fridges life.
Water Efficiency – Saving Hot Water Saves Energy Too!
1.5 gpm Faucet Aerator: $1.00
This stainless steal faucet aerator reduces water and water heating use and easily screws into a standard faucet. Install one on sinks where you need to wash things but where filling containers quickly is not a big need. Your current sink may have an aerator marked with its gallon per minute (gpm) rate, or you can test it by measuring the amount of water from your faucet in 15 second and multiplying by 4. Many faucets have a standard 3gpm flow rate, so you will save 1.5 gallons for every minute of use.
1.75 gpm Showerhead: $10.50
Just like the faucet aerator, this Niagra showerhead aerates the water flow in your shower to reduce water usage and water heating costs while increasing pressure. Many traditional showerheads use 3 to even 8 gallons per minute – a huge waste of hot water. With adjustable flow settings, this shower-head has gotten great marks from our members in providing a great showering experience at only 1.75 gallons per minute.
Toilet Tummy: $4.00
Have you ever heard of putting a brick in your toilet to reduce the flush volume? A toilet tummy performs the same function without the risk of having bits of disintegrating brick clog your toilet. If you’re toilet is not already low-flow or dual-flush, installing a toilet tummy is an easy and cheap way to retrofit. Just fill the tummy completely with water (no air), seal it, and hang it inside the toilet tank, displacing water that would be used with each flush.