Fall 2009


In this edition…

Fall Greetings from the Cambridge Energy Alliance

The Cambridge Energy Alliance is happy to announce that we have expanded our programs and services for Cambridge residents and businesses. In July, Cambridge Energy Alliance had recently added new staff and capacity to help Cambridge residents and businesses connect to energy efficiency programs, renewable energy services, and financing to help get their homes and workplaces ready for winter. By partnering with several energy service companies and local banks, the Cambridge Energy Alliance can now offer a unique package of resources to meet the efficiency goals of almost any homeowner or business in Cambridge. In addition to these offerings, CEA updated our website and we are also spreading the message of energy efficiency and climate action through our blog at www.warmhomecoolplanet.org.

Fall is an excellent time of year to weatherize your home or business to save energy and money during the winter heating season. In this season’s newsletter you will find upcoming events, fall efficiency tips, and helpful resources to start saving energy today!

Cambridge Community Report

This summer, the Cambridge Energy Alliance worked with volunteers from Massachusetts Climate Summer to provide free energy efficiency resources and compact fluorescent light bulbs to Cambridge residents. Volunteers talked to over 500 Cambridge residents and received 175 requests for home energy audits. In addition, 217 free CFLs were traded for used incandescent bulbs, which reduced emissions of CO2 by more than 128,000 lbs. An additional 132,000 pounds were saved by a separate volunteer canvass of the Riverside Neighborhood in conjunction with the Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET).

Riverside canvassersMCAN canvassers

There are several upcoming CEA events you may want to attend. The Cambridge Energy Alliance is promoting efficiency services for businesses at the Assistance for Retailers: Best Retail Practices Workshop on October 7th from 8:30 to 11AM at the Cambridge City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd floor conference room. In addition, CEA is providing an energy efficiency workshop at the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave, on Thursday, October 8th from 1–2PM. Learn more about the Cambridge Energy Alliance and hear about new programs for Cambridge Residents at www.cambridgeenergyalliance.org

Winter Weatherization Tips from the Energy Advisor

As summer turns to autumn, and the leaves begin to change and fall to the ground you may find yourself consumed with the household tasks of preparing for the coming winter season. Buttoning up your house for the winter may include calling the oil company for a delivery or making sure your furnace has new filters, but no matter where you live and how you heat your home, there are a number of things you can do to save energy and money this winter as well as make your living space more comfortable.

First, make sure your heating system is operating at peak efficiency. Check your radiators or forced air registers for dust buildup and clean them off to avoid spreading this around your home, as well as allow your equipment to most efficiently transfer heat into your living space. If you use baseboard heat, check to see that the flaps are all the way open. Verify that air flow around baseboards and radiators is unobstructed in order to allow efficient convection.

Second, use your heater as little as possible, and take advantage of free heat. Open up your shades during the day to let solar energy into your house to help with the heating and lighting. Close heavy drapes at night to act as insulation over your windows. If you have rooms that you use infrequently, turn down/off available thermostats or close registers and doors in those rooms. Set your thermostat for a lower temperature when you are away, and consider adding another comforter to your bed so you can turn down the heat more at night.

Finally, make sure you’re only paying to heat your house instead of the great outdoors. Close and lock all the windows in your home in order to seal the weather–stripping between the panels. Speaking of weather-stripping, make sure you have some, and that is in good condition. Look at the frames of all your exterior doors and check for gaps in the weather-stripping. Think about other places outside air may be entering the house, and apply caulk or expanding foam to seal any gaps. One trick for finding air infiltration is to hunt for cobwebs. Spiders usually seek out locations where there is a lot of air movement. Air can even leak into your house through electrical outlets. Foam gaskets that form a seal behind cover plates are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores. For more tips about home weatherization you can always contact the CEA Energy Advisor. HEET also has some handy weatherization guides and checklists.


Historically there have been about 30 audit requests per month originating in Cambridge, although the exact number depends upon a number of factors such as the weather, season, and cost of energy. Since August 2008 the Cambridge Energy Alliance has received approximately 500 audit requests. As shown on the map below, these requests have come from all across the city; some have been omitted due to oddly formatted addresses. The higher concentration of requests from “north” and “mid” Cambridge is due in part to this summer’s canvass. On the other hand, many requests have been received from residents in the vicinities of Cambridgeport and Strawberry Hill which have not been canvassed.

Click map for larger view.