Georgians Seeking Ways to Slash Home Energy Costs Use Atlanta Firm's Energy Calculator to Mine for Cash

Unique APOGEE Tool Could Also Aid Sales in Depressed Real Estate Market

Jun 23, 2010, 07:00 ET from APOGEE Interactive Inc.

ATLANTA, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia is encouraging residents to mine for cash within the walls of their homes and an Atlanta-based company – APOGEE Interactive – is providing the tool to help them uncover a lot more than pocket change from under their sofa cushions.

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Georgians seeking ways to cut energy costs got a boost from Governor Sonny Perdue earlier this year when he unveiled an interactive website – www.GovernorsEnergyChallenge.org. Residents can visit the site, fill out their home profile and receive a list of energy-saving options customized by APOGEE's energy calculator specifically for their Georgia home.

The site is the public extension of Gov. Perdue's Energy Challenge where he committed state agencies to reduce energy consumption 15 percent below 2007 levels by 2020.  The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) contracted APOGEE to develop an online energy process that enables residents, businesses, schools and local governments to analyze their energy use and take actions to reduce it.

APOGEE customized the calculator specifically for Georgia reflecting the state's home construction, weather zones and home energy equipment used by most residents. "To realize the most effective cost reduction in energy use, we eliminated any vague national averages and customized the calculator specifically for Georgia," explained Joel Gilbert, APOGEE's co-founder, chief software architect and 30-year energy industry veteran.

APOGEE's Georgia utility customers use the firm's Web-enabled products to drive energy efficiency programs for their customers. Earlier this year Marietta Power & Water teamed with Marietta City Schools and successfully used APOGEE's online services to power a school-on-school competition that slashed energy costs across all 11 district schools and by almost 30 percent at the winning school. Georgia Power and Cobb EMC have recently contracted Apogee to implement their online energy audit offerings this summer.

The benefits of using an APOGEE energy calculator can also extend far beyond saving a home's residents money in their monthly energy outlay. It can cascade from residents and homeowners to sellers, buyers and builders.

The Appraisal Journal reported that the selling price of homes increases by $20.73 for every dollar decrease in energy bills. For example, if a seller cut an annual $1,500 energy bill by $400, the value of the house would increase by $8,300.

In fact, according to Gilbert, energy-efficient homes may offer a bright spot in a depressed real estate market. A study by Seattle's Green Works Realty showed that environmentally certified homes sold for 4.8 percent more and were on the market for 24 percent less time than comparable homes. "Even in a depressed market a home can be a cash cow if you have the right tools to tell you where to look," added Gilbert. "An energy-efficient house sells faster because its operating costs are lower, just like the trend toward smaller cars or cars with fuel-efficient, hybrid engines."

Most of what makes a house energy-efficient is hard to see and needs to be pointed out. Features such as better insulation in the wall and attics, double-paned windows and weatherized doors and windows are all energy-efficient money savers. And that's where APOGEE's calculator comes into play.

Here's how it works: Residents can go to www.governorsenergychallenge.org and click on "Take the Challenge." They complete a simple profile on their home such as number of occupants, square footage, year built, etc. They then answer a variety of questions ranging from the types of appliances and water heaters to windows and heating and cooling systems. By following a few other simple prompts the calculator will provide a customized list of options that can be taken to reduce energy costs.

Georgia is one of many states where homeowners who install energy-efficient equipment can realize a tax break too. In Georgia, tax incentives cover a variety of energy-efficient building products. To receive the tax break, the equipment must be installed between July 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012. Tax incentive and rebate information is available on the Governor's Energy Challenge website.

APOGEE Interactive Inc.

APOGEE's software powers nearly 500 utility online energy efficiency programs throughout the U.S.  The company's Web-based solutions reach millions of consumers daily and include self-service home energy audits, energy and carbon calculators, energy education Web content module such as "Kids Korner" and energy bill analyzers with progress reporting.  Serving the industry since 1994, APOGEE's clients include leading utilities such as Southern Company (SO), Georgia Power, Cobb EMC, Marietta Power & Water, Jackson EMC, Con Edison (ED), American Electric Power (AEP), SMUD, BGE (CEG), Westar Energy (WR), PECO (EXC), Puget Sound Energy, NSTAR (NST), Empire District (EDE), TVA and more.

SOURCE APOGEE Interactive Inc.



RELATED LINKS

http://www.GovernorsEnergyChallenge.org