Christmas in April Energy Teams Get Results

Christmas in April logo
July 2000

On April 29, volunteers from throughout the Bay Area visited 110 homes and public buildings such as schools and community centers, installing energy efficiency measures as part of Christmas in April's National Rebuilding Day. Twelve Berkeley Lab employees were among the volunteers, with four serving as Energy Team captains. The lifetime savings of all these efficiency measures works out to more than $78,000. The annual savings in all homes amount to 53,000 kWh, more than 11,000 therms of natural gas, and 500,000 gallons of water per year.

For a second year, Lisa Gartland, a former post-doc in the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, now a private consultant on energy efficiency, organized the energy teams for local chapters of Christmas in April, a charitable organization that rehabilitates and repairs homes for low-income, disabled or senior citizens who can't pay for or perform this work on their own [Currents, February 25, 2000]. Energy Team 2000 worked with five Bay Area Christmas in April chapters and exceeded their goal of saving $60 a year per house, by a wide margin, instead installing energy-efficient measures that will save an average of $106 a year on each owner's utility bills. Volunteers undertook tasks like installing energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps, wrapping water heaters with insulating blankets, caulking cracks and holes, adding weatherstripping to doors and windows and pipe insulation to water pipes, cleaning refrigerator coils, and installing programmable thermostats. They also added water-conserving toilet bags, faucet aerators and showerheads to sinks and bathrooms.

"I learned a lot and had a good time," said the Facilities Department's Steve Greenberg. "We even made a difference, small on the big scale but a much bigger one for the people we helped out."

Twelve Berkeley Lab employees participating in the Energy Teams, were: Jennifer McWilliams (San Francisco team captain), Karen Rosen (South Bay team captain), Rebecca Anaya, Allan Chen, Maureen Cowger, Marianne Guerin, Steve Greenberg (East Bay team captain), Saki Khalsa, Bryan Lehman, Simon Patton, and Dale Sartor, who was joined by his wife Judy Winzeler; UC Berkeley graduate student and Berkeley Lab employee J.P. Ross served as an East Bay team captain, and former Berkeley Lab employees also participated.

Gartland has also formed a Department of Energy Rebuild America partnership, called Rebuild in April, to bring energy conservation to Christmas in April affiliates in the Bay Area and the nation in the years to come. For information about volunteering for next year's Energy Team '01, visit the web site.