Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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Contact Details

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Weatherization

  • Bedroom

     

    Insulation and Weatherization

    It’s called weatherization, and it involves insulation and sealing air leaks. Adding insulation is a good place to start, and there are number of green alternatives that can be used, such as cellulose, cotton, foam, and fiberglass. To identify your house’s leaks, contact a professional who will conduct a blower-door test on the home. From there, you can caulk and weatherstrip your way to energy freedom!

    Do your research and check out this article on weatherization from Clark Public Utilities, and contact CPU if you need more help deciding what to do.

    Keep in mind, too, that Clark Public Utilities offers incentives to help you get energy efficient.

    Energy Efficient Window

    Before you go about shopping for more efficient windows, make sure your house is weatherized. As far as efficient windows go, there are some things to look for:

    • Energy Star label. Double-paned windows that are labeled Energy Star will save you between 7 and 15 percent more on bills than non-Energy Star products.
    • 30 U-factor or less. The lower the u-factor, the lower the heat loss
    • What kind of frame you want. Vinyl is the most popular nowadays for its low heat transferability and its adaptability, but there are other options.
    • Whether you want coated or inert gas-filled windows. Both will help to increase energy efficiency and reduce harmful ultraviolet rays in your home.
    • If you have more questions, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355 or contact them through their website.

    Paint on Wall

    Be sure to choose a paint without volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Among the VOC’s are formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, and ammonia, all of which contribute to indoor air pollution. They don’t just smell funny–VOC’s are detrimental to our health.

    Look for the Green Seal when you’re buying your paints. As an independent non-profit that certifies environmentally-sound, sustainable products. Their list of approved paints can be found here.

    Consider buying used paint from Metro Paint. They take leftover paint and remake it in a variety of colors.

    Dresser

    Clothing—it’s the thing that separates us from the animals (except if you’re wearing zebra print jeggings, then you’re just as ferocious). There are easy ways, though, to reduce your clothing’s negative impact on the environment. Choose:

    • Recycled fabrics
    • Biodegradable dyes
    • Certification for fair labor practices
    • Organic fibers
    • Renewable materials
    • You should avoid clothes that are wrinkle-resistant and that have been treated with chlorine-based bleaches. Of course, there are other (better) options with your clothing than buying new constantly.

    Reduce your wardrobe, first and foremost. Look at your dresser or closet: do you really wear everything you own? If you don’t use it, donate it to a Goodwill or secondhand store. Get to the minimum and stay there. And if you find yourself lacking a needed accessory, go back to those same used clothing stores and look for hidden gems. Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle—it works with clothing, too!

    Pillow Cases and Bedding

    There are some simple choices you can make to be sustainable with your bedding:

    • Find products made without polybrominated diphenyl ethers
    • Find products made locally or within the United States
    • Look for encased products that have reduced chemical exposure
    • Choose natural rather than synthetic fibers
    • Choose natural latex foam
    • You should avoid products that are “wrinkle-resistant” and treated with formaldehyde, which negatively affects human health. Also avoid polyurethane foam and excessive packaging whenever you can.

    Pets

    We all want to take the best possible care of our families and pets. Keep them in mind when purchasing chemicals and using them to clean the house or take care of the yard. Take a little time to seek out good, healthy alternatives for your home.

    • Insulation and Weatherization

      It’s called weatherization, and it involves insulation and sealing air leaks. Adding insulation is a good place to start, and there are number of green alternatives that can be used, such as cellulose, cotton, foam, and fiberglass. To identify your house’s leaks, contact a professional who will conduct a blower-door test on the home. From there, you can caulk and weatherstrip your way to energy freedom!

      Do your research and check out this article on weatherization from Clark Public Utilities, and contact CPU if you need more help deciding what to do.

      Keep in mind, too, that Clark Public Utilities offers incentives to help you get energy efficient.

    • Energy Efficient Window

      Before you go about shopping for more efficient windows, make sure your house is weatherized. As far as efficient windows go, there are some things to look for:

      • Energy Star label. Double-paned windows that are labeled Energy Star will save you between 7 and 15 percent more on bills than non-Energy Star products.
      • 30 U-factor or less. The lower the u-factor, the lower the heat loss
      • What kind of frame you want. Vinyl is the most popular nowadays for its low heat transferability and its adaptability, but there are other options.
      • Whether you want coated or inert gas-filled windows. Both will help to increase energy efficiency and reduce harmful ultraviolet rays in your home.
      • If you have more questions, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355 or contact them through their website.
    • Paint on Wall

      Be sure to choose a paint without volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Among the VOC’s are formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, and ammonia, all of which contribute to indoor air pollution. They don’t just smell funny–VOC’s are detrimental to our health.

      Look for the Green Seal when you’re buying your paints. As an independent non-profit that certifies environmentally-sound, sustainable products. Their list of approved paints can be found here.

      Consider buying used paint from Metro Paint. They take leftover paint and remake it in a variety of colors.

    • Dresser

      Clothing—it’s the thing that separates us from the animals (except if you’re wearing zebra print jeggings, then you’re just as ferocious). There are easy ways, though, to reduce your clothing’s negative impact on the environment. Choose:

      • Recycled fabrics
      • Biodegradable dyes
      • Certification for fair labor practices
      • Organic fibers
      • Renewable materials
      • You should avoid clothes that are wrinkle-resistant and that have been treated with chlorine-based bleaches. Of course, there are other (better) options with your clothing than buying new constantly.

      Reduce your wardrobe, first and foremost. Look at your dresser or closet: do you really wear everything you own? If you don’t use it, donate it to a Goodwill or secondhand store. Get to the minimum and stay there. And if you find yourself lacking a needed accessory, go back to those same used clothing stores and look for hidden gems. Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle—it works with clothing, too!

    • Pillow Cases and Bedding

      There are some simple choices you can make to be sustainable with your bedding:

      • Find products made without polybrominated diphenyl ethers
      • Find products made locally or within the United States
      • Look for encased products that have reduced chemical exposure
      • Choose natural rather than synthetic fibers
      • Choose natural latex foam
      • You should avoid products that are “wrinkle-resistant” and treated with formaldehyde, which negatively affects human health. Also avoid polyurethane foam and excessive packaging whenever you can.
    • Pets

      We all want to take the best possible care of our families and pets. Keep them in mind when purchasing chemicals and using them to clean the house or take care of the yard. Take a little time to seek out good, healthy alternatives for your home.

    • Attic

       

      Insulation

      Home insulation is one of the best improvements you can make for the least amount of money. Insulation keeps the heat out in the summer and the heat in during the colder months. Check out CPU’s great home energy calculator.

      Attic Fan

      Mechanical attic ventilation, such as an attic fan, is often promoted as a way to cut heat gain in a house. However, the effectiveness of any attic fan will depend on several factors, including the amount of insulation in the attic and natural ventilation.

      “It could be 82 degrees outside and, depending on how well the attic is passively ventilated, at peak heating hours the attic could reach 140 degrees or higher,” said Rick Richart of Richart Builders and Remodelers in Vancouver. “When the fan pulls out hot air, it replaces it with outside air. If the attic is well insulated, the fan will help protect the inside of the home from that hot air.”

      However, if the attic has inadequate insulation, blocked soffit vents or is not well sealed from the rest of the house, the fan could end up pulling cooled air from the living area into the attic. This will increase your energy bills if you have air conditioning—not to mention do nothing to add to the comfort of your home.

      For more information, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355.

      Roof Vents

      In the attic of a house, ventilation serves a number of purposes. The flow of cold air beneath the roof deck in winter helps remove moisture that works its way up through the ceiling and insulation. During the summer, vents help carry away the hot air that accumulates under the roof deck, lowering cooling costs in the space below.

      Unused Items

      Most of us store unwanted items in the attic where they can easily become out of sight, out of mind. Move those unneeded items along by putting them on 2good2toss.com, giving them to family or friends or take them to a thrift store for resale. Make sure any used baby items are still considered safe for use.

      • Insulation

        Home insulation is one of the best improvements you can make for the least amount of money. Insulation keeps the heat out in the summer and the heat in during the colder months. Check out CPU’s great home energy calculator.

      • Attic Fan

        Mechanical attic ventilation, such as an attic fan, is often promoted as a way to cut heat gain in a house. However, the effectiveness of any attic fan will depend on several factors, including the amount of insulation in the attic and natural ventilation.

        “It could be 82 degrees outside and, depending on how well the attic is passively ventilated, at peak heating hours the attic could reach 140 degrees or higher,” said Rick Richart of Richart Builders and Remodelers in Vancouver. “When the fan pulls out hot air, it replaces it with outside air. If the attic is well insulated, the fan will help protect the inside of the home from that hot air.”

        However, if the attic has inadequate insulation, blocked soffit vents or is not well sealed from the rest of the house, the fan could end up pulling cooled air from the living area into the attic. This will increase your energy bills if you have air conditioning—not to mention do nothing to add to the comfort of your home.

        For more information, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355.

      • Roof Vents

        In the attic of a house, ventilation serves a number of purposes. The flow of cold air beneath the roof deck in winter helps remove moisture that works its way up through the ceiling and insulation. During the summer, vents help carry away the hot air that accumulates under the roof deck, lowering cooling costs in the space below.

      • Unused Items

        Most of us store unwanted items in the attic where they can easily become out of sight, out of mind. Move those unneeded items along by putting them on 2good2toss.com, giving them to family or friends or take them to a thrift store for resale. Make sure any used baby items are still considered safe for use.

      • Energy Efficiency

        Keeping our homes efficient isn’t just about using resources wisely. It could also mean financial savings. Just changing the bulbs we use could reduce the electricity bill. Adjusting the setting on the hot water heater and affects both our energy usage and our pocket books. Whether you’re looking for long-term energy efficiency projects or quick tips, take a look at all our tips and resources.

        Efficient Home

        Your house is a system. How and where it sits on the property, known as ‘siting’, determines how it will be affected by the seasons and weather. The walls, roof, floor, windows, doors, and insulation make up the envelope of the structure. The heating and cooling, ventilation, and ductwork should work well separately and together for optimal performance. For many tips on these individual systems and household appliances, check out services & resources or home assessments.

         

        Related articles: Home Assessments | Transportation

      • Services & resources

        Planet Clark

        Planet Clark is a public-private outreach and education partnership group of Energy Efficiency Services, Building Safety, and Environmental Services from Clark County (which started Planet Clark) and Clark Public Utilities, NW Natural, and Energy Trust of Oregon. Check out Planet Clark for information about weatherization, indoor air quality, and how kids can be energy detectives.

        Clark Public Utilities

        Clark Public Utilities has a wealth of information on conserving energy. Looking for ways to cut your monthly energy costs? Let their online home energy calculator do the math for you! It's fast and it's free. If the daily usage shown on your bill has increased quite a bit over the same time period as last year, start your investigation here. Schedule an energy counselor visit to help assess and analyze your home energy use. Spend time perusing their extensive energy saving tips for heating, water heating, in the kitchen, doing laundry, lighting, and cooling your home.

        Bonneville Power Administration

        For 30 years, the Northwest has been a leader in treating energy efficiency and conservation as a power resource. The Northwest Power Act of 1980 called on the Northwest to give energy conservation top priority in meeting its power needs, and the region quickly learned that a megawatt saved is the equivalent of a megawatt produced. Bonneville provides effective energy saving tips on their website, including lighting, energy star appliances, electronics, heat pump water heaters, showerheads, weatherization, ductless heat pumps, and more!

        Energy Efficient Improvements

        Improving the energy efficiency of your home has the added benefit of saving you money for heating and cooling as well as making your home a healthier place to live.

        Weatherization assistance

        Home weatherization benefits homeowners, landlords and tenants by installing cost effective measures for energy conservation and address health and safety concerns.

        Eligibility for home weatherization assistance is determined by the number of people living in the household and income levels. Eligible low-income households receive the energy audit and energy saving measures installed free of charge.

        Housing Preservation

        The Housing Preservation programs assist low-income households with home maintenance repairs, including weatherization, home energy assistance and modifications for increased energy-efficiency.

        Education

        If you would like a home energy efficiency presentation for your community group or organization, or the Energy Detectives training program at your school, contact Mike Selig at mike.selig@clark.wa.gov or (360) 397-2375 ext. 4540.