Helping storm-affected towns with energy efficiency

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City last year and knocked out the power, many buildings were able to keep their lights running thanks to microgrids that used renewable sources of energy, generated onsite rather than derived from the national grid. Now, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force is looking for ways to extrapolate those methods and implement them onto a larger scale as a key to nationwide energy efficiency.

Last week, the Task Force – led by President Obama and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan – released its Rebuilding Strategy report, which looks to "rebuild communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in ways that are 'better able to withstand future storms and other risks posed by climate change.'" According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), part of this plan entails strategizing ways in which "smarter, flexible energy" sources can be used to improve the resiliency and recovery of storm-ravaged towns in addition to reducing harmful carbon emissions that ultimately contribute to these storms in the first place.

According to the EDF, the Task Force is aiming to replicate these strategies – and their successful results – in houses, schools, offices and other public buildings, in order to make all kinds of neighborhoods and cities more efficient and sustainable. One of the report's recommendations in moving toward this end is to offer eco-friendly upgrades as part of mortgages or insurance plans.

While lawmakers in the nation's capitol deliberate these measures, homeowners in the area can take green steps of their own by a scheduling for a home inspection. DC home inspectors can assess your property for ways in which your house may be wasting energy and can recommend steps to take to both improve efficiency and cut down on monthly utility expenses.