Success Stories at Georgia Energy Challenge
“A while back my boss recommended I change out my old light bulbs for CFL’s – so I did and I have not changed a light bulb in two years! I called all my sisters and made them change to CFLs too.”
Mia Brown - Jonesboro, Georgia
Mia Brown - Jonesboro, Georgia
Eugene and Chris Mobley built their Platinum-rated EarthCraftTM home, the highest level that can be achieved, in 2008. EarthCraftTM House, created in 1999, is a residential green-building program of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, in partnership with Southface. So what did the Mobleys do to create their dream "green" home? They designed the home on a North/South facing lot with low/no maintenance building materials. The landscaping surrounding their home is completely native with minimum grass. The interior has low-VOC paint and carpet, and 80 percent of the hardwired light fixtures and all of the appliances, are Energy Star® certified. The Mobleys worked closely with their builder/contractor to face - and meet - the challenge of building an energy-efficient home outside of metro Atlanta. "Our new home was designed for low-maintenance, easy accessibility and most importantly, low-energy consumption. We are proud to have the only EarthCraftTM Platinum-certified home in Oconee County and love sharing our story."
A leaky water heater in 2007 led Lawrenceville, Georgia homeowner Scott Razzino down the path to a more energy-efficient home and significant cost savings. He purchased a tankless water heater for his 26-year-old home, and obtained a $300 federal tax credit, a $100 rebate from Atlanta Gas Light and a $30 rebate from the manufacturer. As a result of this installation, Razzino pays more for the service fee than actual usage. Since then, he has installed a new HVAC system and furnace, insulated his attic and replaced his windows, front door and sidelights, among other improvements. Razzino funded portions of those projects with rebate programs through his employer, federal tax credits and county tax credits such as Gwinnett County's toilet rebate program. His home is now more comfortable in the summer, and he noted, "My highest gas bill was $160 during the winter, and my highest AC bill was $145. I can only compare to others who tell me they pay gas bills ranging from the high $200's to low $300's and AC bills from the high $300's to low $400's per month with houses similar in size to mine." Razzino has tracked his energy bills for more than three years and sees the long-term savings in relation to the investments he made.
A family vacation to Costa Rica in 2007 by Leah and Kirk Watkins triggered the concept for North Georgia Canopy Tours. The Watkins retained Bonsai-Design to design and construct an eco-friendly destination. Two canopy tour courses opened in April 2010 on 136 acres. Located one hour north of Atlanta in Lula, Georgia, in northeast Hall County, these eco-tours include tree platforms, multiple ziplines (several over ponds and a river), nature hikes, sky bridges and a rappel. The tours are led by two highly-trained guides, who provide a “higher perspective” by sharing ecological knowledge throughout the thrilling adventure. Georgia’s ultimate zipline experience was constructed with an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly design to accommodate thousands of tourists annually with minimal environmental impact. The highly-efficient geothermal heating and air conditioning system taps into the uniform temperature of the earth a few hundred feet below the surface. The system is maintained and operated within the building and runs quietly because of its efficiency. Other energy-efficient initiatives include windmills that aerate ponds, a retention pond repurposed into a beautiful water feature, high R-factor window glass and hand dryers that are designed to save energy. To conserve water and energy, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals were installed. The Watkins estimate that more than $3,000 in electrical costs savings are realized annually by these innovations. The Canopy Command Center was furnished with used items and furniture made from fallen trees on the property. The decking on the tree platforms on the courses is rescued white oak from fallen trees milled by Seven Beauties Inc., a company located in Atlanta, and the original chicken house trusses were repurposed and painted for the Command Center. North Georgia Canopy Tours has taken the Georgia Energy Challenge to guide its sustainability efforts, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to lessen the environmental impact of the facility and its visitors. For more information, visit www.northgeorgiacanopytours.com.