Energy Options That Make Sense For Pittsburgh Homes

May 2, 2012 3:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

wind v2 Energy Options That Make Sense For Pittsburgh Homes

(credit: Thinkstock)

There’s no doubt Pittsburghers are manufactured for inclement weather: Below freezing temps, heavy rains accompanied by flooding, softball-sized hail and far-beyond average temperatures have given a large portion of the population an apathetic attitude toward the local climate. If you’ve been a resident of the Steel City for generations, or are fairly new to its quirky weather, a few tweaks to your home energy supply might be just the simple money-saving solution you’ve been searching for. Find the right fit for your family with these simple tips.

In essence, renewable energy sources come from energy technologies that are virtually inexhaustible, but most families only switch over partially. Sobering thought: Although the potential for every human to (at minimum) partially embrace natural electricity generation is great, non-hydro renewable energy only supplies about two percent of the global population’s energy. There is so much Pittsburghers can do to change this. Make tiny changes that make a huge difference. Whether you’re looking for a more green way to obtain your home’s energy, to reduce your energy costs or just jumping on the trendy bandwagon, the following tips might be of use to you.

1. Install your own mini wind turbine. You might endure some odd looks from the neighbors, but even if you only generate enough power to run your air-conditioning during the hottest months (the smallest personal turbines are roughly the size of a short flagpole), you’ll save enough on your electricity bill to pay for the turbine and maybe even snag a few bags of locally grown produce at the Strip’s Public Market.

2. Install a solar array on your home. True, the only major metro area in the U.S. that experiences more cloudy days than Pittsburgh is Seattle. However, some energy supplementation is possible during the winter months if you’ve already invested or find that this route is the most feasible for your home. It can be done.

3. Buy your electricity. Buy from a supplier who sells renewable energy such as wind or solar. Duquesne Light Co. has partnered with Citizen Power Inc., to offer 100-percent wind energy electricity plans that provide Duquesne Light customers (residential only) with the cheapest two-year rates available. This is possible because Citizen Power does not take a commission and keeps marketing low by signing prospective customers up online only.

4. Disconnect your home’s downspout from the municipal drains. When rain flows straight into your yard or cisterns, you have to water less, and the Earth regulates all that water before it floods your area’s rivers, lakes and streams.

5. Keep your attic well ventilated/insulated. This is the key to keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer without wasting energy.

Getting Started

If any of the aforementioned sounds like it might help you reduce your lifestyle costs, your next step is to price these systems. The following local businesses may be able to help.

Citizen Power, Inc.
2121 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217-2105
(412) 421-7029

Local, non-profit Citizen Power works with TriEagle Energy to provide an alternative option that works with a low fixed price for renewable wind electricity.

Energy Independent Solutions
535 Clever Rd.
McKees Rocks, PA 15136
(888) 633-6451

From the paperwork to the panels, Energy Independent Solutions takes care of its customers like family with reasonable rates and have some of the most knowledgeable staff in the area.

VOX Energy Solutions LLC
8890 Peebles Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
(412) 366-4361

Since 2007, VOX Energy Solutions has used its decades in construction to translate solar and wind technology into energy solutions for Pennsylvania’s homes.

Related: Geothermal Cuts Consumers’ Heating, Cooling Bills
Related: Hot Local Eco Artists

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE