Frequently Asked Questions

Let us help you navigate which energy program is right for you.  Civic Works is a one-stop shop for energy efficiency grant and rebate programs.  Civic Works energy advisors are trained to navigate the system.  All we need is a little information about your household and your interests to get you started.

Civic Works is a community-based non-profit organization, serving communities in the Baltimore region since 1993.  Civic Works is NOT a part of the BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) utility company.

Across Maryland, there are several home energy efficiency programs that are funded by BGE and other utility companies.  These include the BGE Quick Home Energy Check Up Program and the BGE Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program.  There are other home energy programs that are funded by state government, local government, and private foundations.

Civic Works combines funding from all of these sources to cover the cost of services to residents.  A Civic Works energy advisor can help you by identifying which grants and rebates you are eligible for.  Civic Works goal is to make energy efficiency services as affordable to you as possible.  As a result, many of our services are FREE.

Civic Works is aware that many renters face hardships from high energy bills and uncomfortable drafts.  Whether you live in a rowhome, single-family detached home, or an apartment, Civic Works would like to help you save energy and money.  A Civic Works energy advisor can help you identify which energy program is right for you and your home (and help you obtain permission from your landlord whenever permission is required).

A properly weatherized house requires both air sealing and insulation, in order to create a barrier between the inside and outside of the home.  This barrier is called the “building envelope”.  We want a nice and tight barrier in order to keep the inside of your house warm and toasty in the winter and cooler in the summer.  When heat and air escape to the outside, you can picture money wasted and leaking to the outside — money that you are spending on heating and air conditioning.

When your contractor installs insulation, they select a material that has properties that make it resistant to heat transfer.  This means that heat has trouble passing through the material and escaping to the outside.  We like to think of insulation like a nice thick sweater for your house.

When your contractor installs insulation, they will also first seal leaks where air is escaping through gaps in the building envelope.  There are a lot of holes and gaps, especially in older homes.  Oftentimes, air sealing foams are used, because they are applied and then expand to fill the gap.  We like to think of air sealing like a solid windbreaker for your house.  On a windy day, if you are wearing just a sweater, the air can pierce the sweater and you will still be cold.

No, you do not have to switch your utility provider.