Sustainable Columbus  
910 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH 43215 

Alana Shockey
Deputy Director, Sustainable Columbus
[email protected]

Erin Beck
Assistant Director
[email protected]

David R. Celebrezze
Resilience and Behavior Change Manager
[email protected]

Bethany Bella
Building and Energy Coordinator
[email protected]

Sara Ernst
Natural Resource Protection Coordinator
[email protected]

Teneah Chambers
Green Jobs & Aggregation Coordinator
[email protected]

Abby Pope
One Water Coordinator
[email protected]

Shanikka Flinn
Equitable Engagement Coordinator
[email protected]

Report illegal dumping to [email protected]

Receive Sustainable Columbus Emails

Sign Up Through GovDelivery


Conserving Energy Campaign From 2019 to 2020 Sustainable Steps teamed up with AEP Ohio, Columbia Gas, and neighborhood groups in Linden, Franklinton, Hilltop, University District, Near East, and Milo-Grogan. The goal was to have 30,000 home energy audits done throughout Columbus with a special focus on the Opportunity Neighborhoods. As a result of achieving this goal the following awards were given out: 

Linden - $35,00 Award 
Lighting upgrade at Hamilton Stem Elementary School 
Water Heater Upgrades at 4 Linden Schools 

Franklinton - $35,000 Award 
Lighting upgrade at the Franklinton Library 
Appliance Upgrade at Gladden Community House 

Hilltop - $35,000 Award 
Lighting upgrade at West High and Wedgewood Middle School 
Heater upgrade at Holton Recreation Center 

University - $35,000 Award 
Huckleberry House Upgrades 

Near East - $35,000 Award 
Lighting and Appliances at the YWCA 

Milo-Grogan - $35,000 Award 
Lighting upgrade in community park 
Appliance Upgrades 

Additionally, Sustainable Steps encouraged residents to purchase and install smart thermostats. 

While some of the rebates are no longer available, below is information on the benefits of a home energy audit and smart thermostat.

Home Energy Audit

A typical Columbus home loses up to one-third of its energy through gaps, cracks, leaks and faulty insulation.
For every $100 spent on a utility bill, $33 is leaking out in the form of escaped hot or cool air.
Take easy steps to seal leaks & insulate to create maximum comfort with minimum energy use.
No Columbus resident should throw money out the window or feel uncomfortable at home! Thanks to our local utilities AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio, Columbus residents can now sign up for free energy audits to get tips for saving energy at home.

Home Energy Efficiency Checkup for gas:
When ready, complete Columbia Gas Company’s Home Energy Checkup to discover simple steps on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Additionally, customers can receive instant rebates on ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats, and energy efficient showerheads and faucet aerators by visiting

In-home Home Energy Audit Spending a little more time will get you a more thorough in-home audit. A deeper understanding of your home’s energy loss means higher potential to take action and save even bigger.

The in-home energy audit program is temporarily suspended due to the COVID19 pandemic. 

Have an energy auditor come to your home and complete:
• a comprehensive draft and cold air leakage test
• a safety check of your natural gas furnace
• a personalized home report

For more info 1-877-644-6674 or visit

Income-qualified programs These programs may be temporarily suspended due to the COVID19 pandemic. 

If you are an income-qualified homeowner or renter, you are eligible for free energy efficiency upgrades and efficiency repair services to help improve the comfort of your home and reduce costs on your utility bills. Upgrades can offer savings of up to 25%.

Community Assistance Program:

You are eligible for free energy efficiency and repair services if:

• You are enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP); Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP); Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); or,

• Your gross income is at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

Multi-family properties may also be eligible. Call 1-800-672-2231 to find the community-based agency in your area.


If you are income-qualified get a free home energy inspection with services including:

• attic and wall insulation
• air sealing
• safety checks on natural gas appliances
• natural gas furnace repair or replacement
• natural gas water heater repair or replacement

Call 614-621-1171 for more information. Click here for more information.

Smart Thermostats


What if my schedule is irregular?
Geofencing can make your home comfortable when you’re at home and save you money when you’re not – without any programmed schedules. This optional feature of many smart thermostats uses your phone’s location to automatically heat up or cool down your home to a comfortable temperature when you’re on your way home, as well as saving you money with an eco setting when you’re out.

Is a smart thermostat compatible with my heating/cooling system?
Smart thermostats may be compatible with many heating and cooling systems. Check your system’s compatibility on manufacturer websites (eg, Nest, ecobee, Honeywell).

What if I’m a renter?
Renters can benefit from smart thermostats, too – they’re easy to install/un-install and can be taken along to your next home.

What about security?
Check out Mozilla Foundation’s security review of smart home devices. Google Nest Learning Thermostat and ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control both received 5/5 stars.

Do I need a contractor for installation?
Nope! Most are able to install smart thermostats themselves in a manner of minutes. Check out Consumer Report’s step-by-step installation instructions or consult your thermostat’s user guide.

What’s the most efficient thermostat setting?
We recommend the 68/78 rule– 68 in winter and 78 in summer.

Pro tip: “set back” to 55 in winter and 85 in summer when you are out or asleep for maximum efficiency! Easier said than done, that’s why we recommend getting a smart thermostat that can do the hard work for you

I’m a customer of both Columbia Gas and AEP. How can I take advantage of rebates from both?
Two easy steps!

  1. Purchase an Energy Star certified smart thermostat.
    1. If you purchase directly from the Columbia Gas or AEP webstore, you will receive an instant rebate from that utility.
    2. Apply for the rebate(s) you have not yet received from Columbia Gas or AEP.
      1. If you purchased your thermostat outside of the utility webstores, you can apply for a rebate with both utilities.
      2. You will need:
        i. Your utility account number
        ii. Details about the thermostat you purchased (eg, manufacturer, model)
        iii. Copy of the purchase receipt
        iv. Copy of a recent utility bill

        You will receive the rebate in the form of a prepaid card or check (subject to each organizations rules and protocols).

Notes *Nest studies conducted by independent researchers found average savings of 10-15%, resulting in $131-$145 in yearly savings. Google and Google Nest Learning Thermostat are trademarks of Google LLC. ecobee customers in the US save up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs compared to keeping the thermostat set at 72o, according to internal analysis conducted by ecobee. For more information, visit Savings are averages across broad populations and are not intended as an estimate of savings that any specific user will obtain.
**AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas customers can access the instant rebates at utility web stores or purchase elsewhere and submit a rebate later. If you are a customer of both utilities, you can take advantage of rebates from both companies. More information at and Limits apply. See websites for details.
†Smart thermostats may be compatible with many heating and cooling systems. Check manufacturer websites for details.