WV CAG’s Energy Efficient West Virginia (EEWV) project has been hard at work recently preparing for two new energy saving competitions in West Virginia: The Non-Profit Efficiency Engagement Program and Energy Efficient Charleston. Energy efficiency can help improve a number of problems facing our state, such as high unemployment and lowering bills for people struggling in today’s economy.
While EEWV is always working to create new efficiency programs and policies, we also need to raise awareness about existing programs. While there are not many programs for customers of FirstEnergy’s utilities (Mon Power or Potomac Edison) to participate in, AEP/Appalachian Power customers have some programs that could use greater participation.
In EEWV’s experience, the easiest path to becoming more energy efficient is to gain knowledge about the best first steps. That’s why we have focused our community engagement programs on taking advantage of AEP’s free home energy assessments. For a home energy assessment, an expert goes through a customer’s home and recommends the most cost-effective efficiency upgrades. This gives homeowners a list of priorities, so they can make upgrades as it is convenient and within their budget. Unfortunately, too few AEP customers are aware of this program or just how effective it can be.
To grow awareness about energy efficiency and help increase participation in the energy assessments program, EEWV has been moving forward with the two competitions: Energy Efficient Charleston (EEC) began in December of 2015 and is going until November of this year. It is a citywide, yearlong competition to see which neighborhood can save the most energy.
For the past two years, EEWV held a block-vs.-block competition in the East End. For that competition, blocks saved up to 30% on their energy use! Now residents can unite to compete against the other neighborhoods in Charleston such as the South Hills, West side, Kanawha City, and East End to see who can save the most energy. Being part of the competition allows us to give participants energy savings tips, as well as discounts on efficiency upgrades from our partner contractor, Mr. Handyman of the Kanawha Valley.
If you live in Charleston, take 90 seconds to sign up to be part of the competition, or if you know someone who lives in Charleston, send them the sign up info! There’s no long-term commitment; signing up just means you get counted with your neighbors in the energy saving competition. EEWV encourages every participant to at least get their free energy assessment and will help connect people to resources, advice, and ways to save!
To sign the pledge to save energy, go to bit.ly/eecsignup!
One of the keys we have found to effectively save energy at home is to get a home energy audit for free from Appalachian Power Co. This helps you itemize what it is you need to do to start saving, create a plan for moving forward, and start to save take control of your energy bills.
Our other competition, The Non-Profit Efficiency Engagement Program, deals specifically with getting more people to have their home energy assessment. EEWV negotiated to have AEP take part in this competition as a part of the settlement in the Mitchell Power Plant transfer case. (See CAG Newsletter XXXX) This program helps nonprofits that own their buildings by giving them $10 credit when people participate in the HomeSMART energy audit. So, a non-profit signs up to participate, encourages members and friends to get a free home energy audit from Appalachian power, and can use the $10 credits it collects to make energy upgrades to its building. All participating nonprofits will get their $10 credit per participant, but the winning non-profit with the most participants over 100 will win a $10,000 energy efficiency upgrade.
Go to takechargewv.com to sign up for your FREE home energy Audit today!
Let us know how we can help you in your effort to reduce energy bills. Wherever you live in the state, we’re here to help you cost-effectively save energy! Contact us by phone at 304.346.5891 or by email at email@example.com.
This article was written by Andy White, EEWV’s AmeriCorps Vista Outreach Coordinator.