Front Porch Blog

The Dollars and Sense of Energy Savings

Using electricity wisely is vital for Appalachia, a region that has borne the burdens of our national appetite for cheap energy. Unlocking the Southeast’s vast energy savings potential could be the key to forging a cleaner, greener future.

That’s the premise behind The Dollars and Sense of Energy Savings, our first-ever issue devoted to electricity conservation. This April/May issue is stuffed with 28 pages of stories, profiles and resources. The Appalachian Voice is available free on newsstands across the region, and is delivered to the mailboxes of Appalachian Voices members.

We begin with Power to the People, which takes a broad look at how different electricity providers approach energy efficiency — hint: companies such as Duke Energy have very different motivations than member-owned electric cooperatives. While researching the story Powering With Change, Matt Grimley discovers how member-owned electric cooperatives in South Carolina are finding ways to help homeowners trim utility bills while strengthening the cooperative as a whole.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a proven strategy for making sustainable decisions is bringing the city energy savings. Read about Chattanooga’s path toward electricity conservation in Green Visions. And writer Davis Wax makes A Case for the Smart Grid, exploring how researchers in Kentucky and North Carolina are recreating the electric grid for the 21st century.

Find out how your state compares to its neighbors in The Appalachian States of Energy Efficiency, and take note of how one nonprofit is leading the way in Central Virginia LEAPS Into Energy Savings. Appalachian businesses are also reaping the rewards of efficiency by improving services and profits, as we report in The Means to More Efficient Ends.

Searching for ways to make your home more energy-efficient? Some improvements are just waiting for residents’ attention. Check out home energy tips in a special edition of This Green House. A handy reference guide to policies that help homeowners and renters finance these projects is also available in The Inside Scoop on Residential Efficiency Policies.

For larger projects, regional energy auditors are ready to help homeowners seeking wallet-friendly ways to lessen their carbon footprint. We checked in with 30 local and regional businesses that are making Appalachian homes more efficient while building our growing energy services industry. Check out a listing of these businesses, plus nonprofit resources, in our print edition, or explore the resources available in your state here.

In Coal Report, Brian Sewell discusses the risks that selenium, a toxic pollutant, poses to both the coal industry and mountain ecosystems. Check out updates on everything from slurry to the Coalfields Expressway.

Of course, no issue of The Appalachian Voice would be complete without a hike. In this issue, Peter Barr takes us on a Trek Across Georgia’s Rooftop, and we celebrate the accomplishments of Ohio Appalachian Trail hiker Ken Bordwell.

Our Across Appalachia section features tidings from Williamson, W.Va., in addition to interesting news updates from around the region. We also take a look at some scary figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and profile Build-It-Up, a grassroots organization that’s empowering Appalachian youth. And one of our readers sounds off about how U.S. Forest Service funding affects the Linville Gorge.

The Inside AV pages welcome two new leaders in our organization, and highlight Brenda Sigmon, an exemplary member and volunteer. Learn more about Tom Cormons, a long-time Appalachian Voices member and staffer who recently stepped into the role of executive director. And get excited about our new Energy Savings program, led by Rory McIlmoil, which aims to help Appalachian communities save money and energy by cutting their electricity waste.

Molly is passionate about sharing the environmental and cultural stories of our region, and serves as AV's Editorial Communications Coordinator and Editor of The Appalachian Voice publication.


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