Front Porch Blog

Open for business — APCo’s energy efficiency program

APCo's website for customers seeking to make energy efficiency improvements.

APCo’s website for customers seeking to make energy efficiency improvements.

The frigid temperatures that are dominating Virginia drive us to seek warmth and comfort. The rough weather can also serve as a reminder for all of us to make sure our homes have a basic level of energy efficiency, which can shave some real money off of monthly bills.

Just in time for the arrival of the harshest winter chill, Appalachian Power Company has news we can use — the company has introduced a new set of energy saving programs in Virginia that you can opt to participate in.

One would think that utilities would have long ago made saving energy a priority: after all, companies often say they are seeking more ways to get greener while protecting ratepayers from expenses. Well-designed energy efficiency programs can achieve significant reduction in wasted energy and the pollution associated with it. As a recent study shows, this strategy can and should be part of Virginia’s plan to comply with the federal Clean Power Plan in a way that barely affects rates and will reduce bills by using less energy. Moreover, for households facing the tightest budgets, energy saving programs can make a real difference.

If you’re an APCo customer, your menu of energy saving options now includes quick choices like an appliance recycling program for unwanted working refrigerators or freezers, in-store discounts on efficient products, and a markdown on Energy Star manufactured housing. There is also a whole-house assessment called the Home Performance Program, which you can think of as a check-up for your home. Skilled, friendly contractors will perform a clipboard walkthrough over about two hours covering your entire home. Any recommended improvements will be listed for you, and financial incentives will be applied to approved energy saving measures.

These are examples of the kind of services that will in the long run help to bring the housing stock in our region into the 21st century with elements like insulation, HVAC tune up, and eliminating outside air leaks. The involvement of highly trained, professional building auditors helps ensure that residents will be happy with the results and that improvements are scientifically sound and will likely make a building healthier and more comfortable to live in.

Virginia has enormous potential to capitalize on efficiency. We currently rank 31st in efficiency, so we have a ways to go. We’ve often had to fight for the energy saving programs that our utilities now offer. Expanding these programs in the future to a more robust level will take the dedication of many Virginians voicing their support for the most unsung energy source.

Energy efficiency advocates are committed to increasing access to and participation in these programs, which in turn sends a signal to APCo that customers value the programs they are now offering and want the utility to expand from modest plans toward even more ambitious efficiency operations in the future.

So look over the options that APCo is now providing. If you’re interested, don’t delay! Use the utility’s website to apply for a home energy efficiency assessment now.

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Hannah is a life-long Virginian and serves as the campaign coordinator for Appalachian Voices' Virginia program.


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