~ April 2016 ~

Introducing the Energy Saver Loan Program

This spring, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. is rolling out its new on-bill financing pilot, known as the Energy Saver Loan Program. Homeowners who have been an active Blue Ridge customer for two years can qualify for up to $7,500 in energy efficiency improvements. In the April edition of the Carolina Country magazine (inside front page), Blue Ridge customers will see information about the program and its qualifications! [ Learn more about the program (including how to sign up) ]

Making Energy Efficiency Work for EVERYone in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Valley Authority and Howard Baker Center are exploring energy efficiency for low-income households which coalesced at a conference they co-sponsored last week. Several utilities spoke about ways they help support their customers to save both energy and money on their electric bill. [ View presentations from the conference ]

Memphis Light, Gas and Water discussed their new EcoBUILD home certification program. Builders using EcoBUILD standards are able to construct homes that use 30% less energy. MLGW was also the first utility in the nation to pass a rental ordinance which requires landlords to meet minimum energy-efficiency standards like R19 insulation. 

The energy savings team is reaching out to folks in Appalachia to help develop energy efficiency programs in your community. Get in touch with us today to help lessen your community’s energy impact. Contact Amy at 865-291-0083 or amy.kelly@appvoices.org. 

How Supreme Court nomination will influence the Clean Power Plan

In March, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, current chief judge of the D.C. circuit, to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. When it comes to the fate of the Clean Power Plan, many legal analysts were quick to note Garland’s positive environmental voting record. Ann Carlson, professor of Law at UCLA, stated that Garland has shown he is deferential to the EPA, unless a regulation would negatively impact public health. Many environmental advocacy groups including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have called for the Senate to consider the nomination.

Although the Clean Power Plan has been put on hold, support for the regulation has not dwindled. Recently, major tech corporations Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon filed an amicus brief in support of the EPA. As some of the largest purchasers of electricity in the nation, these companies have made it their mission to become more sustainable and see the Clean Power Plan as an important step forward.

Putting efficiency into perspective 

It is often difficult to conceptualize the benefits of energy efficiency, even when the discussion is purely monetary. What is a kWh? How does my home use energy?

So it comes as no surprise that explaining the benefits outside of the energy industry is an even greater challenge. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released three different fact sheets that help us to understand the benefits to families, to local economies, and to our health and environment.

Energy Efficiency in the Southeast: Living up to its potential 

In a blog by Taylor Allred with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, he discusses how two major investor-owned utilities, TVA and Georgia Power, have a lot of room to grow in terms of increasing their energy efficiency. 

According to Taylor, real savings take place when major utilities proactively factor energy efficiency into their investments, and how TVA saved the equivalent electricity production of a nuclear power plant over 6 years.
[ Read Taylor's article on the Front Porch Blog ]

Tips and Resources

April 22 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm — Opera for the EarthJoin us for a nature inspired opera performance. Tickets are $20, benefitting Appalachian Voices. The Block Off Biltmore, 39 S. Market Street, Asheville, N.C.

April 23 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm — Piedmont Earth Day Fair: Come see us at the Winston Salem Fairgrounds! 421 27th St NW, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Monthly Energy Savings Tip

Do you have an energy savings tip to share? Please email amber@appvoices.org to submit your tip for the April newsletter and you may see your name in lights!

Spring is upon us, and with it comes warmer weather. It’s time to think about how the sun affects the comfort of your home now and in the future. Using trees for shade is a cost-effective way to cool your home in the summer heat. A new sapling can help shade windows, but in five to 10 years, that same tree can be shading your roof.

Planting a deciduous tree will still allow you to benefit from the warmth of the sun in the winter when the leaves fall. Trees and shrubs can also be used to deflect winter winds and insulate your home.

View the Department of Energy's helpful infographic for more uses for energy efficient landscaping.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

  1. Forward this email to 5 friends
  2. Take Action: Sign a letter to your cooperative supporting energy efficiency
  3. Live in N.C.? Host a free energy efficiency workshop at your church or local community group -- contact ridge@appvoices.org to set one up!
  4. Send a letter to your local newspapers expressing your support for home energy efficiency. Contact amber@appvoices.org to get some tips.
  5. Have you already made significant energy efficiency improvements? Share your story to help others see how they can experience the same benefits of comfort and lower energy bills. Contact eliza@appvoices.org to learn how.


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