July 1, 2017

Keeping Up with the Energy Savings Team

We are glad to welcome two new faces, Brianna Knisley and Nina Levison, to the Energy Savings team! Bri joined Appalachian Voices’ Knoxville office in May as the Tennessee Energy Savings Outreach Coordinator. Also based in Knoxville, Nina is serving with AmeriCorps VISTA as the Tennessee Energy Savings Outreach Associate. Bri and Nina are excited to be working with the people of East Tennessee to address their energy efficiency needs.

Unfortunately we’re also saying goodbye to one of our team members, Lou Murrey. Lou has served as the VISTA Energy Savings Outreach Associate for the past year and has provided invaluable service to the people of East Tennessee in the pursuit of accessible efficiency and energy justice. We’ll miss the passion and photography skills she brought to the team. Learn more about Bri, Nina, Lou and the rest of our wonderful staff.

Buncombe County, N.C., Supports Inclusive Financing for Efficiency!

Commissioners in Buncombe County, N.C., recently passed a resolution encouraging French Broad Electric Membership Corporation to develop a new on-bill financing program for home energy upgrades. French Broad EMC provides electricity to over 6,000 Buncombe County households. If the electric co-op develops the program, members could lower their energy bills and make their homes more comfortable without paying high upfront costs or taking on personal debt. Two other counties served by French Broad EMC, Yancey and Mitchell, passed similar resolutions earlier this year. The Madison County Board of Commissioners considered the same resolution, but has not voted on it yet. Read more about the resolutions on our blog!

More Reasons to Love LEDs

You might know that switching to an LED light bulb can save you as much as $10 per year. But did you also know that efficient LED lighting is a big reason why U.S. households use less energy than they did a decade ago? LEDs use a quarter of the energy used by incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. Find out how efficient lighting has played a role in lowering residential energy use.

Energy News Roundup

TVA Proposes Changes to Environmental Impact Reporting
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is seeking comments on proposed changes to how it implements the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. NEPA requires federal agencies, like TVA, to complete environmental assessments and impact statements for proposed actions. Primarily, TVA would like to expand the current list of 28 categorical exclusions (actions for which they do not have to complete environmental assessments) to 50 categorical exclusions. Learn more about the changes and submit a comment.

N.C. Solar Bill Leaves Rural Communities Behind
House Bill 589, which passed the House of the N.C. General Assembly in early June, has its supporters and detractors. The bill would allow third-party leasing of solar installations, require Duke Energy to develop community solar, and establish a rooftop solar rebate program, among other things. People opposed to the bill fear that it sets artificial caps on solar energy growth and that Duke Energy will be able to take advantage of certain provisions. Furthermore, the bill exempts rural electric cooperatives from the requirements, once again excluding rural communities from the clean energy economy. Read an overview of HB 589 and an update on the Senate version of the bill.

Free Energy Upgrades for Duke Customers in Goldsboro, N.C.
As part of the Neighborhood Energy Saver Program, Duke Energy will be conducting energy assessments and installing energy saving tools in almost 1,900 homes in Goldsboro, N.C., at no cost to the residents. In neighborhoods selected for the program, at least half of the households qualify as low-income. Learn more about the program.

Congressional Report Supporting Federal Efficiency Programs
Earlier in June, Democratic staff of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee released a report exploring the economic impacts of energy efficiency. The report notes that over 2 million people in the U.S. are employed in the energy efficiency sector and that investing in efficiency creates a range of well-paying jobs in rural areas as well as in cities. Congress can promote energy efficiency and the beneficial impact it has on the nation through federal programs like Energy Star© and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Read more about the report and threats to federal energy efficiency programs.

Tips and Resources

Monthly Energy Savings Tip!

Duct, duct, goose! Does your air conditioning system have you running around in circles? If you keep turning the thermostat down but your home isn’t getting any cooler, make sure your air ducts are properly connected. When ducts leak, you’re paying to cool your attic, basement and wall cavities instead of your home. Use mastic or foil tape, instead of duct tape, to seal leaking ducts. Learn how to do it yourself!

Do you have an energy tip to share? Please email katie.kienbaum@appvoices.org to submit your tip!


Appalachian Energy Summit
The sixth annual Appalachian Energy Summit will be held July 10-12 on the campus of Appalachian State University. This year’s theme is “Perspectives: Policy & Practice.” The agenda, speakers and other information can be found on the university’s website.


  1. Forward this email to 5 friends
  2. Take Action: Sign a letter to your cooperative supporting energy efficiency
  3. Live in western N.C.? Host a free workshop at your church or local community group -- contact katie.kienbaum@appvoices.org to set one up!
  4. Send a letter to your local newspapers expressing your support for home energy efficiency. Contact lauren@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. Contact lauren@appvoices.org to learn how.

A product of Appalachian Voices || Sign up for our Monthly Energy Savings Updates || Privacy Policy