Blog Archives

The Energy Burden

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Tennessee residents with inefficient housing and high energy bills could benefit from programs that make home weatherization improvements more accessible.

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Serving residents by saving energy

Sadi Aryal replacing an incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb.

Students at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. spent a recent Saturday volunteering with Appalachian Voices and others to give two local homes an energy efficiency boost. The work was part of the school’s 18th annual MLK Challenge. “They caught energy leaks I knew nothing about,” said Faith Wright of Vilas, N.C., who was grateful for the volunteer energy of what she called the “student worker bees.”

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Home Projects to Save Energy and Money

Harper Robinson of Conservation Pros connects a water heater blanket by applying insulation tape.

Appalachian Voices recently produced several short instructional videos about home projects that can lower your energy bill as well as help you protect the environment by consuming less energy.

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O’ TVA where art thou?

Photo by Lou Murrey, with Appalachian Voices.

The Tennessee Valley Authority was created in the 1930s to bring cheap electricity to the most rural reaches of the Tennessee River valley. Almost a century later, many residents are struggling to pay electric bills that can be hundreds of dollars a month for their modest homes. Utility-sponsored financing to help with energy-efficiency improvements would go a long way.

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Energy bill acrobatics

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For the Schmidt family of Tazewell, Tennessee, managing their budget is a balancing act, and one they have become very good at. But high electric bills–up to $300 in the winter–makes that balance tricky to maintain, sometimes leaving very little for emergency funds, much less for the home repairs they need that could actually lower their energy use.

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The importance of being earnest — about energy efficiency

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Energy use and costs are higher in Appalachia than the national average, so when a high proportion of family income goes towards paying the utility bill, something needs to be done in order to reduce people’s electricity bills through improved home energy efficiency.

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Keeping energy through the generations

Barbara and Paul Cochran, pictured in there very energy efficient home in east Tennessee. Photo by Lou Murrey.

“We do everything we can to keep energy,” Barbara Taylor says as she heads down the stairs to the basement of the home she has shared with her husband, Paul, in New Tazewell, Tennessee since 1980. Outside it’s a humid 78 degrees, but in the narrow basement room that houses the Taylors’ heat pump it’s cool and dry.

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Energy efficiency success in western N.C.

Will Haddaway, owner of HomEfficient, seals Blue Ridge Electric member Vance Woodie's leaky air ducts before insulating them.

We’re taking a moment to step back and celebrate a significant milestone in our Energy Savings for Appalachia program. Just a few days ago, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. launched a financing program that enables eligible members to make energy efficient home improvements now, and repay the co-op on their monthly bills over time. It’s a win-win for residents, local economies and the environment.

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Knoxville Homes Get an Energy Makeover

Mayor Rogero and Dorothy Ware on KEEM opening day. Image courtesy of City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability and Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Housing & Energy

The Knoxville Extreme Energy Makeover project is working to weatherize 1,278 homes by September 2017. They aim to reduce energy spending by at least 25 percent for each home weatherized.

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Weatherizing Tennessee homes gets results

KEEM Launch

TVA is delivering millions of dollars in grants to communities in East Tennessee to start programs to help families weatherize their homes so they can stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer while saving money on their electric bill. People like Dorothy Ware of Knoxville.

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