Front Porch Blog

A Successful First Energy Savings Session in Sugar Grove, N.C.

Appalachian Voices' Sarah Kellog educates community members about the many benefits of energy efficiency.

Community members braved the cold to learn about how they can make their homes more energy efficient.

On Jan. 9, Watauga County residents left the Sugar Grove Community Center equipped and inspired to make their homes more energy efficient. About twenty residents attended Appalachian Voices’ first Energy Savings Information Session, including the Watauga County Sheriff and Boone Mayor Andy Ball.

“This meeting was well-organized and very educational, and spoke clearly about the energy needs we all have,” said Appalachian Voices’ Board Chair Christina Howe after attending the meeting. “There was a passionate discussion about energy and coal and I was delighted to be present. I learned a great deal and passed on this information to my friends and associates.”

Attendees of the meeting received a free home energy guide for reducing energy use, a CFL light bulb, and Kent Hively of High Country Energy Solutions generously offered a free home energy audit to everyone present.

Appalachian Voices presented on the benefits of energy efficiency, easy ways to improve the efficiency of homes, as well as long-term projects that can save residents money on their energy bills and how their electric utility can help them afford those projects. Residents were encouraged to send letters to their electric utility, either Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. or New River Light and Power, asking them to start a comprehensive loan program, also known as an “on-bill financing” program.

A representative of Blue Ridge EMC, who also attended the meeting, agreed that energy efficiency loan programs are very beneficial to residents and local businesses, and assured the group that it was something his company was considering.

Representatives from two local energy services businesses, Sunny Day Homes and High Country Energy solutions, were also present at the meeting. Sarah Grady from Sunny Day Homes and Kent Hively from High Country Energy Solutions spoke very positively about the boost energy efficiency programs, especially on-bill financing, would give to the local economy.

Andy Bryant from W.A.M.Y. Community Action was also at the meeting and provided attendees with information about free weatherization programs that provide insulation, heating and cooling system maintenance or even replacement, and air sealing to dramatically improve a home’s energy efficiency, reducing energy bills and increasing the home’s comfort.

Everyone who attended the meeting reported that they learned something new about energy efficiency and intended to make changes as a result of what they had learned. Additionally, almost everyone who attended signed letters to their utility, showing their support for On-Bill Finance.

Overall, the meeting was a great success and Appalachian Voices is excited to continue hosting Energy Savings Information Sessions throughout western North Carolina and East Tennessee.

Our next stop is Mars Hill, N.C., where we will be presenting at the local public library (25 Library St., Mars Hill, NC 28754) on Tuesday, January 28 at 6 pm.

To find out more about energy efficiency or petition your electric utility to offer customers an energy efficiency program, check out the Energy Savings Action Center!

A sunny-spirited North Carolinian with a passion for hiking, viola, ceramics and poetry, Sarah joined Appalachian Voices as our 2013-14 Americorps Education Outreach Associate and later served as our N.C. Coordinator working on coal ash cleanup and pipeline awareness from 2014-2016.


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