Results show strong need for energy efficiency funding in the High Country
Contact: Sarah Kellogg, N.C. Field Organizer, 828-262-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boone, N.C. — Next Thursday, January 22, Appalachian Voices will announce the winners of its “High Country Home Energy Makeover” contest, each of whom will receive a comprehensive energy audit and home improvements from local professionals in the coming weeks to help save energy and money.
A total of $4,850 worth of home energy improvements will be awarded. Two families will each receive roughly $800 in improvements such as weatherization, air sealing, or insulation. The grand prize winner will receive roughly $3,250 in improvements, which could cover the cost of weatherization, upgrades to the heating system, or other work.
Approximately 50 members of the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. (which was not affiliated with the contest) entered to win. Over a 12-month period beginning in winter 2013, the applicants spent on average more than 8% of their gross monthly income on energy bills, including electricity, oil and natural gas — nearly three times the national average. One-fifth of them spent at least 15% of their income on their energy bills. The applicants spent 30% more on just electricity than the average BRE customer. Full results of the contest and stories about the winners and other contestants will be released when the winners are announced.
The contest is timed to coincide with the onset of the coldest part of the winter season, when many families in the High Country see their electric and gas bills skyrocket due to increased energy costs and leaky windows, doors and attics. Appalachian Voices developed the contest in part to raise public awareness about the many benefits to individuals, local communities and the environment of energy efficiency home improvements. The contest demonstrates the strong need in western North Carolina for more utility-based energy efficiency programs, especially ones that cover the upfront cost of home energy improvements that would provide the greatest benefit to families hardest hit by high energy bills.
The contest covered the BRE service area (generally, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell and Watauga counties, and parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties). The contest was sponsored by Appalachian Voices, the Blumenthal Foundation, ResiSpeak, LifeStore Insurance and four local energy efficiency businesses: Blue Ridge Energy Works, LLC; High Country Energy Solutions, Inc.; HomEfficient; and, Sunny Day Homes. The North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance and another local energy efficiency business–ReNew Home, Inc.–are providing direct support to the contest as well.
Appalachian Voices is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the communities and natural resources of the region by promoting a shift from harmful, polluting energy practices to securing a cleaner, more just and sustainable energy future.