Energy-Efficient Ideas for Big Impacts
Advanced Energy works with NC electric cooperatives to better the lives of their membersBy Claudia Cooper
In 2019, 1.4 million North Carolinians lived with unaffordable energy bills. Rural households, in particular, spend a greater portion of their income on energy — about 40% more — than do households in metropolitan areas. These higher energy burdens have been associated with a range of negative outcomes, such as poorer health and comfort, due in part to older, inefficient structures and equipment.
At Advanced Energy, we’ve been working for more than four decades to make homes not only more energy efficient and comfortable, but also healthier, safer, more durable and environmentally responsible. To achieve this, we’ve built relationships with electric cooperatives across North Carolina that have allowed us to collaborate to best serve their members.
We are proud to work with North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to help better the lives of their members every day.
As a recent example, last year, we received a grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One of the projects we pursued was to provide efficiency upgrades to heating and cooling systems in homes with historically high utility bills. Several of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives helped us find qualified participants in eight of our state’s most economically distressed counties.
Ultimately, we were able to replace heating and cooling systems in 41 residences to help reduce occupants’ energy burden and enhance their comfort. These homes are predicted to save more than $30,000 combined annually.
In addition to supporting projects that upgrade inefficient and outdated equipment in people’s homes, we partner with North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to provide education resources that their members can use to make changes themselves. Examples of these resources include our Advanced Energy at Home program; Carolina Country’s home improvement “On the House” column; and a newly launched service called Ask an Expert so cooperative members and others can connect more directly with energy specialists.
Promoting energy efficiency and comfort in homes — both in cooperative territories and throughout the state — is a critical and never-ending task, and it’s one way we carry out our mission of providing economic, environmental and societal benefits through innovative and practical approaches to energy issues. We are proud to work with North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to help better the lives of their members every day. If you want to get started on some low- and no-cost energy efficiency measures today, consider changing out old lightbulbs for LEDs, washing clothes and dishes only when loads are full, turning off or unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use, and setting your thermostat to “Auto” so the equipment’s fan runs solely when it needs to.
Reach out to your electric co-op if you have any questions about energy efficiency, and learn more about Advanced Energy.
About the AuthorClaudia Cooper is an account manager for the Raleigh-based nonprofit energy consulting firm Advanced Energy.