En­ergy ef­fi­ciency can help ru­ral fam­i­lies save money

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS - By Lu­cas Nelsen

tion and elec­tric bills. De­vel­op­ing lo­cal re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion also keeps hard-earned dol­lars in the state and brings new eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers should seize th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties by im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures that as­sist busi­nesses and homes in fi­nanc­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­new­able en­ergy. A pro­gram called Prop­erty As­sessed Clean En­ergy (PACE) al­lows mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, coun­ties or spe­cialty districts to aid con­sumers in fi­nanc­ing projects that will lower elec­tric­ity us­age and cost.

Two PACE projects in­clude:

Pow­ers Dis­tribut­ing, of Orion Town­ship, Mich. The com­pany was given ac­cess to long-term fi­nanc­ing, and be­tween 2013 and 2015, in­vested in LED light­ing and a 95-kilo­watt so­lar sys­tem. The cost to­taled $435,000, with an es­ti­mated en­ergy sav­ings of over $1 mil­lion. $40,000 is saved each year and an­nual en­ergy us­age has been re­duced by 360,000 kilo­watt hours.

Ivy Knoll Se­nior Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity, in Cov­ing­ton, Ky. A $750,000 project in­cludes a so­lar power sys­tem gen­er­at­ing over 64,000 kilo­watt hours an­nu­ally and new LED light­ing sav­ing an es­ti­mated $12,000 per year. Other im- prove­ments in­clude up­dates to the build­ing’s heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tem that re­duce con­sump­tion by 20 per­cent.

Law­mak­ers should con­sider en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and lo­cal re­new­able en­ergy as ways to sup­port their con­stituents, par­tic­u­larly ru­ral fam­i­lies who most need it.

Es­tab­lished in 1973, the Cen­ter for Ru­ral Af­fairs is a pri­vate, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to strengthen small busi­nesses, fam­ily farms and ranches, and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties through ac­tion ori­ented pro­grams ad­dress­ing so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Email the au­thor at lu­casn@cfra.org.

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