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Energy efficiency coming to Capitol Complex

Charleston, W.Va. -- Appalachian Power and Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia are bringing energy efficiency to the Capitol lawn.

Charles Patton, Appalachian Power president and COO, presented a $50,000 check to Habitat for Humanity to help build an energy efficient home on the Capitol lawn Wednesday.

The construction of the energy efficient home will take place on World Habitat Day, Oct. 6. The home's walls will be built in one day and then moved to a permanent location in Cabell County for further construction.

The home will be completed using Energy Star standards and products such as special insulating foam, energy efficient windows and a high efficiency heating and cooling system. 

Habitat and Appalachian Power started talking about building an energy efficient home together last year.

David Michael, executive director of Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity, said Habitat has been building homes that meet the US EPA energy efficient standards since November 2010. 

"It's not that we were building a bad product before, we just decided to participate in that energy efficiency program," Michael said. "We had to make a few changes to what we were buying and design."

So far, they have constructed 10 energy efficient homes. They will have completed 13 energy efficient homes by Oct. 6.

The initiative is part of Appalachian Power's GridSMART program encouraging energy efficiency among its commercial and residential customers.

"Habitat actually builds some of the most energy efficient homes in West Virginia," Fawcett said. "It goes along with their mission. The more efficient you make a home, the more affordable for the homeowner."

Appalachian Power employee volunteers, Habitat volunteers and additional partners will build the home.

"It's a good opportunity to highlight the efficient building and show others there are other efficient building techniques to save money," Fawcett said.

The program started in March 2011, when the Public Service Commission asked Appalachian Power to study energy efficiency and conserving energy for future generations' needs, said Jim Fawcett with Appalachian Power.

"The ultimate goal is to help customers reduce usage," Fawcett said.

HomeSMART provides free, in-home energy efficiency assessments for West Virginia Appalachian Power or American Electric Power residential customers.

Since launching, the program has saved the same amount of electric that 4,000 homes would use annually, Fawcett said.

Toyota Manufacturing, Joe Holland and Center Hardwood in St. Albans have worked with the commercial program.

Toyota changed its lighting system and installed T5 florescent lights, Fawcett said. The new lights allowed for the company to install motion censors that would turn the lights off when no one is in the area.

Fawcett said the GridSMART and HomeSMART programs are expanding.

New rebates will be available for commercial customers using high efficiency cooking equipment. Those commercial customers with special processes would be able to work with Appalachian Power on ways to reduce energy usage and provide incentives.

HomeSMART will offer an extension of its free, in-home estimates. Customers may opt to pay $50 for an audit that will include an air seal inspection.

"We are pleased with the program's results so far," Fawcett said.

@tag:Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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