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The Path to Efficiency Independence

While fireworks and Independence Day parades are synonymous with the Fourth of July, no such fanfare comes to mind when discussing energy efficiency. Perhaps it should. If you think about it, energy efficiency not only benefits individuals and families, but the country as a whole. Energy efficiency, combined with energy conservation and advances in technology in the utility industry, ultimately helps our country on a path toward greater energy independence. And that’s worth celebrating.

Benefits of efficiency

Greater efficiency means less energy is used for the production of goods and services. For individual  consumers, a reduction in energy use usually translates to a tangible financial benefit: more money in your wallet at the end of the month. If your co-op neighbors are also using less energy, collectively, it means the overall cost of providing that electricity could be lower and may result in reduced costs for co-op members. For many, this is reason enough to strive for greater energy efficiency. On a national level, energy efficiency, sometimes called the “fifth fuel,” has a more profound impact. It can potentially boost the economy by allowing consumers and businesses to invest in other areas.

Strike up the band

There’s no need to wait for the first exploding burst of fireworks in the night sky to start your energy-efficiency efforts. Every American can take charge of their own energy use, regardless of the date on the calendar. Small steps can lead to a big difference for you and your neighbors, whether across the road or across the country. Energy efficiency can generally be achieved two ways. The first is with mechanical change, such as replacing an older HVAC unit or less efficient appliance with a new ENERGY STAR model or upgrading to new, insulated windows. Less expensive actions include caulking exterior windows and doors and sealing openings where pipes and ductwork meet the outside to help avoid air leaks. Swapping out the last incandescent bulbs (inside and outside) with LEDs also makes a noticeable difference.

Smart control

The second way to realize energy efficiency is through smarter management of your energy use. Leveraging smart thermostat technology is a good place to start. Most smart thermostats contain an app allowing remote control by mobile phone or tablet. Program your thermostat to reflect your family’s schedule. Many thermostat programs allow you to view and edit your thermostat schedule and monitor the amount of energy used. Sometimes, however, energy efficiency is simply a matter of changing old habits, such as washing clothes in cold water instead of hot or shortening the family’s shower time.

Regardless of the path you take on the road to energy efficiency and independence, Nolin RECC can help you on the journey. For information about energy-efficiency programs, contact us at or call (270) 765-6153 to speak with one of our energy advisors.

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