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General Manager Steve Stroshaneby General Manager Steve Stroshane

"Free energy from the sun and lower electric bills!" I'm sure that got your attention. We're seeing more marketing like this, and more interest in home solar systems. The benefits of installing solar may seem like a no-brainer, but in reality, not every home (and homeowner's situation) is right for solar. For example, your roof may be shaded or you may be planning to sell your home in the next few years. Solar installation is a major decision that requires a significant investment and ongoing maintenance (see home solar and wind webpage). If you decide solar is right for you, our member services team can help you through the process. We are also here to help members seeking other solutions, and recommend efficiency and conservation to achieve your energy goals.

The best way to save energy is not using it in the first place

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "the best way to save energy is not using it in the first place." It's true. We love to sell reliable electricity, but we also recognize that helping you reduce energy consumption benefits our members.

1. It's good for your pocketbook! Cutting back on energy use directly translates to lower energy bills.

2. It's good for the environment. Lower energy demand means less power plant emissions.

3. It improves comfort in your home. Energy efficient homes keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

We recommend a few simple steps to help you get started saving energy:

1. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.

2. Use programmable thermostats and put lights on timers.

3. Choose energy-efficient appliances and lighting. (We can help with EnergySense rebates!)

Your first investment should be tightening your home

While it may not sound as exciting as solar, sealing air leaks around your home should be a priority to achieve your energy goals. Applying new or replacing old weather stripping and caulk around doors and windows can make your home more comfortable and reduce energy waste.

If your home is too warm during summer or chilly during winter even after you've tightened it with weather stripping and caulk, you may need additional insulation. Insulation is considered a more expensive efficiency upgrade, but it can make a big impact on lowering energy use and costs. Typically, insulation costs can be recouped in a few years and your home will immediately feel more comfortable. Another upgrade is replacing old, leaky windows with new energy efficient windows.

If your energy goals include saving money, improving comfort in your home or protecting the environment, but you're not sure where to start, your best bet is to enlist the help of an expert to conduct a home performance test. A certified energy rater will use a blower door fan and infrared camera to identify heat loss and determine home energy improvements where you can get the best return on your investment.

Polk-Burnett offers rebates on home performance tests and improvements made as a result of the test. Give us a call for a list of energy raters to get started, 800-421-0283, ext. 595. It's important to have the test done first to qualify for rebates on recommended weatherization, insulation and other energy efficiency upgrades.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your trusted energy expert.