Duke’s home energy audits helpful

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To the editor:

I feel the need to express my thoughts on how not to build a forty plus mile power line from South Carolina to North Carolina. Please bear with me as I explain my thoughts.

When my wife and I bought our home in Tryon in 1984, we knew that it needed many energy updates. I contacted Duke Power about its program whereby a homeowner could get an energy audit, be made aware of insulation shortcomings, have work done for the reduction of use of electricity, and Duke would lend you the funds up to a specified amount.

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We also received a small percentage off our bill each month for a period of several years. An amount would be added to my bill each month [plus a small interest charge] until the loan was repaid. I saved a great deal of money on that deal. It paid for itself.

Fast forward to 2004 and I again decided that I needed a way to save even more money because I consumed 29,581 KWH at a cost of over $2,200.00. In addition, I spent over $1,000 for the use of natural gas for heating and a gas water heater. This totaled nearly $3,300 for the 2004 year.

That was when we decided to conduct an energy self-audit and save even more money. I researched back to 2000 my home electric and natural gas costs. I then did research, searched for best practices, and asked people who had done this for some “how to” advice.

To make a long story short I was able to save KWH and money. In 2004 we consumed 29,958 KWH at a cost of $2,211 and in 2012 we consumed 17,764 KWH at a cost of $1,667. That was a savings of nearly 12,000 KWH and over $500 cash for one year.

How did I do this? I replaced 100 watt bulbs with 75 watt bulbs in 1985. I held a damp finger near windows to discover heat loss and caulked the loss areas. I put storm windows on windows without them, and I had extra insulation blown into the walls.

In 2004 we looked for other ways to save energy. I cut my thermostat to 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer; I bought energy efficient appliances when old ones needed replacing; I added six inches of insulation to the attic; I began to buy CFL’s after viewing a film entitled “Kilowatt Ours;” and I installed five ceiling fans.

In 2008 we again began to look for ways to conserve. We purchased new windows that met all requirements for maximum savings benefits; we purchased LED bulbs; we enclosed the basement porch and made a greenhouse of it; and purchased a new thermostatically operated exhaust fan for the attic.

Again in 2014 we looked for more ways to save. We added insulation to a basement room I was restoring; we purchased more LED bulbs; we purchased radiator covers for our radiators; I purchased a MiniTemp reader to get temperature readings at any place in my home and to check for heat loss.

My request is for Duke Energy to find a way to again set up a program of energy audits, make recommendations, lend an amount of money to get the most savings per dollar spent, authorize a one to five percent credit for at least 12 months with a specified maximum number of months, and to add an agreed upon amount of repayment each month at a favorable percentage.

I believe that this would more than offset the cost of electricity that is to be generated and sent along the towers from S.C. to N.C. I realize that it would be a gargantuan undertaking that would take years to complete.

This proposal would be expensive; however, would it be more expensive than the cost of building and maintaining all those new towers and all the loss of goodwill?


J. Alan Peoples

Tryon, N.C.