Electric cooperatives across the nation work hard to keep members' electric bills as low as possible. In an effort to demonstrate practical ways to save energy through home improvements, Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI) and its 10 distribution cooperatives developed the Energy Efficiency Wall in 2009.
Complemented by Touchstone Energy's TogetherWeSave campaign, the energy efficiency wall illustrates low-cost opportunities to reduce energy use while improving the comfort of homes. The display demonstrates different types of lighting and insulation materials, the benefits of proper caulking and other energy efficient construction practices, as well as the use of energy efficient products.
"We know we can reduce the energy costs in the vast majority of homes by 20 to 40 percent," said Bob Dickey, manager of marketing and economic development for Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. Dickey was selected as one of the thirty recipients receiving the Touchstone Energy "2011 Brand Champion Award" for promoting the Touchstone Energy Brand and energy efficiency.
Compressed air flowing through the wall demonstrates potential energy losses that could easily be plugged with proper caulking, insulation and various sealants.
"Energy costs will continue to go up," said Dickey. "Many homes were built decades ago and they leak like sieves." These homes would benefit most from the energy efficiency wall.
Once members see and experience the wall, they can utilize the concrete examples demonstrated and apply them to their own home.
"PPI took the abstract concept of energy efficiency and made it visible so members would understand that they have more control over their energy usage and utility bills," said Dickey. "The wall gives members the confidence that they can reduce their energy bills immediately without a major investment."
Prairie Power, Inc. received two major awards in 2011: the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's "Inspiring Efficiency Marketing Award" and the Rural Electricity Resource Council's "Silver Switch Award". Eastern Illini received the 2011 Spotlight on Excellence Award of Excellence for "Best Total Communication Program" which featured the energy efficiency wall.