Appalachian Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the central and southern Appalachian region and promoting clean energy resources, recently launched a new tool to help residents in several Southeastern states save money and energy. The "Energy Savings Action Center" (ESAC) is an online tool that promotes utility-provided home energy efficiency programs and connects residents with their utilities. The ESAC aims to help people save money and energy, create new jobs, and improve the local economy.

The Southeast has great potential for increasing energy efficiency as there are many rural areas where homes are less efficient than average. Each of the eight states covered by the tool (AL, GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA and WV) is served in part by both member-owned electric cooperatives and public utilities, which offers additional opportunities.

Residents will be able to use the Google Maps-based Action Center to find information about their electricity provider, including information about any available energy efficiency programs and incentives. Users can then compare their rates and available efficiency programs with other utilities in their region. The ESAC also provides a mechanism to contact their utility to request that efficiency loans be offered if none are available.

Additionally, ESAC users will be able to search for local companies and non-profits that provide home energy audits, insulation, weatherization, duct repair, and information on energy efficiency and clean energy resources. This tool also provides tips for easy energy efficiency improvements, information on other programs and incentives, and many other resources.

The Action Center was launched on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s finalization of its new energy efficiency loan program for rural electric cooperatives. Eligible rural utilities can apply for federal loans to set up or expand programs such as the ones advocated by the ESAC, as well as other types of projects.

Author: Jenifer Collins

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