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Program helps rural midstate residents conserve energy

Written by Megan Lello | Dec 24, 2012 8:29 PM

(Lewisburg) -- A pilot program that aims to help some rural, Union County residents conserve energy is nearing its end, but there could be room for expanding it to other communities.

Solar panels

The so-called "Community-wide Energy Independence Initiative" kicked off in New Berlin in 2009 through funding from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission and the SEDA-Council of Governments.

Stacy Richards, director of the Energy Resource Center at SEDA-COG, says the project helped residents and businesses carry out energy assessments to see how much energy they were using. “Most people want to leap to renewable energy use, but we focused the majority of our project on energy conservation because that is the most cost-effective, permanent thing you can do to reduce your energy costs.”

Richards says the initiative also helped participants gain access to solar thermal panels, energy monitors, and wood stoves to help drive down costs.

She says she's already heard from several other communities, school districts, and businesses that are interested in utilizing the program.

Richards adds the group will conduct a comprehensive study to see just how much energy and money was saved through the project.

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