Arkansas, Missouri rank at bottom of energy-efficiency study

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new study was released Wednesday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. According to results, Arkansas and Missouri are two of the worst energy-efficient states in the country. Results show that Arkansas and Missouri are tied at 41st in the nation. The state needing the most improvement was Wyoming. The best was California. The study looked at how states implement energy-efficient policies and procedures.

"One of the interesting things about Arkansas is that we have a lot of industries here and industries are energy intensive. When you look at the overall energy usage in Arkansas and divide that by a relatively small population, it can make Arkansas look like we use a lot of energy per resident when a lot of energy used by our state is by our industrial load," said Kevan Inboden with Jonesboro City, Water and Light.

Inboden said the state of Arkansas has taken steps to improve energy-efficiency. Inboden said the governor's office set up a commission to study alternative energies and global warming.

Click here for details on the study performed by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Region 8 News talked to Jonesboro City, Water and Light and the Craighead Electric Cooperative Wednesday. Energy efficiency has been preached by President Obama and other top government officials. During his presidential campaign, Obama said he wanted to steer the United States off foreign oil and search for alternative energies. Those goals have been questioned by critics and opposition.

Monty Williams with Craighead Electric told Region 8 News people are looking for answers to save money on utility bills. Craighead Electric will offer a free seminar to the public on energy-savings. Scroll down to read more.

"Some of the simple things are caulking and weather stripping. Those are some of the things. That's some of the easy things that are not real expensive to do. The other things are just changing some family habits that don't cost anything," said Williams. "Some have to spend a little money to save it, like adding insulation, floor insulation and changing out your old unit to a more energy efficient unit. There's just a number of things that you can do to help save."

According to a pamphlet about CWL's Project Double Green, a typical home uses 41% of its energy on heating and cooling. Water heating constitutes 18% of a home's energy usage.

"A lot of it is air infiltration, stopping the air from getting in your home. If you can control the amount of air that's coming in and out of your home, for one thing you'll be more comfortable in the house, and if you're letting in a lot of cold air, it's going to cause that heater to run more," said Williams.

"Air gaps and air infiltration play a huge role in causing heating and cooling bills to be higher," said Inboden.

CWL offers rebate programs to customers who use certain "energy-saving" equipment. Click here to read more about Project Double Green.

"Quite honestly all of us have been wasteful. We've not bothered to turn that lamp off or turn that TV off when we leave the room. I think with the economic downturn and energy prices with the potential of going up, I think there's an increased awareness," said Inboden. "That lamp may not cost much in terms of dollars and cents to keep it on during the day when it's not needed, but it's just like if I walked by my trash can at home and threw a few cents in every time I walked by. That would be absurd and that would catch most people's attention. Yet, using energy inefficiently has become common place and we've come to accept that. We just need to become more aware that energy is a precious resource and we need to use it wisely," said Inboden.

The U.S. Department of Energy's web-site said its goal is to promote alternative energy and growth.

"We are required by the Arkansas Public Service Commission to promote energy efficiency. One good example of what we've done is the home makeover that we did. We did a $50,000 home makeover back in June and July," said Williams.

Williams said CWL can do energy audits for its customers. Customers can ask the company to use an infrared camera to find invisible leaks.

"While we're doing energy audits on your home, we can take this infrared camera and it can show us hot and cold spots in your house where you may have insulation, not enough insulation or leaking around your windows and doors," said Williams.

Doug Rye, also known as "The King of Caulk and Talk", will present a free seminar to the public Thursday night and Friday morning. The seminar gives homeowners advise on "tightening up" and homebuilders tips to build more efficient homes. The seminar will be held at Craighead Electric, 4314 Stadium, at 6:30 p.m. The program is expected to last until approximately 9 p.m. To register for this free event, contact Craighead Electric at 1-800-794-5012. Friday morning's event starts at 9:30 a.m. and lasts to 11:30 a.m.

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