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Measuring Efficiency, Saving Hawks

Hawk helper

When he�s not doing his regular job as a lineman for Warren Rural Electric Co-op�s district office in Leitchfield, Joe McKinney watches hawks. Hunting hawks, that is. Joe�s been a licensed falconer for 10 years, using birds of prey to hunt rabbits.

�I�ll perch a hawk in a tree, send the dogs out for a rabbit, and then send the hawk to retrieve the rabbit,� he explains.

Joe also rescues raptors that have been injured or caught in traps. When he finds, or hears about, an injured bird, he�ll go get it and determine if he can nurse the raptor back to health, or if it needs to be sent to a rehab facility for raptors. He�s brought many raptors to Raptor Rehab of Kentucky in Louisville.

�Paula Sparrow

How much can you save?

How much energy can we save by insulating our home?

To find answers, Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative, based in Brandenburg, and Big Rivers Electric Corporation, the Henderson-based co-op that supplies power to Meade, have teamed up for a new pilot project.

The co-ops chose five typical houses as real-life examples. These homes all have vinyl siding exteriors, with floor plans that range from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet. Each home has a different combination of energy sources; some are all-electric, while others also use either natural gas or LP gas. These 15- to 40-year-old homes have one thing in common�very little insulation.

Russ Pogue, manager of marketing and member relations at Big Rivers, says, �Many homes built then are pretty leaky. We are looking at the building envelope, the outside of the home, to make changes to reduce energy use. Our project will provide �before and after� energy use information about each house.�

Lanny Harper, CEO of Thermal Dynamics Weatherization, the contractor who�s doing the work, says, �Our main goal is to stop outside air intrusion into the home.�

Homeowners should notice lower energy bills immediately. But variations in weather conditions and energy use patterns make direct comparisons of one month to another, or one year to another, difficult. Instead, this project uses computer models developed by engineers to make more accurate comparisons.

Tim Gossett, vice president of member services and marketing at Meade RECC, says, �We are trying to help our members improve the comfort of their homes and reduce their energy costs. These sample homes will help us learn about the cost effectiveness of adding this kind of insulation.�

�Nancy S. Grant

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