Shelby Energy members Robert and Thelma Woods turned a tragedy into a happy ending after a 2016 fire destroyed the home they had shared for 50 years. Anxious to rebuild quickly, the couple worked with their co-op energy advisor, Barbie Goodwin, and their builder, Gary Curry, to ensure that their new house met energy-efficient standards required to qualify as a Touchstone Energy Home.
Their new 1,900-square-foot home in Waddy is about the same size as their old house, but much more open, Thelma says. Friends and family warned her that the new home’s taller cathedral ceilings and its open flow bet
ween the living room, dining room, and kitchen would make it more difficult to heat and cool. But that hasn’t been the case.
In fact, the Woodses’ home is airtight and cozy, and their monthly electric bill is now under $100 a month for the first time in years. “I can’t recall the last time our electric bill was this low, except maybe when we were first starting out,” Thelma says.
As a certified Touchstone Energy Home, their new house features energy-efficient windows, doors, and appliances; sufficient attic, wall, and crawlspace insulation; LED lighting; and an energy-efficient heat pump.
Because of all the upgrades, the Woodses’ electric usage dropped by nearly half in their new home. Their experience is proof-positive: building an energy-efficient home yields big energy savings.
The Touchstone Energy Home Program
Thinking of building a new home? Touchstone Energy Homes typically use 20 percent less energy than the same home built to typical construction standards. Area co-ops offer incentives for new homes that qualify for the Touchstone Energy
Touchstone Energy Homes are built with energy efficiency in mind and must meet a series of minimum standards for insulation, windows, exterior doors, water heaters, and heating and cooling ducts.
Be sure to check with your cooperative early on in the building process, as the initial certification visit must occur before the home’s drywall is installed, advises Barbie Goodwin, an energy advisor with Shelby Energy. “We encourage customers to share the Touchstone Energy Home checklist with their builder, so that the builder knows exactly what is required,” she says.
Check with your electric co-op to find out if it participates in the Touchstone Energy Home Program and ask for the specifications sheet and pre-drywall checklist to share with your builder.
What’s your eScore?
The eScore program, offered by TVA co-ops Gibson EMC, Pennyrile Electric, Tri-County Electric, Warren RECC, and West Kentucky RECC, is a home energy-efficiency plan that provides homeowners with simple ways to make existing homes as energy efficient as possible. The program also increases home comfort and saves the participant money.
eScore provides expert recommendations to help homeowners identify areas for improvement that reduce energy costs. It enables them to work toward a score of 10 for their home at their own pace, earning rebates on qualified energy-efficiency upgrades and re-engaging with the program as many times as needed to achieve their home’s best possible energy performance.
For more information on eScore, go to 2eScore.com, call toll-free (855) 237-2673, or contact your local electric co-op.