Mayor Declares Oct 30 'Energy Efficiency Day' in Baton Rouge
Energy-Efficiency Home Makeover Will Improve Efficiency, Indoor Comfort for Baton Rouge Family
Baton Rouge, La., October 30, 2007 – On the day declared Energy Efficiency Day by Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden, Cathy Clites’s three-generational family of nine began enjoying a more energy-efficient and comfortable house.
Following a news conference at the home of Cathy and her husband Charlie Clites, the observance of Energy Efficiency Day in Baton Rouge continued with a visit by the Energy Hog – the Ad Council’s dastardly, energy-wasting “spokesvillain” for energy waste – and his nemesis, the Energy Hog Buster, to several classrooms at the Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts. Among the classes that saw the Energy Hog being vanquished were those of the Clites’s grandchildren, third grader Charles Boyd and fifth grader Christina Boyd.
It’s all thanks to Cathy’s “Eureka moment” when she – a big fan of the SCI FI Channel’s original series “Eureka” – decided to enter the Eureka $mart House Energy-Efficiency Challenge sponsored by SCI FI Channel and the Alliance to Save Energy and won an energy-efficiency home makeover.
These partners selected Cathy’s as the winning entry among nearly 9,000, based on her heart-felt essay and a follow-up finalist interview in which she expressed her desire not only to reduce her family’s home energy bills – averaging $460 a month – but also to learn more about energy efficiency and to share her new knowledge with friends, neighbors, and her community at large.
Cathy’s multi-generation household includes her and her husband Charlie, a three-tour Vietnam Veteran who is now disabled; their daughter and son-in-law and their four children; and their son-in-law’s son from a previous marriage. Since Charlie’s debilitating stroke five years ago, Cathy’s responsibilities and stress have greatly increased, so the extended family moved in to provide assistance.
Energy efficiency is critical to the rapidly growing Southeast region, which consumes the most electricity per person of any region in the country. The region’s rapid population growth and huge electricity energy demands lead government forecasters to predict that by 2030, the region will be using 45 percent more electricity than it did in 2000. And in Baton Rouge, the influx of Hurricane Katrina refugees has strained local resources.
“I really had one of those eye-opening ‘Eureka Moments,’ after entering the contest, so I began replacing some of my incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs,” Cathy said. “Winning this contest is a dream come true. My home is now more energy efficient, my energy bills will be lower, and I’m helping the environment by living in a house that produces less pollution and greenhouse gases. And I’m going to share with everyone I know these energy-efficiency actions that we all can do to help ourselves and our world.”
The makeover began with an overall energy audit to determine how to improve the home’s energy efficiency. Donated products to make those improvements ranged from additional insulation, new energy-efficient kitchen appliances, water heaters, ceiling fans, and electronics to programmable thermostats, water-saving devices, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Air leaks to the outside were sealed up with foam sealants and weather-stripping, and a radiant barrier was installed in the attic to prevent heat build-up during Baton Rouge’s sweltering summers. In addition, the family’s vehicles received oil changes and new tires.
SCI FI Channel General Manager and Executive Vice President Dave Howe commented, “The SCI FI Channel wishes Cathy Clites and her family all the best in their newly upgraded energy-efficient home. We’re proud to have been able to play our part in helping Cathy serve as an energy-efficiency leader in her community, thanks to her experience with the Eureka $mart House Energy Efficiency Challenge.”
Putting the Clites family’s needs in the context of the energy-hungry Southeast, Alliance President Kateri Callahan observed, “The Southeast is the most energy-intensive region in the U.S. and can benefit significantly from increased energy efficiency. The Alliance and its partners sponsored the $mart House Energy Efficiency Challenge to demonstrate that even simple and affordable energy-efficiency steps, when undertaken by large numbers of people, can produce significant monetary, economic, and environmental benefits for our communities, regions, and nation – and even the world at large.”
EEI President Thomas R. Kuhn noted the role that local utilities can play in helping customers reduce their home energy bills. “Congratulations to Cathy on her newly energy-smart house,” he said. “The great news is that everyone can make their home more energy smart by contacting their electric company. With houses getting bigger and bigger, and more and more appliances and electronic gear being plugged in, the need to become energy efficient is more important than ever.”
“Both industry and private citizens must work together to ease our energy demands,” noted Sharon Cole, Louisiana operations site leader for The Dow Chemical Company, another partner in the Challenge. “This family has shown the kind of impact that each of us can have to help conserve energy. Dow is committed to reducing energy consumption and is proud to participate in this program, which encourages each of us to utilize energy-saving ideas.”
The home makeover included:
- Home energy audit by CMC Energy Services;
- Two water heaters and three kitchen appliances, including a new oven and ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator and dishwasher, from Whirlpool;
- 40 ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) from SYLVANIA;
- GREAT STUFF foam sealant from The Dow Chemical Company;
- The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and its member company Sharp also donated products to help the Clites family. Sharp gave an energy-efficient 42-inch LCD TV and an energy-efficient DVD player. CEA donated three Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitors;
- Dell donated an energy-efficient notebook computer;
- Tide donated a year’s worth of Tide HE (High Efficiency), which is specially formulated for energy-efficient washing machines.
- New insulation from Knauf Insulation;
- Tires and free oil changes for each of the Clites’s three vehicles by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Store #3288, Central Louisiana;
- Honeywell’s ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostats;
- ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fans from local Brothers Ace Hardware;
- Door sweeps, weather stripping, and water-saving devices from Niagara Conservation; and
- A Silver Shield Attic Radiant Barrier from the Fi-Foil Company.
In addition to these product donations, time and labor for the home makeover and the Energy Hog school event were also donated:
- Randall L. Kinnamon of RLK Construction Company traveled all the way from Minnesota and donated his time and labor to serve as the makeover’s general contractor;
- Rocky Johnson of Zerodraft, a Baton Rouge energy professional, donated his time and labor to weatherize the home;
- The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources staffed the educational event at the Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts and will conduct a follow-up energy audit on the home, including a blower door test, to determine energy savings to date and what remains to be done to make the home even more energy-efficient;
- A&E Insulation of Port Allen, La., helped install the Knauf insulation; and
- Insulation Technologies of Houma, La., installed the Fi-Foil Silver Shield Attic Radiant Barrier.
In addition to these product and service donations, the following partners provided financial support for the Eureka $mart House Energy Efficiency Challenge: SCI FI Channel, Edison Electric Institute, CMC Energy Services, Whirlpool, SYLVANIA, the Consumer Electronics Association, The Dow Chemical Company, U.S. Department of Energy, the American Gas Association, and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute.