Homeowners Can Cut Energy Bills

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COLUMBIA - Today energy efficiency does not require homeowners to go to the extreme. Simple and cheap changes can mean big savings in the long run.

According to Columbia Water and Light's Connie Kacprowicz, living sustainability is much easier than it used to be. Kacprowicz said it just requires small lifestyle changes.

"Being energy efficient doesn't necessarily mean that you have to suffer. You can be energy efficient by investing in things like insulation, air sealing and better equipment for your home so you are using the energy more wisely," Kacprowicz said.

Some simple ways a homeowner can save energy include:

maintaining heating and cooling systems by replacing air filters and doing regualr maintenance
caulking areas where air might be able to get through
turing off lights and appliances when they are not being used
The city of Columbia encourages its water and light customers to be energy efficient by offering incentive programs. For example, a homeowner can add more insulation to their attic and receive a maximum $500 rebate. Homeowners can also take one step further by participating in the Home Performance program. This is a whole-house appraoch to make homes more comfortable, while cutting homeowners' utility bills. Columbia Water and LIght offers up to $1,200 for suggested improvements.

For Columbia residents like Christine Doerr, energy efficiency has become a way of life. Doerr was inspired as a child to be aware and appreciative of the world around her. Her father helped start the first Missouri chapter of Nature Conservancy. Now as a mother and homeowner, Doerr has made it her personal goal to protect the environment so her daughter and future generations can continue to enjoy the world they live in.

"When we live consciously and try to reduce the amount of resources that we are using and the pollution we are creating as a result, when we are really conscious of that we can feel like a hero. We are doing something imporant," Doerr said.

Columbia Water and Light reported its efficiency programs saved the city 4,133,720 kilowatt hours last fiscal year.