Local experts examine ways to evaluate energy use

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COLUMBIA - The League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County assembled a panel Thursday night to educate citizens about more efficient energy use.

The panel of local experts discussed numerous options for determining how energy efficient a house is as well as how to increase efficiency. 

One of the options includes Columbia's Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Brandon Renaud is Columbia Water and Light's Home Performance with Energy Star Program Manager. He said the program works to locate potential energy issues within a home.

"We work with local contractors that do energy assessments for us," Renaud said. "They go out and recommend upgrades and the city takes care of rebates and quality assurance to make sure the work us done up to our standards."

The panel also spent time talking about the Home Energy Score, which is used for measuring a home's existing energy efficiency.

"It's really hard for someone who's purchasing a home to know how much it costs to live in a home," Renaud said. "So if we can give that information out to someone sooner rather than later, it helps them to make an informed decision before they make that purchase."

Local architect and panelist Nick Peckham said homeowners must start thinking about being more energy efficient because of environmental concerns.

"We have more and more people who expect to live in larger and larger buildings that are 70 degrees year round," Peckham said. "It's a recipe for disaster." 

But Peckham did say some small changes can make a significant difference for homeowners.

"If you change the lighting in your house from incandescent to LED, you'll reduce your electrical consumption about 93 percent," Peckham said.

For more information about the Home Performance with Energy Star Program click here.