By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer
Since debuting in 2009, Touchstone Energy’s® Together We Save website has focused on helping electric cooperative members make easy improvements, such as compact fluorescents and Energy Star appliances. It’s been a success, but after five years, Touchstone Energy came to a realization.
“We really needed something for those folks who are ready to go to the next step,” said Alan Shedd, director, residential and commercial energy programs. “That’s why we’ve created the new Home Efficiency Analysis tool.”
While the original Energy Savings Home Tour is still available, “The Home Efficiency Analysis tool typically gets into more detail—they’re projects you’re going to have to spend a little more time and money on,” Shedd said. “It’s everything from insulating and air sealing, to sealing duct work, to information on water heating.”
To get started, the interactive tool “asks you questions about your house—things like where do you live, the size of the home, the style of construction,” Shedd explained. “Once you’ve provided that information, it gives you access to a series of what we call ‘recipe cards.’”
Food recipes tell you how complicated they are, what to buy, how to combine ingredients, and what the finished product should look like. “These cards basically follow the same approach,” Shedd said. “You might print out one of these sheets and take it with you to the home improvement store so you know what materials to get.”
The single page, two-sided information sheets offer a wealth of information, including a guide for consumers on whether a project is truly for do-it-yourselfers or if you need a pro.
“There’s also a way for co-ops to use these ‘recipe cards’ as part of a walk-through audit,” Shedd said. A co-op energy adviser auditing a member’s home can leave the cards behind as handy reminders.
And, Shedd added, this opens a new channel for marketing a co-op’s services: “This is a good opportunity for co-ops to tie in to rebates and other programs that they may already have in place.”