Recently the Traverse City Light & Power Board and staff completed a six-month strategic planning process which identified many areas of focus for the utility, one of which is energy efficiency. L&P has a strong history of offering customers ways to become more energy efficient through innovative programs like the TCSaves program.
Soon, if not already, you will be seeing those green “Join Us” signs sprout up on snowy lawns, spotlighting TCL&P customers who have taken advantage of the TCSaves home energy assessment program. This is happening, I’m proud to say, because last fall L&P moved to revive TCSaves after its state and federal grant funding expired. The L&P Board voted unanimously to support the continuation of the program because it has worked so well for customers, the Traverse City community, and for L&P.
In its first run, beginning in October of 2012, TCSaves helped 550 homeowners, or one-fifth of Traverse City’s owner-occupied houses, take the first step in analyzing how their houses could be saving energy and money. They received an in-depth analysis of their home’s energy use through specialized testing such as a blower door test and infrared scan, expert advice on best next steps for more comfort at less cost, and access to low-interest loans for major projects like windows, insulation, and furnaces.
In 2012, L&P exceed the state-mandated energy efficiency goal by 62 percent, saving over 4.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity, which is equivalent to powering 628 Traverse City-area homes for an entire year. L&P’s success is due, in part, to partnerships like the one with TCSaves, which is made up of two local non-profits and local, energy certified, contractors. By working together, we can make a difference.
L&P sees value in TCSaves because it makes the Traverse City region stronger. But we also like energy efficiency in general, because it benefits L&P’s operations. As state utility regulators routinely point out, saved energy is the cheapest energy there is; every dollar we spend on efficiency saves in operational costs. The more electricity we help customers save, the less the utility has to worry about the volatile price of electricity on the market and the more L&P can focus on keeping the lights on reliably and affordably. Serving the City and its residents, and all Traverse City Light & Power customers, is the utility’s mission.
If you are a Traverse City homeowner interested in taking a step towards energy savings, visit tcsaves.org and use this one-stop service to analyze your home, prioritize projects, and begin seeing the return with more comfort and less expense. TCL&P also offers a variety of incentives for both residential and business customers to become more energy efficient. Visit tclp.org and begin saving energy today.
About the author: Tim Arends is executive director of Traverse City Light & Power and has been employed by the City of Traverse City for 24 years.
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