With the backdrop of Earth Day's environmental awareness taking place today, 81 percent of Iowans in the Black Hills Energy service area agree with the statement, "I have a personal responsibility to conserve energy," according to a recent Black Hills Energy survey of Iowa customers.
Data from the survey shows many Iowa homeowners are interested in energy efficiency and using less energy. However, many of those same homeowners live in a house that is more than 30 years old and have older appliances, which tend to be less efficient and, therefore, contribute to more greenhouse gas emissions than newer energy-efficient units (nearly half of all greenhouse gases are produced by buildings). Many Iowans with old and outdated appliances and home heating systems agree that attention to energy efficiency is urgently needed.
The good news for the eco-conscious and money-conscious homeowners is that rebates and incentives offered through Black Hills Energy make it more affordable to replace furnaces, water heaters, and other natural gas appliances. There are also rebates for homeowners that make smaller measures, such as installing a programmable thermostat. A free home energy audit, valued at approximately $150, will provide energy efficiency recommendations on a per home basis.
"Earth Day serves as a timely reminder that homeowners have a great opportunity to increase efficiency and lower their monthly natural gas bills, which are two areas of particular interest to our customers," said Matt Daunis, Black Hills Energy's director of energy efficiency. "To address the needs of older homes, Black Hills offers a wide variety of rebate and incentive programs to help customers make energy-efficient upgrades for less money."
According to Daunis, the ideal place for people to start is with a free home energy audit, which will provide recommendations of what upgrades should be made. Free assessments are provided to qualified Black Hills Energy customers, and both homeowners and renters may apply.
"A professional energy auditor can install or show homeowners how to install beneficial, low-cost upgrades-at no cost to the consumer-and provide educational information on managing energy costs," Daunis said. "It's great for people's pocketbooks, and it's good for the environment."
Iowa customers interested in learning more about Black Hills Energy's energy efficiency programs and free home energy audit can call 888-567-0799 or visit www.bhehowto.com.
ABOUT BLACK HILLS ENERGY:
Black Hills Energy serves 149,500 natural gas customers in 130 Iowa communities. Black Hills Energy is part of Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) - a diversified energy company with a tradition of exemplary service and a vision to be the energy partner of choice - based in Rapid City, S.D. The company has other main offices in Golden, Colo., and Omaha, Neb. Black Hills Corp.'s regulated utilities serve 759,000 electric and natural gas utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company's non-regulated businesses generate wholesale electricity, produce natural gas, oil and coal, and market energy. Black Hills employees partner to produce results that improve life with energy. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com.
ABOUT THE SURVEY METHODOLOGY:
The Black Hills Energy survey of Iowa customers was comprised of a 15-minute telephone survey via random sample of 402 Black Hills Energy residential gas customers in the Iowa service area (see county listings below). Results reflect an overall 95 % confidence level and a +/-5 % margin of error. The survey was conducted February 2-9, 2009, containing a mix of fixed, alternate response and Likert scale questions.