Clyburn tours Kingstree home
Article was added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
In the summer of
2013, Van and Leslie Dukes couldn't wait to move into their newly
purchased home. Built in 1971, the Kingstree residence seemed like
the perfect place for the couple to raise their family.
excited," said Van Dukes. "The house was much larger than our
previous home. It gave us the room we needed for our
By the fall of
2013, the Dukes' excitement turned into regret. They hadn't
considered the effects of living in an older home that wasn't
energy efficient-and it was costing them. Beyond wasting energy,
the home's aging HVAC systems needed to be replaced, doors needed
to be sealed, and windows needed to be caulked. But the family
didn't have the resources to fix any of those issues
"We thought we
had made a huge mistake," said Leslie Dukes. "as the weather cooled
down, our power bills went up. That fall, our highest bill was more
Santee Electric Cooperative for assistance. He was introduced to
Santee Electric Cooperative's Help My House®
provides low-interest loans for home energy efficiency
improvements. The program eliminates up-front charges that prevent
many homeowners from making such repairs, covering 100 percent of
improvement costs and allowing eligible cooperative members to
repay the loan monthly on their utility bill-a process known as
employees performed an energy audit on the Dukes' home. They
discovered multiple areas that needed improvement, such as the
utility room, attic, and kitchen. Through the Help My House
program, Van and Leslie were able to improve their home's comfort
and energy efficiency, all while saving money on their monthly
excited to expand the reach of on-bill financing with help from the
new Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP), an idea first proposed in
2010 by U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and approved by Congress
as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. Piloted for the first time this
year, RESP makes $52 million available to co-ops and their
affiliates to help consumers implement cost-effective, energy
efficiency and renewable energy measures.
electric cooperative officials have secured $13 million of RESP,
one fourth of the national RESP budget.
On Aug. 30, Rep.
James E. Clyburn toured the Dukes' home for a first-hand look at
how the program he helped start is working.
efficiency and savings
The Dukes' got
several important upgrades. Two new energy-efficient,
self-contained HVAC units, rated at 14 and 14.5 SEER, replaced the
old 6.5 and 12 SEER units that had failed. (The higher the unit's SEER rating the
more energy efficient it is.) The old units, at 2.5-tons each,
could be replaced by smaller 2-ton units because the home is better
sealed against air leakage.
"The house had so many leaks,
the Dukes were air conditioning the outside," said Jay Kirby,
manager of marketing at Santee Electric. "If you added all the
leaks together, it was comparable to having a 4.5-foot hole cut
into their wall. Thanks to Help My House, their leaks have been
reduced by more than half."
"Many homes also have ductwork
that leaks," Kirby said. "The ductwork on this house was losing
much of the air that went through it. By sealing the ductwork with
mastic, a putty-like waterproof filler, the Dukes family
reduced much of this air loss.
insulation in the attic of the home, increasing it to R38 from R19.
describe the thermal resistance of insulation materials.) The
higher the number, the more effective the insulation is at
resisting heat flow.
The Dukes have
seen a decrease in their monthly power bill because of these energy
upgrades. Even after they include their on-bill loan repayment,
they are still saving money each month.
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