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Sales of Compact Fluorescent Lights Jump to 20 Percent of MarketCharting a New Direction for America’s Energy PolicyHealth-E IllinoisFCC and USDA Launch New Rural Broadband Web SiteCo-op Members Save $230,000 on Prescriptions in JanuaryIllinois Audubon Society Going Green This SpringMarch Forecasted to be Near to Slightly Warmer Than NormalGrants Available for Geothermal Heat PumpsCo-ops Help Organize Illinois Geothermal Heat Pump Association

Sales of Compact Fluorescent Lights Jump to 20 Percent of Market

The sales of Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) nearly doubled last year, according to the estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2007, 290 million CFLs were sold, and the energy-saving bulbs now account for about 20 percent of the light bulb market in the United States. Energy Star-qualified CFLs use approximately 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

An Energy Star CFL can save about $30 or more in energy costs over the length of its lifetime. If every U.S. household replaced just one light bulb in their homes with a CFL, the United States would save more than $600 million each year in energy costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars. Go to for more information or contact your local electric co-op.


Charting a New Direction for America’s Energy Policy

Charting a New Direction for America’s Energy Policy

Last December, the Congress approved the Energy Independence & Security Act. The new law puts innovation, efficiency and entrepreneurship at the top of America’s 21st Century energy agenda. Key features of this new law include:

  • An Historic Increase in Vehicle Fuel Efficiency: The centerpiece of the new law is a landmark requirement—three decades in the making—to increase the efficiency of cars and trucks on American roads. By raising average fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon, the United States will save about 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2025—more than America imported from Saudi Arabia last year.
  • A Boost for Home-Grown Biofuels: The new law invests in rural America and improves our energy security at the same time, by increasing the amount of renewable fuel in U.S. gasoline supplies to 36 billion gallons in 2022—enough to replace another million barrels a day of imported oil.
  • Economy-Wide Efficiency Solutions: Experts have called the new law the most sweeping energy efficiency legislation ever enacted. Thomas Edison’s 1880s-era lightbulb will be replaced with new technologies. Common household appliances, from clothes and dishwashers, to refrigerators and freezers, will meet new energy-saving standards.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reductions Through Innovation: The new law makes a commitment to research, development and demonstration of new technologies that will help cut greenhouse gas emissions. It invests in carbon capture and sequestration, a key technology for addressing the threat of global warming. It promotes research on new vehicles, batteries, biofuels, building technologies and many other promising areas for clean energy development.
  • Green Collar Jobs for America’s Working Families: The new law makes it a national priority to train America’s workers for new jobs in emerging energy technology fields. It will provide training opportunities so that Americans of all ages, income- and education-levels have a chance to pursue opportunities in the green energy economy.

Health-E Illinois

Locating the nearest healthcare services to your home in Illinois is about to become as effortless as a click of the computer mouse. Health-E Illinois is a free online service that helps to quickly find hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, specialists, support groups, medical information and many other health care services throughout the state. Its comprehensive directory is easily searchable by location, providers, services, specialty and health issues or diseases. To access the Health-E Illinois database go to:

FCC and USDA Launch New Rural Broadband Web Site

For those in rural America looking to bring the benefits of broadband services to their communities go to This “Broadband Opportunities for Rural America” Web site makes available the expertise and resources of the FCC and USDA in a single, easily-accessible location. The site provides instructions on how to locate companies already licensed to provide wireless services in or near specific rural communities, as well as helpful links to other government and private resources related to encouraging broadband opportunities in rural America.

Co-op Members Save $230,000 on Prescriptions in January

Touchstone Energy® has just received impressive numbers capturing co-op members' utilization of the pharmacy discount attached to the Co-op Connections card. In the month of January alone, co-op members flashed their cards nearly 17,000 times at 2,200 pharmacies nationwide, resulting in savings of more than $230,000.

A member of United Cooperative Services (Cleburne, Texas), sums up the impact of the savings the card delivers: “Thank you for the Co-op Connections card. I used it for a prescription that usually costs $167 but now costs $142. That might not sound like a lot of money, but I don't have insurance so every penny saved is a blessing.”

Illinois Audubon Society Going Green This Spring

The Illinois Audubon Society will be utilizing green technology for its heating and cooling system when it completes its headquarters this spring. The society's new headquarters, located in Springfield, will have a model geothermal heating and cooling system installed along with a solar lit parking lot to increase efficiency.

The not-for-profit Illinois Audubon Society was recently granted $7,165 by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for the new geothermal system. This grant compliments the $24,000 it received in 2006 for energy efficient engineering and architectural design.

Geothermal systems are extremely efficient, using 25 percent to 70 percent less energy than conventional heating and cooling systems to operate. Absorbing natural heat from the ground as opposed to outside air, geothermal pumps can be used for heating, air conditioning, and in most cases, hot water.

Interested in installing a geothermal heat pump for your organization? Visit for more information.

March Forecasted to be Near to Slightly Warmer Than Normal

The latest long range climate models and indices point to March seeing temperatures that average near to slightly above normal across Illinois.

Right now it appears that the southern third of Illinois will see mean temperatures that average two to three degrees warmer than normal while the rest of the state is expected to experience closer to average temperatures.

The weak to moderate La Nina in the equatorial Pacific continues to persist, which will likely be one of the main influences on milder weather affecting portions of the state. Similar La Nina events occurred in the early spring of 1989, 1996 and 2006 and all three of those years saw March temperatures across Illinois that averaged close to or above normal.

There are some indications that the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) may be negative during a good portion of March, which would allow for periods of cooler weather across mainly the eastern third of the country. This factor has to be taken into consideration and is the reason why more average temperatures are predicted across central and northern Illinois.

The Illinois map this month shows the average total number of heating degree days (HDD) that typically occur during the month of March. Southern Illinois will likely see HDD values this March end up being about 60 to 90 lower than the average number seen here.

Grants Available for Geothermal Heat Pumps

Life Crossings Academy in Bloomington was awarded $36,450 from the GeoAlliance program of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and Corn Belt Energy. The funding supported the academy’s installation of a geothermal heating/cooling system. From left to right are Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) Marketing Administrator Nancy Nixon, Pastor Ed Herald, Pastor Beth Herald, State Senator Bill Brady, Life Crossings Academy Principal Lyn Mounce and Victory Christian Center Elder Dennis Sinks. Grants are still available for other geothermal technology installations in not-for-profit businesses and public facilities served by electric cooperatives. Call Nancy at the AIEC at 217-241-7954 for more information.

Co-ops Help Organize Illinois Geothermal Heat Pump Association

A group of interested leaders in the Illinois geothermal industry met in Springfield early February to lay the plans for formation of an Illinois geothermal heat pump association. The meeting was held at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC).

“This is an effort that is long overdue. We’ve had so much success in building the geothermal industry in our state and an association like this has the potential to take geo to even greater heights,” said John Freitag, AIEC’s Vice President of Operations.

The AIEC is optimistic that the association will get underway this spring.

Please contact John Freitag by e-mail at if you have any questions or ideas/suggestions for this organization.


© 2008 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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