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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

Commandment No. 2: “Thou Shalt Invest”
Buy into energy efficiency for a timely payback

I trust you’re all having a good holiday season, spending time with family and friends and preparing for the new year. I certainly enjoyed visiting with many of you in Southern Illinois at the energy workshops sponsored by your electric cooperatives in October and November. Now it’s time to go back to work and back to the 10 Commandments of Energy Efficiency.

There are a lot of things happening in our country today that I don’t understand, it’s better that I stay with the things I do understand.

I know that making energy improvements is the best investment in the country today. I know that it’s the only thing in your house that will save you money month after month and will have a payback. I also know that your home will be more comfortable as a result of these improvements.

For example, Mr. Tom Hunt, my co-host on the Home Remedies radio show, said he is saving $50 per week on the cost of gasoline compared to a few months ago. He said, “What if we took that $200 per month and made energy improvements to our house?” I responded, “Tom, you’re a genius!”

Energy Commandment No. 2: “Thou Shalt Invest.”

Whether it’s $5 or $200 per month, start setting some money aside for energy improvements. For $20, you can buy and install several compact fluorescent lights. For $40, you might buy all the caulk you need to seal up air leaks.

For an investment of less than $100 and a few hours of elbow grease, you might reduce your average monthly utility bill by $10, $20, $30 or more a month. Where else could you invest $100, get your money back in three to 10 months and continue getting that savings forever?

Together We Save Campaign
Hits the Pocketbook in a Good Way

Habits are hard to change, but doing so can save you money. Have you been paying attention to Doug Rye’s column? Do you always remember to adjust the thermostat before leaving the house, or would a programmable thermostat make more sense? Is your hot water heater set warmer than necessary? Touchstone Energy® has developed Together We Save, a campaign that underscores how making simple changes in how we use energy can glean immediate cost savings.

At the epicenter of the campaign is, a Web site that includes a variety of interactive applications that demonstrate simple, yet effective ways to reduce energy usage.

When co-op members arrive at the site, they’ll find nine animated, interactive applications. Each application focuses on a different energy- and money-saving action that, once completed, outputs an actual savings calculation. For example, in the “Lower Your Water Heater Temperature” application, users can change the temperature setting on the water heater dial. The application then displays a savings amount.

Co-op members can get an even better idea of potential dollar savings by taking the site’s virtual Home Tour. Within each of the home’s rooms are at least two energy-saving action items. As visitors move through each room and complete the suggested actions, a digital counter keeps a running total of potential dollar savings.

The savings calculations from each individual visit to the Home Tour are funneled into another counter that continuously aggregates national potential savings and tracks the number of visitors to the site.

Another unique component of is the Touchstone Energy TV Web portal, featuring videos designed to offer easy-to-follow advice on energy savings tips and techniques.

Log on to today and see how controlling your energy costs can be easier than you thought. Or, for other energy efficiency tips, contact your local electric cooperative.


More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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