Down at half, need to HEET up comeback

Suppose somebody gives you, at no cost, caulking and tools to seal drafts on every window in your home – to keep the heat in during winter and out during summer.

After you do it, you get a credit on your gas or electric bill. Every month. Indefinitely.

This is not a hypothetical scenario for residents of Houghton County. This is what the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) is offering to do for your home right now, as part of its participation in the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, which is just beginning the second half.

Each month HEET presents a different way to increase energy efficiency. Caulking was the January project, but anyone can get involved any time and still get the chalking done to start saving. The February project is insulating the hot-water tank. Do that and watch the savings on your bill keep going up.

This competition is all about documented, straight-up amounts of energy savings: how much does each of the 50 competitors save in total kilowatt hours, BTUs, therms and CO2 emissions. The results for each team are documented by the power companies serving the area.

Houghton County appears to be lacking behind the others, mostly due to issues with Upper Peninsula Power Co. in collecting the data, and in reporting the data, but those issues will be resolved, said HEET manager Melissa Davis.

Looking at the numbers already reported from other competitors, it’s going to take a high level of participation to make a strong showing.

All you have to do is say yes and allow HEET to document your monthly savings. That’s all that’s required to get involved for you to contribute to the competition. Think of the monthly savings on your power bill as a bonus, a bonus that gets bigger every month in doing HEET’s selected project.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial