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E3 Delivers Energy and Efficiency to East Kentucky

June 4, 2009

Berea, KY - Little steps can make a big difference when it comes to saving energy - and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development's E3 project is proving it, in a large region of eastern Kentucky.

"E3" stands for Energy Efficiency Enterprises, explains Josh Bills, the group's energy specialist. It's a program to help small and midsize companies learn how to best use renewable energy, reduce pollution emissions and keep their utility costs low.

According to Bills, businesses and nonprofit organizations are struggling, especially in this difficult economic time. The program helps them with their overall bottom line, starting with an assessment of their energy costs.

Loans are available to pay for any suggested improvements, with the goal of making the company more energy-efficient while maintaining a positive cash flow from energy savings.

"This is just one way to make an investment that is a low-risk investment that offers a dividend. And often, that investment can be free or pay you from the get-go, through financing."

For homeowners, loans are also available for installation of a solar-powered thermal water heater. Everything helps, he adds, in the overall push to save energy.

"We're in an environment where energy prices are somewhat unknown - like what the future is going to bring with the federal carbon initiative, with cap-and-trade lingering."

The association's main objective is cost savings to residents in 54 Kentucky counties, but Bills says it is also interested in the side benefit of mining and burning less coal.

Bill Goodman, Public News Service - KY