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FGCU launches free workshops to foster equity, retain workers; Supreme Court throws out race claim in SC redistricting case in win for GOP; as millions hit the roads, MI lawmakers consider extra driving fees; CT groups prepare for World Fish Migration Day.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Missouri is Most-Improved State for Energy Efficiency

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Monday, October 3, 2016   

ST. LOUIS – Missouri has made some big strides in saving electricity. The latest report card from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks Missouri 32nd among the states, up 12 spots from 2015.

Kristy Manning, director of the Missouri Department of Energy, said as part of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, states are encouraged to select energy efficiency as a way to meet goals set by the federal government.

"With just some thoughtful planning, it's not hard for a state to start making some real progress and advancement in these areas," said Manning. "But it does require some strategic planning and thoughtfulness in how to approach it, and how to do it most meaningfully."

Missouri was praised for its Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). It allows property owners to apply for financing to make energy-saving upgrades, like adding insulation, storm windows and doors, LED lighting and upgrades to heating and cooling systems. The money is paid back over 20 years.

Current legislative candidate Byron DeLear administers "Set the Pace St. Louis" and started the St. Louis County PACE Program. He explained that PACE works by keeping the monthly payments low enough that they're offset by money saved on the retrofits.

DeLear cited the Missouri Athletic Club as an example - which, last year, was the second-largest PACE project in the nation.

"The Missouri Athletic Club was the first building west of the Mississippi to have air conditioning; it still had the original air handlers in it," said DeLear. "On the first year after the energy-efficiency measures were performed on the property, the Missouri Athletic Club is saving $205,000."

Carolyn Amparan, chair of the Sierra Club's Osage Chapter based in Columbia, Mo., noted that her city has made improvements to save energy in business and residential construction. She thinks that needs to happen statewide.

"Getting more municipalities and counties to adopt the codes would be an excellent step forward," said Amparan. "And then, the utilities in the state could do more as well. Some of them are really exceptional, like ours here in Columbia, but others have not really invested in energy-efficiency programs as much as they could."

The report card notes Missouri is the most-improved state in the nation this year in terms of energy efficiency.




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