A recently launched program committed to improving energy efficiency in Central Oregon area homes will gain a local presence later this month.
From April 24 to May 24, residents in Prineville will be able to have up to 16 LED bulbs and water saving water fixtures installed for free. The Energy Challenge of Central Oregon is expanding its LED installation program and starting immediately, residents can sign up and schedule an appointment
"We have been slowly expanding," said Neil Baunsgard, project manager of The Energy Challenge. "We have an AmeriCorps team that is going to be in town. They will be in town for six weeks."
LED bulbs use about 80 percent less energy than a regular incandescent bulb and are an easy way for both homeowners and renters to save money. And the LED bulbs can last more than 20 years.
"What a great idea for people who don't really know about the savings with LED light bulbs," said Central Oregon resident Cassandra McElroy, who recently had LED bulbs installed in her home.
Since its implementation in 2015, the LED Program, which is made possible through a partnership with the Energy Trust of Oregon and Central Electric Co-op, has installed 60,000 energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs in more than 4,400 Central Oregon homes. The current energy savings translates to an accumulation of more than $10 million in savings for Central Oregonians during the next 20 years.
Baunsgard stressed that the program is free and is not bound by any income thresholds. It is available to anybody within the established service area.
"We have a service map, so it depends on how close you are to town," he explained. "If you are too far out of town, you won't qualify."
The goal of the Energy Challenge is to reach as many people in Prineville and other Central Oregon communities as possible during the month-long timeframe.
"We hope this illustrates that even your smallest actions add up to something much bigger than yourself," Baunsgard said. "When you're making changes to save energy, however small, you're both saving money, and you are truly are making a difference."
In addition to the light bulbs, the program has installed more than 1,800 high-efficiency showerheads and shower wands, which contributes to another increase in energy savings and eases the impact on septic systems. The Energy Challenge also provides information on energy saving features such as ductless heat pumps, solar panels, and heat pump water heaters.
Installations will now be available to residents of Prineville and Madras, and the program will continue to serve Bend, Tumalo and Redmond.
Sign up or find more information at www.TheEnergyChallenge.org/FreeBulbs