An article in the Lincoln Journal Star on 12/21/2013 explained some “tasteful” recognition from the Grandmothers Apple Pie Brigade to Lincoln Electric System (L.E.S.) for good behavior. A cheddar-crust apple pie was presented by Author Mary Pipher and actress Pippa White to Marilyn McNabb, chairwoman of L.E.S. Sounds yummy!

L.E.S. continues to go that extra mile by adding more renewable energy projects with wind energy, and solar energy, and increasing the L.E.S. Sustainable Energy Program fund. L.E.S. is very deserving of the cheddar-crust apple pie and much more. Thank you, Grandmother’s Apple Pie Brigade!

The proactive direction by L.E.S. in 2013 reduced energy demand by 4 megawatts! An example of what this means to ratepayers is the L.E.S. Sustainable Energy Program payback was projected at more than 3 to 1. That’s impressive.

In addition to the 3-to-1 payback, our carbon footprint was reduced, and carbon monoxide risks went down as the L.E.S. Sustainable Energy Program promoted the use of energy-efficient heat pumps. Furnaces are typically replaced when heat pumps are installed so the systems match properly. Many are defective anyway. Heat pumps became the primary source of heat and electric or gas furnaces became the backup. The payback is excellent and overall safety is improved.

Even with ongoing energy paybacks, L.E.S. rates are scheduled to go up in 2014. So will naturally gas rates. This all comes at a time when overall earnings in Lancaster County are down 10.2% from 2000 to 2012. The ongoing challenge is to do more with less. A risk-free way to consistently save money is by reducing energy costs. Are you prepared to use less energy in 2014 to help offset the rate increases? It makes good “cents”.

Reducing energy usage is easier than it sounds. The first step is to have your current heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system evaluated by a trustworthy HVAC contractor. Is your HVAC system safe and efficient? If so, make sure to have it serviced regularly to get the maximum return. Well-maintained equipment operates more efficiently. If your HVAC equipment is still under warranty, some manufacturers require regular maintenance.

If your HVAC equipment is not safe and efficient, the L.E.S. Sustainable Energy Program will have funds available again on January 1 to help make the most efficient heat pumps even more affordable. Last year those funds ran out in June, so we should expect a shortage again this year. The early bird gets the worm!

There is a vast difference in HVAC equipment and installations, so the buyer needs to beware. A quality HVAC system needs to be selected and installed properly. New systems installed properly will run quieter and more efficiently. Cold or hot spots will be eliminated.

It’s a great time to replace HVAC equipment because technology has dramatically improved indoor air quality. It’s easier than ever to meet indoor air quality standards set to improve our health. It’s a commonsense approach too.

Good indoor air quality includes humidity levels of 30% to 60% to promote good health and protect our belongings. A humidifier is necessary to maintain proper humidity levels during the cold winters in Nebraska.

Indoor air quality also requires excellent air filtration or our lungs will become the air filter! The Lennox PureAir™ filter system removes 95% of air impurities down to .3 microns. Lennox touts the PureAir™ filter system as the best defense available against poor indoor air quality since it utilizes exclusive UVA-light technology to attack mold, mildew, bacteria, odors, and chemical vapors.

Another great air filtration system is the Trane CleanEffects system which removes 99.98% of impurities in the air including airborne influenza viruses. That’s especially important this time of year.

Accurately controlling temperatures and humidity requires a thermostat that is properly matched to your HVAC equipment. Typically, there is much more to it than just purchasing a thermostat.

With new technology, you can easily control some thermostats with an iPhone or computer. This gives you added peace of mind and improves comfort. An example is Deb and I was on vacation during the cold snap a few weeks ago. We checked temperatures daily to ensure temperatures were OK and also set temperatures back to normal as we were returning to Lincoln.

That’s the formula for a very good HVAC system. It’s the kind of HVAC system you need and deserve. Life is not a dress rehearsal! Might as well be comfortable and save money in the process. It makes good “cents”!

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