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ENERGY: Here are answers

| November 5, 2010 10:00 PM

I'd like to respond to Bill Irving's recent Letter to the Editor in which he calls on Avista and Kootenai Electric Cooperative (KEC) to sponsor pilot programs in the grading of all commercial buildings.

The utility industry has known for quite some time that there is a large potential for energy conservation in the commercial and industrial sectors. Energy represents as much as 30 percent of a building's operating costs. Many energy efficiency measures in commercial buildings also improve the comfort and attractiveness of the indoor environment. For example, upgrading the lighting in a commercial building not only reduces energy consumption but also improves visual acuity. This, in turn, benefits the employees working in the building. Likewise, upgrades to heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment reduce energy costs and improve indoor air quality.

KEC is aggressively working to conserve electricity and is very proactive in its energy efficiency efforts. In fact, since 2006 our conservation programs have saved more than one million kilowatt hours of electricity and in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration we have provided more than $1.3 million in incentives to our residential, commercial and industrial members. On the residential side these incentives helped purchase Energy Star appliances, upgrade heating equipment and water heaters, replace windows, tighten ducts, install compact fluorescent lighting and add insulation. On the commercial and industrial side our work includes performing energy audits, upgrading lighting and controls, replacing and updating inefficient HVAC systems, and upgrading older motors with high efficiency motors.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. It provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. There are several LEED certified buildings and communities in the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene area.

We welcome opportunities to help our members save money by being energy efficient. For more information on energy efficiency and the rebates KEC offers visit our website at www.kec.com.

CHRIS AIKEN

Kootenai Electric Cooperative

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