Imagine the fuel (and energy) it takes to power tractors, plows, tillers – the equipment that goes hand in hand with running a farm. Expensive? No doubt. The Energy Information Administration approximates that families living in rural areas spend close to $400 extra each year on energy bills than the average urban dwelling family.
Making energy more affordable for Americans while protecting natural resources has become a federal concern; the government, its departments, and agencies have been working in recent years to address this issue. The USDA is one such department – its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), is collaborating with agriculture producers and rural small businesses to construct thousands of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The end result will be 7.32 kWhs in savings each year, which is enough energy to bring power to 680,000 households every year.
The Energy Department is likewise making strides in this arena, with what’s been dubbed the “Weatherization Assistance Program,” which is aimed at assisting low income rural families in cutting back on utility expenses with a series of efficiency upgrades in the home. This might range from better insulation to replacement of windows that aren’t airtight, to fixing heating and cooling systems. Around since 1976, this program has been working for years to assist low-income families in significantly reducing their energy bills.
The recent partnership between the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, and the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has created additional opportunities for more outreach to rural Americans. Some of the joint initiatives include:
- Educating and offering technical assistance on energy efficiency and renewable energy into programs aimed at youth and adults.
- Informing about tax credit incentives and other financing options for energy upgrades in the home.
- Stand behind energy efficiency and renewable energy targets in rural areas to create more jobs, increase business opportunities, and boost local economies.
CQI Associates is also a part of the movement to bring green energy to Americans everywhere. As a leading energy consultant, CQI implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.
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Energy Department and USDA Partner to Support Energy Efficiency in Rural Communities