Local organization provides tips for the heat

LaGrange Bureau

LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Saving On Utilities Long Term program is a pilot program from Groundswell that provides energy efficient improvements for higher-than-average utility bills. SOUL assesses homes and looks to improve the quality of life with things like better insulation.

Chief Program Officer, Lenwood Coleman, said the money saved from utility bills with better practices can go towards the household.

“The savings average should be anywhere from 20% to 50%, somewhere in between there. What does that do if you have a utility bill that is approximately $200 to $500 a month on average? We know, we look at those utility bills and we know the difference. That savings can go into that home and change the way you live on a daily basis not just on a yearly basis,” said Coleman.

Coleman shared some tips that SOUL emphasizes to the recipients of the program. Those include, putting clean filters on air conditioning units, using blinds on all windows, shutting all doors and windows when not in use. Using a ceiling fan to cool the home along with the air conditioning, keeping lights off and finding a stable temperature on the thermostat.

Coleman believes it is important to pivot from old behaviors in order to lower utility bills. A common belief is leaving the front door open when the air conditioning is running to cool a home, which Coleman said does not work.

“Look at your utility bill after you’ve made the adjustments and then you will find that you will be more critical of how you take advantage of these upgrades,” said Coleman.

Syble Reid and her sister, Shantras Johnson, live in a home that was upgraded by the SOUL program. They said they have seen a significant difference in their utility bills since their start with the program. They reduced their utility bills from $400 to $164. Reid also said that the house was not balanced as far as cooling and heating prior to the SOUL program.

“That’s been a real challenge because before you could not balance it like that now you get to a point that you don’t notice it and it’s very comfortable and it adds value to your home,” said Reid.

They both agreed that they are both more comfortable after upgrading their home and using the tips they were taught.

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