Energy Solutions


Doug Rye says goodbye to readers

God has blessed me with two 23-year careers in my adult life. In both careers, I have had the opportunity to help many families by ­showing them how to make energy ­efficiency improvements that helped them save money on their utility bills. In my first career, as the state architect for a federal agency called the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA,) ...Read More


A no regrets home improvement plan for 2015

Each new year as I prepare to write the January column, I think of just how privileged I am to have the opportunity to work with the electric co-ops to help folks have a more comfortable house and lower utility bills. And since I have been writing this column every month for several years, I always wonder just how many ...Read More


All insulation is not equal

Most discussions about residential energy efficiency include the topic of insulation. Attic, wall and floor insulation normally become major points of discussion. Builders, homeowners, architects and salesmen use R-value language for ­comparing various types and thicknesses of insulation. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. However, energy efficiency experts are ­continuing to learn more and ...Read More

By Okram (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Invest in a new blanket

It is that time of the year again. Many of the trees are still beautiful, and we have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful for health, shelter, food, family and friends, and a job that pays me to help many people just like you. Part of my job is to receive your calls about energy efficiency. I ...Read More

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What’s hot and what’s not

Last month we discussed the hot topic of attic encapsulation. Well, there is another hot topic I would like to cover and that is geothermal ­heating and cooling. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get questions about geothermal. It used to be the only geothermal question I received was, “What is geothermal and how does ...Read More

Infrared Doug Rye

What’s hot and what’s not

Although the heat finally showed up in August, we were blessed we didn’t have numerous 100-degree days throughout the summer. That’s fine with me because everyone got some relief from air ­conditioning costs and our usually oppressive summer ­temperatures. However, even though the summer wasn’t that hot, let’s visit a topic that is — encap­sulating attics.In fact, when it involves ...Read More


A magic energy moment

My wife and I recently purchased some large Desert Rose plants to place on our west-facing front porch. This porch gets extremely hot during summer afternoons, so these beautiful plants should enjoy their new environment. Our porch doesn’t look like the plant’s native environments of tropical Africa or Arabia. But the direct sunlight, its reflective surface temperatures and Arkansas’ humidity ...Read More

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Building or remodeling?

You have to love our weather. As I’m writing the June column, the weatherman just reported that we set not one, but two record low temperatures for May. Many of you were still running the heat pumps and furnaces well into the month of May. It appears we may have one of those years where we transition from the heating ...Read More

May_Base.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

A different kind of envelope

Oftentimes I refer to the term “building envelope” or “thermal envelope.” Both are interchangeable and synonymous. So, just what is a building envelope? Well, in simple terms, it is the building components that separate the building interior from the exterior environment. And since this column is about energy ­efficiency, let’s call it the ­“thermal envelope.” On the simplest of ­buildings, ...Read More


How much air can you blow into a soft drink bottle?

Well, the answer is none unless the air has a way to get out of the bottle. You have probably never been asked that question before, and you may be wondering what that has to do with energy ­efficiency. The answer is simple - ­understanding the basics of airflow can help you understand an important aspect of home comfort. An ...Read More