Energy Solutions

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Don’t just treat the symptoms

My name is Brian Kumer and I am the owner of Thermal Imaging Services of Central Illinois, Inc. Thermal Imaging Services is a small one person energy ­con­sulting business based out of Peoria, Ill. I am ­originally from the ­village of Bryant, a small central Illinois town in Fulton County, ­population 350. After receiving my […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

By Okram (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.” […]