October is National Energy Awareness Month, a time to focus on understanding our energy resources and the most efficient way to conserve energy for a sustainable future.

To highlight both the economic and environmental benefits of efficiency, the U.S. Senate officially designated Oct. 5 Energy Efficiency Day.

The cleanest, most affordable energy is efficient energy. The most cost-effective way to save on energy costs is through energy efficiency measures. These steps can potentially reduce energy usage by 30 percent to 50 percent. This is especially significant in New England where we have the highest energy costs in the nation.

The City of Keene reduced its municipal energy usage with energy efficiency projects, a wise investment that also saved taxpayer money. Energy efficiency is a tried and true means for bringing energy costs under control.

Unfortunately, few homeowners know about or have taken advantage of programs available through the utilities. Visit NHSAVES.com to see if your home qualifies for a grant to help pay for energy efficiency improvements.

If you’re not ready for a full audit, please visit energyefficiencyday.org to find tips for saving energy for little or no cost.

Energy efficiency is also an issue of social justice. I appreciated The Sentinel highlighting Keene Housing for their recent energy efficiency improvements to Harper Acres, older apartments for elderly and low income residents. They also installed solar panels on many of their buildings. This project will result in tremendous energy cost savings.

Perhaps New Hampshire could find a way to get nearly 10,000 low-income homes off the estimated 10-year waiting list for weatherizing. Simply providing fuel assistance without energy efficiency upgrades is just throwing money away. The economic benefits and comfort from energy efficiency should be available to all of us.

For National Energy Awareness Month, perhaps each of us can become more energy conscious and wise in our efficient use of energy. Conservation efforts and choices of renewable energy have significant environmental benefits that benefit everyone.

NANCY GILLARD

72 Reservoir St.

Keene

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