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New Technology Means Lower Energy Bills

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FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — Blake Allen knew her top single-pane window had a small gap causing heat to escape from her home.

So, she called certified thermographer Geoff Holden to test for heating loss.

Bright white imaging from Holden's infrared camera shows the significant heat loss in the window.

When the same camera tests a new house with double-pane windows, however, it reveals very little, if any, heat loss.

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    Energy Star

    A big part of the reason: the newer house has an

    Energy Star

    certification, which means it was built with materials and equipment that reduce annual energy costs by 30 percent.

    Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program that started in 1992. Since then, it has partnered with more than 8,000 public and private organizations.

    In 2004 alone, the program says it helped Americans save enough energy to power 24 million homes.

    Bob Kingery, president of Southern Energy Management, which certifies Energy Star houses, says more people are requesting them from their builders.

    "Everyone realizes the price of fuel is going up, and as the price goes up, people want to pay less on their energy bills," Kingery said. "So, that's the main driver we see -- the price of energy."

    New homes, however, aren't an option for everyone. Allen uses storm windows to try to keep down her power bill.

    So what are other energy efficient ideas?

    Progress Energy recommends caulking spaces around windows and weather stripping doors. Eliminating leaks can save 10 percent on energy costs.

    Allen plans to eliminate her leak soon.

    "I didn't realize it was that bad," she said.

    Progress Energy also says that for every degree its customers lower their thermostats under 70 degrees, they can reduce heating costs by up to 10 percent.


    Melissa Buscher, Reporter
    Keith Baker, Photographer
    Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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