Aiken has been cited in a recent report highlighting cities across America that are playing a pivotal role in the adaptation of energy-efficient habits.


The report, “Powering Up America: The Revolution Began Yesterday,” chose South Carolina as one of only three states for in-depth case studies on energy efficiency. The report was released by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.


An Aiken resident and a local energy-saving program are featured at the forefront of power savings – Sheila Winburn.


Winburn took advantage of Help My House, a program offered through Aiken Electric Cooperative and other electric cooperatives throughout the state, that is saving residents money on their power bills by weatherizing their homes. Weatherization includes sealing leaks, adding insulation and replacing aging and inefficient heating strips.


“I was really excited when I heard about this,” Winburn is quoted as saying in the report. “It's going to change everything.”


In South Carolina, the study examined Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina's Help My House program, a net-zero-energy child-care center at the U.S. Marines' recruiting depot at Parris Island, Greenville's waste-busting school system and Woodford's innovative energy efforts.


“Powering Up America: The Revolution Began Yesterday” concluded that South Carolina is leading the way in energy efficiency, primarily through its energy cooperative programs.


According to an article published in “Electric Co-op Today,” 125 South Carolina residents participated in the Help My House pilot program when it first launched in 2011.


The program allows co-op members to borrow money for energy efficiency improvements to their homes, which is repaid as part of their electric bills. This process is referred to as on-bill financing. The loans are used to weatherize homes, which has shown to cut the energy cost by 33 percent on average.


The article reports that homeowners receive a 10-year loan worth an average of $7,684. Homeowners pay the loan off with a small amount added to their bill each month. On average, bills are expected to be paid off in about six years, with annual savings of about $1,100 per year.


The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation was founded in 1987 by Emily and Burton Tremaine. It seeks out funding opportunities for projects related to problems in education, learning disabilities, and the environment. Its mission is to aid the progression of these projects to provide solutions to the aforementioned problems.


More information is available at www.poweringupamerica.com.


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.