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Financial Conversations with Fitz #35 - Energy Check for Residential and Commercial - 09/22/2009

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Crops are looking good, but a little inconsistent in spots.   Degree days are 2,212 in Kanawha.  We are behind 344—about 78%—at this point.  We’re actually only 50 behind what we were at this time last year.  We are getting closer to October frost.   With 15-18 DGD/day, that puts us at Oct 22 for 2,800+ DGD.  Full moon will Oct 4.  Grain Prices are volatile.  Fall corn about $3+ and beans about $9.50…Keep close track!!!!!

We saw a few combines going this weekend.  Those who attended Forest City’s Heritage Days were also able to see threshing machines at Heritage Park.  It was a great weekend, with super attendance.  If you haven’t been out there, put it on your schedule next year.  

It is also time to be thinking about getting our buildings ready for fall.  There are a couple of things we need to be doing in terms of energy, even though gas will be a little cheaper to start out the season.  I suggested we work with our energy suppliers and have an energy audit done on our churches, schools, farms, commercial buildings and homes.  With the prospect of energy continuing to climb, we need to figure out a way to lower our energy consumption.  Check with your utility supplier and also a web site www.energystar.gov.  The first one to mention is the agriculture and commercial audits.  These audits can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on size and location.  There are several different types of rebates and grants available for both of these.  Also, the USDA has a grant program available or replacing high energy consumption items.  I know several of our local farmers just received sizable grants to change their drying systems.  Fans are another large consumer of energy.  Be sure they are running efficiently.   Your energy audit will tell you where you are losing efficiency in your buildings and motors.  Several utilities have rebates ranging from $20 for ceiling fans to $1,000 for high efficient motors.  There are also several IRS tax rebates available for energy expenses.  These expired at the end of 2007, but pending legislation—with a bill currently in the Senate—will hopefully restore tax credits.  There are several programs for new construction if your building is reviewed by a LEET architect or if a Certified Building Operator is involved in the operation of your commercial building. 

For homeowners, you can have a professional energy audit or there are several programs online that you can do yourself.  Check out “touchstone energy savers” under your local co-op or the “energy star” website we mentioned last week.  There are many lists of resources, including videos and online self-audits, on both of these web sites.  They refer to “EE” programs which are Iowa energy efficiency programs.

Check with your local organizations to see what they are doing to optimize energy efficiency.  Ask your council or board.  They need input from all of you.  TSB has several ways you can pay for updates on your home and buildings.  Whether it is home or commercial property, we can visit with you about it.

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations.  When you work with them, you know that you are working with people you will also see at ball games, church, or community events.  So, if in doubt give us a call.