By Lee Merrill
ith the rising costs of almost everything, Shreveport-Bossier families are looking for ways to save money anywhere they can. Newlyweds John Mark and Leah Colvin kept inflation in mind when they made the decision to build a new home for their blended family. The Colvins opted to become one of the first homeowners in an innovative, energy-efficient community in north Shreveport called Trinity Bluff. This one-of-a-kind development is a collaboration between DSLD Homes and SWEPCO and is located next to SWEPCO’s planned solar/battery microgrid.
According to SWEPCO Energy Efficiency & Consumer Programs Manager, Debra Miller, “With DSLD Homes’ history of constructing energy efficient houses, it made sense for the SWEPCO Team to approach them about taking the energy efficient features of their homes in Trinity Bluff to the next level. That means induction cooktops, air-source heat pumps, increased insulation levels and heat pump water heaters among other technologies will help homeowners save energy and ultimately, save money on their SWEPCO bills. We also considered the future needs of homeowners. Trinity Bluff homes come equipped with Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, and the community features solar-powered LED streetlights.” The subdivision is located adjacent to the future home of the solar and battery storage facility which will create a microgrid that adds capacity and resiliency to the power supply. This microgrid will come in handy for Shreveport-Bossier during future weather events that normally result in power outages.
The Colvins are one of the first families to move into the community, and they are pleased with their decision. “We chose Trinity Bluff, not only for its beautiful location, but because of DSLD’s energy-efficient home design and low carbon footprint. Our monthly energy cost was cut by more than half compared to our former home in Broadmoor. Once the neighborhood solar panels are installed, our savings will increase further.”
For families not prepared to make a move to an energy efficient community, consider these energy-saving heating and cooling tips from SWEPCO:
- Keep your outside HVAC unit free of
obstructions such as dust, leaves and snow.
- Close the damper when not using your fireplace.
- Vacuum or dust air registers regularly and make sure they’re not blocked by obstacles like furniture.
- Install a smart thermostat, which automatically adjusts to energy saving temperatures.
- Plant dense evergreen trees and shrubs to the north and northwest of your home to protect it from wind.
- For maximum protection, plant your windbreak at a distance from your home of two-to-five times the mature height of the trees.
- Seal leaking ductwork throughout your home. Nearly 20 percent of air moving through duct systems is lost to leaks.
- Cover your windows (especially those facing south) during the day with light-colored shades and you could save 10-25 percent on cooling costs.
- Avoid using heat-producing appliances such as ovens or dryers during the hottest parts of the day.
- A 6-to-8-foot leafy tree planted near your home will begin shading windows within the first year.
- Plant lower trees to the west where shading is needed from afternoon sun.
- Planting shrubs, bushes, and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in summer. But be sure to allow at least one foot of space between full-grown plants and the walls of your home.