Saving on your energy bills

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117692951732695.jpg’, ‘Sonia Vogl photo’, ‘South side of One-WattTM-House near Oregon. ‘);

Does the idea of saving money on your energy bills interest you? Have you thought about generating your own electricity for your home? If so, you might be interested in the classes that the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) will be offering near Oregon.

Saturday, April 28, a beginning solar electric class will be held. It will provide a complete overview of solar electricity: what it is, how it works, advantages, components of a system, financial assistance available and how to get started. Participants will also tour a grid-connected system and a stand-alone system. The owners will be available to discuss living with them.

For those interested in energy efficiency in a home, a One-Watt-HouseTM class will be Saturday, May 12. The house is extremely energy efficient, using only a tenth the energy for heating as a conventional house, but costing only a fifth more to build. It is constructed according to standards developed for the German Passivhaus. Passivhaus concepts can be applied to an existing home as well as to a new building. Participants will view slides from German homes and will tour the new house itself. A leader in the Passivhaus movement, Dr. Bernd Steinmuller, was a speaker at the 2005 energy fair.

For those who want to take the next step in energy independence, a hands-on PV (photovoltaic, solar electric) class will be on Saturday, May 19. People attending this class will work with solar panels designed for a home installation, and will actually assemble the entire installation, which will be ready for use by the end of the day.

The IREA hosts the annual Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair as well as similar classes each year. For more information, contact Bob or Sonia Vogl at (815) 732-7332 or

from the April 18-24, 2007, issue

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