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Clever Energy Efficiency Display Engages Homeowners

Chicago – Prairie Power, Inc. – a not-for-profit electric generation and transmission cooperative in Jacksonville, Ill. – has received the 2011 Inspiring Efficiency Marketing Award from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) for its innovative display that engages homeowners by identifying low-cost actions they can take to reduce their energy costs. 

The “Energy Walls” display features two skeleton walls that resemble those of a home under construction or renovation, so visitors can see the location of gas pipes, vents and lighting fixtures. 

Each wall demonstrates how outside air infiltrates the living area, by using a blower to push air in through common problem areas in the walls, such as un-caulked seams and un-insulated can lights. Homeowners can learn how to identify and address these problems in their own residences.  The display also showcases various types of energy efficient insulation and lighting.

The original goal was to make the walls available for display at the annual meetings of Prairie Power’s distribution cooperatives. However, in the year since their construction, the walls have been displayed at more than 40 events across the nation, including the Illinois State Fair, the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, and in the halls of the United States Senate for a presentation on behalf of national energy efficiency legislation. 

According to Prairie Power Director of Administrative Services Greg Niemen, the walls have been now viewed by more than 300,000 people. 

“The display helps homeowners understand that little things can make a big difference, and that they have control over their energy bills and save money,” said Nieman, who accepted the award along with Prairie Power Marketing and Economic Development Manager Aaron Ridenour at MEEA’s annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference,, on January 13 in Chicago.

“Prairie Power’s energy efficiency display is simple but powerful,” said MEEA Acting Executive Director Jay Wrobel.  “It’s able to grab homeowners’ attention, and provide useful information they can use to make their residences more energy efficient.” 

Bestowed annually, MEEA’s Marketing Award is presented to an organization that has engaged in or supported a marketing campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase the adoption of energy efficient products or best practices in the Midwest.