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EPA Recognizes AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program as 2013 ENERGY STAR® PARTNER OF THE YEAR

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – New homes exceeding code in energy efficiency have risen to now represent almost 20 percent of homes built in AEP Ohio’s and Columbia Gas of Ohio’s service territories.  As the housing market rebounds, utility leaders expect consumers to become more insistent that new construction includes energy saving features from the ground up.

AEP Ohio / Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program, an ENERGY STAR® partner since 2011, was recently honored for their work to increase market share of energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® qualified homes through comprehensive outreach, education, and marketing programs. The program earned Partner of the Year from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the second consecutive year. 

“Our collaborative natural gas and electric utility energy efficiency program with AEP Ohio is the first in the country and we are very honored to again receive a Partner of the Year Award from the EPA.” stated Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge.  "It's an example of a partnership delivering benefits to a new segment of customers."

“As the housing market expands, AEP Ohio / Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program is committed to working in partnership with ENERGY STAR® to help build more energy efficient homes that will allow homeowners to lower their energy bills and experience improved comfort,” said AEP Ohio President and COO Pablo Vegas. “This recognition from the EPA is confirmation that the program is providing benefits to our customers as well as the environment.”  

Over the last 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR®, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The partnership between AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio sets the bar for promoting energy-efficient products and services that help Americans learn how to save money and energy while protecting the environment,” said Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator, U.S. EPA. The AEP Ohio / Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR® Homes Program demonstrates how communities across the nation can protect the climate through greater energy efficiency and provide a road map for future program implementers.”

The ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Awards for Energy Efficiency Program Delivery are given to a variety of organizations in recognition of their efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. Award winners are selected from the nearly 20,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR® program.

About AEP Ohio / Columbia Gas of Ohio
ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program
ENERGY STAR® certified new homes employ proven technologies and advanced building practices to use approximately 20-50 percent less energy than conventionally built homes. Through a combination of additional requirements, AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio are working together to promote energy performance that meets and exceeds these levels in homes through the ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program.

The comfort and efficiency of a home in any price range or style can be improved through advanced building practices, enhanced insulation, performance tested ducts and “building envelope” air sealing, mechanical ventilation, higher efficiency and properly sized heating and cooling systems. ENERGY STAR® lighting, appliances and windows helps to increase energy efficiency of the home.

Homeowners experience:
  • Lower energy bills
  • Improved comfort – homes will be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, free from drafts, quieter and more durable.
  • Peace of mind – homes must pass third party inspection, testing and energy modeling by an energy Rater certified under HERS®.
  • A healthier living environment – mechanical ventilation systems promote better indoor air quality.
  • Environmental benefits – more-efficient homes help mitigate global climate change by producing fewer harmful emissions and reduce associated health costs due to chronic respiratory ailments.

Columbia Gas of Ohio safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. Columbia Gas of Ohio offers a variety of programs designed to help its residential and small business customers save energy and money on their energy bills, while maintaining the comfort of their homes and businesses and doing something positive for the environment at the same time. For more information about Columbia’s energy-efficiency programs, visit Save Energy & Money!

Investor-owned utilities in Ohio are required to meet specific energy reduction targets. The ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program is part of AEP Ohio’s overall energy efficiency and peak demand response efforts to meet the State of Ohio target of reducing electricity consumption 22 percent by the end of 2025.  For more information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency consumer programs, events and tips, visit AEPOhio.com/Rebates.

AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Ohio Power Company in Ohio and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com.  

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east and north Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. News releases and other information about AEP can be found at AEP.com.

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money, and help protect the environment for future generations. Nearly 20,000 organizations are ENERGY STAR partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, and buildings. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit EnergyStar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).