The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 26, 2013

Make summer the season for saving energy

Whether replacing light bulbs or unplugging your unused cellphone charger, small changes can make a big impact on your electricity bill this summer and beyond.

Kristinn Leonhart, spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, said the average home has about 30 light fixtures, together consuming more electricity than a home's washer and dryer, refrigerator and dishwasher combined.

And because regular incandescent light bulbs emit heat, she said, using more-energy-efficient bulbs in your home's most-used fixtures makes a significant difference.

"Replace them with more-energy-efficient bulbs, which use less energy and produce about 75 percent less heat," Leonhart said. "They're good for cooling bills."

The two kinds of energy-efficient bulbs Energy Star certifies are compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED), both of which have longer life spans than conventional incandescent bulbs.

Another small change with major impact? Resetting the thermostat.

Cindy Olson, vice president of the green energy consulting firm Eco-Coach, said air conditioners are often left on when no one is home and set to temperatures lower than is necessary for comfort.

"It is something that is very personal," Olson said. "A lot of times, simply air movement is enough to be comfortable, even with just a ceiling fan."

Test how you and your family feel by adjusting the temperature up by one or two degrees at a time. Every degree of change, she said, can make a 2 percent difference on your utility bill. An air-conditioning system can account for 30 percent of an energy bill in the summer, according to power company data.

Updates in technology have made new central air systems, often with programmable thermostats, at least 15 percent more efficient than older models. If you aren't ready to replace your central air-conditioning unit altogether — the EPA suggests doing so if it is more than 10 years old — regular maintenance will ensure your unit is running as efficiently as it can. A dirty air filter, for example, can damage equipment and cause early breakdown.

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  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa's unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

    Iowa's unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent in March as more people entered the labor force.

    Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate was up from 4.4 percent in February. It compared to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2013.

    April 18, 2014

  • Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

    A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties.

    The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 18, 2014

  • World Book Night A big love for books CLINTON -- Sharing a love for books is something members of the Clinton Public Library have always promoted and embraced. On Wednesday, they will join the rest of the world in spreading that love throughout communities. World Book Night, which conve

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylorville couple wins $20M lotto jackpot

    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

    Steve and Wilma Durbin were presented with their winning check Thursday afternoon at a grocery store in the central Illinois city where they purchased the ticket. The couple took a lump sum payment of $8.1 million after taxes.

    The Taylorville Breeze-Courier reports the Durbins hit the jackpot in the April 10 Illinois Lotto drawing. That was just two weeks after they were married.

    April 17, 2014

  • Branstad signs school radon bill into law

    The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

    Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

    April 17, 2014

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