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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Petit Jean Electric Cooperative member Connie Jefferies of Damascus has won the seventh annual contest sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

According to Bret Curry, manager of residential energy marketing for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, this year's makeover contest was designed for members who reside in manufactured homes.

"Manufactured homes comprise 15 percent of Arkansas' housing stock, have some of the highest electric bills and are very uncomfortable during hot and cold weather extremes," Curry said. "The makeover project serves as a teaching resource for all Arkansans."

As the makeover winner, Jefferies' 1999 singlewide home will receive up to $50,000 in energy efficiency improvements. During a recent energy audit, electric cooperative energy efficiency experts pinpointed reasons for the high electric consumption in the 840 sq. ft. dwelling. Jeffries had an uncomfortable home and $300 electric bills last winter, he said.

"Our diagnostic testing revealed that 50 percent of the air volume within the home was leaking to the outside," Curry said. "We also discovered substandard and improperly installed insulation, inefficient windows, no moisture barrier, an inefficient heating and cooling system and non-Energy Star appliances."

"A properly built dwelling of this small size should average total monthly electric bills of $100 or less," Curry said. "The good news is our makeover project is a wonderful medium for teaching Arkansans how they can resolve their energy problems, improve the comfort of their homes and lower their utility costs."

The makeover team will begin work immediately and work to finish in three to four weeks. Jefferies will receive an ultra-efficient Water Furnace geothermal heat pump installed by Rood Heating & Cooling. WeatherBarr Windows will provide high-efficiency windows. Rheem Marathon will provide the energy efficient water heater. Roof King will provide a high efficiency overlay comprised of foam, radiant barrier and metal roofing. General Electric will furnish Energy Star appliances. SealantTech and Summit Builders will install closed cell foam to the underside and encapsulate the ductwork. The makeover team will install a high-density moisture barrier.

Cooperative members submitted more than 1,500 applications in this year's contest. In addition to the grand-prize winner, 16 runners-up will receive a 40-gallon Rheem Marathon energy efficient water heater.

Winners of the 40-gallon Marathon water heaters are:

  • Debbie Sampley, Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark;
  • Sereta A. Sims, Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative of Hamburg;
  • Billy and Ruby Young, C & L Electric Cooperative of Star City;
  • Virginia Baughman, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville;
  • Robert and Margie Brown, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning;
  • Brenda Stevens, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro;
  • Dianna Calkins, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport;
  • Shannon Allen, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville;
  • Charles R. Wilder, Jr., Mississippi County Electric Cooperative of Blytheville;
  • Corey S. Egan, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem;
  • Karen S. Baker, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden;
  • Tami Hinkle, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville;
  • Dewayne Ashbrooks, Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative of Mena;
  • Randy Looper, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Arkadelphia;
  • Weldon A, Nichols, Jr., Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana; and
  • Jason Edwards, Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

Progress on the winning home can be tracked at www.ECAHomeMakeover.com or the makeover Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ECAHomeMakeover.

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