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‘Help My House’ winner receives an energy makeover for Upstate home

Melissa Drummond and her sons, Isaac, left, and Alexander, stand in front of their home, which is part of the Laurens Electric cooperative’s “Help My House” program. The family won $10,000 in home upgrades for energy efficiency.

Melissa Drummond and her sons, Isaac, left, and Alexander, stand in front of their home, which is part of the Laurens Electric cooperative’s “Help My House” program. The family won $10,000 in home upgrades for energy efficiency.WOODRUFF—Winter makes its official return to the Upstate next month and Melissa Drummond and her family believe they are ready for what some forecasters say will be a cold, wet season.

The Drummonds’ home located off Switzer-Greenpond Road just north of Woodruff recently received a major energy makeover through a program from Laurens Electric Cooperative called “Help My House.”

The home now has a new, energy-efficient heating system, new ductwork, attic and basement insulation, caulking and weather stripping, and energy-efficient light bulbs.

The Drummonds’ home was selected for the $10,000 in upgrades from among hundreds in the four-cooperative Upstate region, which includes Laurens, Blue Ridge, Broad River and Little River cooperatives.

“Updates to the house that are really needed to modernize it were never really completed. So, I thought it would be a good candidate for the contest,” Drummond said.

She said her brother, who lives next door, brought the contest to her attention.

The house was built and first occupied by her parents in 1961, she said, and it has stayed in the family ever since.

In an essay she wrote with her contest entry, Drummond said she included some of house’s history along with her concern for energy-efficiency and being a good steward for the environment.

Electric cooperatives across South Carolina created “Help My House” to promote home energy efficiency to its electric customers. The contest attracted more than 4,000 entries, with the Drummond home one of seven to receive the upgrades.

Adopting an energy-conservation lifestyle at home was simply an extension of what they practiced elsewhere.

St. Paul the Apostle school in Spartanburg, where Drummond teaches Spanish and where her two sons, Alexander and Isaac, attend classes, was selected last year as the state’s Recycle School of the Year by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

In 2008, the K-8 school made recycling a priority with a number of initiatives and formation of an environmental club.

In recent years, they have used money earned from recycling aluminum cans to fund a student scholarship, and have made donations to the Ronald McDonald House and recycled a variety of items, including cell phones, ink jet cartridges and laser cartridges.

Part of the curriculum Drummond teaches at St. Paul includes the study of the world’s rain forests and the need to conserve the Earth’s resources.

“We’re very conscious of the environment at our school,” she said.

Drummond is in her eighth year as a teacher at the school, but only her third year as a Catholic. She joined the church in 2006 through the RCIA program.

Laurens Electric Cooperative completed the energy upgrade on the family’s 1,300-square-foot home last month.

Drummond and the other contest winners will speak at the cooperatives’ annual statewide meeting in December.

In the meantime, Drummond said she’s anxiously awaiting her first electric bill later this month—the first one since the upgrade. She’s been told that the goal of the project is to cut her electric bill in half from what it was before the work.

For her, that would mean a $100 savings on electricity costs.

Drummond said she notices the difference in the “new” home compared with the drafty one of just a few weeks ago.

“When I go outside I can feel the difference in temperature,” she said. “I can’t wait to get my bill.”






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