Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 7, 2010 — Bill and Mary Quilhot of Gassville, members of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, are about to replace their 1940s vintage Toastmaster electric water heater and make numerous energy-efficiency upgrades as the winners of an energy efficiency makeover for their 1,390-square-foot home. The value of the makeover is up to $50,000.

Yes, the water heater still works, but the couple will retire the inefficient unit and replace it with a high efficiency unit during the makeover process.

The couple’s home will receive a complete pre- and post-diagnostic energy audit, including a blower door test and infrared thermography. The home will receive energy-saving applications, including sealing the building envelope, Retrofoam insulation, a Marathon water heater, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and insulated windows and doors.

The cooperatives received more than 2,000 applications for the contest, which is in its third year. In addition to the grand-prize winner, 16 runners-up will receive free 40-gallon high energy-efficient Marathon water heaters.

The Quilhot’s 70-year-old home, cooled with five window units, has major air infiltration. An energy audit revealed that the home has 1.42 air changes per hour, which means that 142 percent of the air in the house changes with outside air every hour. Ideally, this figure should be 25 to 30 percent, according to Doug White, vice president of systems services for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

“The Quilhot’s home is typical of many homes throughout our state,” White said. “During the makeover process, our team will make this home energy efficient and comfortable.”

White said the cooperatives’ goal is to educate all Arkansans that energy efficiency of homes and businesses can be improved with simple and affordable solutions. Photos and video coverage of the measures incorporated into the makeover project are available at

Winners of free 40-gallon Marathon water heaters are:

  • Raymond and Juli DesOrmeaux, Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark;
  • Lulabelle Warren, Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative of Hamburg;
  • Jeff Bost, C & L Electric Cooperative of Star City;
  • Chris and Kasey Snow, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville;
  • Joe and Lorene Chavez, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning;
  • Ralph Brown, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro;
  • Anita Samaniego, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport;
  • Steven Roland, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville;
  • Roger Riney, Mississippi County Electric Cooperative of Blytheville;
  • Tony and Sandy Harcrow, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden;
  • Elizabeth Konig, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville;
  • Joe Tsosie, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton;
  • Stephen Bass, Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative of Mena;
  • Barry Clark, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Arkadelphia;
  • Sid Cunningham, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana; and
  • Neal and Lisa Grady, Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

Additional project sponsors include: Harry G. Barr Company; Doug Rye; Marathon Water Heaters; Rood Heating and Air; and Water Furnace.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative.

The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or