Columbia Gas of Ohio and AEP Ohio Launch Website for Prospective New Homebuyers

Online resource offers home energy efficiency guidelines, solutions and homebuilder recommendations

COLUMBUS, OH – July 7, 2014 – To meet the expectations of increasingly knowledgeable and selective new home buyers, Columbia Gas of Ohio and AEP Ohio will roll out a new name and website for their energy savings program that provides energy efficiency guidelines - from the ground up - for new home construction.

The newly named program – EfficiencyCrafted(SM) – has over 55 homebuilder partners across Ohio committed to building homes that surpass local building codes. These select builders use advanced construction practices, design details and materials that are verified to meet a higher standard of energy performance. Many of the homes earn the distinction of being ENERGY STAR® Certified.

"Consumers are pushing to know more about the technical components of their home as they relate to energy efficiency," said Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "Most people have heard of ENERGY STAR appliances, but now are also interested in how their new home can be ENERGY STAR Certified."

AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas are expanding on what was once a new homes program that mainly supplied energy efficiency training to builders to include helping consumers understand the mechanical features of a new home as they apply to energy efficiency.

"Consumers are beginning to care as much about their homes’ energy efficiency and HERS score as the cost per square foot of the house," said Randy Hall, president and rater, Cornerstone Energy Conservation Services.

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score is the industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured. It is also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance. A certified Home Energy Rater assesses the energy efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the home. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical existing home scores 130 on the HERS Index while a standard new home might be awarded a score of 100. A home with a HERS score of 70 is 30 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home.

"Terms like a HERS® score are becoming more mainstream," Jack Partridge, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio, explains. "Over the years, a shift has occurred in the consumer mindset, and more and more new home buyers understand they can reduce their homes’ energy bills while maintaining comfort. Through the EfficiencyCrafted brand, Columbia Gas of Ohio and AEP Ohio will help our customers locate new homebuilders who typically build homes with a HERS score under 70—and often 55 or lower."

Over the last three years, Columbia Gas of Ohio and AEP Ohio have worked with Ohio builders to provide the new home construction industry with the latest information in energy efficiency building materials, systems and appliances. The new website will help consumers understand what they should consider when building a new home and also provide direct access to EfficiencyCrafted builders.

For more information, visit EfficiencyCraftedHomes.com.

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About AEP Ohio / Columbia Gas of Ohio EfficiencyCrafted 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 EfficiencyCrafted 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 help 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 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 ColumbiaGasOhio.com.

AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Ohio Power Company in Ohio. 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. For more information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency consumer programs, events and tips, visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess.

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 40,000-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.


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. 16,000 organizations are ENERGY STAR partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, and buildings. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).


Media Contacts:


Fay White

Corporate Communications

AEP Ohio


W: 866-641-1151


Jason Copsey

External Affairs Specialist

Columbia Gas of Ohio


P: 419.539.6206

C: 419.250.4510

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