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Home Energy Makeover

Energy-Efficiency Ambassadors

The Donaldson family, members of Heart of Texas EC

B.J. and Linda Donaldson live on a five-acre homestead in Speegleville, west of Waco, surrounded by endless corn and wheat fields.

B.J. has spent his career at Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies, where he now is vice president of underwriting. Linda, his high school sweetheart, retired after working many years at a Hallmark shop.

Now that their two children are grown, the couple spends more time on their hobbies: B.J. restores old furniture; Linda hunts for angels—like the elegant, ceramic seraphim displayed prominently in the family living room.

But the most recent angel to visit the house came in the form of a person—a Heart of Texas Electric Coop-erative employee—who told the Donaldsons they had won the Home Energy Makeover contest.

The couple knew their two-story home was wasting energy and money. Much of the equipment in the home, including one of two air-conditioning units, was installed when the 1,952-square-foot house was built in 1987. The water heater was well past its prime, and the insulation was skimpy.

Now B.J. is an unofficial energy-efficiency ambassador. “I’ve had so many people coming up to me and congratulating me and wanting to know what we are doing (to improve energy efficiency),” B.J. said. “It’s giving us and the co-op quite a lot of exposure.”

In addition to a new air-conditioning system, water heater and other improvements, B.J. said he is acting on tips he has learned from Heart of Texas employees and in the pages of Texas Co-op Power magazine.

“It’s certainly heightened my awareness,” B.J. said of entering the contest. “We’ve now replaced every light in the house (with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs), including the porch lights. I think all this will combine to create some energy savings for us—little tips like this—not to mention the things the co-op is doing for the energy-efficiency makeover.”

Home Energy Makeover local sponsors: