Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Take the Conway Corp Energy Smart Challenge

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are officially over. We’re putting away the decorations and the treats and making lists of what we hope to accomplish this year. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions will be to lose weight and get fit, but the average treadmill uses between 600 and 700 watts of energy meaning a quick workout is the equivalent of leaving 50 CFL light bulbs on for 30 minutes.

This year, head outside to walk, run or bike instead and resolve to save energy and money in 2016 by participating in the Conway Corp Energy Smart Challenge. The Challenge helps Conway residents make home energy upgrades easy and affordable. Customers can work at their own pace choosing to start with small upgrades like replacing old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, or they can request a free energy audit from Conway Corp to identify goals and develop a tailored plan for their home. Zero percent interest loans are even available for many upgrades including attic insulation and appliances.

No matter how large or small you start, saving energy is a resolution you can stick with that will save you money in the long run while making your home more comfortable too. Start with these five tips and put them into action in the next three months – you will definitely start to notice changes.

START USING POWER STRIPS

Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called energy vampires, these devices cost families more than $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. And be sure to unplug your chargers – they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.

REPLACE INEFFICIENT LIGHTING

About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs. By just replacing five of your home's most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LED bulbs.

UPGRADE APPLIANCES

Installing and setting a programmable thermostat can save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs while switching to ENERGY STAR certified appliances can save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the item.

REDUCE WATER HEATING EXPENSE

Water heating is a large energy expense in your home, accounting for about 14-18 percent of your utility bills. By taking low-cost steps, you can reduce your water heating bills. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Install low-flow showerheads or temperature-sensitive shower valves. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.

BENCHMARK YOUR ENERGY USAGE

Staring down 12 months of utility bills can be daunting, but benchmarking is a key step toward seeing how your current enrgy usage stacks up, prioritizing your projects and ultimately making a dent in your utility bills. The myConwayCorp app is a great resource for the past 13 months of electric and water usage in your home.

Set an energy-saving goal that will both challenge you and serve as an attainable milestone to reach by year-end. Aim to reduce energy use by 5 percent or save $300 from last year. Whatever your goal – set it and work towards it.

Once you’ve made the commitment, click here to officially sign up to take the Energy Smart Challenge and pledge to reduce your energy usage and footprint in 2016. You will find other ideas and tips for energy efficiency along with information on free residential energy audits and zero percent interest loans for qualified energy efficient improvements.

Customers who register to take the Energy Smart Challenge will be entered to win a $100 Lowe’s gift card to help with energy efficiency improvements around the home. Winner will be selected by random drawing and announced February 1, 2016. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Three employees celebrate milestone anniversaries

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corp would like to recognize three employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Mike McCaskle is celebrating 36 years with Conway Corp. Mike was hired in December 1979 as a Water Plant Operator and was promoted to his current position Chief Plant Operator in September 1998. Mike operates and maintains stationary mechanical equipment including water pumping equipment engines, air compressors, generators, motors, turbines and chemical insertion units to help provide fresh, plentiful and clean water to the residents of Conway.

Steve Plant is celebrating 37 years with Conway Corp. Steve was hired into the Electric Department in December 1978. He was promoted to Journeyman in October 1999 and to his current position Safety Director in March 2002. Steve provides expertise and direction in coordinating safety practices, activities and concerns for Conway Corp.  

Dave Bradley is celebrating 38 years with Conway Corp. Dave was hired in December 1977 in the Waste Water Department. He was serving as the Waste Water Superintendent when he was promoted to the Water Systems Assistant Superintendent in February 1997. Dave was promoted to his current position Water Systems Manager in October 1997 where he directs and coordinates all activities concerned with the operation of the Conway Corp Water Systems Department to help ensure fresh, plentiful and clean water for the residents of Conway. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Energy Smart surpasses $500,000 milestone

Conway Corp’s Energy Smart program recently reached a milestone as it surpassed the $500,000 mark in zero-interest loans provided by the company.

In 2009 Conway Corp launched the Energy Smart initiative. The company began with a residential energy audit program to help customers make their homes more energy efficient. With funding from the city of Conway, through the Stimulus Funding Act of 2009, Conway Corp began offering loans in early 2010. The loans range from $500 to $2,500 and can be used by residential customers to make energy efficiency improvements at zero percent interest.

In November, Conway Corp announced it has issued more than 200 loans totaling more than $500,000 during the course of the six-year program. In that same time, the company has provided more than 2,400 free energy audits.

“With the 2,400 audits and half-million in loans, the energy savings to our customers is estimated to be over $935,000 per year and $13,833,000 for the life expectancy of their home,” David Avra, Energy Efficiency Manager said.

“It has been rewarding to help our customers make the improvements we recommend through our audit program and to know the impact it will make for them and for the environment. Customers have used loans to replace old appliances, install new windows or attic insulation. It makes a big difference for them.” Avra said.

In addition to the audit and loan programs, Conway Corp encourages builders to build Energy Smart homes through its new home program. To learn more about the Energy Smart program, contact Conway Corp at 501.450.6000 or click here.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Let Energy Smart help you save money this holiday season

The winter holidays are a time for delicious food and festive fun shared with cherished company, but your energy use can rise considerably with all the extra decorating and entertaining shared with family and friends.

While today’s new household appliances use nearly 50 percent less energy than those built just a decade ago, they’re worked overtime during the holidays which can add to your utility bill. Americans spend more than $65 billion a year on holiday gifts, but thankfully it’s easier to keep your added holiday energy costs to a minimum with just a few simple tips.

Cooking Tips

  • The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. Since it's a long, slow cook, there's no need to preheat your oven – even when the recipe suggests it. This also holds true for a holiday ham. In fact, unless you're baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.
  • Don't open the oven door to take a peek at what's cooking inside. Instead, turn on the oven light and check the cooking status through the oven window. Opening the door for even a few seconds lowers the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees which increases cooking time and wastes energy.
  • If you use glass or ceramic pans, try turning your oven down by 25 degrees. Your dish will cook just as quickly.
  • When cooking on top of your range, match the size of the pan to the heating element. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy.
  • Clean burners and reflectors provide better heating, while saving energy. If you need new reflectors, buy quality ones. The best on the market can save as much as one-third of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove.
  • Don't overlook the other cooking appliances during the holidays. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens, and they don't heat up your kitchen. Consider using them to bake yams, steam your favorite fresh vegetables or heat up leftover turkey and gravy for a midnight snack.
  • Use your slow cooker. For about 17 cents worth of electricity, you can prepare an entire meal.

Cleaning & Household Tips

  • A load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you'll use half as much water as a dishwasher after your holiday party.
  • If you opt to use the dishwasher, wash full loads only. If you must rinse your dishes before loading them, use only cold water so you're not running up your energy bill by heating water unnecessarily.
  • Use the energy-saving cycles whenever possible. Dishwashers that feature air power or overnight dry settings can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.
  • Store extra beverages outside or in a cold garage during the winter to save on the energy required to power a second refrigerator.
  • Consider unplugging your Christmas lights or other electronic decorations and devices during the daytime or if you’re traveling for the holidays. In the average home, nearly 75 percent of the energy used to power electronics is consumed while they are turned off but still plugged in.
  • When it comes time to buy gifts for your friends and family, opt for Energy Star certified electronics which use up to 60 percent less electricity than their non-certified counterparts. In addition, laptop computers require 50 to 80 percent less power than a desktop computer.

Decorating Tips

  • Consider buying miniature lights which use about 70 percent less energy and last much longer than the larger bulbs. If you prefer larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, which use about 30 percent less energy than 7-10 watt bulbs. A 100-bulb strand of miniature lights will cost the typical residential customer $13.50 a month versus the $33.75 it cost to operate traditional bulbs.
  • Want something new or different? Look for LED holiday bulbs – they’re shatterproof, shock resistant, safe to touch and won’t burn your hands. Plus, they save up to 80 to 90 percent of your energy costs and can last up to 20 years. Ten sets of 100 LED bulbs cost the typical residential customer only $1.35 per month to operate.
  • Plug your indoor and outdoor lighting displays into a timer set to run during the earlier evening hours. This will also remove the burden of turning lights on and off or accidentally leaving them on and running up your electric bill unnecessarily.
  • Rather than adding more lights to your tree, try enhancing the existing lighting with tinsel, mirrored ornaments and other reflective ornaments. Also, consider decorating your home with fewer lights and using more decorations that don’t use energy like wreaths or poinsettias.

Saving energy is a habit you should practice all year long, and the holidays are a great time to start. Just simply being aware of your energy usage can help you save energy and money. You can even make a New Year’s resolution that’s good for your pocketbook and the environment by scheduling a free residential energy audit through the Conway Corp Energy Smart program.

For additional information on energy efficiency or to schedule your audit, contact Conway Corp at 501-450-6000 or click here.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Customer Newsletter: Conway Corp breaks ground on new customer care center

Conway Corp will soon begin construction on a new Customer Care center as a part of the company’s Prairie Street campus master plan.

“As the company and the services we provide have grown, we have run out of space for both our staff and for servicing customers,” CEO Richard Arnold said.

Rik Sowell Architects began working with Conway Corp staff in 2014 to put together a long-term plan to deal with growth and future needs.

Phase one of the plan includes the construction of a new 28,000 to 30,000-square-foot anchor building on the corner of Locust and Prairie Streets.

The building will be three stories of offices with ground floor retail space and customer care space overlooking an outdoor plaza. The back of the building will include a two-lane drive-thru for customer bill pay.

According to Arnold, the current drive-thru system is intermittent, and it is difficult to find someone who can work on the outdated system.

The second floor will have billing services and marketing staff offices as well as training space. The third floor will have executive staff offices.

“With the existing building and the new construction, we will have room for growth to meet customer needs,” Arnold said.

The company expects to complete construction on the building in early 2017.

Click here to read more about the new Customer Care building or the rest of the Fall 2015 Customer Newsletter including the official launch of Conway Corp’s Home Security and Automation services.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Conway Corp honored for philanthropy

The Arkansas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals named Conway Corp as its Outstanding Corporation at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon in Little Rock last week.

Richard Arnold, Conway Corp CEO, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the company’s employees and the city of Conway itself. 

“Conway is such a great community. Our three colleges mean so much to our local economy and quality of life,” he said. “Conway Corp was founded in 1929 to support our local educational institutions, and we are proud to continue that legacy.”

The company was nominated for the award by the University of Central Arkansas with supporting recommendations from Hendrix College, Central Baptist College, Conway Public Schools Foundation and Conway Regional Health System. 

“Conway Corporation is part of the very fabric that makes up the city of Conway,” Lori Scroggin, Chief Development Officer for Conway Regional Health System said. “Their long-standing support of education and economic development has been essential to the growth in this area of the state.” 

UCA President Tom Courtway and Conway Corp CEO Richard Arnold at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon in Little Rock. Conway Corp was presented the Outstanding Corporation award by the Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. UCA nominated Conway Corp for the award. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Three employees celebrate 25-plus years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corp would like to recognize three employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Bruce Bradford is celebrating 29 years with Conway Corp. Bruce was hired in November 1986 as Plant Operator at Brewer Lake and continues in that position today. He operates and maintains stationary mechanical equipment and lake maintenance at Brewer Lake to help provide fresh, plentiful and clean water to the residents of Conway.

Jim Isom is celebrating 39 years with Conway Corp. Jim was hired into the Engineering Department in November 1976. He was promoted from Water Systems Designer to his current position Senior Water Systems Designer in October 2005. Jim is responsible for planning, designing, studying and coordinating engineering activities for the company including special studies.

Steve Snyder is celebrating 39 years with Conway Corp. Steve was hired in November 1976 and was promoted to Journeyman Lineman. In October 2013, he was promoted to Senior Lineman. Steve supervises an electric crew and works to install, maintain and repair both overhead and underground electrical power distribution lines to provide reliable electric service to the citizens of Conway. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Start winterizing your home now

Getting yourself ready for a long Arkansas winter is easy. All you really need is a good coat and a nice pair of gloves. Unfortunately, until someone invents a hoodie for your house, it takes a little more effort to prepare your home for cooler temperatures.

Preparing for winter might seem like an unnecessary chore, but the financial benefits definitely outweigh a small to-do list over a few weekends. Winter heating costs are on the rise, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts Americans will pay 15 percent more for heating expenses this year. That number can skyrocket even more if windows are poorly insulated, the plumbing breaks or the heating system is outdated. Ensuring your home is prepped properly can save a nice chunk of change while protecting your property for years to come.

Start by checking windows and doors for drafts. Little gaps in windows, doors or cracks in the walls are letting cool air in raising your energy bill and wasting five to thirty percent of your home’s energy use per year according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you find cold air is rushing in from underneath your door and warm air is rushing out, an easy and surprisingly effective solution is the draft snake. Adopted during the Great Depression era, a draft snake can easily be made by rolling up a towel or filling up a pouch of fabric with kitty litter or sand then tucked underneath or in front of the door.

If your windows are reaching retirement age and cold air is leaking through the cracks, try covering them with bubblewrap. Although it might look funny, the bubblewrap will trap the pockets of air that cool down your home while still allowing light to come through.

It’s easy to check around windows for gaps too. Have a friend stand outside with a blow dryer while you hold a lit candle inside. If the dryer blows out the candle, then it’s time to reseal with caulk. Remember to also check doors and windows outside to see if they’ve deteriorated over time too. An easy fix to seal drafts around a door is installing a storm door to help reduce air floor. Properly installed storm doors can reduce the warm air out and cold air in and increase energy efficiency by 45 percent.

Once you’ve tackled drafts, it’s time to look at how you heat your home. You want it warm so you keep the thermostat high, but your wallet is going to suffer. Invest in a programmable thermostat and set it to 50 or 55 degrees when you go to bed and while you’re at work. You won’t enjoy the warmer temperatures while you’re asleep or away from the house anyway and turning down the temperature 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day can save ten percent a year on your energy bill. You can also change the rotation of your ceiling fans to clockwise to produce warmer air and help cut your heating costs by 10 percent.

Finally, don’t forget to prep your plumbing for the winter too. Conventional water heaters are typically set at 140 degrees, but most households only need a setting of 120 degrees to be comfortable. Check your water heaters and lower them to 120 degrees to save six to ten percent on your bill annually.

In addition, drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler pipes blown out. Roll up garden hoses and store them inside. Identify any problem pipes that are prone to freezing in the house and consider using heat tape to keep them warm during extremely cold weather. This won’t save money on your heating bills, but it can help avoid unfortunate pipe bursts later in the winter and costly repair bills.

All of these ideas are easy to warm up to and help keep you and your family warm this winter while keeping money in your bank account. Looking for more ways to save this winter and all year long? Click here and find energy-saving tips plus discover how to receive a free energy audit from Conway Corp or see if you quality for a zero-percent interest loan for energy-saving improvements in your home. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Four employees certified to climb

Meter Reader Josh Glover, Electronics/Electrical Technician Lonnie McCoy, SCADA & Network Systems Administrator Zach Leach and Water Systems Engineer Lee Tedford recently completed safety climbing school in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

The four attended the weeklong SafetyLMS training course where they learned and practiced climbing and rescue skills. They are now trained to safely climb towers and to identify and implement an aerial rescue in an emergency situation. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Two employees celebrate 25-plus years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corp would like to recognize two employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Jim Moore is celebrating 29 years with Conway Corp. Jim was hired in October 1986 as a serviceman in the Electric Department. After completing the Journeyman Apprentice Program, he was promoted to a Journeyman Lineman Meterman in 1996. Jim was promoted to Senior Meterman in 1998 and to Electric Foreman in 2000. Jim was promoted again in 2003 to Assistant Superintendent in the Electric Department and to his current position of Electric Distribution System Manager in April 2013. Jim works 24/7 to ensure safe, reliable and economic operation of the entire electric department and to keep the lights on for the residents of Conway during normal and emergency conditions.

Darren Frost is celebrating 32 years with Conway Corp. Darren was hired In October 1983 as a Utility Worker and was promoted to March 2005 to his current position as Water Systems Foreman. Darren oversees a crew of utility workers who are responsible for cleaning, repairing and installing water system pipes, manholes, hydrants, valves, etc. to ensure Conway residents are provided with clean and abundant drinking water on a daily basis. 

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