KFTC Blog | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth


KFTC’s London office is on track to be completely solar-powered!

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 12, 2020

Solar panels on KFTC's London office building

Solar panels were recently installed on KFTC’s main office in London. This was the final step in a series of energy upgrades that the building had been undergoing in the last several months, which puts the office building on track to be completely solar-powered.
Energy audit of KFTC's London office, performed by MACED's E3 program.Working with partners at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), the building underwent an initial energy efficiency audit to determine what upgrades or fixes could be done to make it more energy efficient. This included a blower door test, which helped find all the places where air was coming into or out of the building and losing energy. These areas were then patched or holes plugged where the air was escaping. 
For example, the auditor found an uninsulated interior wall that had a hole in it, which enabled heated or cooled air to go straight up into the attic and outside.
KFTC owns the office building in London, making these investments possible (KFTC does not own the office spaces rented in other areas of the state).
The next step was upgrading the building’s insulation. Using spray foam insulation in the building, especially in the attic space, also helped seal many of the problem areas where air had been escaping. Upgrading the insulation also helped the building better maintain a steady temperature inside and decreasing the electricity used by the HVAC system.
Lastly, utilizing a rebate from Kentucky Utilities, all the lights inside the building were upgraded to LED lights.
And we’re already seeing an impact on the building’s utility bill. In the most recent twelve months, the building used 7,424 kWh of electricity whereas in the previous twelve months, the building used 13,520 kWh of electricity – 45 percent less usage! These savings are almost entirely as a result of the energy efficiency upgrades and do not include the newly-installed solar panels.
“In terms of cost, typically energy efficiency projects have more ‘bang-for-the-buck,’ or they’re ‘lower-hanging-fruit’ than rooftop solar,” explained Josh Bills, who is the Commercial Energy Specialist with MACED and helped with the project.
Bills also explained that the timing of the installation was critical. After legislators passed the anti-rooftop solar law last year, consumers will potentially no longer receive a one-to-one credit for energy generated from solar panels (it will be up to the Kentucky Public Service Commission to determine rates as requested by utilities from here on out). 

Installation of solar panels by Solar Energy Solutions

Installing the panels now ensures that KFTC will receive the full one-to-one credit for the next 25 years.
The cost of the solar panels and their installation was just under $20,000 and was approved by KFTC’s Steering Committee. With the savings from the energy efficiency upgrades and with the solar system estimated to be producing 8,500 kWh per year, the office is on track to be an energy-positive building, or completely solar-powered!
Chris Woolery, a member of KFTC’s New Energy & Transition committee, shared his excitement about the energy improvements:
“The clean energy improvements at the KFTC office are so important to me as a KFTC member, because they prove all of the things our members have been saying for years. The energy efficiency work proves that you can make a building more healthy and comfortable – and save money at the same time. The solar install proves that you can do the right thing for the environment – and save money at the same time! And using local contractors to do the work proves that Kentuckians have the skills, drive, and expertise to create the bright future that all Kentuckians want, need, and deserve. We need good jobs, healthier environments, and affordable energy in every single county of this state – and the only things holding us back are excuses and bad energy policy!
What the numbers tell us
By Josh Bills
In terms of cost, typically energy efficiency projects have more “bang-for-the-buck” than rooftop solar.
With the KFTC office, solar investment of $19,984 equals annual savings of $1,082. That comes to a simple payback of 18.5 years ($19,983.60 ÷ $1,082). Compare this with the lighting upgrade to LED in 2015. That investment was $1,024 with annual savings (today’s rate) of $175, which comes to a simple payback of 5.9 years ($1,024 ÷ $175). Combine the two and you get a simple payback of 16.7 years [($19,983.60 + $1,024) ÷ ($1,082 + $175)].
If we add the cost and savings of the insulation and air-sealing work that took place, we might see the overall cost get down to simple payback of overall investment closer to 10 to 12-year range.
Without the efficiency measures taken at least 30 percent more, or another eight (8) solar modules, would have to be added to the roof and there just isn’t space on the roof to do that.
Being one-for-one net metered gives an easy path to evaluate bill cost savings from solar generated kilowatts of electricity. 
With some different credit value than retail (i.e. without the one-for-one) we would have to know quantity of kWhs fed back to utility grid (at some new lower-than-retail value) versus quantity of solar kWhs consumed behind-the-meter (and thus avoiding retail cost electric kWh purchase) to get at savings—this is a hard thing to get clarity about before solar installed and some billing history is reviewed to get a sense of when consumption and generation line up—and thus will make it hard to estimate savings solar investments could provide for residential and small business electric customers.
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Northern Kentucky Hosts Coffee For The Commonwealth

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on February 10, 2020

The Northern Kentucky chapter hosted their first Coffee For The Commonwealth in January, inviting legislators representing Kenton County to meet for coffee with constiutents in an informal setting

Big week for Voting Rights last week

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 6, 2020

Over 36 hours, we had three big voting rights events – a Voting Rights Lobby Day, a Criminal Justice Panel Discussion, and a Press Conference for HB 6.

1-28-20 Frankfort Lobbying-3121 20200128_094608

Voting Rights Lobby Day

In all, we had 34 documented meetings with legislators, 8 lobby teams, and 28 grassroots lobbyists plus the Kentucky Council of Church's great Prayer Day of Action on Voting Rights and 60 UFCW workers there who talked to legislators about HB 6 as a part of their meetings.

Our members built up their confidence in speaking truth to power and we had frustrating and yet valuable conversations with foes and allied legislators alike.

We got a lot done today and we can build on it. Come join us in Frankfort to continue the work!

Voter Suppression is Violence – stop Senate Bill 2

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 23, 2020

x20200122_102707KFTC members were in Frankfort and on the phones yesterday to fight Senate Bill 2, a photo voter ID law designed to make it harder for some Kentuckians to vote by creating new hurdles for them. It’s especially troubling for young, elderly, low income and people of color communities – people who are less likely to have or need a photo ID. 

SB 2 is supposed to make it harder for people to impersonate someone else on election day. But even the bill's supporters at the hearing couldn't come up with even one example this century of any time anyone tried to do that in Kentucky.

To address this non-existent problem, they’re trying to pass a complicated 66-page bill that restructures a lot of our voting process and they’re trying to do it all in a hurry.

We ought to be making it easier for citizens to vote, though, not harder.

Voting Rights Coalition gathers to set the stage for 2020

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 13, 2020

Voting Rights Coalition Meeting 1/13/19

Over 40 people from 22 organizations gathered yesterday in Frankfort to celebrate our recent victories around voting rights, come to a shared understanding of Beshear’s executive order, to plan our work in the General Assembly to pass a robust constitutional amendment, and to start to think about how we can work together to register the estimated 140,000 Kentuckians who just regained the right to vote.

Our legislative focus between now and April 15 will be on HB 6, Charles Booker’s bill to restore voting rights to all Kentuckians after they’ve served their time.  This bill is still needed because it doesn’t have the same exclusions as Beshear’s Executive order and it would be permanent. 

To make a difference in this campaign in just a few minutes, you can call the Legislative Message Line (800-372-7181) and leave a message for your senator and representative, plus House and Senate Leadership to say that you “support HB 6.”

How do I know if Beshear's executive order restored my right to vote?

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 13, 2020

We won a major victory late last year when Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order restoring the right to vote to an estimated 140,000 people with felonies in their past.

Our allies at the Campaign Legal Center put together a great tool at www.Restoreyourvote.org to help people figure out whether Andy Beshear's Executive Order applies to them.

It asks a series of questions to determine if someone can register to vote, and if so, connects you with an online voter registration portal. For people excluded from the executive order but who have served their time, there's still the option of requesting voting rights through an individual partial pardon from the Governor.

Exclusions in the executive order are:

You can run for office (and win) - Filing deadline is Friday Jan 10th

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 7, 2020

IMG_1457We don't always get the candidates we want or deserve.  Sometimes bad politicians go unopposed on election day or we're forced to choose between the "lesser of two evils."  We do the best we can with the candidates we have, keeping our eyes on our vision and longterm meaningful political change, but our voter work sure is more fun and more impactful with great candidates. 

We are Kentuckians.  We are our own best chance for change.  Maybe we're the candidates we've been waiting for.  Maybe you know and respect someone who would run for office if you encouraged them to.  Maybe it's time that you run for office yourself.

Kentucky Political Party Change Deadline - Dec 31

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 23, 2019

In 2020, all state representative seats and half of our state senate seats are up for lection in addition to all US house of representative seats and one US Senate seat (currently held by Mitch McConnell)

If you're already registered in Kentucky, Monday Dec 31 is the last day top "lock in" your political party choice for purposes of voting in May primary elections for those races or for purposes of becoming a candidate in one of those races.

Statement from the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition on the victory and path ahead

Posted by: Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition on December 23, 2019

On December 12, Governor Andy Beshear helped Kentucky take a historic step forward. With the twirl of a pen, 140,000 previously disenfranchised members of our commonwealth were re-empowered with the right to vote. Years of conversations, meetings, phone calls, and work by people with felonies in their past created the grassroots support needed to bring us to this moment.

Over a hundred of us attended and cheered as the governor signed the order and stated his support for a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights. There is much to be lauded about this act, including the explicit exclusion of any requirement that fines and fees be paid to qualify for restoration. 140,000 is truly a huge number, and a step towards helping disenfranchised people regain a sense of normalcy within society.

This is what a healthy democracy is about – allowing people who have a stake in the decisions made by elected officials to have a voice in deciding who those officials are. It’s fundamental to who we are as a state and a nation.

We, the Kentucky Voter Rights Restoration Coalition, are a network of 30+ similarly minded community groups working to ensure that every person who is denied the right to vote has that right restored. We believe that once a person has served their time, they have the right to re-engage with society.

Big Voting Rights Win - Executive Action

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 17, 2019

Governor Andy Beshear's Executive Action of Voting Rights SigningOn Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order to restore voting rights for an estimated 140,000 people with felonies in their past.  It’s an overwhelming and powerful victory 15 years in the making that has the potential to deepen our Democracy in Kentucky.  And with a truer Democracy, so much is possible.

Debbie's Reflections on Today's Inauguration

Posted by: Debbie Graner on December 10, 2019

2.13.19_Voting_Rights_Rally-0456Today, I stood in the cold for hours at Andy Beshear’s inauguration because I believe in democracy, and I’m really proud of his win and what it means for the future of Kentucky. I worked hard with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth to get him elected, making phone calls and talking to people on their doorstep. But I couldn't vote for him.


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