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Energy auditor Kevin Hein uses an infrared camera to look at the living room in Erik Thompson's home in Milan to see where heat loss is occurring. The Milan Sustainable Energy Utility brought Hein to town to help interested participants in a home energy conservation workshop analyze their homes. (Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny)

First rural SEU at work

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As surely as the winter winds howl, residents in Milan send their hard-earned dollars to the far-corners of the earth.

With some exceptions, every dollar that residents of Milan spend to heat their homes this winter will be sent out of the community and, often, right out of the country.

Whether it's oil or propane for furnaces, or coal for electric heat, the fuel sources must all be "imported'' to Milan.

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