Cut Energy Use with Free or Low-Cost Tips, Programs, Rebates from Local Utilities
December 2014 - NWREporter
With the arrival of winter, many homeowners expect energy consumption to rise. In fact, some utilities say a typical household uses about 40 percent more kilowatts per month compared to summer averages.
Homeowners can cut their energy use by taking advantage of several low- and no-cost tips from local utilities. At a recent seminar presented by Washington State Community Associations Institute, speakers outlined various programs, services, rebates and incentives to help lower energy bills.
Energy efficiency is good the environment, the region, homes and buildings, suggested Mark Kammerer, an energy outreach coordinator for Puget Sound Energy (PSE). Its interest in promoting energy efficiency is based on several factors, including managing energy costs, balancing resource planning, and improving system reliability.
Residential customers in PSE's 6,000 square mile service area can find out how to use less and save more with a free HomePrint™ Assessment. Under that service, an independent, PSE qualified specialist provides an overview of a home's energy use, along with recommendations for cutting consumption.
As part of the HomePrint™ Assessment, qualifying customers can get on-the-spot installation of up to 20 high efficiency LED light bulbs and up to two high-performance showerheads. The specialist can also provide information on product rebates, contractor referrals and weatherization assistance.
PSE's energy advisors can help evaluate consumption and offer tips for saving money on utilities by analyzing lighting and appliances, water heating, air leaks, insulation, and heating. For example, based on the average energy use of a standard electric furnace, a PSE customer can expect to pay around $1,750 per year. With an EE ductless heat pump, that customer can save almost $1,000 annually.
Heating accounts for about half a home's energy use, as shown by the following chart:
Kammerer said PSE invests about $100 million annually in energy efficiency in serving its Western Washington counties where approximately four million residents live. He reported
the company's energy-efficiency programs saved enough electricity in 2013 to power more than 25,000 homes and natural gas to heat more than 6,000 homes.
Homeowners are invited to visit PSE's online Savings & Energy Center (www. http://pse.com/savingsandenergycenter) to learn which programs are best suited for their home, based in part on its age.
Customers not served by PSE are encouraged to visit their utility's website for tips, ideas and programs to help make homes operate more efficiently.