While fireworks and Independence Day parades are synonymous with the Fourth of July, no such fanfare comes to mind when discussing energy efficiency. Perhaps it should. If you think about it, energy efficiency not only benefits individuals and families, but the country as a whole. Energy efficiency, combined with energy conservation and advances in technology in the utility industry, ultimately help our country on a path toward greater energy independence. And that’s worth celebrating.
Benefits of efficiency
At its essence, greater efficiency means less energy is used for the production of goods and services. For individual consumers, a reduction in energy use usually translates to a tangible financial benefit – more money in your bank account at the end of the month. If your co-op neighbors are also using less energy, collectively, it means the overall cost of providing that electricity could be lower and may result in reduced costs for co-op members.
For many, this is reason enough to strive for greater energy efficiency. On a national level, energy efficiency, sometimes called the “fifth fuel,” has a more profound impact. It can potentially boost the economy by allowing consumers and businesses to invest in other areas. As importantly, greater energy efficiency can reduce the amount of energy, or supply, the grid needs to meet demand. Small steps can lead to a big difference for you and your neighbors, whether across the road or across the country.
Energy efficiency can generally be achieved two ways. The first is with mechanical change, such as replacing an older HVAC unit or less efficient appliances. Less expensive actions include improving the seal of your home’s “envelope” by caulking exterior windows and doors and sealing openings where pipes and ductwork meet the outside.
The second way to realize energy efficiency is through smarter management of your energy use. Leveraging smart technology is a good place to start. Most smart thermostats and heat pump water heaters contain an app allowing remote control by mobile phone or tablet. Program them to reflect your family’s schedule. Sometimes, however, energy efficiency is simply a matter of changing old habits such as washing clothes in cold water instead of hot or running the dishwasher or charging your EV during off-peak times.
Regardless of the path you take on the road to energy efficiency and independence, BCREMC can help
you on the journey.
For information about energy efficiency programs and incentives, see bcremc.com/incentives.