Fears

There is a lot you can do to reduce your electric bill:

  • We are upgrading the fluorescent lighting in a local clinic to LEDs. We expect to save more than $3,000 per year in electricity while providing far superior lighting.
  • One July, I added $925 of insulation to our home. The August electric bill was $40 less than the previous hotter August.
  • This week contractors will finish installing geothermal a heat pump system in our home. This lets us cut off our natural gas pipeline.  It will also cut our heating and cooling bill by 75 percent while cutting the overall utility bill in half.
  • Solar panels are continuing to drop. You can install a photovoltaic (PV) system on your house for about the cost of a new Chevy Malibu. The difference is that the PV system will work for you providing free electricity for the next 25 years. You’ll work for the new car for the next five to ten years, until it’s time to buy a new one. See http://www.getaffordableenergy.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=306&action=edit for a year-by-year comparison.
  • Energy storage is not yet cost effective when there is an available utility grid. However prices are now falling as sharply as solar panel prices fell a few years ago. Look for grid-tied battery backup to be cost effective very soon.
  • Wind power is feasible in some rural areas.
  • Micro-hydro systems are showing a lot of promise in hilly terrain.
  • There are so many little things you can do that can add up to big savings.

Why Conservation First?

As past president of the Alabama Solar Association, current president of the North Alabama ASHRAE Chapter, and as a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), I have always recommended conservation as the first step of employing renewable energy such as solar and wind. Studies show that every dollar you spend on energy conservation will save you three to five dollars on a new PV system. Conservation is a major factor in making energy storage more economical:

  • LED lighting advances
  • Energy efficient refrigeration
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Smart meters
  • Other energy efficient advances

Does conservation make sense to you? Want to start right now? Go to your thermostat. If it is still in heating mode, turn the thermostat two degrees cooler. Now wear more comfortable clothing. You will cut your heating bill by 5 percent.

If you are already in cooling mode, like here in Alabama, set the thermostat two degrees warmer and save 5 percent on cooling. It’s a great excuse to wear less and more comfortable clothing.

Along the way, see any lights burning that are not needed. How about warts. Those pesky “wall warts” we use to charge cell phones and other devices can use a lot of power even when they are not being used. See what you can adjust, turn off, or unplug. It begins working for you immediately.

Check out tips at these websites:

Need help?

Contact Morton at +1.256.658.5189 or Morton.archibald@GetAffordableEnergy.com.

 

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