Summer is just around the corner. Although the spring has given us brief reprieves from winter weather, soon the summer heat will arrive. With more people expected to work from home this summer, temperatures might not be the only thing rising.
Your air conditioning is one of the most demand intensive appliances in your home, accounting for more than 15 percent of your total energy usage. This means members will begin to see their demand charge rise to include the use of this additional appliance. However, when United Power introduced its demand rate in January 2019, it also lowered the cost of energy – which means two things for members.
Most members will not see a significant increase to their monthly bills despite January rate increases. With the decrease in cost of energy corresponding to the demand rate increase, bills should stay fairly level. The average increase for members on the standard residential rate when increases took effect was less than $2/month. Rate increases also gave members more control over their bills by allowing them to choose when to use appliances, keeping demand low and bills even lower. The graphic below demonstrates appliance stacking and how staggering their use can save on demand.
United Power has also provided tools to assist members in monitoring and controlling their energy usage. The Power Portal, for example, provides a custom dashboard detailing energy usage patterns and identifying peak demand allowing members to determine what behaviors are driving their demand. The cooperative also launched a new demand calculator this year to give members an idea of what appliances are consuming the most energy and contributing to demand charges. With air conditioning being a main culprit during the summer, United Power also offers a rebate on energy efficient A/C units.
The majority of summer energy efficiency tips revolve around creative ways to keep your home cool without overburdening your air conditioning. You can find some of these energy efficiency tips below.
Summer Energy Efficiency Tips
Although summer is still a few weeks out, it’s never too early to start thinking about how to use energy more efficiently. Summer utility bills can be higher, but with a little preparation, you can see big savings on your summer energy usage.
Cross ventilate your home. Colorado’s mild climate makes cross ventilation a perfect way to cool your home without using excess energy. Cross ventilation uses wind moving through your home to cool it naturally rather than by using an appliance like your air conditioner. Simply open windows in the morning or evening to let the natural cool air in and turn off the A/C.
Block out the sun. Another way to keep your home cool and give your air conditioner a break is to close blinds or curtains. Open windows allow light in which warms the air causing the A/C to work harder to keep your home cool. Keeping blinds closed allows the air to warm more slowly.
Use ceiling fans. Ceiling fans allow you to increase the temperature on your air conditioning unit by up to four degrees without any loss in comfort. They should be turning counterclockwise during the summer. But remember to turn them off when you leave a room. Fans don’t actually cool the air in a room, just the people.
Use a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats learn your habits and can adjust your air conditioner accordingly. It also gives 24/7 access to your home’s heating and cooling.