In numerous public forums around the county, Douglas County Smart Energy has been recruiting energy champions — homeowners willing to take actions to make their homes more energy efficient and to share the success stories with their communities. For The News-Review readers who missed these forums, this is your notice: You, too, can become an energy champion and reduce your utility bills. Douglas County Smart Energy is ready to help you with free technical assistance.
Perhaps, you have trouble interpreting your components of your utility bill, the units of energy and the seasonal variation in the amounts. We can help. Each utility bill provides a 12-month history of energy consumption. After reviewing the history and getting an inventory of the heating /cooling equipment, water heaters, refrigerators/freezers and major appliances, we can give you a profile of energy use by appliance or system. This is a critical step in setting priorities for energy efficiency. We identify the biggest users of energy, and the least efficient equipment and then explore the options to improve upon them.
Sometimes, efficiency can be substantially improved through maintenance, repairs or operations adjustments. An example of maintenance is replacing insulation that was torn or removed. An example of repairs is sealing a heating duct that is leaking at a joint. An example of an operations adjustment is a thermostat set point adjustment on a water heater, freezer or heating system. Operations and maintenance savings add up quickly and often cost little to execute. They should be done first before considering equipment purchases or upgrades.
Even if you have done some efficiency upgrades in the past, do not assume that all is done that can be done. New and better technologies are developing every year. Heat pumps and refrigerators are much more efficient than they were a few years ago. LED lights are superior to incandescent and fluorescent in both energy efficiency and bulb life.
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