How simple conservation changes saved one Edmonds family $150

The following report was submitted by Todd Cloutier, Sustainable Edmonds board member, regarding early results from the Save Energy Now program.

Is it really this easy to save over $150? It just might be.

Some of our Save Energy Now participants started the program having already taken several measures at home to save energy. Some other participants, like A.Z.’s family, started out the program without having taken any conservation steps.

Starting in a home like A.Z.’s, how much difference can you make without spending a penny? Well, here are some hard numbers, just looking at natural gas:

Feb/Mar 2009: $416
Feb/Mar 2010: $253

That’s over $150 saved in one house, without spending a dime! What’s the big secret? We asked A.Z. to share what she’s done. Here’s what she had to say:

First, we set the water heater temp lower (120F). We also reduced the water pressure during showers. (This is so ridiculously simple- we just don’t pull the faucet handle all the way out.) We’ve shortened the time in the shower, too (five minutes max). My daughter has actually taped a sign to the shower door that reads, “Shorter showers save water.” She’s also put little notes on switch-plates that say, “Don’t forget to turn out the lights.”

A PUD thermometer now sits above the thermostat which gives the current temperature and reminds us to keep it at 68 degrees when home, and 55 degrees when gone or asleep (which we do now.) (see above photo) I used to keep it at 70 when we were home and at 67 when we were asleep. We are using electric blankets instead for sleep time.

There are so many behaviors that we never really considered until we got involved in this program. It’s really put our actions under a microscope and helped us see ways to change. For example, I get up at 5am and head downstairs. On goes the morning news, the coffee pot, the heater, the gas fireplace and the lights. Then I head upstairs to get ready. I used to leave everything on. Now everything goes off before I head upstairs. That’s an hour of energy saved, 5 days a week. It all adds up.

What will we do with the savings? Still don’t know. A trip? A more efficient water heater? An extra fabulous Christmas? The possibilities are endless.

Keep following Save Energy Now, and we’ll see what A.Z. and the rest of the participants come up with next!

(Disclosure: My Edmonds News Publisher Teresa Wippel is also a Sustainable Edmonds board member.)

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