For more information, please contact:
Marty Haught — Communications
Phone: (817) 782-8393
For Immediate Release
July 14, 2016
Conservation Can Save Energy Dollars
BURLESON – With the heat of the summer upon us, members can take measures to help hold the line on their electricity costs. Creating a checklist of conservation tips can go a long way toward focusing on managing energy use now and into the future.
The first thing to note during these sweltering times is where the thermostat is set. United Cooperative Services’ energy experts recommend 78o for the cooling temperature. By doing this simple measure, members can reduce their air conditioning expense dramatically. For every degree below 78 degrees can increase cooling costs by up to 5 percent. Plus, utilizing programmable or wifi-enabled learning thermostats can help members manage a desired temperature throughout the day that results in less energy used, meaning that while homeowners are away from home during the day, they can program the thermostat to raise the temperature and waste less energy.
The next important checklist item is to ensure the air conditioning unit runs at maximum energy efficiency. It’s recommended to have units checked and serviced, if necessary, each year. The air conditioning units compress gas, which expands to produce cool temperatures. An A/C unit insufficiently charged with refrigerant will result in longer operating cycles, thus increasing the overall energy consumption and increasing costs. Annual servicing and monthly changing of air filters will benefit the energy efficiency of an air conditioner and save money. A dirty air filter can increase cooling time, increase energy usage, and ultimately result in a 30 to 50 percent higher utility bill.
United offers its members HVAC tune-up rebates up to a $100 value. Members simply need to download the rebate application from the cooperative’s website (www.united-cs.com), hire a licensed HVAC vendor, then submit the paperwork to receive a rebate.
Utilizing ceiling or house fans is an economical way to conserve energy. According to the Department of Energy, the average temperature of comfort is between 72oF and 78oF. To extend the comfort range to 82oF, a breeze of about 1.7 mph is needed. This could be achieved by using ceiling or house fans. A ceiling or house fan can easily grant enough air flow to extend an energy savings comfort level.
Avoid the use of an oven during the summer. Reducing heat in the home means less strain on the cooling system. Use the stove top instead or, better yet, use the microwave or outdoor grill to heat and prepare meals.
Lowering water heater settings will further reduce electric bills. United recommends 120 degrees or lower for optimum savings.
Utilize blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day to decrease the amount of heat gain allowed in through windows. Most windows account for nearly half of a home’s heat gain. Quite often United’s energy auditors recommend solar screens as a great option to help reduce heat into the home, and there are several installers offering discounts to members through United’s Co-op Connections Card program (go to www.united-cs.com to learn more). When installing solar screens, consider going with the screens that block out up to 90 percent of the heat gain.
United offers its members an array of energy innovation resources, including free home energy audits in which we provide complimentary CFL bulbs, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, insulated water heater blankets, etc.
The cooperative also offers an EnergySmarts grant program. Through this initiative, United provides grant funding to eligible members served by United for the installation and implementation of energy efficiency measures and some renewable distributed generation applications.
EnergySmarts grants help members implement projects to help offset rising energy costs, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and control Texas’ growing demand for electricity. The grants will cover up to a maximum of $1,000 for residential efficiency measures and $500 for solar-powered applications. The EnergySmarts Grant program operates on a first-come, first- served basis. Residential members at 200% of the federal poverty level, and own or are in the process of purchasing a home, are eligible to apply for one residential grant. The home undergoing retrofit/new construction must be served by United. The member must demonstrate a financial need to qualify for a grant and must select the vendor responsible for completing the work. Grants are capped at $1,000.