The Cooperative Exchange – June 2021 CCL CEO Article
By Jim Herron, MVEA CEO
June is a beautiful time in Colorado as the everchanging weather of May gives way to the sunny days we expect of the early summer months. It is also a good time to share some summer energy-saving tips. Keeping the home cool as the temperatures rise, paired with having more people at home while the kids are home from school, are common causes for calls from members who experience an increase in their electric use and related bill.
By far the most common culprit behind surprising high energy use calls in the summer is home cooling systems. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly one-third of electric use, 31%, goes toward running our heating and air conditioning systems. Twenty years ago, homes with central air conditioning were the exception rather than the rule in MVEA’s service territory. Fast-forward to today, and the opposite is true. And, that trend has had a profound impact on summer energy use.
Besides home cooling, another high energy use factor in the summer (that is often overlooked) is the number of people who are at home plugged in and using more electricity than before. Video games, large televisions, multiple televisions, more people in and out impacting home cooling, more people doing laundry and using appliances, there are so many little variables that can make a big difference in the energy your household consumes.
Let’s take a look at three MVEA resources that make it easier to monitor electric use and become more energy efficient—not just in the summer, but all year long.
- Digital Meter + SmartHub: Your digital meter, paired with online account management through SmartHub is a powerful tool to help you become more energy efficient. With daily and hourly energy reads available, you can easily see what the impact of having a video game and a television on during the day is versus days when the family is outside. Wondering what the difference between having your air conditioner set at 78 degrees and 65 degrees is over a couple of days (especially on really hot days)? Your digital meter and SmartHub account will help pinpoint high energy use spikes (so you can avoid them in the future).
- Explore MVEA’s “Save Energy & Money” website section. Filled with resources to help you save energy and money, these tools will extend the knowledge from your digital meter and SmartHub account. How much is that old refrigerator costing you to run and would a weekend spent sealing your house with caulking help you save? Many members have found the home energy calculator and energy resource center options to be helpful in finding high energy use culprits in their home. Get started at our Save Energy and Save Money page.
- Energy efficiency rebates help offset the cost of upgrading your home lighting and appliances. Upgrading your home lighting is a good start to becoming more energy efficient because it can amount to up to 12% of monthly energy use. Learn more about our rebate program at our Rebates page.
By far, though, the most important resource members have available to help find the cause behind surprising energy use is MVEA’s team of Member Services Representatives. As we like to say, while keeping the lights on is our priority, serving our co-op members — our friends and neighbors — is equally as important.
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