By Charlotte Lane
Last week, we celebrated Energy Efficiency Day. Here at the Public Service Commission, we want to help you find ways to save energy every day. Before we can begin to practice energy efficiency, we need to understand the ways we use energy. And that has seen some changes in recent years.
Are you the happy owner of an electric vehicle? Do you still have Mom’s microwave? Are you saving money by cooking more meals at home rather than dining out or ordering in? These are all things that can increase your utility bills.
The switch to an electric car can bring a big surprise. The dollars you once spent at the gas pump will now show up on your higher electric bill. Some people forget to factor that in when considering that choice.
The age of an appliance can make a difference in the amount and duration of power it draws. Newer, more energy efficient models can bring significant savings, and will even pay for themselves over time.
It is difficult to quantify exactly, but people have been spending more time at home since 2020. Since the COVID-19 epidemic, many Americans choose to dine in and entertain at home.
Here are a few things that I found out by looking for ways to cut costs. Air conditioning and heating generally are the highest energy cost factors in a home, according to a report by Direct Energy. The same group says lighting accounts for an average nine percent of household energy costs.
Forbes magazine, quoting figures from the Environmental Protection Agency, says it costs $500 to $600 a year to fuel the 10 most efficient electric cars. That’s based on the cost to drive 15,000 miles annually in combined city and highway use. By the way, Forbes also says it is cheaper to charge your vehicle at home than at public charging stations.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s website at https://energy.gov has an energy saver page that lets you calculate your annual electricity consumption and costs, and has loads of ideas for conserving resources. It suggests a whole-house energy monitoring system for detailed information on your home’s energy use.
You’ll also find seasonal energy saving tips on the Public Service Commission’s website at www.psc.state.wv.us. I hope these ideas will help you make your home more energy efficient.