How I saved 66% on my electric bill during the summer

Let’s start off with some transparency. As much as I consider myself environmentally aware, I am by no way perfect. No where near. However, I also understand it’s all about, as my friend Betsy likes to say, Progress not Perfection. As I look over my life in the last five years and the simple changes I've made, it’s truly amazing how much my lifestyle has changed. I have learned so much because of Southeast Green’s mission.

Even though I know I should be taking advantage of all the great energy efficiency rebates that my local utility offers, I haven’t. There are several reasons. Dealing with people in the house when I work from home is nerve wracking and let’s face it, to pursue my passion of running Southeast Green, I am not rolling in extra cash to tackle programs that cost out pocket money upfront that run from $400 to a couple of thousand dollars. Nuff said! However, there are still options to cut my electricity bills and I owe the big savings this summer to a Speaking of Green episode I did with Carl Seville aka the Green Curmudgeon.

During the interview Carl suggested that if you think about it you really don’t need to run air conditioning in the morning in your house. What? Yep, most houses are fine in the morning with out the air conditioning. I work from home and I was truly skeptical but he is absolutely right.

So I run the air-conditioning at night when I sleep but the rest of the time it’s basically off. To make it through the afternoons and evenings when the office heats up because of electronics, I bought a tower fan and I run that. It made so much sense. Why run the air-conditioning for the whole house when 70% of my time is spent in the office.

I know that my lifestyle isn’t applicable to everyone but I am not the only one changing my electricity usage to save some cash and be more energy efficient. Recently, Georgia Public Service Commissioners Tim Echols and Chuck Eaton both admitted to switching to the variable rate plan from Georgia Power. The idea is during peak times from 2 pm to 7 pm in the afternoon you would pay .20¢ a Kilowatt Hour and during off peak time they pay .05¢ a Kilowatt Hour between June and September. The average homeowner pays roughly .10¢ a Kilowatt Hour regardless of the time. Commissioner Echols reports saving 20% to 30% on his bills.

If you can’t start the rebate efforts or if you have and are looking to make some more changes. Asses how you are using the biggest portion of your summer bill and think about adjusting your thermostat to have it really reflect how you live in your house. Remember, it’s not about discomfort or sacrifice. It’s really about making small changes that end up being big savings.

 

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