Last Christmas Enviro-Girl and her husband gave Mr. D’s mom a healthy credit on her electric bill instead of another candle or Christmas sweater or cheesy framed picture of her grandchildren. Mr. D’s mom lives alone in an old farmhouse on a fixed income so any way they can help gives her freedom to golf a little in the summertime or buy an impulse item at the local supermarket. Enviro-Girl estimated that the credit with the electric company should last her MIL the entire year and next Christmas they’d repeat the deposit. She came up with her estimate based on her electric bill for her family of five living in a house about twice the size of her MIL’s. Imagine her shock when she learned recently that Mr. D’s mom would run out of electric company credit in September!
Enviro-Girl suggested that her mother-in-law get an energy evaluation — most utility companies will send someone out to audit a household or business at no cost. While in college, Enviro-Girl and her roommates did this and got loads of free stuff to winterize their slum — plastic for wrapping windows, caulk and tape to keep the drafts sealed. Mr. D’s mom had never heard of such a thing, which does not speak well of the electric company in Iowa. In Wisconsin many utility companies heavily promote these services. By reducing customer use, utility companies keep their customers’ bills down and have an easier time meeting energy demands. Enviro Girl also learned that many public libraries will check out electric meters that you can plug into any outlet to gauge the amount of electricity you use for various appliances.
Assessing energy use and suggesting ways to reduce it is best handled at a state or local level — in Wisconsin we spend more keeping warm than folks in Florida — and they spend more keeping cool. Obviously some fixes like improved lightbulbs or Energy Star rated appliances will help lower your utility bill regardless of where you live. An energy audit doesn’t take much time, an hour or less, and can improve your energy efficiency by pointing out ways to conserve all over your home–from bedroom to attic. Click on one of the links above or call your utility company and schedule an evaluation TODAY!