Question: What are some everyday adjustments that homeowners, who cannot afford to install a rooftop PV solar system, could make to their daily lives to cut back on energy costs?
Answer: There are several low- and no-cost ways people can reduce their energy costs that do not require a photovoltaic system.
Replace old incandescent lights with energy-efficient lighting - Energy Star certified Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs use about 75 percent less energy and produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. They also last nearly 10 times longer.
Switching to CFLs can save about $12 to $19 per lamp on your electric bill annually. LED lamps save even more and can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Hawaii Energy offers instant rebates for CFLs and LEDs at participating retailers.
>> Job: Residential and transformational program director, Hawaii Energy
>> Website: www.Hawaii Energy.com
>> Education: B.A. in environment and development from McGill University and an M.S. in geographic information science and technology from the University of Southern California
Reduce "phantom loads." Most electronic devices such as computers, DVD players and printers continue to use electricity even when they are not in use - called a "phantom" or "vampire" load. By connecting these devices to an advanced power strip, you can control the power to your electronics and save about $10 on your electric bill annually.
Take advantage of Hawaii's tradewinds to cool your home. This costs you nothing. When needed, use Energy Star ceiling fans. They are about 20 percent more efficient than typical ceiling fans. Plus, Hawaii Energy provides a $35 rebate.
Q: Are there any daily habits that play a large part in energy use?
A: The amount of hot water you use can significantly impact your energy usage. For a typical four-person household on Oahu without a pool or air conditioning, heating water accounts for about 40 percent of electricity use. By shortening your showers by just 2 minutes, you can save up to 233 kilowatt hours (kWh) and an estimated $56 per person per year. You'll also save on your water bill.
Q: What about solar water heating? How much does that cost?
A: For families of four or more, installing a solar water heater can save you at least $600 on your electric bill per year. Hawaii Energy provides an instant rebate of $1,000 and when combined with state and federal tax credits, you can purchase a solar water heating system for about $2,000.
Q: What appliance has the largest impact on a homeowner's electric bill?
A: In most homes, the refrigerator is the appliance that uses the most electricity. Aside from appliances, water heating and air conditioning typically use the most energy in a home.
Q: What is the average cost to operate your refrigerator?
A: If you have a refrigerator that is 20 years or older, it could cost you up to $384 per year to operate. By upgrading to a more energy-efficient Energy Star model, Oahu residents can save as much as $225 on their electric bill annually.
Q: What can you do to reduce the energy cost of your refrigerator?
A: Purchase an Energy Star refrigerator. Hawaii
Energy's "Refrigerator Trade-Up" offer rewards you with a $100 rebate when you buy an Energy Star model from a participating retailer and surrender your old one.
Q: What are some programs Hawaii Energy offers that can help residents cut back on energy use and help them save on their energy bill?
A: Get rid of your extra working refrigerator or freezer. Hawaii Energy's "Rid-A-Fridge" offer provides free curb-side pickup and recycling to help you get rid of that second refrigerator or freezer. On top of that, Oahu residents will receive a $50 rebate. Neighbor islands receive $65.
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