10/01/14 : Anna Hahnemann

Welcome October By Celebrating National Energy Awareness Month

Celebrate National Energy Awareness Month during October!

October means football season, pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes and many other fun seasonal changes. While we’re excited for all things autumn, here at the Alliance we're welcoming this new month for another reason. On September 1991, President George Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month, encouraging government and organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.

Recognizing the significance of the energy-water nexus, the Department of Energy has chosen to dedicate this year’s campaign to promoting both energy and water conservation. As we recently discussed on our blog, energy and water are highly connected and there is ample opportunity to reduce waste of both resources. This month, the Alliance will promote public understanding of our energy needs and simple ways to reduce the amount of energy we consume. We will post daily facts and tips on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to inspire consumers to take proactive steps to save energy.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Fall

An energy audit is a great first step to increasing energy efficiency at home. An audit can help explain energy consumption, identify losses and evaluate possible improvements. Professional auditors perform thorough audits using a variety of techniques and equipment, and many include a detailed assessment with careful examination of the residence and past utility bills. It's also possible to perform a simple energy audit at home without hiring a professional. By taking the time to analyze energy consumption and implementing efficiency upgrades, consumers can save up to 30 percent on utility bills.   

During the fall, cold temperatures cause electricity bills to increase due to continuous use of heating systems, which account for 42 percent of residential energy use. It can be tempting to turn up the heat as temperatures drop, but consumption can be minimized by ensuring HVAC systems are properly maintained. Dirty filters can slow air flow, making the system work harder, wasting more energy. Air leaks and improper insulation can be another major source of heat loss. Consumers can reduce heating bills 20 percent by checking air leaks around walls, ceilings, windows, doors, fixtures, switches and electrical outlets. Even better, install a programmable thermostat to prevent unnecessary energy use and improve those savings by an extra 10 percent.

Behavioral Energy Efficiency Programs

Individual action has a major impact on energy resources. The worldwide adoption of energy efficient appliances and equipment would reduce global electricity consumption by more than 10 percent, save $350 billion in electricity bills and reduce global carbon emissions by 1.25 billion tons per year.

It’s not difficult to find a wide range of resources testifying to the benefits of energy efficiency, yet behavioral efficiency offers a huge amount of energy savings potential that remains untapped. Many consumers simply do not understand energy consumption beyond the numbers on their electricity bills. Behavioral energy efficiency initiatives are essential for empowering consumers with knowledge and unlocking the vast potential of individual action. Behavioral energy efficiency programs use data analysis to provide real time personalized feedback, targeted incentives and savings advice that’s easy to understand. Information-based programs across the country could decrease energy use by 26,000 GWh, reduce electricity bills by $3 billion and lessen carbon emissions by more than 8.9 million metric tons per year.

The power sector should continue to invest in research that identifies effective recommendations and strategies to support customers in their energy saving efforts, but it’s important to remember that the power of behavioral efficiency lies with the consumer. This October, as you celebrate Energy Awareness Month with us, use it as a reason to adopt new habits and achieve lifelong energy savings.