As outdoor temperatures rise and air conditioners run at full blast this summer, look for ways to improve energy efficiency to help you and South Plains Electric Cooperative reduce demand—to save energy and money.
Making small adjustments to when, where and how you use electricity won’t only help control your energy costs, it also can help lower peak demand for your cooperative.
Peak demand is calculated using the greatest amount of kilowatt hours our system uses at one time. The price South Plains Electric pays for electricity is, in part, determined by this usage. The higher the peak, the higher the rates; so managing peak load is important—especially during hot summer days.
Our primary peak hours are usually between 4:30 and 7 p.m., when air conditioners are cranked up, families are cooking, taking showers, washing dishes and doing laundry. Off-peak hours usually are early in the morning, after dark and on weekends.
Using less on-peak electricity lowers overall demand. Lower demand means your cooperative doesn’t have to buy as much power—or tap as many power plants. So everyone saves. Here’s how you can help.
Avoiding peak energy costs is a good reason to put chores on hold, at least until power demand dips. Consider scheduling laundry, vacuuming, ironing and dishwashing for off-peak hours.
Your air conditioning system plays a huge part in controlling your energy use year round. At 78 degrees, most people are comfortable outside, so why not indoors? The closer your air conditioner or heat pump setting is to the outdoor temperature, the less your unit will run. When temperatures are in the upper 80s, you can reduce your cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent for each degree above 75 you set your thermostat.
When used in conjunction with your cooling system, set ceiling fans to blow air downward instead of pulling up warmer air. Table and ceiling fans offer more comfort if used to circulate air through areas where you are most active.
Appliances on your countertops or stashed in your pantry could keep you cooler and use less energy. Microwaves use about 60 percent as much energy as full-size ovens, and toaster ovens consume about half as much power.
Share the Space
Bring back family time to beat the peak. A single gaming system pressed into service for spirited competition between family members in one room uses about one-third the power of three players engaged in separate online games around the house. LCD TVs generally use 60 percent as much electricity as comparably-sized plasma models. One laptop computer uses about 20 percent as much power as a desktop computer and monitor.
Finish the family space with energy-efficient LED fixtures to create a cool, fun and budget-friendly place to spend a few hours with your family.