Energy saving in an American way: how in the USA achieve energy efficiency
How to turn an ordinary room into an energy-efficient house? It seems that everyone in Ukraine is dealing with this issue with the approach of cold weather. The constant rise in the cost of utilities and the gas confrontation with Russia prompted ordinary Ukrainians to actively join the energy efficiency movement - both in offices and in out-of-office communication, one often hears conversations about the advantages of boilers over centralized consumption of hot water, attracting “warm loans” and so on.
My surprise was even greater when, having moved to the vicinity of Washington, I did not see what was already becoming commonplace in Ukraine - most of the rooms have neither metal-plastic windows with double-glazed windows, nor external insulation of walls, or even just thick walls - mostly residential buildings have walls from pressed OSB panels. Some homes have rooftop solar panels. However, there are still a minority of these.
In order to preserve the historical flavor of “one-story America” and preserve nature, the environs of the American capital have to sacrifice some energy efficiency achievements.
Electric supports that support networks have a very ancient appearance, and their fall during storms is not uncommon. However, such historical electro supports are more pleasing to the eye and give the landscape a historical flavor. Although the climate here is warmer than in Ukraine, at least once a year there can be significant snowfall, which often leads to an accident on the power grid, leaving entire areas without electricity for the duration of repair work that is carried out really quickly and using modern technology.
It seems that a wave of energy efficiency has bypassed America. However, this impression is deceptive: from my experience I saw that the system actually works efficiently, stimulating to save energy.
Here are some ideas that Ukrainian energy companies from America could borrow to make customer relationships transparent and efficient.
Completely out of charge "for that guy"
The electricity bill is “tied” to the individual, not to the house. The bill goes with you from one room to another. If we are talking about a family, then the family must determine the person responsible for the “household” to which the electricity bill will be recorded.
When a house is changed, both subsidies and debts are retained by the person. Therefore, the question of whether previous residents had debts, whether there was a subsidy in the apartment, etc., do not appear when selling or renting housing.
The question of whether your neighbors pay bills in the United States simply does not arise. This allows you to avoid outrageous situations like the one that two of my friends from Kiev had to endure this winter when they received letters from the energy supplier that, despite the fact that they paid for the heat in a disciplined way, the services would not be fully provided due to insufficient payment. whole house. It became unpleasant news and did not stimulate to save at all.
The energy company treats consumers as friends in the matter of energy conservation
Am I saving energy? How much energy does my household consume compared to similar 100? How has my power consumption changed over time? How does my energy conservation help the area I live in? I can get answers to all these questions in a monthly letter from the energy company or on their website. This “competition with neighbors” is also encouraged by the fact that energy saving provides a real opportunity to reduce the payment for electricity from 100 to 50 dollars per month.
The power company is actively attracting consumers to regulate peak loads.
In the state of Maryland, the peak load on the grid occurs for several days in the summer, when due to the heat everyone uses air conditioning. The energy company provides electricity discounts for reducing current consumption at this time. How does this happen in practice? If you sign up for a program, then on your thermostat, which regulates the supply of electricity, a red light turns on - and you physically cannot turn on the current.
The company installs "smart thermostats" for free, and this allows it to more effectively distribute the peak load on the network.
In Kiev, however, people themselves organize such energy-saving actions, but due to the unpredictability of sharp surges in energy consumption for energy utilities, such actions are reportedly often a problem, not a relief.
What to do to save energy?
If the energy consumer is really in the mood to save it, the energy supply company offers to audit the premises: representatives of the energy company can even visit your house with tips on improving energy efficiency, as well as conduct a full audit and assessment of energy efficiency. All this will cost 100 dollars.
The power company also offers various types of partnerships that will allow the attentive consumer to save money on the purchase of related goods. Discounts on such partnerships are available for various products - from energy-saving light bulbs certified by the program, home appliances to ... a new home. The company can also take away your old, but working refrigerator or freezer and give them a small fee so that they do not end up in a landfill.
The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".
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