Mar 05 , 2012
A first-hand account of my experience with Avista's home energy audit program
 
 
Blower door test
The blower door test detects excess air escaping and entering
your home.
For about the same price as you’d pay for a nice dinner out or a ski lift ticket on Mount Spokane, you can purchase an in-home energy audit if you live within Spokane County. Sure, dinner or skiing sounds like much more fun, but a home energy audit provides a lot of advantages, some obvious and some not so obvious. Here are five reasons why you should consider signing up for an audit with Avista Utilities. I just had my audit done last weekend, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. 
 

1. A home energy audit can save your life. If your home uses natural gas or propane, the certified home energy contractor may find safety hazards, such as an appliance or furnace that produces unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. Peace of mind is priceless and it’s always nice to know if your home passes the test or not.

2. For as low as $49, you get a tremendous amount of value out of a home energy audit. Not only does a professional certified contractor inspect your home, but after the audit you get a box full of energy efficiency goodies from Avista. (see photo) Our home energy auditors were BPI Certified, which is the standard for all Avista in-home energy audit contractors.
 

3. What you find out may surprise you. Home energy pros can find problems and opportunities that you might miss – even if you are a devoted energy saver, the pros have equipment that finds problems that might otherwise have gone unnoticed such as pesky leaks in your home’s ductwork.  
 
4. The blower door test is as cool as it sounds. Oh my goodness, you will be shocked by how many air leaks this technology detects in your home. The blower door is a tool that depressurizes your home and stimulates a 20 mph wind blowing on all surfaces of your home simultaneously. This causes outside air to rush through holes in your home’s exterior envelope. The largest air leak in my home was coming from the flue vent in our unfinished basement. We can easily remedy that by capping the vent. Something we never would have thought of before this audit. Outlets and light switches are also a common culprit.  Avista provides outlet and light switch insulators in the  goody box provided to you at the end of your audit.
 

Energy efficiency kit
With every home energy audit, you get a
box full of items that will help you
improve your homes energy efficiency.
5. Knowledge is the key to savings. Ever wonder how your energy use compares to others? After your in-home audit, you get a detailed report in the mail about your homes energy use as well as helpful recommendations on what you can do to increase the energy efficiency of your home. In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable pieces of information a homeowner can have. The recommendations will help me prioritize my home improvement projects for years to come.
Are you ready to maximize your energy efficiency? Good! Find out if your home qualifies for the in-home energy audit here.
 
You can also find more information about Avista’s energy efficiency programs at everylittlebit.com. Once you have registered for the In-Home Energy Audit, completed the Online Home Energy Analyzer, and your payment has been received by Avista, a representative from one of Avista’s certified home energy auditing contractors will call you within 10 business days of the receipt of your payment to schedule your in-home energy audit.

The popular program is ending in September so make sure to sign up for an audit by August 15.
Published: 3/5/2012  4:27 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 01 , 2011
Post by Debbie Simock

Go to Facebook
If you’re an Avista customer who is renting your residence, you can receive a free energy efficiency kit to help make sure you aren’t being a powermonger, and all you need to do is “Like” us on our Every Little Bit Facebook page.

While supplies last, we’re giving away 1,000 Powermonger kits that include a power timer socket, switch and socket insulators, shower coach, shrink-fit window insulation film and other energy savings tools. If you’d like a free kit, go to Every Little Bit Facebook page and “Like” us. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can get a kit by sending an email to kelly.conley@avistacorp.com.

The Powermonger kit is the newest addition to Avista’s suite of energy efficiency programs, all created to provide resources and incentives to help customers manage their energy use. That’s important because we’re using more electric devices to power our lives than ever before.

Next time you’re on Facebook, check out the Every Little Bit page and “Like” us.
Published: 12/1/2011  9:56 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Sep 20 , 2011

Post by Dan Kolbet 

 

Click to watch video at KHQ.com

Chris Drake, an Avista energy efficiency expert, joined KHQ during its noon NewsBreak, a live web stream, on Monday Sept. 19. He provides some great tips for energy efficiency in the winter.

 

To watch the video, click on the picture to the right, select the video“6 ways to save on your electricity bill this winter.” The video is four minutes and 30 seconds long. Sorry to send you to another website to view the video, but I can’t embed the video in its current You format.

 

http://www.khq.com/category/212743/newsbreaks

 

 

You'll click on this graphic when you get to KHQ.com:

 

Watch KHQ NewsBreak viideo

 

Published: 9/20/2011  8:57 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Sep 06 , 2011
Overheard at the coffee shop, “So, I got a box of CFLs from Avista, but I’m not sure why . . .”

Yep, that's a CFL box.
Here's one of the CFLs you will get in your
package.
So far, over 86,000 electric customers in Washington and Idaho have received their lighting efficiency kits since we began sending them out in July. By installing the eight bulbs, you’ll immediately begin reducing your energy use. In fact, you’ll save $93 over the seven year life of the bulbs if you’re a Washington customer and $104 if you’re an Idaho residential customer.

So, when that box of bulbs shows up on your porch, yes it is for you! Install them.

As a leader in energy efficiency, Avista is always looking for ways to save energy while helping our customers do the same which is why we are sending out the Energy Efficiency Lighting Kits. The kit contains Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), a cover letter, educational brochure and turn-it-off stickers. All customers will receive their kits by November 15, 2011.

“It’s a simple and convenient way to help customers lighten their energy load, while helping Avista meet our energy efficiency targets too,” notes Lead DSM Program Manager Chris Drake.

Washington voters approved I-937, also known as the Energy Independence Act of November 2006 - an initiative that requires utilities serving 25,000 or more customers to acquire both a percentage of their energy load from qualified renewable sources and achieve a defined energy savings goal. Our CFL direct-mail program will help Avista achieve some of those energy-saving targets. Given these real savings, it’s the right thing to do for all Avista electric customers.

Based on the feedback we’ve received, the program is a hit with customers. But, if you’re not ready to make the switch to CFLs yet, you can return the box of bulbs to us at no cost to you. Just go to www.everylittlebit.com to download a return label.

Want to know more about CFLs, visit us at www.everylittlebit.com or read our prior posting.
 
 
 
Published: 9/6/2011  4:41 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 19 , 2011
Customers pay for access to many energy efficiency programs on monthly bills

Post by Dan Kolbet
CFL kit
 
Over the last few weeks thousands of lighting efficiency kits have arrived on the doorsteps of Avista’s electric customers. The first reaction I’ve heard from co-workers, friends and folks online is, “wow, thanks for the free bulbs.”

But are they really free? Let’s take a look.

The CFLs are just one part of our energy efficiency programs. The most popular energy and cost-saving measures for residential customers include purchasing Energy Star® appliances, installing high efficiency natural gas furnaces and upgrading windows and insulation. The average residential rebate for single family homes was $131. Our energy efficiency tariff rider helps us provide these all these benefits to our customers (CFLs are just a piece of it).

There are no upfront costs for CFLs because customers have already paid for them through utility commission approved energy efficiency tariff riders. These tariffs are placed on monthly bills, for the sole purpose of promoting energy efficiency. All customers pay the tariff. Avista, along with many other utilities, use these tariffs to promote energy efficiency.

Customers want to save energy and look to us to provide energy efficiency expertise, incentives and rebates to help reduce energy use and reduce the amount of future energy generation required to meet growing energy needs. And customers are certainly using rebates and incentives. Last year Avista’s three-state service territory received over 42,000 rebates and incentives totaling almost $19 million. This is enough energy savings to power over 5,700 homes for a year.

So, if you’re an electric customer, when you get your lighting kit in the mail this year, know that by installing the bulbs, you’ll be using a tool that you’ve paid for. It’s also a tool that will start paying you back through energy savings. A Washington customer using an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month would save $93 over the seven-year life of the bulbs. For an Idaho customer, it’s $104 saved.

All you have to do is install the lights when the kit arrives sometime between now and November.
 
Published: 8/19/2011  7:50 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 28 , 2011
My lame CFL picture. Click to enlarge.
This is my lame CFL picture. I bet you can do better! Send your
photos to
conversation@avistautilities.com, or on Twitter use the
hashtag #AvistaCFLs and include the
@Avistautilities user name.
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
I was just hand-delivered (at my desk) a box of the Avista CFL bulbs. Thousands of these kits are being delivered to Washington customers right now. Avista customers, if you’re in the Evergreen State, you should soon be receiving your CFL kit too. In fact I’ve noticed several folks on Twitter commenting on the kits and I want to see photos!

Here’s what you need to know: The kit contains Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), a cover letter, educational brochure and turn-it-off stickers. All customers will receive their kits by November 15, 2011. According to my co-worker Chris Drake who is Avista’s Lead Demand Side Management Program Manager, the kits are “a simple and convenient way to help customers lighten their energy load, while helping Avista meet our energy efficiency targets too. Learn more about the kits from our June blog post here.

We’ve also got a webpage at Everylittlebit.com about the kits. Check it out. 

Send us your creative photos!
If you get your kit, I’d love to see how they look in your mailbox – but more importantly – installed in your light fixtures. Send me your groovy pics of CFLs in use and I’ll post them on the blog. Extra bonus points if you can get your smiling face in the pictures too. Be creative and I’ll make you semi-famous on the blog.

Send your photos to conversation@avistautilities.com, or on Twitter use the hashtag #AvistaCFLs and include the @Avistautilities user name.

Let’s see who can be the most creative. Photographers unite!

*Rules (yes, rules): You own your pictures (and CFLs), not us. By sending them our way, you’ve granted Avista permission to use them on this blog with no compensation. There is no reward for taking the picture other than being awesome. We reserve the right to not publish your photos on the blog for any reason. Avista customers only please. Be safe when taking the pictures. E-mail with questions
Published: 7/28/2011  11:32 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 06 , 2011
Click here to learn more about free CFLs
 
Avista customers to receive energy efficiency lighting kits
 
Post by Sandra Hoye
What's in the kit?
 
As a leader in energy efficiency, Avista is always looking for ways to save energy while helping our customers do the same. In July, Washington and Idaho residential and small commercial electric customers will begin to receive an Energy Efficiency Lighting Kit. The kit contains Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), a cover letter, educational brochure and turn-it-off stickers. All customers will receive their kits by November 15, 2011.

“It’s a simple and convenient way to help customers lighten their energy load, while helping Avista meet our energy efficiency targets too,” notes Lead DSM Program Manager Chris Drake.

Washington voters approved I-937, also known as the Energy Independence Act of November 2006 - an initiative that requires utilities to acquire both a percentage of their energy load from qualified renewable sources and achieve a defined energy savings goal. Our CFL direct-mail program will help Avista achieve some of those energy-saving targets.

When CFLs initially hit the market decades ago, the selection was limited. Consumers didn’t care for the color, the flicker or the delayed start. However, today’s CFLs come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and can be used throughout the home in a variety of wattages, including recessed, three-way and dimmable.

Customers can learn more about the kits, energy efficient lighting tips and information and the opportunity to opt-out of receiving the kit.

Even though research and our personal experience with customers shows widespread customer acceptance of the bulbs, an opt-out option is available to customers who are not ready to make to make the switch to CFLs.

CFLs contain electronic components and a small amount of mercury, so safely disposing of spent CFLs is important. Avista offers free CFL recycling options for its customers throughout our service territory.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the bulbs arrived broken?
Customers will be directed to the CFL web portal everylittlebit.com/cfl to order a replacement kit, or they can call 1-800-227-9187 and a Customer Service Representative can easily process the order.

Does Avista provide safe disposal and recycling information with the kit?
Yes, the kit comes with a brochure addressing how to manage broken bulbs, ways to recycle CFLs and lighting tips.

What if the customer doesn’t want the bulbs or kit?
Customers can easily opt-out before July 15, 2011 by visiting everylittlebit.com/cfl or by calling 1-800-227-9187.

What if the customer wants an additional kit?
Customers will receive one kit per service address. However, there may be an opportunity for customers to receive additional CFLs at future energy fairs.
 
Interesting Facts about CFLs
• CFLs are simply more efficient in their use of energy, turning more of their energy into light and less into heat.
• CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, but provide the same amount of light –potentially saving you up to $30 in energy costs over its lifetime.
• A 23-watt CFL produces more light than a 100-watt incandescent bulb, and it can last up to seven times longer
• If every home in America replaced just one incandescent bulb with an Energy Star® qualified CFL, this would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars annually (Source: www.energystar.gov)
 
Learn more about Avista's Free CFLs
http://everylittlebit.com/FreeCFLs.aspx
Published: 6/6/2011  10:19 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 21 , 2011
Bunny video
 
Post by Dan Kolbet 
 
The folks over at CreeLEDRevolution.com killed a bunny for Easter. It was a chocolate bunny and it was for science – so it’s OK.

Ninety percent of the energy emitted by a standard incandescent light bulb goes towards the production of heat and not light. To demonstrate the heat-emitting, energy-wasting ways of incandescent light bulbs, two blinged-out chocolate bunnies in the above video are put to the test. Check out the video to see which one survives. I bet you can guess.

Editor’s Note: We at the Avista Blog do not recommend melting bunnies of any kind (they are too yummy), but we’ve made an exception for this little demo. But seriously, we don’t endorse any particular brand of lighting, but love the effort to show how LEDs are cool and efficient.

Try some LED (or even CFL) lighting when you can – it just might save your bunny.
Published: 4/21/2011  11:25 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post