Feb 12 , 2014
Inland Northwest homes and businesses typically see highest energy bills of the year in January and February. And this year isn’t any different as we have seen a long winter heating season. With sustained cold temperatures, heating systems run longer and work harder to keep the temperature at the level set on the thermostat which increases energy use.
In addition to energy use, the number of days in a billing cycle will also have an impact on energy bills. The average number of days in a billing cycle is 31, but it can range from 28 to 34 depending on the number of days in a month and any holidays. The number of days in a customer’s billing cycle is displayed on each monthly bill.
Heating and cooling a home can make up as much as half of annual energy use, so taking steps in winter to keep the warm air inside the home and the cold air outside can help manage energy use. Some easy ways to get started include:
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees and lower it to 63 at night and when leaving the house. If you have a heat pump as the main heating source, a two to three degree setback is what is recommended. Installing a programmable thermostat will let you set it and forget it.
- Seal air leaks by installing door sweeps on exterior doors or putting a towel at the bottom of the door, caulking around windows and exterior doors, and installing foam insulators behind switch plates and outlet covers on exterior walls.
- Clean or replace furnace filters regularly. And, keep vents clear of obstructions.
- Electric space heaters are more efficient when used to heat a smaller occupied space or in a common area that is generally cooler than the rest of the house.
- Limit using an open fireplace when it is extremely cold because the fireplace will draw heated air from your home and send it up the chimney.
Additional, there are low- and no-cost energy efficiency information, including rebates and incentives available for customers
. You can also access tools
that provide a month-to-month comparison of their bills with details on factors impacting each bill and other helpful information, such as a graph on two-year energy consumption.
May 30 , 2013
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from our customers that they want more information about how we do business in areas like utility operations, environmental stewardship and our community partnerships. Avista’s fifth annual report on our performance – our sustainability responsibility report -- is titled “Shared Value – Shared Success.”
Our purpose statement says, “To improve life’s quality with energy – safely, reliably and responsibly.” Each year, our report provides a comprehensive look at what goes into providing that energy and how often this has additional benefits to the customers and communities we serve. That’s shared value.
In this year’s report, we tell many stories of how shared value is created throughout our business. We’ve added some great graphics to help illustrate some of the information, as well as links to videos and other online resources to give readers many different ways to get the most complete story possible.
As part of our sustainable business practices, the report is published only online. But a PDF file can be downloaded for your convenience in reading the report or sharing it with others.
Shared value is at the heart of what Avista does every day. We hope you’ll take the time to read this year’s report and give us your feedback by email at SharedValue@avistacorp.com
. We want to hear from you about how we can continue to build shared value and shared successes.
Apr 10 , 2013
Your friends and neighbors will be green with envy if you win the playhouse that Avista employees built to support a brand new community fundraising event called Project Playhouse Spokane.
The 8-foot square playhouse sits atop a giant wooden recycled cable spool, has a solar panel that powers LED lights inside the playhouse and here’s the best feature – there’s a turbine-like propeller mounted on the exterior that you can spin by turning the attached wheel inside the playhouse. How cool is that?!
It’s sure to provide tons of fun for your children or grandkids! It could be yours – if you have the winning bid!
Avista’s playhouse will be one of 10 whimsical playhouses that will be auctioned off this Saturday to raise funds for the West Central Community Center, Northeast Youth Center and Peaceful Valley Community Center. All three centers provide support for local children and youth.
Avista employees volunteered their time and talent to design and build the playhouse. About half of the $3,000 in materials was donated by several vendors, while Avista contributed the other half, along with lots of creativity and enthusiasm.
“It was really fun to see it all come together. We used wind power as our design inspiration to give the playhouse an ‘energy’ theme. With the propeller for a wind turbine, solar panel, LED lights and recycled cable spool, it actually looks like something you’d expect to be created by a utility. We’re even including some safety cones and hard hats with the playhouse,” said Avista’s Jayson Hunnel, who spearheaded the effort and rallied employees to help build the creation.
It’s exciting for Avista to be part of the first-time ever Project Playhouse Spokane Auction. Let’s see how much money we can raise for the three centers and the children and youth that will benefit from the auction proceeds.
This is just one example of how Avista and our employees contribute our time, talent and treasure to the communities we serve.
For more information on Project Playhouse Spokane, call the West Central Community Center at 509-323-7480.
Mar 01 , 2013
If you have a few minutes today, check out the amazing winning videos
in Avista’s annual Every Little Bit Video Contest. The Grand Prize award went to Pullman High School students Shantara Pintak, Matthew Winchell and Mike Crawford for their “Watts & Hertz” video (pictured above left). Each received an Apple iPad 3 and a tour of COMRADE Studio in Spokane with the opportunity to help prepare their video for television. Pullman High School teacher and Multimedia class instructor Doug Winchell received a $2,500 technology grant for his class.
Students in Doug’s class are no strangers to the video contest. This is the third consecutive year that a video from a student team at Pullman High School has received a technology grant through the Every Little Bit Video Contest, last year receiving the Viewer’s Choice award. Three Pullman High School teams also received Honorable Mention awards in last year’s contest.
Viewer’s Choice, as voted by visitors to the Every Little Bit Video website, went to Ferris High School students Mark Balabanov, Colin Calvert, Irina Peregudova for their “Be Bolt” video (pictured above right). Each received an Apple iPod Nano and the school received a $1,500 technology grant which media instructor Joan Conger said would go toward a new boom microphone for the class.
The contest gives high school students the opportunity to create short videos demonstrating the importance of energy efficiency practices and its benefit for the environment. By engaging students in the importance of using energy wisely today, they’ll be better stewards tomorrow.
Congratulations to these talented and creative students!
Jan 24 , 2013
Sealing of ductwork for heating and cooling systems could reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent.
Most times if something seems too good to be true, it is. But with Avista’s new Manufactured Home Duct Sealing Program, qualifying customers in Washington can have their home’s ductwork sealed and receive other energy efficiency products at no cost. The service, a $500 value, can help customers save up to 30 percent on their energy bill. The program is scheduled to run through the end of June 2013.
To qualify for the free Manufactured Home Duct Sealing Program, a resident must be an Avista electric or natural gas customer in Washington living in a manufactured home that:
- is heated primarily by a forced air furnace
has ductwork outside the heated space (in attic or crawl space)
- is the customer’s year-round residence, not a vacation home; and
- the customer owns or has permission from their landlord to participate in the program
Avista has teamed up with UCONS, LLC to administer the program and perform the sealing work. As part of the service to Avista customers, UCONS will also install compact fluorescent light bulbs and leave customers with a free standard air filter replacement and efficient, high-performance showerhead.
UCONS representatives will be going door-to-door to manufactured homes with information to discuss the free service with Avista’s Washington customers. Residents can easily identify UCONS representatives by their Avista safety vests and identification. Qualifying customers can also call UCONS, LLC at 800-657-0135 to schedule a visit or for more information.
Jan 15 , 2013
This year's trees are Red Oak (top) and
Sugar Maple (bottom).
If you live in Spokane County, you’re probably more concerned with shoveling snow right now than thinking about summer shade. But acting now could help you start saving on your summer energy bill.
We’ve teamed with the Spokane Conservation District (SCD) to again provide free shade trees to Avista electric customers living in Spokane County to help them reduce energy use and cost. A well-planned landscape, including strategically place shade trees, can reduce an unshaded home’s summer air conditioning costs.
Here are a couple of things you need to know about the program:
• The homeowner must be an Avista electric customer.
• There must be space for a large tree on the west or southwest side of the house - the sides that take the most sun and heat gain. Depending on the type of tree, it needs between 15 to 30 feet to prevent problems.
• The property must be your full-time home - recreational or seasonal homes are not eligible.
Applying to the program is easy, just fill out a registration form
and fax it to the SCD office at 509-535-7410 or mail it to Spokane Conservation District, 210 N. Havana St., Spokane, WA 99202. A SCD representative will contact you and visit your property to determine if there is enough space for a shade tree. If so, the best location for it will be marked and the tree will be planted for you on a later visit.
The program only plants 50 trees per season (50 in spring and 50 in autumn), so apply soon to secure a spot. If you don’t make it into the spring planting, try again for the fall one.
If you have any questions about the Avista Shade Tree Program, please contact SCD’s Garth Davis at 535-7274, ext.212.
Jan 04 , 2013
Brian Sjothun and Greg McKown from the City of
Medford, accept a $14,732 incentive check from
Avista’s Steve Vincent for energy conservation work
involving R19 roof insulation at a city service center
building. The work is estimated to save 4,209 therms
of natural gas and $4,156.85 annually for the city.
Avista partners with customers in reducing natural gas use through cost effective energy conservation projects by providing cash rebates. The City of Medford continues to be a leader in the public sector in reducing operating expenses and its long term use of energy.
Avista recently presented the city with an incentive check for $14,732 for energy conservation work involving R19 roof insulation at a service center building. The work is estimated to save 4,209 therms of natural gas and $4,156.85 annually for the city.
Unfortunately it is very common for conservation projects in public buildings to not bother with utility cash rebates. However, the city is a standout exception, said Avista Regional Business Manager Steve Vincent. This demonstrates the city’s fiscal prudence with public funds.
“Partnering with Avista also helps the company achieve its own annual energy conservation requirements established by the Oregon Public Utility Commission,” Vincent said.
Nov 21 , 2012
If you want to be both festive and frugal with your holiday lighting this season, make sure to include LED lights in your decorations. They are not only affordable, but LED’s use about 1/10th of the electricity used by old school holiday light bulbs. LED’s in general have the added benefit of being more durable than incandescent lights.
If you want to be super savvy with saving energy, shop for ENERGY STAR qualified LED lights. They can last up to 10 years and are cool to the touch…which reduces the risk of fire. Not only that, but they are more durable than glass incandescent lights which means less risk of electrical exposure with broken bulbs.
Inflatable lawn decorations are definitely festive, but they can also add to your seasonal energy bill. An inflatable ranging in size from four feet to 12 feet can add from $1.11 to $1.68 to your bill if run for 8 hours a day for 30 days. When used for 24 hours a day for 30 days, the additional cost would be from $3.34 to $5.05 per inflatable.
Another tip for managing your seasonal energy bill is to use a timer for outdoor and tree lights and for inflatable lawn decorations. Be sure the timer is designed to handle the total wattage plugged into it.
When installing any type of holiday lighting, keep in mind the following safety tips:
• Watch for overhead power lines when installing outdoor lights.
• Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
• Do not overload outlets or plug more than three strings of lights into an extension cord.
• Unplug lights before watering the tree and keep cords and light sets away from the water.
For additional energy savings tips and information on Avista’s energy efficiency rebate and incentive programs that can help your home use less energy year round, visit www.everylittle.bit.com
Nov 05 , 2012
Planning energy efficiency updates at your home? Find a rebate
Below are a few highlights of what you’ll find:
• Customers in Washington and Idaho can find rebates and incentives for making qualifying electric energy efficiency improvements.
• As of Nov. 1, 2012, natural gas rebates and incentives are not available in Idaho.
• Rebates and incentives for natural gas customers in Washington are currently available but are being reviewed by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The outcome of the review may guide natural gas program changes due to continuing low wholesale natural gas prices. Because of the low prices, our natural gas energy efficiency programs are no longer cost effective. It now costs more to provide natural gas energy efficiency rebates and incentives than it costs for the natural gas that customers use.
• Natural gas rebates and incentives are available in Oregon too.
• Submit your forms online for quick turn around on your energy efficiency rebate and incentive payment.
You can visit us here at the Avista Blog in December for information on any additional program changes that may be taking place for 2013.
Oct 24 , 2012
YMCA Board Vice Chair Deena Manning (left) and Executive
Director Kevin Clark (right) receive the energy efficiency
incentive check from Steve Vincent, Avista’s economic
development manager for Oregon, and his helper, daughter
Swimmers enjoying the YMCA pool in Grants Pass, Oregon, will notice less humidity in the air thanks in part to almost $78,000 the organization received yesterday in energy efficiency incentives from Avista toward the complete cost of the project.
The energy savings from the new high efficiency dehumidification and ventilation system for the pool area is expected to save the YMCA almost $23,000 per year in energy costs because of using less natural gas than the old system. It does that by pulling warm moist air from the pool area making the air drier and returning the heat to the boiler system to warm the pool water.
The result - the YMCA is expected to use almost 26,000 therms a year less with the new system. That’s enough natural gas to provide service to 43 Oregon homes for a year.
Find out how you too can save energy and dollars whether you are a residential