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Using Energy: Choices, Costs & Energy Efficiency

Using Energy: Choices, Costs & Energy Efficiency (PDF)
Presented by:  Roger Woodworth, Vice President Sustainable Energy Solutions, Avista and Bruce Folsom, Director of Energy Efficiency, Avista
People are more plugged in today than ever before, which means it’s more important that we be wise consumers of energy in order to ensure a sustainable energy future. Learn what energy efficiency really means, and find out how we meet demand without having to generate new energy and pay our customers to use less energy through rebates.

Audience Polling Questions

Q. Compared to 5 years ago, the amount of energy I use is…
a. Less
b. About the same
c. More

Answer: Most people use more energy than they did five years ago. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that since 1959, our national energy use has increased 14-fold, even though our population hasn’t quite doubled! We rely on many electronic devices to get us through our day that we didn’t use to – cell phones, iPods, laptops, TVs, and any number of appliances. As more new technologies that use electricity become available in the coming years, for instance hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s likely this trend will continue.

Q. When faced with a choice, my first priority is most often…
a. Environment
b. Comfort
c. Convenience

Answer: National surveys typically show 75% favor comfort or convenience, while the remaining 25% list environment as their first priority. This helps explain why conserving or being more energy efficient isn’t always top of mind.

Q. About many things do you have plugged in at your home?
a. 15
b. 30
c. 45
d. 60 or more

Answer: Today, the average U.S. home has over 35 appliances plugged in at any given time, and there are 46 appliances typically available for use in people’s homes. Even though most of these appliances don’t seem to use much energy, the little things add up. One Plasma TV can draw about 600 kilowatt hours per year if used 5.5 hours a day, and a set-top box plugged-in all the time draws at least 30 kilowatts of energy every hour of every day, all year long.

Q. One plasma TV that’s on 5-6 hours per day uses about the same energy as…
a. My old TV
b. My refrigerator
c. My refrigerator and freezer

Answer: One plasma TV that’s turned on 5-6 hours per day can use the same energy as 2.2 dishwashers (approx. 270 kwh/year each) or 1.5 refrigerators (approx. 400 kwh/year each).

Q. The most important reason to be more energy efficient is to…
a. Guard against rising future costs
b. Save money on my bill right now
c. Boost economic productivity
d. Lessen environmental impacts
e. None of the above

Answer: There are many good reasons to be more energy efficient. Managing your energy costs, creating green jobs, and lessening impacts on the environment are just a few. The bottom line is the least costly, cleanest new energy resource is the one we don’t have to build.

Q. In 2009, about how much did Avista pay its customers in rebates to be more efficient?
a. Less than $5 million
b. $5 million
c. $10 million
d. $15 million
e. $20 million

Answer: In 2009, Avista paid customers nearly $20 million in rebates for things like Energy Star appliances, heating and cooling systems and other energy efficiency improvements. Avista’s electric and natural gas customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon participated in the company’s energy efficiency programs in near-record numbers in 2009. As a result, they saved more than 82 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 2.3 million therms of natural gas in 2009. That’s enough energy to power over 6,800 Inland Northwest homes for a year and to serve over 3,000 homes with natural gas for a year.

Q. Which of the following Avista initiatives have you heard about? (Choose as many as you want)
a. Project Share
b. Every Little Bit
c. Wattson
d. Power Mongers
e. Senior Energy Outreach Grants
f. Power to Conserve

Answer: Avista offers all of these and other programs to help customers of all ages be more energy efficient. You can learn more about the energy efficiency programs and rebates you may qualify for by visiting There you can also learn about no- and low-cost tips for saving energy and even what home efficiency projects might qualify for Federal energy tax credits.

Q. What would most motivate you to invest in energy efficiency?
a. More financial incentives
b. A higher power bill
c. More rate increases
d. Nothing, I’m not going to

Answer: Over the past 30 years, Avista’s energy efficiency programs have helped customers save enough energy to power more than 81,000 homes for one year and provide natural gas service to almost 25,000 homes for a year. In utility terms, that’s like 110 average MW of generation we didn’t have to build. Participating customers benefit through lower usage, while all customers (even those who don’t participate and those who aren’t yet customers) benefit from Avista having acquired the lowest-cost resource in the form of energy efficiency.

Q. If you spent $5,000 on energy efficiency measures, how much would you expect your monthly bill to go down? 
a. $15
b. $25
c. $50
d. $80
e. $100

Answer: Of course, how much benefit you get from an investment in energy efficiency will depend on what you do. But it’s a good question to consider. A monthly benefit of $100 a month is $1200 each year – a simple return of 24 percent on your $5,000 investment. That’s a great return – but is it a realistic expectation?


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