Feb 12 , 2014
 
Posted by Debbie Simock
 
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.
 
Published: 2/12/2014  10:13 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 15 , 2013
Red Oak
Sugar Maple
This year's trees are Red Oak (top) and
Sugar Maple (bottom).
Post by Debbie Simock
 
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.
 
Published: 1/15/2013  11:11 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 05 , 2012
Planning energy efficiency updates at your home? Find a rebate
 
 
If you are planning on making energy efficiency improvements around your home or are wrapping up a project, make sure to check our online rebate and incentive information for updates on program changes and for new forms.
 
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.
Published: 11/5/2012  10:17 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 09 , 2012
Post by Dan Kolbet

Meet some nice folks at the Energy Fair!
Area residents will learn about energy efficiency, managing their home energy bills and more at the free Avista Energy Fair 2012. It will be held in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday, October 10 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Harding Family Center, 411 North 15th Street.

Avista employees and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about the following:

-Energy Efficiency – See low-cost and no-cost efficiency demonstrations for solutions like rope caulking, door sweeps and window plastic. Free samples will be handed out.

-Bill Assistance – Avista customer service representatives can answer billing questions, provide information about payment options and refer  to energy assistance programs. You can also learn how to use Avista's free online Bill Analyzer.

-Community Assistance – Avista and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about energy assistance, weatherization and other topics.

-Kids Meet Wattson – Stop by and see Wattson the Energy Watchdog! Kids activities include crafts, dancing and interactive games.

Parking is free and there will be complimentary food and beverages, door prizes and activities for the kids at most locations. Avista will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations that are requested for individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Community Development Consumer Affairs Office at (509) 495-8024 or email lisa.lee@avistacorp.com if accommodations are needed.
 
Published: 10/9/2012  4:21 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Mar 06 , 2012
Avista makes little changes that add up to energy savings – you can too
 
Who says you can’t reduce your energy usage without suffering the consequences of an inconvenient temperature setting? Well … Avista does.

Programmable thermostat
To help reduce energy use, Avista
 optimized its programmable ther-
mostats in the building, like the
one shown above. Installing and
programming a programmable the-
rmostat is one of the many low-cost
ways to save on energy. You can
learn more about finding the right
thermostat for you by visiting
http://www.energystar.gov.
And we don’t just say it, we did it. In fact, Avista did it by making small heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements throughout our 14,024 square-foot service center located in Spokane Valley, Wash. Avista optimized programmable thermostats in the building, improved the air distribution system and installed stand-alone heat pumps in unoccupied spaces. Since those changes in 2009, Avista has saved 48,000 kilowatt hours, reducing its electric use by about nine percent. Those small changes also moved Avista into the top quarter of similarly compared energy efficient buildings, earning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star certification.

Striving for the Energy Star a three-fold benefit
By becoming Energy Star certified, Avista serves its customers better by reducing its costs and becoming more efficient with the energy we all use and depend on.

Reducing energy use also helps protect the environment, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Avista employees gave the changes a thumbs-up as well. The team who worked on the improvements made sure to provide the right level of comfort and convenience for those that work there.

Energy Star Certficate
Small changes do make a difference. Making
small heating, venting and air conditioning
(HVAC) improvements throughout Avista’s
14,024 square-foot service center located in
Spokane Valley, Wash., has garnered the
official Energy Star certification. Only the top
quarter buildings in the nation are awarded the
certification.
Over time, little changes can add up. Here a few things you can do in your home to help make a difference.

• Setting your thermostat three degrees lower in cold weather can reduce your heating bill approximately 10 percent. A good cold weather setting is 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night or while you’re away. This does not apply to an air source heat pump, which may rely on emergency heat to bring the temperature back. Using a programmable thermostat will automatically make the adjustments for you – set it, and forget it.

• Replace your furnace filter once a month. Dirty filters block airflow and make your system work harder.

• Homes breathe and move, so caulking that is several years old may have pulled away from surfaces because of wind, rain and temperature changes. Look for old caulk that needs replacing, then re-caulk around windows, doors and other places where two dissimilar materials meet up. An easy way to check for leaks around doors is to have someone run a flashlight around the exterior door jam at night while you stand inside in the dark. If you see light, fix or add weather-stripping in that location. Also, think about anything added to your home during the year that may have penetrated walls, and fill in those penetrations.

• Water heating is the second largest consumer of energy in the home. A good setting for the water heater temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a dishwasher, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the suggested temperature.

Customers can take advantage of many energy efficiency equipment rebates and weatherization programs offered by Avista. Learn more about energy efficiency at http://www.everylittlebit.com.
Published: 3/6/2012  9:23 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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 08 , 2011
Post by Debbie Simock
 
When you look around your garage, shed or home, can you spot what could be costing you up to $100 a year to run?  If you have a refrigerator or freezer built before 1990, it’s consuming up to four times more energy than a new, more efficient model and costing you more to use.

Recycle
With Avista’s Refrigerator Recycling Program, you can earn $30 to recycle your old refrigerator or freezer. You also have the option of donating your rebate to Project Share - a customer, community and Avista funded program that provides one-time emergency energy assistance to help families in need in our region.

Here’s what you need to do:
• Be an Avista electric customer
• Own the appliance you want to recycle
• Make sure your unit is in good working condition
• See if it was manufactured in 1995 or earlier
• Call (877) 577-0510 to schedule a free pickup or visit everylittlebit.com for more information
• When scheduling  your refrigerator or freezer pick-up, let the customer representatives know if you would like to donate your rebate to Project Share

Our partner JACO Environmental will pick up your old refrigerator or freezer which will be dismantled and recycled through a process that returns up to 95 percent of each unit back into the manufacturing stream.

If you’re purchasing a new Energy Star refrigerator or freezer, check out our energy efficiency appliance rebates at everylittlebit.com.
Published: 12/8/2011  4:27 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 10 , 2011
 
Joe on camera - smile!
Joe Brabeck, manager of Avista’s Home Energy Audit
Program on camera with KHQ's morning show,
discussing Avista and energy efficiency.
Some days start a lot earlier than others. This morning between 5:00 and 6:15 a.m., Avista’s own Joe Brabeck, manager of Avista’s Home Energy Audit Program, shared tips with KHQ’s Matt Rodgers on low-cost ways to make your home more energy efficient this winter. Because making sure that the warm air you heat stays in your home is important to everyone, here’s what you can do:
 
1. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs lights.
 
2. Set back the thermostat at night or when at work to 68 degrees. For convenience, install a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature for you. If you have a heat pump, look for a programmable thermostat that is compatible with it.
 
3. Check the furnace filter every month and change it when dirty. Pleated paper filters remove finer particles and need more frequent changing.
 
4. Keep the hot water tank set to approximately 120 degrees.
 
5. Seal air leaks around doors, windows and behind light switch plates and outlet covers. If you can see daylight through a crack/gap, you are losing heat from your home.  
 
6. Take advantage of the radiant heating of the sun by opening curtains/blinds on the south and west side of the house on sunny days.  Close drapes on cold, cloudy days and at night.
 
For more information about energy efficiency, rebates and incentives, visit www.everylittlebit.com
Published: 11/10/2011  8:21 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 26 , 2011
Click here to learn more and enter contest

We’re pretty into energy efficient around here at Avista. It’s the lowest cost new resource for energy – energy that we don’t have to generate, buy or deliver. And it saves you energy too (kinda the point, right?)

So we’re very excited about the “Efficiency Matters Prius Giveaway,” which will help raise awareness and participation in Avista’s many energy efficiency programs. KREM 2’s Project Green, Toyota and Avista have joined forces to rally around energy efficiency. For over 30 years, we have helped customers become more energy efficient by offering tools like the online home energy analyzer, bill analyzer, the carbon calculator and providing rebates and energy tips.

Avista’s partnership with KREM 2’s Project Green and Toyota is now giving you a chance to win a Prius V Hybrid.

Here’s a quick overview of the contest. Avista customers (and viewer’s of KREM2) can enter to win a new PriusV—before you can buy it. Enter daily Aug. 22-Oct. 2, with the “watch and win” sweepstakes on KREM on the 6 p.m. newscast. You’ll get a new keyword each day that allows you to enter. The keyword is only good for that day.

Entrants can get “bonus” keywords from special events and from Avista’s Every Little Bit website. These additional keywords allow them an “extra” entry - three total for contest period.

The ten finalists will be selected by random drawing on Monday, Oct. 3. Will it be you?

Learn more about the contest, get the Official Rules and enter to win here: http://special.krem.com/winapriusv/

Learn more about Avista’s energy rebates here: http://everylittlebit.com/HouseOfRebates.aspx
Published: 8/26/2011  9:57 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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