Opinion

RePower can help you save energy | Editorial

You’re at work. But at home, your computer and other electronic appliances are also working, sucking electricity while on standby mode. Coffee makers, DVD players, electric toothbrushes, microwave ovens and plasma TVs use energy even while not in use. Energy experts estimate that, nationwide, this so-called “vampire” electric use costs $3 billion a year.

If you use air conditioning or electric heat to keep your home comfortable during the seasons, your systems may be working harder than they have to as cool or warm air escapes from your home. If your appliances are older, they’re probably using more electricity than newer models.

This all adds up to a higher energy bill for you. And more energy consumption. Now think of this:

Energy experts say America is maxing out its electricity generating capacity. There could be electricity shortages this decade in some parts of America. And it could get worse as we struggle to find new, cleaner ways to generate electricity, because America lacks the technology to meet its climate change goal deadlines.

That’s the bad news. But there is some good news.

RePower Kitsap is working with local agencies to increase energy efficiency in Kitsap homes; the goal is a 20 percent energy reduction in 1,550 homes through education, outreach, financing and cash-back incentives. (That doesn’t include Bremerton and Bainbridge, which have their own RePower programs.)

When the goal is reached, RePower Kitsap hopes to leave in place a program that can be continued by local private and public partnerships. Local partners include Puget Sound Energy, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation, and Kitsap Credit Union.

RePower Kitsap (877-741-4340, repowerkitsap.org) is one of several RePower projects in the U.S. and is funded by federal and state grants. For free, RePower Kitsap will visit your home and conduct an energy audit of your home. They’ll identify energy leaks and determine ways you can save energy. They’ll connect you with cash incentives and tax credits to offset the cost. They’ll also replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use two-thirds less electricity and last 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs and fixtures; and they’ll replace your showerheads with low-flow heads, for free.

Some 1,200 homes are participating in Bainbridge RePower; the goal there is 4,000 homes. The Bremerton RePower program has a goal of reducing energy consumption of 1,000 homes.

All told, RePower will hopefully reduce the energy consumption of 6,550 homes countywide. That’s good for the pocketbook, for the environment, and for our future.

Saving energy can start today. It starts with you. Give RePower a call.

Here’s more food for thought:

— For every degree you lower your thermostat setting, you reduce your heating costs 1 percent. A programmable thermostat can save you up to $100 annually when programmed and used properly.

— High efficiency water heaters use 10 percent less energy.

— Energy Star-rated appliances will net you energy and budgetary savings — and you may be eligible for incentives and rebates on your purchases.

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