Energy-saving tips for your station
Last fall, my electrical utility offered a new tiered rate plan. Depending on the time of day and season, our electricity rate (kw/hour) varies. The highest rate is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the lowest rate is from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The other hours are mid-rate. Weekends and holidays are also billed at the lowest rate.
The tiered rate plan incentivizes us to shift our electricity usage and has resulted in us saving lots of money. Through planning ahead, intentional usage decisions and timing devices, we have dramatically shifted our electricity load to the lowest rate periods. This is what we have done in our home.
1. Schedule major appliance usage for low rate periods. For the first time, we are using the timer on our dishwasher so it automatically starts after 10 p.m. We do most of our clothing laundry on the weekends.
2. Charge mobile devices during the low rate period. The electricity to our charging station is on a timer that turns on at 1 a.m. and off at 7 a.m. All phone and tablet computer charging is done during these hours.
3. Add an electrical timer to devices only used during set periods. The gaming console and accompanying TV only have power for an hour before school and a few hours after school.
Earth Day 2012 takes place this Sunday, with events planned held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment. So, it's a good time to see what you can do at your agency to save both resources and money.
Before putting charging stations for medical devices, such as cardiac monitors, or portable radios on a timer, check with the device manufacturer about optimal charging procedures.
But many of these tips could be implemented in station or workplace. I use the Utilitech Digital 8-Outlet Power Strip Time to set the on/off schedule for our charging station, game console and TV.
Ask your local utility if a tiered rate plan, that encourages conservation and load shifting, is available in your area.
Finally, remember the easiest thing you can do to save some electricity and put a little extra money in your pocket is to turn out the lights as you leave the room.
What are your energy saving tips? How do you encourage co-workers to help you conserve electricity – and reduce costs in the process?