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ELECTRALITE The cost of staying cool


By Lloyd Parks, CVEC Manager of Technology and Information Services We all want to keep cool dur- ing the hot summer days but how much is it really costing us? This summer we had record heat and I am sure record energy use for most of us was at a record high as well. Energy will not be any cheaper than it is today and will just continue to rise in cost. We, as consumers need to find ways to be more efficient and energy con- scious. Some suggestions would be adding insulation, caulking to reduce infiltration, having your unit serviced regularly, changing air filters monthly, and a program- mable thermostat is a good idea as well.

Recently I did an experiment to see just how much my AC unit

was cycling, the duration of runtimes, and what difference varying the thermostat would make. To do this I installed an electronic meter just on my AC compressor outside. This is a meter that has the capability to record the energy consumed at any interval length that you desire and can download the data to do load flows or calculations. I used a 5 minute interval to record by, to get a decent resolution for the test. The results were pretty much what I anticipated, but interesting none the less, so I thought I would share them with our consumers.

For the examples that I will talk about, I tried to use days that were comparable temperatures and only vary my thermostat settings to express a couple of key points. 1. For every degree change in your thermostat setting, your energy consumption will go up exponentially.

2. Changing your thermostat setting (warmer in summer, cooler in winter) during times when you are gone can lower your energy use considerably.

My home is right at 2,000-square-foot in size, brick exterior with no trees to shade it, and a 5-ton heat pump. I typically keep my thermostat set at 80º during the day and 76º from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. This is very easy to accomplish with a programmable thermostat and not that costly of an investment.

The first scenario in the graph below was with my typical thermostat setting, 80º during the day and 76º from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. As you can see, raising the setting to 80º allowed my compressor to have a down- time of 6 hours and a recov- ery time when adjusted back to 76º of about 2 hours. Total energy used by my unit this day was 23 kwh.

On day two of the experi- ment, I left the temperature set at a constant 76º degrees.

cont. on page 3 The power of human connections By George The following is CVEC Manager

George Hand’s presentation at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Sept. 17.

Since we met here one year ago for

the annual meeting of the members/ owners of Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative, we have witnessed record breaking weather extremes at both ends of the temperature spectrum. As Gary England said, “This was the hottest July since they invented thermometers.” This hot, dry, record breaking summer followed record low temperatures in February which were accompanied by record snowfalls. At this point we are still waiting on the record rainfall to complete the weather cycle. Unless you are one of the “snowbirds” that flew south for the winter and only passed through on your way north when the seasons changed, you experienced this as a year “like we’ve never seen before.” A couple of months ago I visited

with a friend who managed another electric cooperative in Oklahoma back in the 1970s and is now retired and runs a herd of momma cows. He said “I have always matched my hay to the cows. This year I am going to have to match my cows to the hay and I don’t have enough years left to build back.” Another friend that ranches in New Mexico where it is even dryer told me that the only grass he had left grew in 2010 and he feared fire everyday. He also stated that there was not enough moisture this past spring for his pas- tures to green up. I have watched truck load after truck load of hay headed from north to south and from east to west. I am told that those bales of hay sell for from $65 to $100 each. Feeding that priced hay to cows takes a lot of faith in the future, but then farm- ing and ranching always has. Weather extremes are the number

one nemesis of electric distribution systems. While we were experiencing

cont. on page 2

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