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ENERGY Eff iciency


If it’s not in use, turn off the juice! R


By Anne Prince


educing household energy use doesn’t mean doing without. It doesn’t require walking around


your house wearing extra sweaters and earmuff s in the dead of winter, or stripping down to the bare essentials in the summer. It means being smarter about how you manage the energy you do use. Consider OEC your trusted resource for exploring energy-saving strategies. Energy effi ciency means


performing the same job and getting a similar outcome using less energy. T is effi ciency is oſt en achieved through a mechanical change, such as replacing an older, less effi cient appliance or mechanical unit with a new model, but sometimes a minor change of habit is all that’s needed. Examples could include dimming lights, turning down the thermostat or washing clothes in cold water instead of hot.


THE BENEFITS OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION So why are energy conservation and energy effi ciency more important than


ever to our members? What are the benefi ts of effi ciency and conservation? T e short answer is that energy reduction in your home 1) saves you money; 2) improves our economy by enabling consumers and businesses to spend and invest in other areas; and 3) reduces the amount of pollution emitted from power generation. T e more complex answer is that


consumers are more reliant on devices, computers, phones (with charging stations), sophisticated media/home entertainment and video gaming systems, and “smart” technology that all rely on electricity. T e wide array of new electronic devices is improving our quality of life, and electric co-ops are promoting effi ciency to bring new conveniences at a lower cost.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE “FIRST FUEL” In this period of rapidly changing


technology, Americans are increasingly aware of the need to reduce energy consumption. Many now call energy savings the “fi rst fuel” because the easiest way to reduce fuel cost and


carbon emissions is to save energy. Energy is a valuable commodity, and while the discussions over climate change and carbon footprints continue, we must all do our part to conserve this precious resource. Using less energy may even boost the economy by relieving the ever-tightening family budget, allowing dollars to be spent on more tangible goods. Americans have demonstrated


a willingness to take steps toward reducing their energy consumption, both to save money and out of concern for the environment. According to the January 2014 Nielson U.S. Consumer Energy Sentiments Report, 91 percent of consumers are willing to change their energy-use behavior to save money on energy costs. T e same report indicates that 77 percent would change their behavior out of concern for the environment. For information on how you can


be more energy effi cient, visit www. okcoop.org.


Anne Prince writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.- based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.


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OKLAHOMA ELECTRIC CO-OP NEWS • APRIL 2015


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