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Powerful Living


Energy-saving apps I


By Thomas Kirk


nterested in saving energy? There’s an app for that. Home energy use often goes unnoticed be- cause it is largely an intangible good. Because of the delay between energy use and billing, people often can’t accurately account for how specifi c ac- tions contribute to their overall energy use. This is akin to shopping at a grocery store where customers cannot see the prices of goods and are billed just one time per month in aggregate. However, this is start- ing to change as more consumers adopt and use home energy monitoring applications. The easiest and least expensive apps, like Energy


Tracker and Wiser Home, ask you to provide an in- ventory of all electricity consuming devices within your home. The information needed will include your home’s size, number of windows and an out- let-by-outlet assessment of everything plugged in. The more detailed and accurate you are, the more accurate the app will be in predicting your energy use and providing practical energy saving tips. Depending upon the size of your home and the dexterity of your fi ngers, it may be time consuming to input all of this in- formation into your phone or tablet. But these apps can provide useful insight into your energy use. They also tend to be free or cost less than a couple of dollars. Other apps and software, like TED (The Energy Detective), depend on data from your utility or from sensors installed inside of your home. Consumers should be careful sharing utility account usernames and passwords with apps that are not provided by their utility. Sensors installed in the breaker box or in other areas of the home can provide accurate real time energy consumption information. These prod- ucts will range in price and may not be right for someone uncomfortable opening their breaker box. Some apps may provide a remote control capability over some devices, such as thermostats or lamps. The best source of information on your energy use actually is your local utility. Many offer apps or web services that can help you determine when, where and how energy is being used based on models and your account information. They can also provide energy saving tips and information specifi c to your area. Saving energy is not always easy, but the right mix of tools can go a long way when it comes to making educated decisions on how to make an impact. Just be sure to read the fi ne print.


Thomas Kirk is a technical research analyst specializing in energy effi ciency and renewable energy for the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), a service of the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association


Embrace Change Editor’s Words I


f you are like me, you can benefi t from an oc- casional reminder about how change is constant.


Whether we pay attention or not, change is dynamic; it takes place all around us. As creatures of habit, it is easy to fi nd the people, plac- es and things that make us feel comfortable. Embracing change takes courage, long-term vision and a daring hope of crossing new frontiers. To quote C.S. Lewis: “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fl y while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefi - nitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” Change stretches us and forces us to grow. This edition of Oklahoma Living celebrates change. First, the month of October is slated National Cooperative Month. For electric cooperatives, this is a time to celebrate the vision set by rural pioneers for a better quality of life. Had they not fought to organize co- operatives via the rural electrifi cation program, per- haps there would still be remote areas in our state and country left in the dark. You will fi nd an exam- ple of two Oklahoma electric cooperatives celebrat- ing their 75th anniversary on Page 9. Also on Page 20, you will be inspired to read the story of Larry Shellenberger, a lineman for People’s Electric Cooperative who dedicated 53 years of his life to serving co-op members. Through his labor spanning over fi ve decades, Larry has witnessed many changes in the electric cooperative industry. On Page 7, you will learn about Oklahoma co-ops adding solar power to diversify their generation mix. As industry innovators, co-ops are sensibly adding solar while ensuring the delivery of safe, affordable and reliable power. Solar power means a new fron- tier for Oklahoma’s co-ops, but it is a step co-ops take wisely in order to remain relevant as a trusted energy source. On Page 12, you will be delighted by the story of a couple who brought positive change and delicious dishes to a rural Oklahoma commu- nity by opening G-Pa’s Diner in Harrah, Okla. Be sure to watch the Table Talk video segment that accompanies this feature in OKL’s digital edition. On Page 14, you will read about a local family who opened a feed store to better serve their communi- ty—a true example of neighbors helping neighbors. Whatever change means to you, I encourage you to embrace it. Let this month’s stories serve as an inspiration. After all, we don’t want to go ‘bad,’ we all share the desire to fl y.


Anna Politano Editor,


Oklahoma Living OCTOBER 2015 5


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