In this time of great debate about greenhouse effects and renewable energy options, alternative energy companies are in a position to impact the present and the future. Whether or not you believe in the greenhouse warming theories, it is difficult to argue against the continued exploration of alternative energy options as a way to save money and reduce our carbon footprint.
Some of the most common examples of renewable energy sources include solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, and biomass energy. These kinds of energy sources differ from energy sources of the past: fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Energy suppliers and power companies continue to provide traditional energy sources, while at the same time explore options for producing and offering a variety of alternative energy sources. Companies looking to complete energy research have installed 50 million smart meters in homes across America, reaching 43% of homes overall. These smart meters measure weekly elecrticity use and provide a way for companies to continue to pinpoint the highest and lowest energy times throughout the nation. This information, coupled with alternative energy companies who look for ways to supplement energy whenever possible, are looking at unique ways to help decrease energy loads and provide customers with energy savings options.
While large companies and corporations are exploring alternative energy options, individual homeowners can make personal choices that can have a big impact on the nation’s energy consumption. For example, a homeowner can save an estimated 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by simply installing and using a programmable thermostat. An additional savings is also available to energy customers who opt into energy efficiency plans offered by their local providers. In Omaha, Nebraska, for example, the local electrical company offers a $100 a year savings for participating in the Peak Energy Conservation Plan. Participating customers agree to let the local utility company select five days a year when the company will take control of their home thermostat. On these days, which are selected as some of the highest use days in the year, the company will manage your cooling system and shut it off for short time periods during an eight hour stretch to help the energy use in the entire metropolitan area. While an individual homeowner will only see a one or two degree temperature increase in a home, the utility company is able to avoid overloading systems, and possibly avoid brown outs in the city.
American used 13 times more electricity in 2013 than the amount of electricity was used in 1950. Understandably, we have more people who are using many more modern conveniences than the Americans who lived 60 years ago. It should come as no surprise that the largest use of electricity in the residential sector is air conditioning. In fact, air conditioning accounts for 19% of residential electricity use. With these statistics, it should also be understood that we work as individuals and as a nation to encourage alternative energy companies to seek options to provide both monetary and energy savings.