Turn on the lights and TV, boot up the computer, and head to the kitchen to start dinner. Most of us walk through a familiar routine after arriving home from a full-day of work.
We hardly take a step that does not involve the reliable flow of electricity. Every light switch or appliance we turn on sends the electric meter outside spinning a little faster and the monthly bill a little higher.
Meanwhile, it's hard to escape the media coverage surrounding climate change as evening news reporters drone on about global warming.
We watch with concern and ask, "Is there anything one person can do to make a difference?" The answer is an emphatic, "Yes!" It starts with learning all we can about energy conservation and efficiency. While they are not the same thing, they are close relatives.
Conservation occurs when we reduce total consumption of electricity, often achieved by simply turning off anything that consumes electricity when not needed.
Energy efficiency occurs when we replace or upgrade the essentials in our lives (e.g., appliances, lighting, insulation), allowing us to realize the same benefit with less electricity.
To demonstrate both of those philosophies, Sioux Valley Energy initiated Project E2 (Energy Efficiency) which included the construction of an affordable, energy efficient home built with "off-the-shelf" products found locally along with an awareness campaign. Project E2 had two major goals. The first was to help conserve needed power. It's very likely, that without any intervention, power suppliers will be facing an energy deficit in the future. Nationally, demand for electricity is expected to increase 40 percent by the year 2030 and if the trend continues, there will not be enought power generation to keep up with demand.
Secondly, Sioux Valley Energy wanted to help its members save money. Energy prices are rising and our goal is to offer solutions to our customers on how to make the most of their energy dollar.
The cumulative effect of energy efficiency and conservation in homes and businesses (as demonstrated with Project E2) will have a direct impact on our nation's entire electric grid-reducing demand during peak periods, cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, and lowering overall costs to co-ops and consumer-members. Not to mention energy efficiency helps manage load growth and delays the need to build new electric generation facilities.
America's electric co-ops, like Sioux Valley Energy, are working with public officials at all levels to identify and adopt achievable and balanced solutions to climate change. One of quickest remedies to a balanced solution is embracing conservation and efficiency -- and making them part of our daily routine. Although energy consumption will continue to increase, by using electricity more efficiently, we can slow the overall growth for more power.
For more information on energy efficiency log on to www.stopenergyleaks.com.