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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Dec. 2, 2023

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Energy Adviser: Choose right tool to track energy


Whether it’s to improve physical fitness or save money for a special purchase, it’s hard to get the results you want without tracking your progress. Saving energy and lowering your utility bills is no different.

It’s much easier to reduce energy waste and consume less power when you’re watching how your home or business uses it.

Tracking energy consumption used to be a tough job. A person would have to read the wattage label of every appliance and lightbulb, figure out how much power each consumed, then track how often each was used. To even be remotely accurate, a person would have to do that kind of manual monitoring for a week or more.

Today, in just a few minutes, consumers can get a good look at their energy consumption and see how much they could save after a few changes.

To know what tool is best for you, decide whether you want to track every watt or if you’re comfortable with a more generalized approach.

Whichever you prefer, the Clark Public Utilities Home Energy Calculator is a great place to start. There are two versions of this tool available at the utility’s website. The more general of the two is easy to find at clarkpublicutilities.com. The second version available through the customer’s MyAccount profile, uses actual consumption information to offer a more precise view.

After a few questions about your home and habits, the tool offers a good idea of your household’s annual energy habits. Then it presents a snapshot of your electric costs and how different investments or changes in habits can reduce your utility expenses. The more information you provide, the more accurate the results.

It’s a handy tool the utility provides free of charge to customers, but it’s far from being the only resource available.

The simplest method may be to check your bill. Your Clark Public Utilities bill displays the current month’s average daily consumption and that of the same month of the previous two years, if available.

There are also smartphone and tablet apps that can track consumption. Some may need you to input specific details about your appliances, while others may estimate your energy consumption based on local data. Whichever you choose, it would be wise to read the reviews to understand how accurate it is before you invest.

Smart thermostats also offer energy usage in easily accessible dashboards. Even though it’ll only inform on the home’s heating and cooling system, it’s still helpful to see what’s going on with the largest energy expenditure in the typical home.

Whole-home energy monitors, which are installed at the circuit breaker panel, can drill down to individual devices to sniff out savings opportunities. But installing and leveraging them to their full potential might take some doing beyond what the average person may want or need.

Energy Star, possibly the most widely recognized name in energy efficiency, offers a whole-house solution through their Smart Home Energy Management Systems.

The program aims to simplify, reduce and manage home energy consumption through the use of smart devices. The program has some basic smart device requirements, but it can schedule your home around schedule, suggest energy saving actions and help automate your home devices.

No matter which one you choose, a better understanding of your energy consumption can help you use less down the road.

Energy Adviser is produced by Clark Public Utilities and relies on the expertise of utility energy counselors and staff, who provide conservation and energy use information. To contact us call 360-992-3355, email ecod@clarkpud.com or visit www.clarkpublicutilities.com.

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