October is Energy Awareness Month. This is a nationally supported effort to bring awareness to how energy use affects us and our planet in our everyday lives. Learning about sustainability and auditing your home to see where your dollars are going are two ways you can participate this month.
You may be wondering why this month would be important to Butte CAA. Well, there is a lot to be aware of when it comes to energy use in our community and with the colder months approaching we need to be prepared to stay safe and warm.
Why We Care
Low-income households are more likely to be affected by energy inefficiencies and costs. Residents sometimes engage in unsafe practices like using a stove to heat the house.
Northern California is home to two extremes, very hot summers and freezing winters. In a month we will see nightly temperatures drop to below 35 and highs not reach over 70.
Quick Facts on Energy Use
- U.S. households use over half their energy consumption on AC and Heating
- Electricity and natural gas are the most used energy sources in homes
- 68% of all energy is wasted through inefficiencies
- Using CFL or LED light bulbs instead of incandescent can save you 25%-80% energy
- Forgetting to change HVAC filters is one of the biggest wastes of energy
8 Easy Ways to Save Energy
- Check your HVAV filters
- Do you have any air leaks or improper insulation?
- Wash clothes on cold or warm water regularly and only use hot if it is needed
- Change your lightbulbs
Weatherization and Utility Assistance Services
With the current pandemic, we also see job loss and spending more time at home increasing energy use in the home. The rise in unemployment can also mean fewer people are able to pay their energy bills.
Our main Environment & Energy Services programs help families update their homes to be more energy efficient and pay utilities. Some programs are coordinated with efforts by PG&E to save energy and reduce costs for low income families.
Reducing energy costs means families have more money for food, medicine, transportation and other essentials. On average low income families spend 7.2% of their total income on energy costs. That's a huge part of the family budget.
- Our Weatherization professionals take the “whole house weatherization” approach that analyzes all of the building systems – the building envelope, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, and electric base load appliances – through the completion of an energy audit.
- Another distinguishing feature of our program is the attention to the overall health and safety of the customers being served. Many dwellings receiving attention are old and in need of repair. Our teams check the building envelope and major energy systems to ensure there are no safety concerns for the occupants before installing any energy efficiency measures.
- Two key principles guide the installation measures: cost effectiveness measured by the savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) – the amount of energy savings versus the cost to install a measure – and the availability of health and safety funds. Through Weatherization improvements and upgrades, households save on average $283 or more every year.
How You Can Participate
The main thing is to be aware of our energy use and be good stewards of it. The less we use is easier on the environment and our wallets. Use these tips to help your self out. And if you have any help to give, donate.
If you are nervous about your ability to keep your home warm in the coming months, please reach out to us and we may be able to help you through our Energy Assistance or Weatherization Programs.