Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 15

by Derrill Holly and Paul Wesslund | info@ruralmissouri.coop

I

f the warmer spring weather has you thinking about
the sultry summer months ahead, this could be a great
time to consider energy-saving options for your home
and making plans to help control your energy costs this
summer.
There's a combination of things you can do yourself, like
making slight modifications to your family's routine, that
can help identify and achieve opportunities for savings
while keeping your home more comfortable throughout the
summer cooling season ahead. According to Scott Blue,
member energy services specialist for Springfield-based Associated Electric Cooperative, cooperative members sometimes focus solely on energy efficiency as a way to reduce
their energy use.
"The other - and sometimes more important but overlooked - area is energy conservation. Understanding your
energy consumption by the hour and not waiting to get the
monthly bill in the mail," Scott says. "What is my kilowatthour price? How many kilowatt-hours am I using? When
cooperative members see this and react in more real time,
their energy consumption would fall, saving them money
through conserving."

HVAC CONSIDERATIONS

ENERGY STAR PRODUCTS

When it comes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, spending a few dollars at the
beginning of the season can add energy savings, help
avoid expensive surprises and system failures in the
future and add life to your system.
A qualified service technician with the right skills
and equipment will check key components like the
compressor and condenser, clean the coils and
inspect the ductwork. A technician also may offer
advice on how to get the most value out of your smart
thermostat.
According to experts with the Energy Star program,
sealing and insulating ductwork can improve the efficiency of your HVAC by as much as 20%. Making
sure systems are appropriately sized also can improve
performance. Once your HVAC system no longer
meets your needs or doesn't keep your house comfortable, work with a trusted contractor to find a properly
sized, high-efficiency system that meets your needs
with energy efficiency and future savings in mind.
"Purchase the most economical and realistic equipment you can afford," Scott says. "I would encourage
- at a minimum - a heat pump hooked to either an
electric furnace or even a gas furnace with a 90-plus
annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. I
would also encourage at least a bid and consideration
of a geothermal unit. This will give you the cost to
upgrade and the potential return on that investment.
You can always give your local cooperative a call for
help and guidance."

The little blue (and sometimes black) logo with the
star inside that you see on all sorts of appliances
and electronics has changed the way we view savings
through more efficient products.
The Energy Star program claims credit for saving
Americans $30 billion in energy costs. Analysts credit
Energy Star with innovating the energy industry, as
manufacturers set goals of making more energy efficient products than their competitors.
Energy Star makes it easy to know whether a
product you're thinking about buying is more energy
efficient. Essentially the program looks at the average
energy use of each type of product and awards the
Energy Star rating to top performers based on different criteria. A refrigerator needs to be 9% more energy
efficient than the minimum efficiency standard; a
computer needs to use 25% less electricity than conventional models and include a power-saving mode
option when it's not being used.
"The Energy Star program is a symbol for energy
efficiency; providing simple, credible and unbiased
information that members can rely on to make wellinformed decisions," Scott says. "These products are
tested and meet certain energy efficiency guidelines
that will help members save money by using less
energy."
So, if the appliance or device you're purchasing includes the Energy Star logo, you know it's among the
most energy-efficient products available. That simplicity is the secret to the success of the program.

MAY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

May20_Straight Talk Test.indd 2

15

4/9/20 9:19 AM


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 7
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Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover4
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