On September 16th Greater Sacramento Habitat Young Professionals – a group of YPs dedicated to supporting Habitat through networking, fundraising, awareness, and volunteerism – hosted a lunchtime webinar with panelists from our friends at SMUD to share energy saving tips and how local homeowners and renters can save on their energy bills. Here are our 5 key takeaways, and the full webinar recording.
- SMUD has an Energy Assistance Program Rate for discounts on energy bills for low-income residents – whether homeowners or renters.
For example, a household of 1 making $2,873 or less per month – which many YPs might meet as early-career earners – can qualify for energy bill discounts. A family of 4 with a household income of $4,367 or less per month would also qualify.
Check out eligibility or apply at smud.org/lowincome
- SMUD customers can receive $15 off their monthly bill if using specific medical equipment.
At a time when we’re staying home more than ever and may have family members with conditions dependent on medical equipment which use up more energy, every savings strategy can make a difference. If you have equipment such as an in-home dialysis cycler or oxygen concentrator, you may qualify for an energy bill discount.
Learn more at smud.org/MED
- Why it matters what time of day you run your appliances, and how to shift those times to lower your bills.
SMUD recommends running appliances and heating or air as little as possible between 5:00 and 8:00 pm – why? This is a common time for folks to get home from work and start blasting air conditioning to cool down their home, or start running ovens to cook dinner, which heats up the home and makes the AC run even harder. Since more people are using energy from the same power grid, bills go up as the grid works harder and electricity becomes a hotter commodity.
One way you can avoid running your AC like a workhorse right when you get home is to program your thermostat (most traditional varieties have simple timer settings!) to start cooling the home an hour before you arrive. That way, it won’t need to work as hard to catch up in the afternoon heat. In addition, it saves more energy to set your thermostat to hold a steady temperature (convention says 78 degrees while you’re home and 85 while you’re not – but you have the power, pun intended, to set at whatever temperature is comfortable for you) rather than turn it off completely while out of the house, because once it’s turned back on it will have to work even harder to catch up to the outside temperature, especially in these hot summers!
- The “envelope” of your home, and any appliance that heats and cools will have the biggest impact on your energy costs.
Your home or apartment’s “envelope” is the separator between conditioned and unconditioned areas of your dwelling – aka your walls, roof, and attic. The more well-insulated your envelope, the better your home will be able to maintain comfortable temperatures. This is important because heating and cooling appliances like your AC and water heater (moreso than your kitchen appliances like refrigerator and stove) affect your bills the most and will have to run more often and use more energy if heat is entering or escaping easily.
A few quick solutions? Homeowners with accessible attics can purchase inexpensive roll-out insulation at a hardware store and simply roll it out across the floor of your attic. Room-darkening shades and keeping blinds or shutters closed during the daytime can help keep ambient sunlight from heating rooms on hot summer days. Weather strips can be applied to door frames to keep cool air in. And SMUD customers can request a consultation with a weatherization expert to find vulnerable areas to address.
- The SMUD energy store is a resource for affordable energy tech and DIY home upgrade project instructions.
When it’s time to change your home’s lightbulbs or air filters, SMUD customers can save through instant rebates by purchasing them through the SMUD store. If you’re thinking of upgrading to the latest smart thermometer, you can get big discounts, and if these quick tips for weatherization upgrades have you inspired to take on some DIY, you can find detailed walkthroughs too.
Check out the store at smudenergystore.com
Special thanks to our partners at SMUD for bringing the expertise on how Sacramentans can stay cool during peak summer days without breaking the bank, and to our panelists:
Panelist – Michael Punsalan, SMUD Energy Specialist
Panelist – Heather Villalpando, SMUD Product Services Coordinator
Panelist – Ryan Braas, SMUD Senior Product Manager
Moderator – HYP President Erin Wood
Check out the full video recording of the webinar, with more detailed information on SMUD programs and tips, below!
Interested in learning more about Habitat Young Professionals and how you can be a part of this group of change making young professionals working to build a stronger community? Email HYP@HabitatGreaterSac.org or click here to join HYP and become a member!