Residents of Bellevue and six other Eastside cities who received reports detailing their household energy usage were able to trim a total of more than $1 million from their electricity and gas bills, according to a report released this month.
The home energy reports, sent to nearly 100,000 homes, including 35,000 in Bellevue, offer participants an environmentally friendly way to "beat the Joneses," comparing their energy usage to similar neighbors and identifying options for cutting their consumption of gas and electricity.
As part of Bellevue's Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the city joined forces with Puget Sound Energy and the cities of Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton and Sammamish to provide the energy reports, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other grants. Opower, a Virginia-based energy management software company, generates the reports.
And now the results are in. In addition to saving money, participants in the seven cities collectively have averted more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and saved 7.8 gigawatt hours and 375 thousand therms of energy. This is roughly equivalent to 10,000 cross-country flights, the carbon stored in 20 acres of tropical forest, or 500 cars off the road for a year.
Bellevue residents alone have averted 1.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 170 cars off the road for one year. Bellevue households receiving the reports are saving an average of $20 in energy costs per month, while each home energy report costs only about $10 to produce.
The energy reports, delivered in the mail and accessible through an online portal, are sent every other month to Bellevue homeowners who have both electrical and natural gas service. The program, which began in November 2010, runs through the end of this year.
The reports provide information on both electricity and natural gas usage, and include:
- Progress trackers: Participants can see how their energy use changes over time so they can set targets of energy savings and track the effectiveness of energy-reducing measures.
- Personalized energy-efficiency tips: Each report gives participants tips chosen specifically for them based on their energy use and the characteristics of their home.
- Regional comparisons: Participants are able to see how their energy use compares to the aggregate usage of anonymous customers in similar-sized homes, much like comparing the gas efficiency of different cars.
PSE offers more details about the energy report program or through a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482.
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