By Izzy Fernandez, Energy Ambassador
As my two valiant ambassadors of environmental betterment and I complete one free energy audit after another for off-campus University of Utah student living spaces, we receive many questions concerning ways to save water, energy, and most importantly, money. But before we get into the specifics of it, we should answer some frequently asked questions.
Q1: What does an energy audit entail?
Answer: First of all, the energy audits provided are not scary! People typically associate the word “audit” with financial inspections. But don’t fret, my fellow eco-warriors, because instead of inspecting your finances, we evaluate your energy usage! *Cue the figurative confetti canon.* This non-stop party includes a number of simple tests on your apartment or house including:
- The temperature of your refrigerator/freezer;
- Your incandescent to CFL light bulb ratio;
- Phantom power levels of your most-used electronic appliances/devices;
- Gallons per minute (GPM) of your showerhead and kitchen/bathroom faucets.
We’ll ask you questions about your daily energy use and suggest some easy ways to save that can really make a difference for the planet and your energy bill.
But the party does not stop there!
Q2: Free Stuff?
Answer: Yes! Free Stuff.
Don’t think you’ll leave this party empty-handed—everyone who participates in an energy audit will receive energy-efficient goodies provided by Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Energy. These gifts are totally FREE (as good gifts should be). They are our gift to you and to the environment. These gifts include:
Three 13-watt CFL bulbs
Most houses built 26+ years ago still have incandescent light bulbs as a means for lighting. Incandescent light bulbs are inexpensive at the time of sale, but in the long run, they use way more energy than CFLs or LEDs. According to the Department of Energy, CFLs are four times cheaper in annual energy use costs:
The annual cost of an incandescent light bulb? $4.80/year
The annual cost of a CFL? $1.20/year
One 10.5-watt LED bulb
We provide up to three CFL bulbs, and one LED (light-emitting diode) bulb. The annual cost of the energy use of an LED bulbs? $1/year. Plus, it has a bulb life 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
One high-efficiency showerhead
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average family can save almost 3,000 gallons of water per year just by switching to a showerhead that uses less than 2 GPM. Lucky for you, the showerhead we provide uses 1.5 GPM!
Up to two faucet aerators
According to the Regional Water Consortium Providers, “Bathroom and kitchen sink faucets account for 16 percent of the water used in an average home.” You can save up to 40 percent of that by installing more efficient faucet aerators to slow the flow.
And last, but not least…
One smart power strip!
These baby’s come fully-loaded with seven outlets and energy-saving capabilities. Our power strips (courtesy of Staples)
- Reduce energy use and trim up to $25 dollars annually from your energy bill;
- Cut power automatically to devices that are fully charged/not in use;
- Help eliminate phantom power. Whenever the master outlet turns off, its four connected outlets will also turn off. This is especially useful for hefty entertainment systems with a television, DVD player, and various gaming systems (PS4, Xbox, Wii, etc.)
Sign up online for a FREE energy audit from the Student Energy Ambassadors today.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what our energy audits entail, and what we provide during them. Happy Holidays from the Energy Ambassadors and the Sustainability Office!
Izzy Fernandez is a student Energy Ambassador with the Sustainability Office.