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A ‘smart’ way to save with your window AC
By Scott Wudel on June 20, 2014
Becky Torres likes being practical. She and her teenage daughter Rebecca live in a modest home on San Antonio’s southwest side. They enjoy the simple things – like seeing a movie or going to the park. Becky believes in making the right choices so she and her daughter have the freedom to do those things.
That’s why Becky just got the Cool Energy smartAC kit. In fact, she got two – one for each unit in her home. Both kits were free!
The smartAC kit is a Wi-fi enabled plug for your window AC that allows it to communicate wirelessly with your computer. Once a device is registered, you can pull up your account on the web or on a smartphone with a free app. You can watch how much energy each unit is using and change the temperature electronically.
The kit also can be programmed to turn off when you head to work – saving energy when no one is at home — and come on again to cool your home shortly before you return. If you’re old fashioned, there’s also a remote control that allows you to adjust the temperature from the comfort of your couch. It’s just too easy.
Becky says her energy bills run about $135 a month. With the smart AC kit, she will likely save 10 percent or more on her monthly bill – that’s over $150 a year. As Becky says, “that’s like getting a month of free energy!”
“Every dollar saved is a dollar in my pocket so we can do other things,” she says. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to save money. If I save $20, that’s movie tickets and popcorn!”
Becky admits to using her AC units 24/7. A few years ago, she added on to her home and noticed that her bill went up. Since then, she’s been making a habit of looking for ways to save. Last year, she purchased an energy efficient washing machine. Becky also learned that ceiling fans can help her keep rooms she’s using cool, while closing window blinds also helps shut out the heat from the sun.
“Money is like time – you lose it and you never get it back,” she says about her new approach to saving. She’s also become more conscious of how she can help her community and the environment by reducing her energy use.
By using the smartAC kit, Becky not only saves energy in her home, but also helps her community by conserving energy when it’s in high demand on hot summer days.
Cool Energy participants like Becky are part of CPS Energy’s demand response programs, which offers rebates to participants who allow their thermostats to be adjusted a couple of degrees during the hottest part of hot summer days. That helps CPS Energy manage energy demand, and that helps everyone save money.
At the end of demand response season in September, Becky will see a $30 account credit on her bill, in addition to the energy savings and free equipment.
“I’m trying to learn to be more green,” she says. “This is my little drop in the bucket.”