Join the parade and see the latest trends in energy savings and construction

The Greater Tulsa Parade of Homes is a great opportunity to see the latest in home design, but have you considered what’s behind those beautiful walls? If you’re considering building your own dream home we’ve got your blueprint for comfort and savings. Investing in the construction of an energy-efficient home has many long-term benefits, including lower utility bills, higher resale values, year-round comfort, and a reduced carbon footprint. Here are three things you should know before construction begins:

 

  1. Lay the foundation for energy efficiency early in the process.

You know what they say—the early bird is the most efficient. (OK, that’s not a real saying, but it’s true.) To maximize the energy efficiency of your new home, contact a PSO-certified homebuilder before you begin construction.  PSO-certified homebuilders are trained to recognize the best path to energy savings, which means you’ll get maximum comfort and take advantage of new-home rebates from PSO without having to backtrack during construction.

 

  1. For your new home to be considered truly energy-efficient, it must be PSO-certified or ENERGY STAR®-certified.

So what’s that mean exactly? It means your home must stand up to rigorous testing and inspections based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), an index used by homebuilders to measure a home’s energy efficiency performance.To assure the construction of your new home is meeting these standards, a certified independent HERS rater works closely with your builder throughout the process to determine things like the best energy-saving equipment and construction techniques to use. The rater will also conduct the on-site testing and inspections necessary to earn certification from PSO or ENERGY STAR®.

 

  1. Pay attention to the details and talk to your builder.

Before construction begins, brush up on your understanding of energy efficiency and talk to your builder to make sure design and construction plans align with your vision for an energy efficient home. There are many factors at play in determining a home’s energy efficiency, and you’ll want to consider all of them: the lighting, the insulation, the windows, the ducts and HVAC system. These components all play a role in energy-efficiency, and one weak link—say, improperly sealed windows—can undermine the whole plan. It can seem like a lot to remember, but don’t worry we’ve put together a handy checklist for you to use when discussing details with your homebuilder.

New Homes Infographic
New Homes Infographic

This Earth Day, brush up on your knowledge of renewables

As Earth Day approaches, now is a good time to talk about the state of “clean” energy.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), clean energy is growing fast, “underscored by a steady expansion of the U.S. renewable energy sector.”

 

What does that mean exactly, and how does it affect you? Here’s what you should know.

 

What is “clean” energy?

Great question. The meaning of “clean” in this context can mean different things depending on who you ask. The DOE uses “clean” mostly interchangeably with “renewable,” which is essentially energy that comes from an infinite source that can’t be depleted, unlike fossil fuels. There are seven basic kinds of energy that fall under the clean umbrella, including Wind, Water, and Geothermal.. Visit the Department of Energy’s website to read more about the various types of clean energy.

 

What does the clean energy revolution look like?

It may not be as exciting as robots taking over the world, but the clean energy revolution means more and more homes and vehicles operate on renewable energy. Maybe you’ve noticed the ever increasing number of affordable electric vehicles on the market or the steady uptick in public charging stations for electric vehicles? Homes benefit too—with more and more homeowners consuming energy from alternative power sources, like wind energy.

 

How does clean energy affect me?

Well, it depends. While clean energy alternatives are available, they are still gaining momentum. But things like electric vehicles and wind power are becoming more affordable, and more visible. As the world uses less fossil fuels, products, services, and businesses that run on clean energy will eventually become a normal part of our everyday lives.

 

I’m interested in reducing my reliance on fossil fuels now. How can PSO help?

Efficiency first:  PSO provides energy efficiency rebates and services to reduce the amount of energy used to power our economy, so as to make the use of energy from any source easier and more cost-effective.

If you’re interested in renewables, PSO offers the WindChoice program. It’s an easy way for customers to tap into our state’s vast wind energy. You get to choose how much WindChoice you want—anywhere from one to 100 percent of your monthly usage. It’s an easy, affordable, incredibly effective way to be “clean.” Each megawatt of clean wind power generated is one less megawatt of fossil fuel energy, and another step toward a renewable future.

 

How will WindChoice affect my monthly bill?

Recently, PSO lowered its WindChoice rate to $.0034 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). How does that translate? If your home uses 1,200 kWhs per month, and you elect to switch 50 percent of your energy usage to wind power, you’ll only pay about $2.04 extra per month. Before choosing a percentage, you can calculate your cost using this WindChoice calculator—just log into your PSO account, enter your average monthly kWh usage and the percent of wind power you’re considering.

 

You sold me. How do I sign up?

To sign up or learn more about WindChoice, you can visit PSOklahoma.com/WindChoice or call (888) 776-1367.

Let’s pull together…to pull families back from the brink

Lights. Air conditioning. Electricity to cook a hot meal. Most of us never dream of going without these basic necessities. But for some Oklahomans, the threat of losing their utilities is all too real. No one knows that better than Joe, a retired Tulsa firefighter.

Stories of resilience

After 32 years of serving Tulsa, Joe found himself the legal guardian of his two young grandchildren. When prostate cancer struck, the medical bills piled up. After rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Joe’s savings were finally exhausted. With nowhere else to turn, he headed to the Salvation Army for help. Six months later, Joe and his family are still in their home with all the basic necessities for raising his two precious grandkids.

Elizabeth’s story is equally as touching. Afflicted with breathing problems at a tender young age, she’s frequently isolated and alone at the hospital. Elizabeth’s mom wants to spend more time with her little girl, but she can’t afford to miss work. Even worse, she had to choose between paying Elizabeth’s medical bills and keeping utilities turned on for her family. With help from the Salvation Army Center of Hope, the family kept their utilities turned on and avoided financial disaster.

You can help during Home Energy Aid Month

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans need assistance paying their energy bills. During Home Energy Aid Month, PSO and Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) are partnering to help customers make a difference. Throughout July, donations to the Salvation Army’s energy assistance programs will be matched by both companies. That means every dollar you give will go three times as far!

Want to help year-round? You can support energy assistance programs through PSO’s Light A Life program. Click here to learn more about this vital community program. Or Click here to learn more about Home Energy Aid Month and make a donation.