Get Plugged In: Four things to know about electric cars

As the auto industry ramps up its renewable efforts, electric vehicles are quickly becoming more popular—and more affordable. But what does that mean for your personal energy usage? Here are four things to know when deciding whether an electric vehicle is right for you.

1. The most energy-efficient way to recharge your vehicle is also the most convenient.

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home in their garage, overnight. Electric costs are lower, and with the lights and electronics off and everyone asleep, it’s also when you’re using the least amount of electricity.

2. Alternative fueling stations are more prominent than ever.

In the past, the relative lack of alternative fueling stations—that is, public spaces equipped with electric vehicle chargers—made the idea of purchasing an electric car prohibitive and inconvenient for those who often drive long distances. But there are now more than 26,000 public charging stations across the U.S., and you can use the Department of Energy’s handy fueling station locator to plan your trip and assure that you always know where you’ll be charging next.

3. The electric batteries are getting cheaper.

Like the electric vehicle as a whole, the battery is quickly becoming more affordable. According to the Department of Energy, before 2009, a 100-mile range electric battery cost $33,000. Today, prices still vary greatly, but some 40kw replacement batteries for certain EV models run as low as $5,499 before installation costs, and battery prices continue to fall across the industry as manufacturing costs drop.

4. Electric vehicles emit zero tailpipe pollutants.

This might sound obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: When you switch to an electric vehicle, you put an immediate stop to the carbon emissions and pollutants that come from traditional cars—with almost no effort.

Learn more about electric vehicles by visiting the Department of Energy’s website.

Four home projects to increase your comfort level and reduce your energy usage

It’s a new year—and a great time to tackle some easy energy-saving DIY home projects. While they might not be as fun as that Pinterest project you have your eye on, these upgrades will help you save energy and make your home more comfortable. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and you’ll be on your way to a more energy-efficient home in no time.

Insulate those hot water pipes.

What’s the goal? Reduce heat loss and retain water temperatures up to 4 degrees warmer
How much does it cost? $10–$15
How long does it take? 3 hours or longer, depending on the size of your house
How much will you save? $8–$12 annually

Watch: Easy step-by-step instructions

Grab the caulk and seal your home air leaks.

What’s the goal? Reduce costly drafts, make your home more comfortable
How much does it cost? $3–$30
How long does it take? 1–2 hours
How much will you save? 10–20 percent of your heating bill

Read: How-to Article

Weatherstrip your harder-to-reach air leaks.

What’s the goal? Reduce drafts by sealing leaks that come from movable joints like windows and doors
How much does it cost? $5–$10
How long does it take? 1 hour
How much will you save? Up to 10 percent in energy savings

Read: Easy step-by-step instructions

Insulate your water tank.

What’s the goal? Reduce up to 45 percent of standby heat loss
How much does it cost? $30
How long does it take? 1.5 hours
How much will you save? $20–$45

Watch: Easy step-by-step instructions

WindChoice: Wind Power That’ll Blow You Away

In 2018, a loaf of bread will cost you around $2.25, but so will your average latte.

But the best use of $2.25? Transforming the way your home uses electricity.

PSO WindChoice Program

With PSO’s WindChoice program, you can convert a percentage of your home’s electricity to clean and abundant wind power for little cost. This service allows you to reduce your environmental impact while investing in renewable energy.

WindChoice is completely customizable, letting you choose what percentage you want to invest. Want to go all in? You can convert up to 100% of your home energy to wind power through the program.

WindChoice is available for as little as $0.0038 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If your home uses 1,200 kWhs of energy per month and you enroll in 50% WindChoice, then you’re adding around $2.25 per month to your electricity bill. Who knew supporting renewable energy could be so affordable?

Learn more about signing up for WindChoice with PSO!

Light up your fall nights with energy-saving lighting tricks

Halloween can be a tough time for anyone afraid of the dark. In fact, the wrong horror flick on the wrong night could leave you leaving the lights on in every room in the house. Whether you’re the bravest of the bunch or scared of your own shadow, we have you covered with the energy-saving lighting tips you need to make it through the fall.

The Right Kind Of Dim Bulb

For both inside lights and outside lights, look into installing electrical dimmers to reduce energy consumption. That way, you can control exactly how much electricity is used. Even dimming your lights a barely noticeable 15% can reduce your energy bill by up to 15%. Be warned, however, that not all outdoor lighting is compatible with dimming technology. So check both your lights and your outlets for compatibility.

Go Through The Motion Sensors

Want to feel like there’s magic in your home? Install motion sensors. Both entertaining and efficient, motion sensors switch lights on when you enter a sensor area and switch them off after a pre-set time. That way, the lights stay on for only as long as you need them. Try them in areas that you pass through such as hallways, storage rooms, and outside garden paths.

Get Your Timing Right

Save yourself some hassle with light timers. Timers are electrical circuits with built-in clocks. They act as a communicator between the power source and the light, turning on and off based on the hours you set. A timer is a great way to manage outside lights — just set the timer to turn on at sunset and turn off at sunrise, and you’ll soon be saving both time and money.

Feel the Energy (Savings!): Tips for conserving energy

For homeowners who want to save money, reducing home energy consumption is a no-brainer. And getting more efficient? It’s a win-win-win situation. Homeowners save money on electricity, reduce their carbon footprint, and with a little help from PSO, they can cash in on money-saving rebates. Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite tips to help you conserve energy in every room of your home. We hope you spend that extra cash wisely.

ELECTRONICS

Implementing ENERGY STAR ® fixtures and appliances is one of the most efficient ways of reducing energy costs. ENERGY STAR TVs, for example, use 25% less power on average than regular ones.

LIGHTING

LEDs do more than just look pretty. LED lights use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 50-100 times as long. That’s sure to lighten up your energy bill.

HOME COOLING

Caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows traps comfy, conditioned air inside your home. Seal it up and stay cozy!

LAUNDRY

Make sure to clean your lint trap regularly. A clogged screen makes your dryer work harder and use up more energy.

HOME HEATING

Have your home’s ductwork inspected annually. Loose or broken ducts are one of the sneakiest wastes of energy, accounting for up to 35% of a home’s energy loss.

HOME OFFICE

Many people don’t realize that most printers stay on 24/7. Be sure to turn them off at night or use the device’s power management settings to save on energy costs.

Click here to learn more about our great home rebates!