Archive for July, 2011

Visit with OPALCO at Eco-Fest and County Fair

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

OPALCO’s Energy Services staff will be on hand to talk with members at two big events in the next month: at the Orcas Island Eco-Fest and Solar Science Fair on Saturday, August 6th at the Funhouse and, of course, at the San Juan County Fair in Friday Harbor from August 18-20th.

At the Eco-Fest, you can learn about OPALCO’s MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy) program and how you can participate in producing and/or supporting local renewable power like solar energy; and OPALCO’s Nissan Leaf all electric car will be on site for a closer look.

The County Fair is all “Razzle-Dazzle” this year and OPALCO’s booth (look for us in the SW corner of the big exhibition building) will feature energy superhero information and action with games and great give-aways for those who take the “energy superhero challenge.” See you at the Fair!

AAA Roadside Assistance Capable of Charging EVs

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

AAA unveiled today North America’s first roadside assistance truck with the capability to charge electric vehicles. The motor club is able to come to the rescue of its members with ‘depleted’ electric vehicles and provide Level 2 and Level 3 charging on the roadside.

Read the whole story

Board Meeting on Shaw Island on 7/21/11

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

The OPALCO Board of Directors will hold its regular monthly meeting on Shaw Island this Thursday, July 21st. The meeting begins at 8:00 am and is open to the public. The member-elected Board of Directors meets on the third Thursday of each month, usually rotating meeting locations between Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island. The agenda for each upcoming board meeting is posted online the week before the meeting.

And the Winner is –

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

The winner of the Together We Save Energy Efficiency Contest was awarded her prize today. Kelly Baker received an Apple iPAD2 for correctly answering all of the  Energy Efficiency and Conservation quiz questions and having her name picked out of a hat.  Kelly’s family owns Orcas Online and she is attending college in Oregon.  Congratulation to our new Energy Super Hero!

Do you know your home’s base load electricity use?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

First, what is the definition of base load electricity use (aka baseline consumption)?

Electricity base load is the amount of electricity used in providing routine needs for your household such as operating everyday appliances and electronics: the refrigerator, clothes washer, dryer, lights, cook top, oven, televisions and DVR (digital video recorders such as DISH or DIRECT TV receiver). This energy use is differentiated from heating and cooling use, which is considered seasonal use.

In the San Juan Islands, summer is the best time to calculate your home’s base load electricity because we are not using any heating or cooling.  Even if you are heating with propane or wood during the heating season, now is the time because many propane or wood furnaces have associated electronics.

At my home, we have electric heat and it’s off for the season.  I have been monitoring my electric usage for the last several days.  We are a household of two adults and our average usage over the past 6 days was 17 kWh/day.  So, this is what we use on a normal, everyday basis for all our household needs: our base load.

Now that I know my base load I want to find out what makes up those 17kWh.

What in my house is using electricity to contribute to the 17 kWhs?

Another way to frame this number is to think that it’s equivalent to 17  – 100 watt light bulbs on for 10 hours a day (100w x17 x 10hrs = 17,000 whrs = 17kWh).

I know I don’t have 17 – 100 watt light bulbs on for 10 hours a day!

So, what is on???

Stay tuned for my detective work figuring out what in my house is consuming to the tune of 17 kWh per day.

Seattle’s Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Ordinance

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Coming October 3, 2011, large (50,000 sf +) commercial buildings in Seattle will be required to benchmark and report their energy use. Starting April 1, 2012 smaller (10,000 sf+ including mulit-family of five units or more) commercial buildings will also be required to report.

The city adopted this policy from a recommendation of its Green Building Task Force.  They determined that 26% of Seattle’s green house gas emissions are from energy used in buildings.  Benchmarking is a way to record and compare energy usage among buildings.  Seattle is requiring the use of the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, a free and secure online benchmarking tool:www.energystar.gov/benchmarking

The city is looking to achieve a 20% reduction in the energy consumption of existing buildings. This translates to lowering energy costs for owners and tenants. Having this energy use information not only helps the owners and tenants but also the City of Seattle and local utilities. It helps them to target energy efficiency retrofits and incentive dollars more effectively.