Thou SHALL covet thy neighbour's energy efficiency!
Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal and the Fredericton Daily Gleaner.
Picture this: you’re having a summer beverage on the back deck with your neighbour, and in the course of your conversation you discover that you both have identical patio furniture – except he paid way less for his than you did for yours.
You notice that you both have the same lawn mower – and then you hear that he got a much better deal on his. You both have the same barbecue – except he spent way less on his.
Wouldn’t make you feel very good, would it? And if you’re like most people, you’d likely want to figure out just how your neighbour saved so much so you could too.
That very universal human behaviour is the premise behind the Home Energy Report, an initiative NB Power launched earlier this year to help New Brunswick homeowners better understand their power consumption so they can reduce it and save money.
A report with a difference
If you’re an NB Power residential customer, you can get a free Home Energy Report, a customized summary of your home’s power consumption. That may sound boring, but here’s what makes it very interesting: the report also shows how your consumption compares with that of dozens of similar homes in your neighbourhood.
Maybe you’ll discover that you are among the most efficient, using less energy than most of your neighbours. That would feel pretty awesome.
Maybe you’ll learn you’re in the middle of the pack, consuming about the same as everyone else, with room for improvement.
Or maybe you’ll find out you’re consuming – and paying for – more energy than everyone else. That would make you like the person who paid the most for their mower, barbecue or patio furniture. It wouldn’t feel very good, and it would probably motivate you to change.
Fortunately, your Home Energy Report can help you reduce your power bill, because it provides three tips, or action steps, customized to your situation:
- A Quick Fix, for instant savings at no cost (IE unplugging electronics when not in use or hanging clothes out to dry)
- A Smart Purchase that can yield great savings at an affordable price (IE installing low flow showerheads or efficient lighting)
- A Great Investment, a bigger ticket item that provides long term savings (IE buying efficient ENERGY STAR appliances)
Tips customized to your situation? Yes, because when you sign up online for your Home Energy Report, you have the opportunity to fill in some details about your home – like what kind of heating system you have and whether you have additional features like a pool or hot tub. The more information you provide, the more specific and relevant the tips you’ll receive. And no worries about privacy, because all information you supply becomes part of an anonymous data pool.
Homeowners not content with just three action steps can browse the Home Energy Report web portal for plenty of additional energy-saving tips.
NB Power’s Home Energy Report program was launched in January, and, to get things rolling, thousands of randomly selected customers have been receiving paper reports with their power bills bimonthly. That’s gotten people talking about their energy consumption, but more importantly it’s getting people acting. According to NB Power, the program has resulted in actions that have saved New Brunswickers nearly a million dollars worth of power so far.
Curious to learn more? Just go to enbp.opower.com and sign up. (Homeowners with existing online accounts can access their Home Energy Report via their present account.) Then check out how you compare with your neighbours, read the customized action steps, make a plan and start saving.
Because nobody wants to be the one who’s paying the most.