Energy savings contest helps raise efficiency awareness

A local co-op's energy savings contest can help members save thousands in utility expenses.

After a successful program this past spring, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is bringing back its Energy Savings Challenge for the winter.

The contest earlier this year, held from April to June, challenged over 200 participants to reduce their household electricity consumption by 3 percent over the three-month period compared to that same timeframe in 2012. According to Electric Co-op (ECT), a publication of The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the competition helped yield more than $6,700 in saved energy costs, with the top 80 contestants cutting their electricity usage by 50,000 kilowatt-hours for the three months.

To reward its participants, SMECO gave out hundreds of dollars' worth of energy efficient appliances to member households, in order to help curb further energy usage – and reduce utility bills – in the future.

"We got an energy efficient water heater," co-op member Cal Spreitzer, who reduced his electricity consumption by 1,400 kilowatt-hours last time, told ECT. "We also did the insulation on the pipes, both the hot and cold water pipes coming off the water heater."

SMECO is hoping to repeat these results for the colder season, with the new Energy Savings Challenge having begun on November 1 and slated to run through to the end of January.

New appliances aren't the only way you can cut back on energy usage. Outfitting your windows with new residential window tinting can also help minimize the amount of heat a home absorbs from the sun. By reducing solar heat gains, you can create a more consistent indoor climate that requires less energy from your HVAC system – and the less energy is used, the cheaper your bills will be. To learn more about how Maryland window tinting can help make your house more energy efficient, contact R and J Tinting today!