some experts on saving energy southern company so we have with us Natalie Smith and Christine swales of Gulf Power natalie is she helps coordinate all of the communications efforts including this very subject how to help people save energy save money by saving energy how to bundle up when it’s cold and how to save energy in the summer and Christine is the residential energy consultant so we’ve got two great experts on the subject matter so I think we’ve got some people here I’ll go ahead and get started with some of the questions that we received ahead of time and then you guys feel free to jump in and ask any questions that you want so one of the questions obviously is what are some no-cost tips that people can use not two people can do now to save energy and I know that we were talking a little bit before the Hangout about you know what that means now it’s pretty much freezing everywhere versus in the summer so so what do you guys do you have any kind of no-cost tips to get started on how to save energy um well definitely i’ll go ahead and get started you know a lot of times you think to be energy efficient and we were kind of talking about this before we got started that you have to replace all your windows and you know put an install insulation and all of these very expensive ways to save money but there are really so many low-cost or no-cost ways to save money immediately that don’t require a lot of you know money or effort and one thing you know we’re going into the summer but since it is pretty cold across most the country right now and we’ll talk about some tips for during the winter and of course the biggest energy user in your home is to heat and cool your home that can take up about fifty percent of your energy costs on your bill even in an energy-efficient home heating and cooling can take up to about thirty-five percent of your energy costs so the first and foremost thing we tell anybody to do is look at your thermostat um in the winter we recommend keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees and every temperature you put higher above 68 you’re going to spend about ten percent more and actually Lisa if we wanted to keep talking about that a little bit further and some of the other things that you can do is to make sure you know just low cost and no cost is checking your weather stripping around your home I mean I know people hear this all the time but really checking your weather stripping I mean I just know I’ll tell my own personal story around my front door and I didn’t realize that there was a big you know gap in the bottom of the door until I like lay down on the floor with my dog and I could see like half an inch underneath my door to the outside and so checking your ear caulking and stripping around all your windows and doors that’s a very easy way of course for all of your you know heated or cooled air to be easily going outside and you know well we’ll get into some more detailed things as well but those are some simple things but I also want to tell people about your water heater because this is one thing I didn’t know before I started working here is to check the temperature setting on your water heater and your water heater is the second highest cost on your energy bill after your heating and cooling of your home and we recommend to set it no higher than 100 120 degrees on your water heater and the temperature settings going to depend on how big your family is how much hot water you do use so you might have to mess with it to find the right setting for you but you could have your water heater setting way too high and be wasting money right there as well so just go out to your water heater and check that that’s another just easy quick thing that you can do and what about I noticed on mine I don’t know if everybody has this but mine has a vacation setting where I can turn my water heater down I guess too I don’t know what that does you guys know what I’m talking about yes mm-hmm um that’s that’s a very good thing to have you know that’s if you’re gone you know for more than three or four days that’s something good you know it sets it lower so that it doesn’t come on all the time or you know it’s just a good thing to have that’s good is it is it is it is it a heat pump water heater is I just had to replace it um i was gonna get the and this is a question you guys can maybe ask or answer but and this is kind of maybe live off subject to it I got my water heater replaced and I was looking at the tankless versus the tank and I’ve got a gasps 40 gallon tank and and I’d heard that what you save in the teclas water heater on heating your water you may actually lose in the heat and the air that it’s kind of flowing out from the tankless does that makes sense I guess because there’s like a there’s some combustion process involved that it has to to be vented better a time to visit do you guys have opinion on water heater tankless versus a tank water

heater we actually don’t recommend gas tank let’s or get or electric tankless water heaters okay um in what we recommend our heat pump water heaters the heat pump water heaters are have a it’s called an efficiency factor or they can be I think it’s a 2 point 0 or 2.4 which it means it’s two hundred percent efficient gas tankless water heaters are think are only about point five nine percent efficient um and then gas tank water heaters I think are about a point 86 so yeah it’s very cool um so so one of the other questions that we got was I know that that Natalie you were talking about buying a new house and so this is a perfect question for you guys is if someone is considering investing in some energy efficient technology you know if they’re looking for a new house for example what should they do ahead of time before they get in and then it becomes a huge project well something that you know we talked about this beforehand Christine and I because gulf power specifically offers a lot of services for our customers to be able to help someone who’s building a new home and wants to make sure its energy efficient so before I forget to say this at any point for all of you i know we have people on you know on today who from all over the country and i would check with your utility to see if they have any programs or any energy experts that would come out for free to help you look at your plans and see if they can offer advice on what to put install in that home we do have a program like that called Earth sense home where we have the experts that will work with customers from beginning to end to look at their plans make sure it’s going to be an energy-efficient home and you know from beginning to end because a lot of the things that happen when you’re building at home you might say okay I’m going to put in this energy efficient insulation but you have to also make sure that that insulation is installed correctly because if there’s gaps things like that it’s not going to do any good um so I just want to say that before I start talking about the specific items in the home that you want to make sure that everything’s being installed correctly as well so you get the biggest bang for your buck with those items but there are a number of things of course everybody’s heard about energy efficient windows that’s one of the biggest things you can do is to make sure to have those installed in your new home getting the proper insulation there’s different types of insulation and Christian can maybe talk a little bit more about what type of insulation to put in there and as well as putting in high efficiency lighting and appliances throughout the home we can talk about those appliances more as well but the lighting throughout your home if you’re making sure that all of the light you know you think of one lightbulb oh that doesn’t make a difference but you’re building a new home and you have the opportunity to make sure that the lighting in the entire home is going to be energy-efficient and all of your appliances that’s going to really save you a lot of money down the line um another big thing that that’s very important when you’re building the home is making sure that you have a type of envelope and HVAC duct system and that’s that’s not something I’m as educated on but you know having that proper depth work work efficiently in your home is huge you can lose you know hundreds of dollars a year in general if you’re losing air through your deck work and that’s something else that if you already have a home you’re not building a home to check out that duct work and making sure you’re not losing air flow through that as well I’m Christine if you wanted to go into any of the details many of that um yeah it hvac you know people or companies can check duct work um make sure everything is is sealed sealed and everything um as far as you see the heating and cooling equipment what we recommend here for our customers that go powers on heat pumps that’s just what we want to keep ya heat pump um oh I’m sorry no yeah the heating and cooling um our heat pumps and um let me see what else um as far as um geothermal yeah is everybody familiar with the geothermal heat pumps yeah whatever yeah I’d like to hear a little bit more about that geothermal heat pumps they are basically um they don’t have an outside unit like most air conditioning heating and air conditioning units are they actually take advantage of the Earth’s um temperature there’s loops that are buried underneath the ground so it takes advantage of the Earth’s constant temperature I’m here in Northwest Florida that constant temperature is around about 68 to 70 degrees so it uses that temperature that constant

temperature to get its efficiency and that’s definitely interesting we always assume that solar is the only way to harness natural energy so that’s very interesting geothermal has been a big thing recently especially for larger businesses and you know commercial businesses because that can save them so much money as well and um you know one of the big things with geothermal is since it’s Underground you don’t have to worry about some of that maintenance that can come along with that and I know we’ve had some I think schools out on the beach you know they get a lot of living out on a barrier island they wanted to do that so they could have everything kind of protected its underground um but you do also you know the way it’s explained to me is that you know the grounds of constant temperature so it can um whole hot air or to you know take hot air from you know from the ground and you know be able to use those lives to cool and heat your home and in a very very efficient way so that’s something that’s in my opinion kind of a newer thing that some homeowners are starting to get into and that’s another big thing if you’re building a home to be looking into what would be best for you as far as heating and cooling if your home because again that is by far the biggest cost for your home so the more efficient you can make that system and airtight you can make your home is is very very important you’re going to save so much money I had a question of you guys mentioned earlier about sort of getting at an energy audit if you will of your house and having someone come out from your local utility is that just as I like for new construction or what you know I live in an older home like a 1920s home well someone like come out to a house that it’s an old house and sort of check it room to room and give us ideas or had you know how that works region to region well unfortunately we don’t know if every utility offers something like that but an energy checkup is something that is another thing I would HIGHLY encourage all of you to check with your utility and see if they offer this um southern company or Gulf Power specifically and we do offer energy audits and that this is where you don’t have it doesn’t have to be a new home it can be you know existed existing yeah bring you to build whatever type of home you have as long as you’re one of our customers will send out an energy expert resident residential energy expert or one for businesses as well like Christine and they’ll go out to your home and basically sit down with you and go over things with your home that are not energy-efficient help you prioritize what you need to do to get your bill down and this is something we do for free for you know residential customers as well as business customers and we also have an online tool that if you don’t want to have someone coming to your home and and do that you can go to our website and we can perform an online energy audit as well you’ll answer several questions about your home and it’ll go ahead and give you those tips as well but for me I think you know if your local utility does something like that take advantage of it because if you don’t know where to start if you know you’re just you want to be more energy efficient you want to save money on your bills ultimately which is what we all want to do to have someone come out to your home for free hopefully and tell you you know hey this is you really need to do this this is where you’re going to get the most money back by investing in this this and this and be able to talk to an expert about your specific needs in your home it gives you it helps you to prioritize rather than just being all over the place I don’t know where to start I don’t know what to do you know I can’t afford all of this and that you know they’ll come out and really work with you one-on-one and so I’m hoping that everybody else that listens to this will be able to reach out to the utility you know or some sort of you know heating and cooling and yeah I know heating and cooling companies as well sometimes they’ll come out and do it a check up on your heating and cooling systems see how that’s working as well if you can’t get the entire home energy you can do things like that to check up on your appliances and make sure they’re working properly and so that’s it that’s a great place to start if you live in our service territory or if you can look at your own utility and find out what they have to offer right right any other questions I was just going to say sorry apologies for turning up late I’ve hung out with I have hung out with with Mother Nature and some similar partners out down here online my name is Nick miles I represent the green age we were consumer based website in the UK and just some of those points that you’ve you just said said about sort of energy audits so it’s a little bit different what what what’s happened here in the UK is the government of moves to framework called Green Deal and

what it is it’s kind of a it’s a national energy audit where people can call up and get their homes assess for energy improvement measures so you know it looks like typical attributes of the house gives your rating between 1 and 100 where one is incredibly energy inefficient and hundred is the most greenness house ever which is probably an honor to entertain the board Wow well that’s fantastic you know I haven’t heard of any you know government programs like that available although I haven’t really looked into to that if there’s different you know any federal things like of course we all know about tax credits that and you know we can get on certain energy efficient items but that is fantastic that they’re really taking that to offer that to everyone because it’s really you know saving energy that’s important to everyone you know em countries as a whole they’re there they want people to be saving energy and um so that’s fantastic and it’s free it’s free for everyone on no service so if I just collect a clarify so it’s a government framework that’s that’s allowing the the private sector here in the UK to deliver and energy efficiency retrofit homes with energy efficiency measures so by 2020 50 we can meet our external co2 emission targets that we agree to the European Union but essentially the government’s kind of said okay we’ll ask the framework that we want the private sector to operate and go out and and deliver it and you know it’s been live for about two months my organization does the assessments so you know we go into homes some guards to your question some local authorities or local districts as you call it give out these things for free and they have been giving them out for free for obviously customers that are a bit more sort of savvy and aware and I’ve been you know that I’ll follow these things so they big mouse to get the free ones but but others you know it’s a it’s a small small cost you know between 150 to 200 of your US dollars you know when they get this report you know customers don’t have to go for any energy saving measures that the reports also give them advice about behavioral changes you know can be simple stuff like water heating and lighting and you know will say at the end whether this green door framework is the best financing mechanism to finance your energy efficiency improvements if you’re in a very good house then you know might not be the best thing but if you’re incredibly energy inefficient it’s um you know something worth worth looking at yeah at that point but but I mean that your point about the local tility companies you know yes they are sort of trying to encourage the most vulnerable of their customers to sort of take it up and there is sort of help to help those that sort of most needy and obviously then do prices going up yes those are people that travel to pay the bills and most so there is there is a bit of health care but you know mostly other people it again in a good way to convert us if you do take this Green Deal thing it allows you to you know take a financing package that you pay on your electricity bill over 10 15 years so you know doesn’t doesn’t require the upfront cost if you sort of take the measures they sort of pay for themselves because you know the savings that you get on your bill I’m then to pay off for the measures that you get installed that that’s that’s why they sort of brought this very much concern but it is just a bit of comparison i justjust want ya say that yeah very cool well energy audits are good for anyone so that’s I mean I think those kind of programs available to anyone whether you have to pay for one I think like you said some some people might not need that as much but there are plenty people out there that just need help getting started and where they have no idea what to do you know I didn’t know about all of this before I started working at a utility so there’s lots of education that needs to be done to help people get there so I think that’s great a question about when you say education and a question about maybe education within the family if you will so what happens in your girls travels is your sort of going from place to place and doing these presentations do you run into families where does say one or two people in the family who really want to limit showers and want to turn off lights when people leave the room for example teenagers when they leave a room what sort of ideas if you guys come up with any clever heard of any clever ideas where people talk others in the family and sort of being part of their energy saving mission um I haven’t heard of anything I mean I do get those types of families you know that they’ve got teenagers and the girls especially take long showers

and all that but I haven’t you know I just I what I do my main job is again just to educate people in the home you know this is what’s using your energy and it’s up to them to I guess to execute it in help let them free ministration right right no so right it’s hard yeah right that’s you know difficult with anything with all teenagers you know trying to your whole family to be on board to me it’s interesting to show people in general and you know teenagers the family you know talk to them show them the bill talk to them about the billing okay this month we got it down this low and something that you know Gulf powers doing in the future to help people understand you know their impact on the bill you know that’s something that we’re always trying to teach people as they you have an impact on your bill you know you are in control of how much energy you use a month and i think you know when you’re talking to teenagers or anyone really and when you go out is letting them know what the power that they have in their hands and something we’re doing here is a you know it’s it’s not out there yet but we’re going to be launching something for our customers to be able to you know view how much energy they’re using at any given time during the month um I kind of compare it to like your your phone bill if you’re um you know in the middle of the month you can get updates about you know you’ve used this many minutes you know you’re about to go over we’re trying to be able to have that technology available to our customers so they can see hey you know we’re about to reach you know this limit you know and you can view it by how much money you’ve spent and how many how much actual energy you’ve used and so that I think is going to be huge for our customers and across the country for people to start really being able to see you know okay we’ve spent this much we can start cutting back you know let’s make sure that you turn off those lights you know turn up the AC it doesn’t need to be that cold in here and things like that and see the power that they have in their hands to lower that bill that you know you not just at the mercy of you know this is it this is the bill and there’s nothing we can do and what’s also going to be cool that we’re going to be launching is it’s going to show on the graph it will show the weather you know at the same time because some people don’t realize how much weather has an impact on their bill you know if you keep your thermostat at you know the same temperature all the time that’s great but if it’s you know 60 degrees outside one day and you know you have your thermostat set for 70 I mean then it’s 20 degrees next day your heating and cooling system has to work that much harder to keep your your temper your temperature in your home the same temperature you think most people would kind of you know make that connection but we just want to make sure people are understanding that that weather has a big part of that and to acclimate to that and see if you can do other things to lower the bill in other ways and um you know and use those electric blankets instead of turning your thermostat and things like that so that’s when I think is great to educate people on is that you do have more power than you think no pun intended on your bill Natalie you mentioned um you know if you have your temperature set to 68 every day and the weather fluctuates I have a programmable thermostat so you know I assume that I’m doing doing the right thing by having it set at like 68 in the winter and you know seven empty eight i miss Lemer write something to I I know I got a point about your visa it’s baby steps so I got the electric blanket so we’re good there um so is the programmable thermostat then how do you kind of work you know how do you manage that you kind of have fixed set it and forget it and I’m doing the right thing but to your point and especially right now in Atlanta we could be 42 degrees one day and 76 the next well and really I mean for me what I think of the programmable thermostat is to make sure you’re not and you know if you’re just someone that’s going to just you know it’s kind of cold in here I’m going to turn you know I turn up the heater you know and then you’re going to forget about it you turn it up to you know 70 degrees when it’s cold outside and you you know just you said it forget it but in a horrible way and that’s how I look at a programmable thermostat and you know you’re exactly right it’s going to have to work harder which is why we do have recommendations of no lower than 68 degrees in the winter and no higher than 78 those are kind of just some really good standards you know if we were to say no lower than 80 degrees in the in the winter you’re going to have a really high bill all the time but 68 it’s you know it’s kind of pushing those limits but it’s going to keep you at a good study um energy use amount without being too cold and without your heater having to work too

hard to keep that 68 degrees and so that that’s why again it’s just that programmable thermostat allows you to you’re not going to there’s going to be less human error of you forgetting oh my god I you know turned the AC on when it’s super hot outside and I turned it down to 67 last night because I was hot and I left it on all day and I’m not even there so I’m just wasting all that money and so that’s how I look at the programmable thermostat I don’t know if Christine I’ve anything to add to that but good question though because it still you know when it gets down to negative 10 you just you know let’s see it’s going to work harder but that is another reason why it is going to work harder to keep you somewhat warm and you know not have to freeze you know freeze too much but but that is another explanation of why your bill could go up one month and down another so then Yama did you have any questions oh sorry my microphones off um no in the world because I was going to ask about the the weather changing because it does fluctuate a lot but wasted example mm-hmm and you know that’s the one thing we can’t control me if you control that although I don’t think mother nature network could be cool with that but we try that part of it but um you know it is and everybody has a different comfort level you know if you want to always be you know super warm in the winter and super cold in the summer you know that’s fine but that’s your it’s your choice you know it’s up to you how much you’re willing to to spend on that bill you know and what you’re comfortable with who I did have I didn’t have one more like question about again another myth busting type of question if you will so burning a fire in your fireplace brand I’ve heard it’s a great idea to keep the place warm I’ve also heard that it kind of sucks energy right out the chimney because of all of the air that it pulls in so what are your guys thoughts on i’m using a fire to kind of help offset some of the energy cost of heating at home UNH to that one um well um the fireplace is a good one and of course in Florida I know nothing about fireplace yes although I love them so much they’re so adorable um but it can end up taking out the warm air from your home through the air flow through the chimney though that is something to be careful of glass doors on the fireplace and that will reduce the outflow of the warm air from your home in a fireplace with the blower system is actually better because it will blow the warm air around the fire box back into the room and I’m assuming all you people in the North know exactly what I’m talking about I’m you know I’m not familiar with any of those things but so that’s just things to kind of keep in mind because it is you know you have a hole in your chimney and that warm air is going to go out of the out of your home so things like a glass door can help keep that warm air inside and kind of like what Christine was talking about earlier I mean we have some tips that I would hope everybody knows this but don’t use your oven to heat up your home I mean those are things I’m like that’s crazy who would do that but you know apparently people have done that and using things like space heaters and that’s going to actually you know be more efficient at times to just heat up a room I’m just like you would use a fan in the summer you know just use that plan to keep you cool but again um he well I would say this about heaters to or space heaters space heaters and fans heat and cool people not rooms so or at least the fans don’t don’t cool the room so during the summer time if you have fans on and you have one on in every room of the house you’re doing nothing it’s not cooling down the house that’s just for you and your comfort and so turn those fans off unless you’re in the room and you’re using it to cool yourself down space heaters will like you know they will heat up your your area and everything but to use those that’ll help you to not have to heat up of course your whole house which is why a lot of people into space heaters but of course you know we want to always put out warnings about being careful with space heaters and where you put them and and how you use them exactly and we all know about or hopefully some of the dangers that come along with those but they can be a more efficient option to keep just the room that you’re in and you know not have to keep the whole house awesome that’s great anybody have any other questions before we let Natalie and Christine go this is a really helpful um uh Q&A if you will actually learn some things to fly so that’s really helpful well and again across the pond huh any others we came

across the pond yeah um so just two things don’t get a power shower because they can waste more water than a bar and if you’re looking to retrofit your your lights going for low energy lighting is a good option and they can pay back but but also if you think about it you wanted to replace the bulbs as often so the low energy lighting last you a long room for time and keep on making the savings you know as you as you go through the years whereas a incandescent light bulb you know will go twice a year so a couple of tips yeah and CFLs actually lasts about ten times longer than incandescent bulbs so he’s exactly right about that I mean even though they’re more expensive up front they last so much longer you’re gonna get your money back with that it’s by far the smartest choice um and and before we go I just want to say again for everybody to and hopefully I’m not making any other utility look bad but check with your utility and see what programs they have and we also have several rebates that we offer our customers this is not from the government it’s not you know tax incentives it’s from our utility that we give actual rebates if you install um you know energy efficiency appliances in your home if you install energy-efficient windows roofing insulation meeting and cooling equipment yeah we have a refrigerator recycling program if you recycle your old refrigerator will give you thirty-five dollars and pick it up for free and we have all of these things available and if if your utility has anything like that take advantage of it and they want you to be more energy efficient and you know they’re there are a lot of others out there even if you don’t live in in our service territory that might have similar programs to that if you’re doing any sort of energy efficiency upgrades and I check out their website give them a call and see if they have anything to offer you as well just one last thing to I just remembered what I see a lot of when I do energy audits is people do not change out their air filters hmm so um you know what we recommend is every 30 days to replace the air filters as if once those gets because uh when they get dirty it restricts the air flow that the the unit needs so the unit is working a lot harder and a lot longer than it needs to so neat that it needs to be cleaned out simple but necessary it’s gross if you don’t yes my programmable thermostat actually has a little reminder for me to change my phone thanks until I hit that I’ve already changed it very helpful oh well thank you guys so much for joining us and and Nick thanks for joining us as well I appreciate all of the tips and this hangout will be available for you guys to share talking about five or ten minutes from now and if you aren’t already following southern company on Google+ you should and get some more energy saving tips and we will see you next month with our fourth month of the year of living simply thanks everybody have a good day thank you I thank you

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