Energy Efficiency Solutions
Reducing Peak Demand with Rebates, Incentives, and Community Volunteers
In 2007, Austin Energy kicked off a new goal with the Austin Climate Protection Plan to offset 800 MW of peak energy demand by 2020.
Energy efficiency through demand side management plays a critical role in fulfilling the goals of the Austin Climate Protection Plan. In fiscal year 2014, the efforts of energy efficiency and Green Building services resulted in 67 MW of peak demand savings, the highest to date. 2014 was also the year that we implemented the 500+ Plan to achieve 50% renewable generation resources and 75% carbon-free production by 2025.
Austin Energy’s strategy to reach 800 MW of peak demand savings by 2020 involves a targeted mix of energy efficiency products and services, including demand response programs for residential and commercial customers. These initiatives are complemented by a rate structure that promotes conservation and energy efficiency while improving long-term revenue stability.
Because Austin Energy has long-standing energy-efficiency programs, the utility is focusing on emerging technologies where new opportunities exist.
Customers Pitch in To Conserve
On the hottest afternoons in the summer, Austin Energy transmits a signal that briefly adjusts the thermostats of up to 90,000 residents and businesses who volunteer for energy cycling through our Power Partner ThermostatSM program.
These customers have agreed to participate in this initiative to help Austin Energy address peak demand, typically from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on about 15 days per year, to reduce electricity use, minimize expenses, and keep everyone cool. Since its inception, Austin Energy’s program has been a model for the state and nation. This conservation measure was initially offered with no financial incentive to the customer except to help with procuring a thermostat.
As thermostat technology advanced, Austin Energy took the lead in 2013 by offering a new $85 rebate to customers who would install internet-connected thermostats and enroll in energy cycling. Under this now widely-adopted model, these ‘smart’ thermostats enable utilities to move away from the responsibility of purchasing and installing thermostats. Instead, customers are empowered to purchase the thermostats at retail stores or online at their convenience, install the units independently, and enroll the units in energy cycling to qualify for rebates.
Austin Energy appreciates customers who join in the effort to responsibly meet energy needs in our community through energy cycling with the Power Partner Thermostat program.
Refrigerator Recycling Incentives 2005 - 2016
Old refrigerators and freezers can keep running for years and are often placed in garages to keep sodas, ice cream and meat cold when a new appliance is purchased for the home. But those old refrigerators and freezers run inefficiently and can use three times the electricity used by a newer appliance, especially in the heat of a garage.
In 2005, we began offering customers a $50 rebate to recycle refrigerators or freezers and keep old appliances out of the landfill. An Austin Energy representative picked up the working appliance and began the process of recycling 98% of the parts and materials, as well as capturing the ozone-depleting refrigerants in a safe and environmentally-friendly way.
Since 2005, the refrigerator recycling program has managed to divert more than 35,000 refrigerators and freezers from our landfills while contributing to Austin's Zero Waste by 2014 goal. The program has also saved over 6.3 MW and 24,300 MWH. That is the same as being able to power nearly 2,100 homes for one year!
In August of 2016, Austin Energy retired the refrigerator recycling program after a successful 11-year run in order to apply its resources towards programs that provide greater energy savings for customers.
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