Twentynine Palms -- Like most people, I dread having to pay the electric bill, especially during the summertime. That’s why I thought it sounded too good to be true when Lincoln Military Housing announced that I could get paid for being energy efficient. I was skeptical at first, but after a month of deliberately reducing our energy use, the bill arrived- not with an amount due, but with a check inside.
This is an incentive included in the Resident Energy Conservation Program. Implemented by the Department of Defense in 2012, it is the driving force that encourages military members to practice energy conservation while living in privatized family housing. Since its inception, the program has made progress in achieving its goal of reducing DoD residential energy consumption in the U.S. by 20 percent.
RECP’s first study of the program’s effects on energy consumption was measured at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The program helped reduced energy consumption there by nine percent over a 12-month period, saving the base approximately 1.3 million dollars in energy costs in 2012, according to RECP.
The program works by placing homes in like-type groups. This means that your energy use is gauged and compared to the average energy use of homes with similar square footage and age.
The monthly usage portion of the bill is split into thirds: less energy used, the grace zone, and more energy used.
If monthly energy use falls in the less energy used portion, you receive a payment or credit. If you land in the grace zone, you don’t pay anything, and if you are in the more energy used category, you pay the remaining cost.
The program has made my wife and I more conscious of our energy consumption. Here are some helpful tips that can make a difference in saving energy:
•Only wash full sets of laundry and dishes.
•Use a power strip to cut all power to electronics. Many continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off.
•Keep the thermostat between 78 and 80 degrees in the summer and between 65 and 68 degrees in the winter.
•Keep blinds, drapes, or shades closed in the summertime. During the wintertime, open them.
•Whenever possible, keep unnecessary lights, televisions and other electronics off. These generate heat as well, and at the same time use unnecessary energy themselves.
•Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.
Combat Center residents can find more information on the program at lincolnrecp.com.