It will save you money and it’s good for the environment.
That’s why TVA is encouraging campers to be smarter about the electricity and water they use when camping.
“We’re asking campers to help us avoid an increase in fees and protect public lands and waters by reducing their energy consumption and being careful not to waste water,” says Jeff Miller, maintenance foreman at TVA’s Douglas Dam campgrounds. “Most campers want to do the right thing, but they don’t realize how much electricity and water is wasted.”
Miller offers this advice: “When you are at your campsite and have your air conditioning on, make sure you keep the doors and windows in your camper closed. If you’re going to be away from your site for eight hours or more, turn your air conditioner off and open a couple of windows. It’s a good idea to turn off lights, water heaters, and fans, too.”
Conserving water also is important—and not just for environmental reasons, says Miller. “Plumbing fixtures in campers have been known to fail and cause costly water damage. You can protect your camper—and save water—simply by turning off your water supply every time you leave your campsite. If you notice that your hose, coupler, or other equipment is leaking, fix it immediately. If the water leak is on the campground faucet or connector, alert the maintenance crew or the campground manager.”
TVA campground regulations already prohibit the use of outdoor appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, and outdoor electrical pest control devices, and do not allow washing of boats, cars, trailers, or other equipment.
TVA is posting resource-conservation tips at many TVA-managed campgrounds, and Miller hopes campers will pay attention. “With the continued growth in the popularity of camping, it’s important to realize the impact of our combined actions on energy and water use. If everyone will cut back just a little this summer, the savings will really add up.”
Be smart, save more
The move to reduce electricity and water use at TVA campgrounds is part of a much larger effort to promote awareness of energy efficiency.
“By encouraging customers to use electricity wisely, TVA will be able to reduce the number of generating plants it has to build and the amount of high-priced power it has to buy on the open market,” says TVA’s Joe Hoagland, vice president of Energy Efficiency & Demand Response. “Those reductions help save money for TVA and consumers, and the kilowatts that don’t have to be generated reduce the environmental impacts of power generation, as well.”
Because electricity demand is growing at such a fast rate, TVA is drafting a new strategy for energy efficiency. The goal is to reduce the growth in demand by up to 1,400 megawatts—about the amount generated by one nuclear-power unit—through 2012.
To kick off its energy-efficiency initiatives, TVA’s energy right® program is offering free energy-conservation kits to Valley residents who complete a do-it-yourself home audit.
The kit includes two compact fluorescent light bulbs, outlet and light-switch gaskets, a filter whistle, two faucet aerators, a hot water temperature gauge, a home thermometer, and a “How to Save” brochure.
Those who use all the contents of the energy-efficiency kit could save from $2 to $4 on their monthly power bills, depending on their individual energy use. Those who follow all the recommendations from the audit could reduce their annual utility costs by as much as 20 percent.
Here are some additional ways you can save on your electric bills.
- Set your thermostat to 68° Fahrenheit in the cooler months, or even lower if no one is home for several days. Your heating costs increase three percent for each degree above 68. In the summer, set your air conditioning at 78° F.
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to stop air leaks; seal gaps in floors and walls around pipes and electrical wiring.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents—they use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer.
- Change air filters monthly.
- Turn off lights when not in use. Use a power strip to turn off TVs, appliances, and other electronics.
- Add insulation to your attic, crawl space, and any accessible exterior walls.
- Lower your water-heater temperature to 120° F and wrap the water heater and pipes with insulation.
- Choose products with the ENERGY STAR® label when replacing large or small appliances.
- Install foam gaskets behind electrical-outlet and switch-plate covers.
- Save water, as well as energy, by installing low-flow, aerating faucets and showerheads. That can reduce your water use by 50 percent, and you probably won’t even notice the difference. Learn more about what you can do to conserve water.