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 Your Energy Use

 

Florida's Energy Sources

While Florida's total energy consumption is lower than many states given its low level of large commercial demand, Florida's per capita electricity usage is third highest in the nation.

Floridians' heavy demand for electricity can be attributed to two primary factors: high use of air conditioning in the summer and reliance on electric heating in the winter.
 
Almost 90% of the power produced in Florida uses fossil fuels and all of those fossil fuels - petroleum, natural gas, and coal - must be imported from outside the state's borders. More petroleum-fired electricity is generated in Florida than in any other State. 
 
It's the same story with coal. In 2008, Florida sent more than $1.56 billion out of state to purchase coal alone.
Renewable energy sources for electricity generation in Florida include biomass such as wood, agricultural byproducts, municipal solid waste, and landfill gas. Photovoltaic (PV) utility scale solar generation is on the increase with three Florida Power & Light (FPL) solar power plants generating 110 MW of clean energy.
 
Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) reports that in 2010, Florida homeowners and businesses using renewables to generate electricity grew by 75 percent. In 2010, 2,833 customer-owned renewable energy systems with a capacity of approximately 20,403 kilowatts were interconnected statewide.
 
The Florida Public Service Commission estimates that Floridians' demand for electricity will increase 27% by 2015. And the oil and gas pipelines serving Florida already operate at 90% capacity. For more information on Florida's energy profile visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
 
Where Are Your Savings?
Identify energy saving tips that you can do on your own. For some of the larger projects you will need to hire a contractor.
 
The more you know about the energy your home uses, the more you can save. You can get a good idea of your home's energy use by using the Home Energy Savertm (HES) calculator tool provided by the US Department of Energy. You will need to know some information about your home including the following: 
  • Insulation type and amount of insulation in inches
  • The type of windows you have
  • Age of water heater and heating and cooling equipment
  • Age and number of appliances
The calculator will give you an idea of how energy efficient your home is. The more accurate you can be with the data the more accurate the calculator will be. 

DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Home Energy Saver

 

 Where Does All That Energy Go?

 
​According to Florida Power & Light Company, the primary end uses of energy in the home are:
 
Summer                                                                                              
59% - cooling
33% - appliances
8% - water heating
 
Winter
50% - appliances
19% - water heating
17% - heating
14% - cooling
Your energy efficiency efforts will help Florida reduce its dependence on imported energy sources, and decrease the negative environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels to produce electricity.
 

 Kill-A-Watt Meter

 

​You can also plug your electronics and appliances into a Kill-A-Watt meter to learn how much electricity is being used. Kill-a-Watt meters are available at all Sarasota County libraries for check-out  just like a library book.

These devices measure and display the electrical consumption of any 120-volt appliance, such as refrigerators, microwave ovens and televisions, for information on how much energy the device plugged in is using.

 

 Building Science and Plug Load

 
​There are many aspects to saving energy in your home. One is how your home retains heating and cooling (building science) and another is how much electricity is being drawn from the outlets in your home (plug load).
 
Step 2, addresses how your home retains heating and cooling.
  • Sealing the leaks in your home and how to efficiently use the hot and cold air generated by the systems in your home.
  • Cutting down the amount of air that infiltrates and escapes your home is a great place to start.
What's a Plug Load, and Why Should I Care?
 
Many of the actions in Steps 3 and 4, address plug load and how to reduce it. The plug load is the energy consumed by any electronic device plugged into a socket.
 
According to the USDOE, 75% of the electricity used in homes to power electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off.
 
This wasted plug load is also known as vampire or phantom load. 
 

A "smart" power strip is one way to make certain a vampire or phantom electronic quits pulling electricity when you're not using it.

Use "smart" power strips for your computer and TV/entertainment systems and any other set up where you have multiple power cords.  

For example, if you plug just 150 watts of electronics into a $20 "smart" power strip you'll pay for it in energy savings in a little over two months. 

"Smart" Charger"
A "smart" charger for your cell phone, smart phone, iPod, MP3 player and all of the other electronic devices will help reduce plug load. A smart charger saves energy by sensing when the batteries have been fully charged and then shutting off the power supply to the charger. This avoids overcharging and also stops energy waste.

Calculate How Much an Appliance or Electronic Uses in Your House:

Use This Simple Equation:

  • Wattage of the appliance or electronic x hours used per day x number of days used (divided by) 1000 for the kilowatts.
  • Multiply the kilowatt hours by $0.12 per kwh to determine how much it's costing you to operate the electronic or appliance.
  • Don't know the watts? Multiply the volts by the amps. E.g. 120 volts x 10 amps = 1200 watts
    • (Tip: you can usually find the wattage of an appliance stamped on the bottom or back of the appliance or on the nameplate.)
This program receives funding from the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. 

Sarasota County, Florida
941-861-5000
TTY: 7-1-1
or 1-800-955-8771
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