Gov. David Ige proclaimed last Friday to be Energy Efficiency Day in Hawaii in conjunction with national Energy Efficiency Day.

Hawaii can reach its 100 percent clean energy goal faster and cheaper by reducing waste and being more efficient.

As a state, we have achieved 26 percent clean energy, however we would only be at 22 percent had we not reduced our energy consumption by being more efficient. It’s a great start, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

This year’s theme is simple but important — “Save energy. Save money.” Why is this important?

Want to save money? Don’t use a second refrigerator.

Flickr: samantha celera

On average, Hawaii households spent more than $825 per year on oil to power their homes in 2014 according to a study by Rhodium Group. This is money that is leaving our economy rather than being reinvested in our state. The study went on to find accelerating our clean energy transition could result in a $7 billion positive impact to our islands.

With Hawaii already being one of the most expensive places in the country to live, reducing monthly energy costs is important for our families and businesses.

According to Aloha United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report released last year, 165,013 households (37 percent) are ALICE households living in financial hardship while another 47,066 households (11 percent) live below the poverty level.

Hawaii households spent more than $825 per year on oil to power their homes in 2014.

Our ALICE population represents people who have one or multiple jobs but struggle to afford basic necessities to remain stable and self-sufficient. Reducing energy costs is a necessity, and not a luxury, for these families.

Increasing awareness about the many lasting benefits of energy efficiency is why we celebrated Energy Efficiency Day.

Gov. David Ige’s proclamation ceremony for Energy Efficiency Day in Hawaii. The author is standing next to Ige in a blue shirt.

Courtesy

So what can you do?

Whether you are a family or a business, Hawaii Energy provides a number of tips, programs and incentives to help you make smart energy choices to be more efficient. As the ratepayer funded program under the Public Utilities Commission, we are your trusted, third-party energy advisor.
Here are a few easy things you can do in your home:

1. Make the switch to LED lights

LED lights are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

2. Go solar for your water heating needs

Water heating is one of the largest energy uses in your home. For families of three or more, installing a solar water heater is the best way to save money on your electric bill. With Hawaii Energy’s rebate combined with state and federal tax credits, you can save nearly 70 percent on the system purchase price in the first year. For families with less than three people, consider installing an ENERGY STAR heat pump water heater and receive a $300 rebate.

3. Ditch that extra fridge

Did you know that old refrigerator in your garage could be costing you over $300 a year? Hawaii Energy has a program to recycle your old, working units for free and pay you $75 for each one.

4. Maintain your air-conditioning system

During these humid days you might be running your air conditioner more than you usually would. Make sure you tune up your system to save you money while making your home more comfortable. Hawaii Energy is offering a $100 rebate to help you with this.

5. Turn off the electronics

This sounds easy, but we often forget and leave electronics plugged in that are not in use. Turn off unnecessary lights, appliances and idle electronics — especially that gaming system! A smart power strip can help turn off multiple items at once.

Those are just a few things you can do around your house. I invite you to share with your ohana, your friends, and your community the importance of energy efficiency as well as ideas on how to use less energy. Our islands and our economy are depending on it.

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