Save 10% on your energy bill by switching to renewable energy sources
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Quick question for you: where does your home’s electricity come from?
Does it comes from renewable energy sources (like wind and solar)? Or non-renewable energy (like fossil fuels)?
The answer is most likely: “Hmmm…I have no idea.” At least that was my answer when someone asked me this question a few years ago.
Now, if you’re wondering where your house gets its electricity from, the answer is probably: fossil fuels. Why? Because fossil fuels are the default for most utility companies.
But the good news is: it doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to power your home with dirty fossil fuels like coal or gas. And you can actually make the switch to renewable energy sources in as little as five minutes. Annnnnddd without paying extra! And sometimes, there’s even a cost-savings. I know that sounds too good to be true. But it’s not.
I made the switch to renewable energy about four or five years ago. And to be honest, I’ve never looked back or even really had to think about it again. I just had to: “Set it and forget it!”
Remember that slogan from the rotisserie chicken infomercials back in the day? Renewable energy companies should totally riff off of that slogan since its something that gets burned into your memory for life.
But seriously, one of the easiest ways to be more eco friendly at home is to switch your electricity from fossil fuels to renewables. And while this may seem like a complicated thing to do, it’s actually quite easy.
But before we dive in, let’s do a quick rundown of how your energy grid works.
Understanding energy grids
Your utility company, like ConEdison or Portland General Electric, serves as a middle man between sources of electricity and your home. Energy comes in to the grid and the utility company sends it out to you. Most of the energy that comes in is non renewable energy like coal or gas. And historically, that’s because it was the cheapest. But lucky for us (and the planet!), that’s changing and renewable energy sources like wind are actually cheaper than things like coal.
Here’s where you come in…
As a consumer, you can go to your utility company and say: “Hey! I don’t want dirty energy powering my house! I want the clean stuff! Give it to me! K? Thanks! Byeeeee.” And by opting for clean energy, you are forcing the utility company to bring clean energy into the electric grid.
Think about the energy grid as a pie..a warm apple pie that is. Normally 100% of the ingredients for the pie come from fossil fuels. But as the customer, you can say that you want your portion of the pie to come from renewable energy. And the utility company (aka the pie maker) has to do as you say.
If the pie has 10 slices, and one of them always goes to your house, the utility company now has to source 10% of the ingredients for that pie from renewable energy. And because of you, that pie (aka the energy grid) now has 10% renewable energy. Now you may not get the exact slice that’s made of renewable energy because all of the ingredients went into the mixing bowl pie and you can’t exactly pull them back out. But the pie is greener because you opted for those ingredients.
I hope that analogy made sense. Everything becomes clearer when food is involved. At least for me. So now every time you think of renewable energy, think of a warm flakey green apple pie that literally just came out of the oven and has vanilla ice cream melting off of it. And you can now enjoy your slice even more because you made sure the ingredients are in alignment with how you think pies should be made.
There’s power in numbers
So here’s the thing about buying power: the more people who opt for clean energy, the more renewable energy the utility companies have to source. And if you know anything about basic economics, the more demand there is for something, the greater the supply. And the greater the supply, the less expensive that item becomes. When it comes to renewable energy, the more that people demand it, the cheaper it will get for everyone and the quicker technology will advance, making it more affordable and accessible for everyone.
How to make the switch to renewable energy at home
Today there are a lot of options for getting your electricity from renewable energy sources. Even if you rent your home! All you need is an electricity bill in your name and you can make the switch to renewable energy. You can do it directly with your electricity company or you can go through a third part like Green Mountain Energy or Arcadia.
If you go with a third party, you’ll still be using your local electric company to supply energy to your home, but the third party serves as a middle man to make sure the electricity comes from clean energy. The best part is: it doesn’t have to cost you extra and is often the same price as you pay now or just a few dollars more. And in some cases, it’s actually less!
In my NY apartment, it’s about 1-2% more each month, but at my place in upstate NY, there are incentives for switching to renewable energy sources and I actually pay 10% less than what I would if I went with the default energy source. Let me just say that again:
you could potentially save 10% on your energy bill by switching to renewable energy sources.
Green Mountain Energy is probably one of the more widespread options for switching over your energy source to clean energy. In 2019 alone, their “customers helped the U.S. avoid more than 9.3 billion pounds of carbon emissions, simply by powering their homes with 100% clean electricity. That’s like taking 11.8 million cars off the road for a month” (Green Mountain Energy). Pretty insane right? Arcadia is another middle man that’s come on the scene in the past few years. They don’t operate in all states but have a great user experience and offer different options like sourcing 50% renewables or 100% depending on your budget.
Whether you have an office or work from home, your daily business to-do’s heavily rely on your laptop and/or your phone. Plus there’s lighting, heating and/or cooling involved, which all run on electricity. By default, most homes and office buildings are powered by fossil fuels, but today you’ve got options! And you can actually switch your source of electricity from fossil fuels to renewables. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to cost you extra.
You can easily do this through a third party like Green Mountain Energy or Arcadia. And in some instances, you can do it directly through your electricity company. It won’t cost you extra, and if it does, you’ll barely notice a difference and can rest easy knowing that your house’s energy is coming from clean sources.
Call to action: get yourself a slice of green apple pie!
Head on over to Green Mountain Energy or your local utility company’s website to see if renewables are available in your area. If it’s affordable for you to switch to renewable energy sources, hit the button and make the switch. You can rest easy knowing that your home, your lights, your computer, and your iPhone will all be powered with renewable energy.
And that my friend is how you release a little bit of that eco guilt that’s been plaguing you for quite some time. Then, once you’ve had a slice of warm, green apple pie, get back to work! We’ve got more sustainable changes to make.