If you go onto Muscatine Power and Water’s website and search for information on energy efficiency you will eventually come to (this page). A huge list of options for residential, industrial or public customers can be found here. Let’s look a little closer at a few of the options that MPW recommends.
- Energy Efficient Windows and How to Choose the Right Ones. This link takes us to efficientwindows.org. This website seems modern and helpful, filled with tons of information on the topic of new and replacement windows. I opened up the Window Selection Tool on the home page to see how it works. First you input where you are in the country, then plug in how your windows are oriented around your home and if you get any shade from trees. After that it generates several options for you to choose from that looks like this.
A lot of this goes over my head, but I can tell that the best options are at the top with the options getting less efficient towards the bottom as those options lose their energy star ratings. At the very least, it helps people who don’t know about windows get started on their research and gives you things to ask an expert about. 7/10 Very helpful.
2. Under the Power Factor Correction section there is only one bullet point and it says ISU Industrial Assessment Center. This link leads to a broken WordPress page. Power factor correction, according to sunpower-UK.com means: “a technique of increasing the power factor of a power supply. … This reduces the input RMS current and apparent input power, thereby increasing the power factor. The power factor correction shapes the input current in order to maximize the real power from the AC supply.”
This would have been an interesting thing to learn about if it pertained to Muscatine. 0/10 No info available, should remove section from mpw.org webpage.
3. Under the Energy Efficiency Building Practices section is an (Energy Cost Calculator). This link works! And it takes us to csgnetwork.com. Wow! Now this is amazing. This is designed to give an idea of the costs of various daily things we do in our homes. This calculator is generic in that it assumes averages for various appliances. The cost per KWH is found at the top, the default is the national U.S. average cost per KWH $0.1099 as of January 2011, but you can input whatever rate you pay per KWH found on your energy bill. MPW charges $0.093 for residential customers as of 2021.
According to this calculator, if I run a 20 minute shower once a day for a week, it would cost $7.94 for the energy to make that comfortable. That sounds very affordable. Running my radio for an hour costs about a cent. My TV for the same amount of time would cost about 4 cents. This calculator is very handy, user friendly and pretty fun to use. You can check how much energy would cost for you to run a load of laundry or leave the lights on all night.
Even more interesting is that this website has other calculators as well. An Electric Power Pollution Calculator will tell you how much pollution you generated with the energy you used for the month or year. Since the average household uses 800-900 KWHs of electricity and MPW uses mostly Western coal for power we get a result that looks like this.
Ouch. That does not look good. Coal is the worst source for power when it comes to pollutants like SO2, so when you opt into anything else, it cuts that pollution down considerably. This is why CLAM is so happy that MPW is committed to decommissioning their coal plants by 2030 for the most part. This website and link get a 5/10. It is informative and eye-opening but it doesn’t do anything to help MPW customers become more energy efficient, instead it blames the consumer for the pollution that their household generates even though the consumer has no control over the energy source used to generate that power.
4. Of course we have to talk about Energy Star products. They are the poster child of proper home appliances. The link provided by MPW takes us to https://www.energystar.gov/products. This covers the obvious appliances like refrigerators and washing machines but also the less obvious ones like heat pump water heaters and office equipment. Energy Star has seemingly everything on the topic of energy efficiency. They offer assistance in making sure that you have enough attic insulation as well as how to hire someone to install more if needed. Many things can improve for your home if appliances are upgraded to more efficient products. Not only could it be a little cheaper on the bill, it could also improve indoor air quality to upgrade things like refrigerators that utilize toxic gases that eventually leak out. Or investing in a smart thermostat that not only helps regulate temperatures in an eco friendly way but also reminds you when it’s time to change the air filters in your furnace. 9/10 everyone should know about Energy Star standards and products.
5. The last thing I will look closely at is the related topic of water conservation. http://www.niagaraconservation.com/
This link takes us to a website that brings together the ideas of water and energy conservation with water-efficient toilets. Niagara Conservation shares case studies that show how we are wasting the little remaining fresh water that we have left on Earth and why it doesn’t have to be like that. This is an extremely important point that I think is good to discuss in conjunction with energy conservation, as so much of what we do uses both at once. 8/10 Combines two needed conservation issues in one with a simple solution, albeit maybe a pricey one.
There seemed to be many links among the options on the MPW website that were broken, which is most unfortunate. However, there were still many good options to look through, even if they seemed to be arranged in a random order instead of in a way that would make sense to the average customer.