Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world but we are also the home of the nation’s highest energy rates.
Check out this snapshot to get an idea of various 2018 rates around the country
For an island by island break down, click here
Most of our energy still comes from petroleum fuel oil and, on Oahu, about 20% still comes from coal. It is expensive to ship all that fuel in! In 2017, we burned through 279,193,572 gallon of oil.
That equates to a whopping 3,454,219,779.3 pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere. (based on an average carbon dioxide coefficient of distillate fuel oil at 429.61 kg CO2 per 42-gallon barrel (EPA 2017))* In 2013, NASA reported we CO2 levels have increased by 24% over the past 55 years and are now at 400 ppm, the highest it has been for the past 1 million years or more. Measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory show we are still increasing and are at about 410 ppm as of March 2018. The first areas feeling the impacts of global warming, such as sea level rise and increased intensity of storms, are coastal areas, like Hawaii. To read more about the impacts to Hawaii from climate change, click here and to better understand sea level rise impacts for Hawaii specifically, click here.
What Can You Do?
Every bit you can reduce your energy consumptions, means an increase in monetary savings and a decrease in CO2 release. Calculate your general carbon footprint here. Make sure to pay attention to the last page as it has some suggestions on how to improve!
Switch to LED bulbs
These light bulbs shine the same as a 60w bulb but only consume 10.5w of energy. Switching from a standard incandescent bulb to this bulb would save you $215 over the life of the bulb (based on 3 hours per day use at 29 cents/kilowatt hour). They also have the longest lifespan. On average they can last 8-25 times longer than incandescent lighting, and 6 times longer than a CFL. It comes in multiple pack sizes and watts.
Air dry your clothing
If you don’t have a clothesline, these indoor drying racks work well. Considering the average dryer uses 3.3 kilowatt hours of energy per 45 minute load *, it costs Hawaii residents about $1 per load of laundry. If you do three loads of laundry per week, that is an annual savings of $156. This particular rack was chosen because of its long lifespan, the fact that it is built in the United States, and that it will naturally decompose when properly disposed of. Pennsylvania Woodworks is a small family owned business located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania and whose mission is to create heirloom quality products that promise to last a lifetime, or more. There are other racks priced lower but most come from China and quality is not guaranteed. Make sure that the one you order will ship to Hawaii!
Install a Programable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats save energy by allowing you to schedule your optimal temperatures. For example, if you know you are going to be working from 8am-4pm M-F, you could schedule your thermostat to turn the AC off during those hours and turn on 30 minutes before you arrive home. The Department of Energy reports you can save 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. In mild climates, like Hawaii, the savings are even greater.* With the NEST learning thermostat, you can even control it remotely from your phone or laptop, or use voice control via Alexa. It is also the first thermostat to earn Energy Star certification, can communicate with your smart appliances, and has an Energy History feature so you can see how much energy you use and why! This unit is easy to install and use and you can buy it here.
Utilize Advanced Power Strips
Even when appliances are “off”, they still draw phantom load, which can add up to a significant amount of home energy use. These products not only provide surge protection, but also allow to easily eliminate this phantom load. To use, plug in a master device in the master/control slot and all the devices you want turn off with that master device into the switched slots (sometimes given a different name). There are some devices you may not want to be turned off ever, and those go into the always on slot. For example, using your TV as the master device is a good idea for your home entertainment system. You can plug in your peripherals, such as speakers, dvd player, gaming console, etc. into the switched slots. When you turn your TV off, the devices in the switched slots will also turn off, all the way off. You may want to plug your dvr into the always on slot, as it is necessary to be on to record. Some come with a threshold switch, which allows you to adjust the switching threshold value. If the master device is drawing less than the threshold value wattage, it is determined to be off and when it draws more, it is determined to be on. Most likely, the only device you may have trouble with being the master is a laptop because they use such low wattage. For more information, watch this video produced by Efficiency Vermont.
This advanced power strip from Niagara has the lowest price of the featured strips. It features sliding covers for the outlets and a 6 ft cable.
1 master outlet
3 always on outlets
4 switched (energy saving) outlets
This Smart Strip LCG3’s widely spaced, clearly marked outlets give you the space and ease to connect all necessary equipment. The four-way wall mountable design, 90° space-saver plug, and heavy-duty four-foot power cord offer the versatility to place the power strip wherever it is most convenient, so it never gets in the way of your footpath or home décor. A lighted power switch keeps the strip visible.
1 master outlet
3 always on outlets
6 switched outlets
This TrickleStar advanced power strip is great for several reasons, but a major one is the lifetime warranty! It has an abundance of switched outlets, which is great if you’re like me and have a lot of components to your entertainment system. It also features Child Protection Covers.
1 master (control) outlet
3 always on outlets
8 switched outlets