Five Energy Myths That Drain Your Budget

Over the next five weeks we will be busting some long-standing energy myths that may be draining your utility budget. Below you can get a snippet of what is to come. Keep an eye out for more details as each myth is busted!

Myth #1: The Utility Company Is Always Right

We rely on utility companies to provide us with accurate information, especially since this is a commodity we are charged for. However, is the information they are providing in actuality accurate? And how can we be sure that the technology they use is working properly? In this myth, we will discuss times when the utility may not have been as accurate as we hoped. Times when we found billing errors, broken meters, incorrect rate plans, etc. And who was there to help the districts save? Fusebox, of course!

Myth #2: Our Facilities/Business Department Staff Handles This

Fusebox team members enjoy visiting students during career days and science weeks. Very often, we get asked, “What is a typical day like for you?” This question is always impossible to answer, since, in the energy and education world, there is no “typical.” Facilities and business department staff, I am sure, would feel the same way! There are days when staff are prepping for the future, fighting fires, sitting in meetings, answering emails, etc. Very rarely do they have time to review energy data monthly, never mind weekly, or even daily. This is what Fusebox is for! With this myth, we will discuss times when facilities and business staff were unable to properly track and manage data until Fusebox came to the rescue!

Myth #3: We Upgraded Our Equipment So We Must Be Saving

Have you ever heard of the Jevon’s Paradox? In economics, this is when technological progress increases the efficiency of which the resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource rises. An easy real-world example of this is the Prius. When the Prius first came out, we expected to see consumers saving a bundle on gas! However, that was not the case because people assumed since they had a more efficient car, they could drive more! We see the same thing in the energy world. Once new HVAC is installed, people assume that they can use more and/or set their temperature setpoints lower (AC) or higher (heating). As a result, they end up using more energy. This myth will dive into the reality that even new equipment can be energy inefficient. But who can help you make it more efficient? Fusebox can!

Myth #4: Equipment Leads To Energy Savings, Not People

When you picture a school or a building, what do you see? Do you see the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical wires? Of course not! You see the people! Many professionals in the energy world, including utility companies, electrical companies, engineers, architects, and energy service companies all mistakenly think the answer to efficiency is new, expensive equipment. The truth is that, as much, or more, can be saved from behavior change as from equipment upgrades. It is the people that hold the power! (Or, hopefully, lack thereof, in this case!) In this myth we will discuss times that the power of the people led to great energy savings, at times even greater than equipment. And who helped them design these behavior programs? Fusebox had the power!

Myth #5: Solar Energy Saves Money

Many people assume that solar saves energy and money. The truth of the matter is, "it depends." In Arizona, aggressive solar sales during the Great Recession promoted third-party solar contracts to schools ensuring they would save millions of dollars over the 20-year contract period. Now, ten years later, many are not saving a thing. In fact, some are losing millions of dollars. Between complicated contracts, pushy sales-people, and a lack of understanding of the reality of solar policies/financials, this myth will show that saving money with solar isn’t as easy as just putting up some solar panels. Who has done these analyses showing the realities of solar? You got it, Fusebox!