Lowering Your Energy Usage During a Heat Wave - A Texas Tale

Lowering Your Energy Usage During a Heat Wave – A Texas Tale

Brianna closed the door of her  garage behind her and inhaled the delightfully cool air of her kitchen. The garage was wretchedly hot. The office parking lot was a lava field. And work had been… well, a lot of work.

She set her purse, keys, and phone on the counter. Pouring herself a glass of lemonde from the pitcher in the refrigerator, she began organizing her thoughts. She absently stared out the window across the yard to see see heat waves wriggle above her neighbor’s roof.

Her day wasn’t over – it was just 3 p.m. There were still several little errands to complete, along with picking up the kids from after-school care. Was there time for a little yoga before dinner? Bobby wants to bake chocolate cupcakes for his birthday tomorrow. Presentation in the morning — wash the power suit. Katie wants spaghetti tonight. Pasta in this heat? Ugh. We’ll try something lighter.

Oh yeah, she muttered suddenly. ERCOT issued one of those Energy Emergency Alerts. Just then, a breath of cool air brushed across her cheek from air vent in the floor below her. “Well,” she smiled to herself, “Time to help save the Texas grid.”

Brianna went to the programmable thermostat in her living room and raised the temperature from 72°F to 78°F. The celing fan was running, but since she was heading out, she turned it off. Then she closed the living room drapes along the south and west walls. Sunlight brightened the room nicely, but it was beginning to feel too warm.

She headed upstairs to the bedrooms. Noise was coming from the guest room. She entered to see their cat, Roscoe, playing with the TV remote. Somehow he had managed to turn on the TV. She turned it off, hid the remote, and went from room to room closing more drapes.

In her bedroom, she slipped out of her office suit and into a lightweight white cotton blouse and pair of khaki shorts. Remembering her outfit for work tomorrow, she opened her closet to find she had left the light on that morning. She turned that off and held her suit on its hanger for moment. “Washing this can wait until later this evening when the energy emergency is over,” she thought. She carefully draped the suit over a chair and headed back downstairs.

Returning to the kitchen, her eye caught the dishwasher timer counting down to “Start”. Without breaking stride, she pushed the power switch to “Off” and then grabbed her purse, keys, and phone. She took a moment to check for any new alerts on her phone, and finding none, she opened the door to the garage.

Hot humid air wrapped around her like a huge, damp quilt.

“Ugh! Baking cupcakes with Bobby can wait until later in the evening,” she sighed, shutting the door behind her. Brianna headed out knowing she was doing her part to help the Texas electric grid and her energy bill.

It’s easy to reduce your use.

  • Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun.
  • When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher (or off!), and turn all fans off before you leave. #78degreechallenge
  • Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
  • Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffeemakers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
  • Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
  • Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or late evening, not during peak demand hours.

It’s easy to do your part to help the Texas energy grid during a Texas heat wave – just ask Brianna!

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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