Flippin' the Switch

S4 E5: Online Tools for Saving Energy and Money at Home

June 12, 2023 Jones-Onslow EMC Season 4 Episode 5
S4 E5: Online Tools for Saving Energy and Money at Home
Flippin' the Switch
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Flippin' the Switch
S4 E5: Online Tools for Saving Energy and Money at Home
Jun 12, 2023 Season 4 Episode 5
Jones-Onslow EMC
Ever wondered how to make the most of the energy-saving resources available for your home? Join us as we chat with Jordan Reeves from Apogee, who shares valuable insights on the fantastic free online resources we have on our website. Jordan takes us through the Home Energy Audit, explaining how it works and the personalized data securely pulled into the audit. Discover how it offers tailored savings recommendations, takes less than five minutes to complete, and can be a game-changer for homeowners.

Jordan doesn't stop there - she explores various energy calculators on our website, including the Appliance Calculator, TV Calculator, Heating and Cooling Calculator, and Space Heater Calculator. Learn how to use these tools to better understand your energy usage and costs. So why wait? Tune in and let Jordan guide you through these amazing resources that can help save energy and money, and make a real difference to your wallet.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
Ever wondered how to make the most of the energy-saving resources available for your home? Join us as we chat with Jordan Reeves from Apogee, who shares valuable insights on the fantastic free online resources we have on our website. Jordan takes us through the Home Energy Audit, explaining how it works and the personalized data securely pulled into the audit. Discover how it offers tailored savings recommendations, takes less than five minutes to complete, and can be a game-changer for homeowners.

Jordan doesn't stop there - she explores various energy calculators on our website, including the Appliance Calculator, TV Calculator, Heating and Cooling Calculator, and Space Heater Calculator. Learn how to use these tools to better understand your energy usage and costs. So why wait? Tune in and let Jordan guide you through these amazing resources that can help save energy and money, and make a real difference to your wallet.

Steve Goodson:

Welcome listeners to the latest episode of Flippin' the Switch and welcome to summer, right, hurricane season and all that good stuff that comes along with summer. We've got a great show for you today. We're going to kick things off. Natalie is going to be talking with Jordan Reeves, who is with Apogee Interactive. They're one of Jones-Onslow strategic partners. Jordan is going to be talking about the products and services that Apogee offers, specifically online energy audits that you can find at Jones-Onslow's website and energy calculators. There are various energy calculators, from TV calculators, water heater calculators, EV calculators. Jordan is going to talk about how you can use those and members can utilize those tools that Jones-Ausland offers to help manage their energy dollars. Following that will be Krystal Phillips coming in to talk about what's happening at the co-op. So with that, let's start flipping the switch.

Natalie Oldani:

All right, everyone, welcome back to another podcast episode. This is Natalie here, and today I'm really excited to introduce Jordan Reeves from Apogee. We're going to be talking with her a little bit about the free resources that we have available to members online on our website, www. joemc. com. She'll tell you how to access those resources And we're going to talk about the home energy calculators in particular, and also our home energy audit. So, Jordan, welcome to the podcast. We're excited to have you.

Jordan Reeves:

Hi, Natalie, thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Natalie Oldani:

So, before we get started, can you describe your role with Apogee and just tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jordan Reeves:

Absolutely, I'd be happy to. So I am a senior account manager here at Apogee and the primary account manager for the Jones-Ausland Apogee partnership. I have been with Apogee just shy of four years and truly love what I get to do in building partnerships every day, like I get to do with Jones-Ausland And for those listeners who don't really know who Apogee is, we are actually celebrating 30 years as a woman on business this year. We provide software as a service to cooperatives, municipalities and IOUs across the US and Canada and work closely with our partners to provide valuable energy efficiency applications and customer engagement strategies to help utilities reach their goals and increase customer satisfaction along the way.

Natalie Oldani:

Let's go ahead and get started! So, in partnership with Apogee, we have so many great free resources available to our members that are housed on our website, as I mentioned, but one of the most useful and unique resources we have is our home energy audit, so can you go into more detail about how that works and how members can access that resource?

Jordan Reeves:

Yes, I'd be happy to, And I do want to start out by saying just tell three of a job Jones-Ausland does with making the member experience to find these resources so easy and so seamless. Jones- have an energy rights program that is blasted on the front of the home page, So I really don't know how you could assist. That is where the Apogee applications live in this energy rights program. So the online audit in particular, or home energy profile You'll hear me say those two terms This is designed to teach the member. The member has to go in and do their part right. So they're going to go in and do this 11 question audit.

Jordan Reeves:

And what sets this audit apart from the regular audit that you see like through your utilities website is that this is personalized. So we are securely receiving data that goes into this audit that is personalized to that member once they put in their own account number to get started. So we are pulling in personalized data securely. We are taking into account the local weather in your region And we're also going to use the input that the member puts into the audit to create an analysis. Okay, So the online audit has questions that will ask the member how big is your home?

Jordan Reeves:

How many people live in the home? Do you drive an electric vehicle? Do you drive gas? How much insulation do you have? What's your heating and cooling system, like It even goes into? is your thermostat programmable, Yes or no?

Jordan Reeves:

Just very interactive, easy questions to answer. However, it can get even more advanced with however much information the member would like to put in there. The more information, obviously, the better. It helps our analysis really provide the best dating tip recommendations and the bill analysis to be the most accurate that we do So with that, once the member has filled out this audit it takes less than five minutes to do so They will be prompted to complete the audit.

Jordan Reeves:

They will be prompted into a dating tip recommendations. So this, like I said before, this is going to be dependent on the member's energy use data that we are pulling and going to be dependent on the inputs that they have just answered on that audit, along with the weather and the algorithm of the higher fees that know about all of that, They will have personalized savings tailored to them. So, for instance, if they couldn't, that they did not drive an electric vehicle and that they are driving a gas vehicle 30 miles a day with gas $3 a gallon. A recommendation there is going to be let's look at switching to an EV and see how much energy and money you can save there.

Steve Goodson:

So, Jordan, let me chime in here. So I think it's a really valuable tool for members to use. Obviously, there's some you got to go in and what does it take? Maybe five or 10 minutes to do the online profile or something like that.

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah.

Jordan Reeves:

And it's dependent on how much information you want to put in, because each section also has an advanced detailed section.

Steve Goodson:

Yeah, i think the really powerful thing and I know it's related to the online audit I think the other kind of really powerful thing is how this can kind of tie in to the electric bill itself from the perspective of mid-cycle alerts. Can we kind of touch on that a little bit and what I mean by mid-cycle alerts? So a lot of times folks they're not really cognizant of how much electricity they're using during the month And then at the end of the month they get a bill from us and they're like wow, did I use that much power during the month? with a combination of this online energy audit, you guys have the ability to we work together and we can actually send what we call mid-cycle alerts to folks, correct? Can you explain that a little bit?

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah, absolutely So, and those mid-cycle alerts are very, very beneficial, especially if you are, say, on a budget or really watching your pennies there. So we do send out those alerts to your members that tell them where they are at currently, what their energy use and how much money their bill will be in their bill and what they're forecasted to be paying and how much energy they will use by the end of their billing cycle. So those are the alerts that we're talking about that the members get sent to their email. The way this audit ties in to those mid-cycle alerts because, like I said before, it's not just an audit. it's literally it's comprised of four different tabs And there is a tab in there with an it's literally called an energy forecast tab.

Jordan Reeves:

You can go in there and look at the weekly energy forecast of what it's supposed to be in your area. You can look at the cost that you're probably going to pay per day and for the week in energy. So that is also just another visual that you can look to see where you're at how you can save money. And if you see something wrong like, oh well, if my energy did go to mostly to mostly my water heater usage, then maybe we need to look at. maybe we need to go back into the audit and try to figure out what kind of water heater would be beneficial to save money in the future.

Steve Goodson:

And, and especially with a water heater, maybe get your teenager to stop taking long showers, right.

Jordan Reeves:

Absolutely, especially now that it's in the summer. No one has to do that.

Steve Goodson:

Yeah, and and please, you know if, if members are listening, please, please understand that these are very accurate predictions. They're not going to be down to the penny. They may be within a few dollars. They are predictions and they are forecasts. So so if you go in and and look at this thing and it says it's a dollar amount and then you get a bill from us and it's not the exact same as what's on the on the website, what the forecast is or whatever, don't be upset that. it is a forecast. It is an estimate, but it gives you a pretty good idea in a range of what your bill should be right.

Jordan Reeves:

Absolutely, absolutely. It is the most accurate analysis that we can provide with the secure transfer of the AMI.

Natalie Oldani:

Jordan. do these alerts? are they and this is a question that I have as a member, because I know I've gotten them via email Are these sent out via mail as well? They?

Jordan Reeves:

are not. They are not sent out via mail. It is all digital, just because of the way that we have to do the analysis.

Natalie Oldani:

I really enjoy this as a member because, just like Steve said, sometimes we are not aware of where we're expending our energy in the home And, especially when life gets super crazy, it's not at the forefront of our mind. So when I get those emails ever so often, it's just a nice reminder to be aware of where my energy is going. So it's super convenient.

Jordan Reeves:

And the good thing about you is you can go in and change your inputs at any time. This does not need to be one and done. You can go back and change those Again. And I will say, once the member has filled out that home profile, we have then triggered some savings tips for them that were aligned through those inputs. We have walked through the energy forecast, where they can see the savings or the energy use in the electricity cost for the week, and then there's even more to it.

Jordan Reeves:

They will then be allowed to go in and get an entire bill analysis. So this bill analysis is even more an accurate representation of what the members, where their money and their energy is going for the entire past year. So it is a bunch of graphs I wouldn't say bunch, actually There's probably two or three graphs but they're very, very easy to read. They're very interactive, but also the member will be able to take from that exactly why their bill went up last month, why it might have went down, things like that. There's actual text, but there's also graphs for a different visual.

Natalie Oldani:

And it just provides them, i feel, like another resource to have their questions answered as to why their bill might be higher, and, instead of maybe seeking those answers elsewhere, they can have it all laid out visually in front of them, which I think is awesome.

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah, i'm a very big visual learner, so it's definitely helpful when it comes to graphs, and we also you know we don't want to just have a bunch of graphs in front of you. We also want to tell you exactly where your bill was, too, so it within that graph, you also see where your bill was aligned with the energy that you were using.

Natalie Oldani:

Very cool, yeah, super cool. I really like it. So hopefully, with members listening, they can take more advantage of that For sure. All right. So moving on to our home energy calculators, which is a separate page on our website as well, can you touch on a couple of those? We have a multitude of them, depending on what's going on seasonally, but we also have some that you can use all year, and it's a great tool to use in alignment with your home energy audit to actually put those tips into motion, i feel like. So can you talk a little bit about that and just touch on how to use the home energy calculators in alignment with your audit?

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah, absolutely So. the home energy profile obviously is one segment, right. So we also provide more targeted calculators that specific to EVs, water heaters, space heaters, the lighting in your home appliances, the TVs in your home how many you have of those, how much are they costing you, those types of things? So we, we, these are more one-off. So, going to an electric vehicle sample, if you would let, if you were in the market wanting to learn more about electric vehicles and how much that was going to cost you to charge it home, things like that how much is actually going to save you in gas, your carbon footprint? the electric vehicle calculator that John Donne's on their website will tell you all of that And it's very interactive. It's three questions. You go, there's toggles and all of the rates are already put in. that we have gotten from John Donne's. So really it's just up to the member of moving some toggles and putting some numbers in to see if an electric vehicle would benefit them.

Steve Goodson:

You know we always say, way before we started partnering with y'all for these appliances or these appliance calculators. They're actually, when we promoted energy store appliances or whatever we always used to say or promote, that there were two costs associated with an appliance the, the, the cost of purchasing the appliance And then of course, the cost to operate it. So I've got a man cave at my house with three 65 inch television sets. So obviously the cost of the television sets, you know, was one thing. But we've got a calculator out on our website, correct That, that can go in and tell me actually what, that Samsung 65 inch LED 4k whatever, whatever is called seeming to operate right.

Jordan Reeves:

Yes, you absolutely do. You have the appliance calculator in, also have the TV calculator, which is even more targeted, and those are going to tell you, when you put in, how many TVs you had, what size they were and how many hours a day you may have them on during the week or weekends. It will then calculate your annual or monthly whichever one you wanted to show kilowatt hour usage and your annual cost or monthly cost.

Steve Goodson:

We won't be sharing that calculator with my wife and those and those TVs about that.

Jordan Reeves:

Because you have the option on here to probably put in 11 of the same TVs if you want to, and that'd be kind of fantasy.

Steve Goodson:

That would be kind of awesome, though, to have 11, 65 inch TVs in your basement.

Natalie Oldani:

So we've got calculators like that, we have lighting calculators, we have a heating and cooling calculator to kind of monitor your energy usage, especially in the summertime. We've got kids at home because school is out. We do have some inclement weather chances of it because it is hurricane season, so you might be spending some more time inside, so those can be really beneficial to members that are just trying to keep an extra eye on where their energy is going. So we're talking about the most relevant resources to the season that we're expanding right now. But what about preparing for those cooler fall and winter months? What calculators do we have available to members that they can use?

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah, that's a great question. So the cooler month, a huge calculator that is so popular. A space heater calculator is so popular And this one really is so easy. You put in the number of space heaters you have, however many hours you have them on The cost per the kilowatt hours already included in there. That does not need to be changed And it really will just calculate your cost for using that space heater by the month, like what it costs you that month, And you'll probably see those changes on your bill. So these are really great. Just like you were saying, there's one off, like something might not be right. Let me just go and check to see if maybe it was my space heater last month, or maybe it was my heat pump or something that went bad or went out. Let me go in and see if I can figure out where the increases come in from.

Natalie Oldani:

So those are perfect for people that may have not been happy with their bills last winter and they can kind of get familiar with these resources now so they can prepare to save a little bit when we head into the fall and winter time.

Jordan Reeves:

Yeah, absolutely. And it also helps like say you're in the market for a new water heater or heat pump, let's go in and see which one would probably benefit me the most. Use the least energy and keep money in my pocket. That's what these are really going to do at the end of the day.

Natalie Oldani:

So I have a little bit of a tricky question. Not really, but I'm always trying to think in the perspective of members that are not myself and are not immersed in this world all the time. But the diversity of age that we have in our member base is pretty cool. We've got some younger individuals, because we are a military town, and then we have some older individuals in both Onslo and Jones County that have been local since they were young, maybe long time home owners. So this is a lot of information. Obviously It's easy to manipulate and utilize, but it's a lot of information to kind of dive into. What would you say to members that maybe have been locals and have been long time home owners, that maybe have their own methods of trying to save, to be a little bit more open to taking advantage of these resources and maybe just trying to wrap their head around? okay, how much of a difference is this going to make in my overall energy usage? You?

Jordan Reeves:

know, everything is becoming so much more digitalized and the convenience factor is so huge. So, while you know the DIY ways to save energy and money, it's like changing your thermostat and you know coffee, your windows, making sure your insulation is good and things like those are all great recommendations, but they're everything that we already know, right. So this type of application, because it is so intuitive and there is so many moving parts behind the scenes, it's going to give you probably recommendations and numbers and analytics that you have never, ever seen before, and that's okay, because we make it really easy to understand.

Steve Goodson:

So I want to revisit something and then with the wrap up, and then I know we'll be wrapping up, but you mentioned it right at the beginning and I'm going to take a time to do a shameless plug for energy wise. So you mentioned where you can find this. you go to jmccom. on the main page there's an energy wise tab, or you can go directly to jmccom, slash energy wise and when you go there, the online energy audits and calculators are just one tool that we offer members. We, you know we're part of the connect to save program, which we had Charlie Farrell on last month to talk about their smart thermostats.

Steve Goodson:

We've starting to introduce the concept of beneficial electrification to members and and using electric powered fill in the blank, whether it's a, it's a electric power push lawnmower or a battery powered push lawnmower or a battery powered blower or whatever. We also offer rebates, you know out there. So if you're interested in purchasing a new HVAC system or something like that section about electric vehicles and we do now start offer, we have started offering in the last couple months home energy, home EV charging rebate, and then there's a couple of other sections out there about folks interested in solar. So I think it does the products that you guys offer us, that we offer, you know, to our members. I think it just it integrates in very well with everything else that we're doing trying to, in the end, trying to help members make good energy choices, to help them use energy more efficiently and help them maximize their energy dollars. So I just wanted to contribute that now.

Steve Goodson:

I hope I didn't steal any of your thunder as a as a, as a relates to that, so I'll just wanted to make that comment and I'll kick back and let you take back over.

Natalie Oldani:

Okay, perfect, All right, jordan. Do you have anything else that you want members to know about any of the resources we talked about today?

Jordan Reeves:

It's really important to know how much energy you're using and money that you could be saved. It should be important. I should say that It really should be a piece of mind, and these applications and tools and calculators just make it. So give you a piece of mind. They really do. They give you a piece of mind on your energy choices and decisions and helping you know keeping your wallet full of dollars.

Natalie Oldani:

That's what we hope, exactly, and it's just a matter of taking advantage of all these resources too.

Jordan Reeves:

Taking advantage of it. it costs zero dollars and it is very easy, Absolutely.

Natalie Oldani:

All right. Well, that's all the time we have today. As we've mentioned throughout this episode, you can access all of this information on our website, wwwjoemccom, under our energy-wise tab, and we're looking forward to another episode in the future. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 5:

Who needs a win-win? JOEMC has an easy one for you. Add paperless billing and auto draft to enjoy a winning combo of convenience. All auto draft participants who enroll in paperless billing between March 28th and December 12th will have a chance to win monthly prizes and will be automatically entered in to win an ASSIS 2017 Chevy Silverado. Go to joemccom slash win this truck, or speak with a member services rep for details.

Speaker 4:

It's June and we have another edition of What's Happening at Jones-Onslow. We're your go-to energy efficiency finder of all the tips and community happenings. I'm Crystal Phillips, and so let's get started. With school out and temperatures rising, it's crucial to find ways to stay cool without breaking the bank. Let's dive into some energy efficiency strategies that will keep you comfortable and help you save some money on your energy bill.

Speaker 4:

Tip one optimize your cooling system. Start by cleaning and replacing the air filters in your HVAC system. This is an easy one to do, because dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce the system's efficiency. Additionally, consider investing in a programmable thermostat through our Connect to Save program. These handy devices allow you to set your thermostat from anywhere and monitor your usage from your phone. An additional tip which we know you have heard numerous times, but it is a great saving stool When you're away from your house, raise your temperature setting on your thermostat and lower the thermostat when you arrive back home. This can maximize your comfort while minimizing your energy consumption And, as an added bonus, with the programmable thermostat, you can lower the temperature 30 minutes before you get home and you wouldn't even notice the difference. That's a tip to keep in mind.

Speaker 4:

Tip two use fans strategically. Silling fans are a cost-effective way to cool down a room while using less energy than air conditioner. Make sure the ceiling fan is rotating counterclockwise during the summer months to create a cooling breeze. And don't forget about portable fans. They can provide an instant sense of relief in specific areas, allowing you to raise your thermostat just a few degrees. Tip three beat the heat naturally. Take advantage of natural ventilation by opening your windows now, not during the day, but consider it night. But during the day, use window coverings like blinds and curtains and shades. This helps prevent the bright sun coming in at the hottest part of the day. Now, these are just a few energy saving tips to help you stay cool and save money during the hot summer months.

Speaker 4:

Now let's shift our focus to some exciting community happenings. The summer season in our area brings plenty of events for everyone to enjoy, from Jacksonville's Fourth of July celebration, jones County Heritage Day, swan Fest concerts, which happen every Sunday on the scenic waterfront, to Ocean City Jazz Festival and Topsoll, to weekly farmers markets and concerts on the water and surf city. These are just a few of the things that you can find if you just search our various community pages. Now, remember that this is part of our community and Jones-Onslow is so proud to be a part of this outstanding group, and we love powering each and every one of these events.

Speaker 4:

Lastly, thanks to all of those who participated in our annual charity golf tournament on June the 2nd. With your help, we raised over $25,000 to go directly to local 4-H programs and our Bright Ideas Educational Grant Program. This event would not have been a success without you. And that's it for today's What's Happening at JOEMC. We hope you found these tips to be helpful and that you're excited about the upcoming summer and community events. So stay cool, save money and enjoy the summer season And, as always, if you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, feel free to reach out to us on social media or email us at podcast at joemccom.

Speaker 6:

Stay connected and stay informed with Jones-Onslow's Outage Text Alerts. Signing up for the text alerts is simple and easy. Visit joemccom and click on the Outage Hub icon. Locate Outage Text Alerts and click on the Sign Up button. Enter your cell phone number and account number, hit Submit And, after responding to a verification text, you're signed up. Save the phone number you received from the verification text to your cell phone contacts so you can quickly report an outage, if ever needed. Standard text and data rates may apply. Remember to report an outage or for updates, you must be registered for Outage Text Alerts prior to the outage you are trying to report. If you register after the outage has started, you will not get alerts for that outage. Stay updated on power outages and more. Visit joemccom. Reliability-focused safety-driven. That's our co-op.

Steve Goodson:

Well, folks, that'll do it for this episode of Flipping the Switch Until next time. if you don't currently follow us on Facebook, instagram or any of our other social media channels, consider doing so. It's the best way to keep informed about what's going on with your co-op. Thanks again, meatballspitch audience burnie.

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