Illustration of US electricity generation

Want To Save On Your AC Bill and Still Be Cool?

By Darrell Smith

For most people in North America, the summer of 2021 has been a hot one. In some regions, long standing heat records have been broken.
In looking at the chart created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration displayed here, we can see a steady upward progression of demand for electricity in just a matter of days! On the left side of the chart the lowest curve of the black line (total generation) is about 400,000 megawatts, and in just one week later, August 12, the line is hitting about 600,000 megawatts. That’s a 50 percent jump in one week!

If electricity demand keeps trending like this, it appears certain that utility companies may not be able to meet the demand. Nationwide about 87 percent of homes have air conditioning. If utilities cannot meet the demand they have to arrange for reduced output, sometimes called ‘brownouts’. This is when at certain periods in the day there is a purposeful restriction in voltage coming into a home, so lights may be dimmer and the AC system may take longer to cool. Or worse yet, electricity is turned off for a short time.

Want to help reduce demand without reducing your comfort?
One simple and cost-effective way to reduce your demand for electricity without impairing your cooling comfort is with professionally installed window films. 

These products, which are permanently adhered to either the interior or exterior of an existing window, may reduce the sun’s heat gain by as much as 84%. This is especially important when the sun is the hottest and utilities are facing peak electricity demand.  

Window films, which can be installed in one day at about one-tenth the cost of new replacement windows, help to provide a more even temperature indoors by nearly eliminating hot spots such as next to a window. Once installed they start working right away and many are warranted by manufacturers to 15 to 20 years or more. 

In times like these, when heatwaves are crisscrossing the land, one simple act that we can all do is to check on our neighbors, especially senior citizens to make sure they are staying cool during unprecedented heat waves. Invite them over for some iced tea to provide a cool break if your home has air conditioning. Such an act may not only be a treat for neighbor without air conditioning, but for you as well, since you may well learn som