How many of you have been personally victimized by your monthly energy bill?! (Entire gym raises hand...even Regina George.)
That is because IT IS SO HOT IN NEW ORLEANS!
How much does that bill run you in the summer? 1 million? 5 million? 12 billion?! That is what it feels like when I check my statement every month, anyway.
We here at Flux definitely feel this heat, and one of our recent projects with Energy Wise Alliance (http://www.energyla.org/) has shown us that most New Orleanians do too! This project is called the Context Blueprint, and it is one of our most exciting products available at Flux!
The Context Blueprint is a conglomeration of GIS mapping and demographic data from large public data sources.
We focus on the main areas of education, energy & environment, transportation, and socio-economics. You choose from these themes, tell us some key things you are interested in finding out, and we search through our diverse datasets to give you the information you need... complete with awesome maps and visuals!
This is great for internal use, reporting cycles, grant proposals, and meetings with potential funders!
For Energy Wise, we took the information and questions they had for us, and created a report complete with GIS mapping that showed them information on energy bills, school locations, and income levels. Energy Wise wanted insight on where to expand their programmatic efforts, and the Context Blueprint gave them both the facts and the maps to visualize the energy use landscape, the populations they were targeting, and areas they could potentially expand towards!
For example, we created maps that showed things such as the percentage energy bills take up of family income per geographical area.
Now while we all feel the heat of these massive energy bills, Energy Wise is here to save the day! (By providing energy saving hacks and tutorials for all New Orleanians -- with a focus on underserved populations.)
Here are some tips to beat the heat and cut down on those energy bills (in summer and winter)!
Use draft blockers to keep temperatures comfy
Create a breeze -- use ceiling fans! Also, fans help evaporate sweat from skin..among other things
Plant trees outside to keep cool inside
Close all blinds during the summer to keep things cool
Open blinds in the winter to heat things up
Adjust the Temperature: When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
Find And Seal Leaks: Seal the air leaks around utility cut throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
Lower Your Water Heating Costs: Water-heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed within a person’s home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.