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 Green Lightbulb

 We are looking to the future


DPU is committed to providing utility-wide conservation and efficiency outreach to all of our customers. Programming topics shift with the seasons and evolve with technology and legislation. On this page below are a few of our long-term programs and conservation tips. If there is a topic you would like to learn more about, please reach out to the Water and Energy Conservation Coordinator, Abbey Hayward, at 505.663.1779 or [email protected].

INDUCTION COOKTOP LOANER PROGRAM

One of DPU's long-term goals is to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the use of natural gas. One of the biggest obstacles to this goal is loyalty to gas stoves. Through the Induction Cooktop Loaner Program, DPU aims to educate the public on a reasonable alternative to gas stoves by giving opportunities for hands-on experiences. DPU customers can check out a cooktop for two weeks, along with their choice of cooking vessel (pot, skillet or wok) and pot-friendly cooking utensils, so they can test drive this technology before making investments for their own kitchens. 

Sign up for the program here: https://ladpu.com/cooktop-signup

Click here for more details on the program: https://ladpu.com/induction

WATER AND ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN

On August 17, 2022, the Board of Public Utilities approved the 2022 update to the DPU Water and Energy Conservation Plan. This plan meets state recommendations from the Office of the State Engineer as a condition of approval of the County's water rights and federal requirements as part of Los Alamos County's section of the Joint Integrated Resource Plan with the Department of Energy.

2022 DPU Water and Energy Conservation Plan

ENERGY EFFICIENCY WELCOME KITS

Welcome kits for new residents to assist in conserving electricity, natural gas are available at no cost. These kits include a variety of items for use around the home, such as:

  • LED bulbs, 
  • Furnace filter whistle
  • Outlet safety covers
  • LED nightlight
  • Switch and outlet seals
  • Rope caulk.
Water conservation items are available upon request. These include:
  • Toilet tank bags
  • Toilet leak dye tablets
  • Drip gauges
  • Faucet aerators.
Contact Abbey Hayward, [email protected]/505.663.1779, to get your kit. Welcome kits can also be picked up at the Los Alamos Nature Center on Canyon Road.

XERISCAPING

**More coming by Spring 2023**

Water usage doubles during the growing season in Los Alamos as homeowners, businesses and organizations attend to landscapes. The NMSU Cooperative Extension Office, located on Bathtub Row, is an excellent resource for all things landscaping. 

A current free webinar series provides presentations from specialists on a variety of gardening topics. Register for upcoming webinars or view past recorded sessions here: https://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/grow.html 

The next webinar, Landscaping with Native Plants, is on October 19, 2022. 

NMSU Cooperative Extension: 505.662.2656.

REDUCE ENERGY COSTS

Los Alamos County Council has proclaimed October 5, 2022, as Energy Efficiency Day!

Read the Proclamation here.
Learn more about Energy Efficiency Day here.

Below are several recommendations to improve your energy efficiency and cost savings. These tips range from simple behavior changes to bigger investments toward improving your living and working space.

  • Wash clothes in cold water - 80-90% of the energy is used to heat the water alone.
  • Use clothes lines - the low humidity could cut dry time in half versus the machine.
  • Adjust thermostats, either manually or via a program. No sense in fully heating or cooling an empty home-- not even for Fido the dog or Spikey the houseplant.
  • Use 👏 Those 👏 Shades. Close 'em in the summer and open them in the winter.
  • Turn off TVs and computers when you are done using them.
  • If you can't turn off your computer (updates done at night?), at least turn off the screen and see if you can set it to sleep mode.
  • "For the last time" shut the fridge door!
  • If supplementing heating with a space heater, DON'T use near a thermostat or its sensors. You will artificially make it sense that the entire house is warmer and your other rooms will feel very cold.
  • Turn down the water heater (an ideal temp is 120F), but do your research first for possible background conditions.
  • Maintain your HVAC system. The harder your system has to work, the more energy it's consuming.
  • Seal off air leaks to the outside.
  • Switch to LED light bulbs. Looking at all your bulbs and feeling overwhelmed? Start with five light fixtures in the most-used spaces. (Kitchen? Bathrooms? Living spaces?)
  • When it come times to replace appliances, choose more energy-efficient models. Plan ahead for failures. Here's a great resource: EnergyStar.gov
  • Evaluate your home or building's insulation levels.

Vampire Energy

Have a lot of stuff plugged in to outlets? Standby power is the electric power wasted by these devices when not in use. Check out a fantastic graphic created by Save On Energy that shows the annual totals of common energy eaters. Click on the thumbnail below to see the whole thing.

Click for full graphic

Dig into more at the Save On Energy website.

Energy Audits

The DPU doesn't currently offer in-home energy audits, but there are several resources available if a complete energy audit from a professional isn't in the budget.

Calculating Appliance Energy Use

  1. Estimate how many hours per day an appliance runs
  2. Find the wattage of the appliance
  3. Find the daily energy consumption using the following formula:
    1. (Wattage × Hours Used Per Day) ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption
  4. Find the annual energy consumption using the following formula:
    1. Daily kWh consumption × number of days used per year = annual energy consumption
  5. Find the annual cost to run the appliance using the following formula:
    1. Annual energy consumption × utility rate per kWh = annual cost to run appliance

Energy.gov has a built-in Appliance Energy Calculator and can be a good estimating tool.

If you are looking at energy use for a stove, you'll have to look into the wattage ranges and either estimate usage for middle power settings or be content with minimum and maximum power energy usage.

OUTDOOR WATERING TIPS

Water Rule W-8

In effect May 1 through September 30, the following outdoor watering schedule is implemented:

  1. Water outdoor landscaping before 10am or after 5pm
  2. Odd addresses irrigate on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday
  3. Even addresses irrigate on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday

W-8 Watering Schedule

Other conservation tips:

  • Use automatic shut-off nozzles on hoses.
  • Prevent water waste (such as overflowing water onto sidewalks and streets).
  • Use timers on hoses and sprinklers to prevent leaving water on excessively.
  • Reevaluate irrigation schedule and needs.
  • Clean driveways and sidewalks using a broom instead of water.
  • Harvest rainwater or greywater for use later.
  • Wash vehicles using a bucket or a commercial car wash instead of a running hose.