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Transforming Energy Usage: It’s Not Only about Solar

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DOI: 10.4236/ojee.2014.32004    3,654 Downloads   4,969 Views  
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ABSTRACT

GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar contractor, installs solar electric systems for low-income families. Part of GRID Alternatives’ program is to provide solar electric systems that are designed to replace 75% of the homeowners’ electricity usage with solar power. This leaves 25% of their bill still to be paid. In order to save our resources, one must first use conservation practices, then energy efficiency, and then follow-up with renewable energy to cover the rest. GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) educates our participating homeowners and community members on this philosophy. However, measuring whether or not our families have been following this philosophy is hard to prove. It may seem obvious that if we want to know whether our homeowners are saving energy, we should look at their energy usage before and after solar. However, this is not the case with our low-income families that could be using electricity to make their lives more comfortable. GRID IE developed a survey to be given before homeowners received their solar systems and started their participation with GRID Alternatives and the same survey to be given after they have received their solar systems. This before and after survey (pre-test/post-test) asked our homeowners to rate their responses to 7 questions on a scale of 1 - 10. The before and after responses for each person were compared, and as a group, their differences were calculated to find out if the differences were statistically significance (within subjects, dependent Z test). 6 out of 7 questions showed statistical significance. The big picture is that change is happening among our low-income homeowners and has happened for many of the varied energy saving methods discussed. It is important to transform energy usage, because the solution is not just solved with solar.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Matlock, M. (2014) Transforming Energy Usage: It’s Not Only about Solar. Open Journal of Energy Efficiency, 3, 35-39. doi: 10.4236/ojee.2014.32004.

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