Energy Efficiency - Natural Gas Utilities
Natural Gas Utilities Help Customers Get More by Using Less
Natural gas utilities recognize that rising energy prices and growing concern about the environmental impact of energy use have increased customer interest in using energy more efficiently. By investing in the efficiency of buildings and appliances, promoting smart energy choices, and subsidizing energy-saving efforts for low-income families, natural gas utilities are helping their customers save money and reduce their carbon footprint, while maintaining the comfort and productivity of their home or business.
Natural Gas Utilities Offer Energy and Cost Savings to Consumers
America s natural gas utilities have demonstrated their
|Programs funded by natural gas utilities helped residential customers reduce their natural gas use by 9.5 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) in the 2006 program year averaging 8 percent of usage and avoid 0.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions|
commitment to promoting cost-effective and practical approaches to increasing energy efficiency. In 2006, AGA members invested a total of $280 million in 53 utility-funded energy efficiency programs.
As part of these programs, utilities provide valuable tools, incentives, and information to help their customers understand and reduce their energy usage. These include:
- Offering cash rebates and low-interest financing for high-efficiency natural gas appliance purchases;
- Providing home energy audits, weatherization kits, energy calculators, and telephone hotlines;
- Supplying information on insulation, programmable thermostats, and high-efficiency appliances;
- Connecting customers with experienced and reliable appliance and service providers; and
- Creating or suggesting web sites and other information resources for consumers interested in learning more about reducing energy use.
Use of Natural Gas in Home Appliances Saves Energy
- Natural gas utilities provide the fuel source that can help customers reduce their total energy consumption, particularly in residential and commercial end-use applications.
Natural gas is three times more efficient than electricity in providing energy for end-use applications. While 90 percent of the energy content of natural gas is delivered to customers as useful energy, less than a third of the energy used in the production of electricity reaches homes and businesses.
- Natural gas utilities investments in improving appliance technology have resulted in natural gas furnaces and boilers that are up to 97 percent efficient.
Residential Natural Gas Consumers Are Leaders in Energy Efficiency
Natural gas usage per household has decreased even as demand for energy has risen.
|The average American home uses one-third less natural gas than in 1980.|
This trend is due in part to installation of tighter-fitting windows and better insulation, increased attention to thermostat control, and the development of increasingly more efficient natural gas appliances. These improvements translate to big energy savings:
- Residential customers can reduce their energy use by up to 30 percent when they replace furnaces and boilers with high-efficiency natural gas appliances.
- Customers that lower their thermostats by 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can save up to 10% of their annual fuel consumption.
Nearly 60 million (more than half of) American homes are heated with natural gas. Because natural gas is the fuel of choice in so many American households, improvements in residential energy efficiency can significantly reduce natural gas usage nationwide.
Utilities and Other Organizations Assist Low-Income Customers
The average low- and fixed-income family spends 33 percent more of its income on energy than do other American families. More than half of these families use natural gas to heat their homes and benefit from assistance offered to them by natural gas utilities in the forms of:
- Bill payment assistance; and
- Weatherization assistance (a service provided by more than 80 percent of natural gas utilities and the federal Weatherization Assistance Program)
Online Consumer Resources
There are a variety of consumer resources online including:
- Guidance, policies, and procedures of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/guidance/index.html
- Guide to finding low-income energy assistance: www.liheap.org
- Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program: www.eere.energy.gov/weatherization
- Home energy usage calculator and energy-saving tips: homeenergysaver.lbl.gov
- Guide to choosing energy-saving home appliances: www.nrdc.org/air/energy/fappl.asp
- Information on high-efficiency appliances and homes: www.energystar.gov
- Guide to efficient water heaters: www.aceee.org/consumerguide/waterheating.htm