Austin Energy: Small projects = big energy savings
Austin Energy is the nation’s 9th largest community-owned public utility, serving a 440-acre that includes the Texas state capitol. This utility is known for its involvement in the Pecan Street Project, a smart grid demonstration community in Austin, as well as its extensive energy efficiency program portfolio. In fact, Austin Energy is home to the nation’s first green building program, which was founded in 1990.
Through its energy efficiency programs, this utility has avoided building the equivalent of an 800 MW power plant since 1990. Their next goal is to do this again – in half the time – avoiding another equivalent 800 MW power plant over the next decade. These savings have been realized, in part, through their green building program but also through appliance and demand response (load shifting and reduction) activities. They have attacked low-hanging fruit like inefficient refrigerators through a you call – we haul program that will pick up your old refrigerator, and pay you $50 for it. Rebate programs for insulating your attic, replacing your hot water heater or dryer, and putting in energy-efficient windows are standards with Austin Energy. And, one MW at a time, these small projects have added up to big savings for the city and its residents.