Monday, May 18, 2009

Green Initiatives at Sacramento Municipal Utility District

It's been a while since I wrote a long blog post, so I figured today while I spend some time as the "agent on duty" I would write a novel...or at least maybe the first chapter of a novel. Ok, make that the prologue to a novel. Whatever...

So if any of you follow me on Twitter, you already know that on Friday morning I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Nancy Bui, Director of Ward Two for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) at the "Public Issues Forum" hosted by the Sacramento Association of Realtors.

A couple fun facts about SMUD before I get too far...did you know that SMUD is the sixth largest community-owned electric system in the US in terms of the number of customers served? I sure did not know that! SMUD provides services to more than 550,000 customers (more than 1.3 million residents) over a 900-square-mile area that includes Sacramento County and a small portion of Placer County.

Anyway...we are very lucky to have SMUD in Sacramento. Why?
  • They are making their "carbon footprint" smaller. They are planning to meet the new greenhouse gas emmission standards set forth in legislation AB 32 ahead of schedule (before the year 2020).
  • Currently 17% of their energy generation is done via "renewable" energy sources.
  • As a SMUD customer, you can choose to have your energy come from mother earth. You can choose to buy energy from natural sources of energy as the sun, the wind, or methane gas through SMUD's Greenergy® program.
  • SMUD is helping local builders plan energy efficient home communities. They have partnered with 11 local home builders to construct over 4,100 new "Smart Homes."
  • SMUD offers financing and rebate programs for energy efficient upgrades. You don't have to purchase a brand new home to have one that is energy efficient! You can finance new central heating and air conditioning, dual pane windows, solar / photovoltaic installations, etc. and get rebates for things like purchasing new Energy Star appliances, sealing your HVAC ductwork, installing a whole house fan, etc.
  • They are rolling out "AMI Meters." These "Smart Grid" meters will be rolled out to all SMUD's customers over the next few years, and will replace the meters in your main panel. Through a web interface, SMUD customers can log in and view their energy consumption in real time, and modify they way they are using electricity in their homes to save money and energy.
  • SMUD offer free shade trees for your home! They are a long time partner of the Sacramento Tree Foundation and according to SMUD, tree roots help clean rainwater and add stability to the soil, they produce oxygen and help cleanse the air we breathe, and if properly placed they can cut your home cooling costs by up to 40 percent.
  • SMUD has a really neat online energy consumption calculator that any SMUD customer can use to help determine your current energy usage, and that suggests strategies to make your household more energy efficient, and suggests ways might save on your bill.

SMUD is looking for ways to make Green, energy efficient technology more accessible to its customers. We Sacramento residents are truly lucky to have such a forward-thinking and progressive local utility provider on the bleeding edge of this movement!

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