Energy Coach Corner: What’s Your Base Load Measure?

Written by: Lauren Brois on May 28th 2014
Energy Coach Corner: What’s Your Base Load Measure?

For all of us, it was a very long, cold, and drafty winter. Many of us have already taken action by contacting a Home Performance with Energy Star contractor to determine what can be done to reduce our heating bills.  With the arrival of this wonderful spring weather, however, demand for heat quickly diminishes and it is easy to forget about the need for energy efficiency.

For me, my thoughts turn toward “base load.”  Base load refers to the portion of our energy use that is non-seasonal.  Examples typically include water heating, laundry use, cooking, kitchen appliances, lighting and electronics.   

While we often concern ourselves with heating and cooling loads, we often overlook base load analyses.  Yet many measures that reduce base loads are simple to implement and have excellent payback because they reduce utility bills not on a seasonal basis, but instead, they reduce utility bills year-round.

Some common base load measures to consider may include:
•    Energy efficient lighting like LED bulbs
•    Selecting Energy Star rated appliances
•    Set your water heater to deliver 120° water
•    Insulate water pipes
•    Install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators
•    Unplug electronics when not in use

When evaluated individually, most of these measures result in small savings.  However, most of these measures are simple to implement and the sum of multiple measures can easily add up.  Hopefully, heating season is behind us.  Before we start to worry about our cooling costs come summer, let us spend a little time thinking about our base loads!