Why does a 95°F day in one of the Gulf Coast states feel hotter than the same temperature in the Southwest? Why do dry heat and humid heat feel so different, and how does this affect your strategy for home energy efficiency? While there are many common ways to achieve energy efficiency across all warmer climates, there are some important differences that vary by geography.
Heat and humidity vs dry heat
Generally speaking, when there is more moisture in the air, the temperature feels hotter than it actually is because moist air is closer to saturation than dry air. On a humid day, when the air is saturated with water, evaporation is much slower. Simply put, high humidity will make the air feel hotter while low humidity will make the temperature feel cooler.
Heat reduction is priority one
In warm climates, the majority of energy used to make the home feel comfortable is spent on home air conditioning and cooling. The first priority is heat reduction. However, in humid areas, moisture reduction is nearly as important as lowering the indoor air temperature. If a home has too much moisture, indoor air quality can be comprised and mold and mildew problems can develop.
Energy efficiency for hot and humid climates
The first line of energy defense is to ensure that your home is properly insulated and sealed in order to keep the heat and humidity that surround the house from getting inside. Leaky ducts, windows and doors can cause energy loss, making the HVAC system work much harder to wring the moisture out of the air and exacerbate potential indoor air quality issues. Homes that are “sealed tight” are easier to keep cool and dry.
Next, make sure your HVAC system is the right size. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that most current residential systems are oversized. If your unit is too big, you will pay higher energy bills, and you won’t get the efficiency level or comfort you want and expect. It is also likely that the unit is “short cycling,” constantly turning off and on, never achieving optimum efficiency. When the unit runs in short bursts, it will not operate long enough to eliminate all of the humidity in your home. Damp, cool indoor air creates a muggy atmosphere that can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. This can be a particular concern for those who suffer from allergies, as many allergens thrive in damp conditions.
If you are considering a new HVAC system, consult your local electric cooperative to help you choose equipment that is the correct size and meets or exceeds the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for the capacity requirement, such as Energy Star-rated systems.
DIY humidity reduction
There are some basic steps you can take to lower the humidity in your home to help make it feel cooler and more comfortable. Start by reducing the humidity you are already producing. The kitchen and bathrooms are the biggest contributors to higher humidity levels. Check to ensure that your range hood is ducted to the outside, as recirculating range hoods are not effective in controlling moisture (or odors). When cooking, and especially when boiling water, run the vent fan. In the bathroom, run the vent fan when bathing or showering. Keep the fan on up to 30 minutes after you have finished in order to eliminate the residual moisture in the air.
If you can reduce the indoor humidity level, you may be able to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature with a higher thermostat setting and ceiling fans. The air movement from the ceiling fan will create a “wind chill” effect, lowering the temperature and increasing comfort. Finally, check gutters and downspouts for leaks or blockage. If rainwater leaks out and saturates the ground surrounding your home, some of the moisture can eventually migrate into your house. If you would like more information about how to save energy, contact our energy experts at [insert contact information].
Anne Prince writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.
[NASHVILLE] – Electric cooperatives across Tennessee today prepare for the arrival of Tropical Storm Cindy which is anticipated to bring wind and significant rainfall to the Volunteer State overnight Thursday through Friday.
The tropical storm, which made landfall at 4 a.m. today on the coast of Louisiana, is forecast to bring 25 mph winds and up to 6 inches of rain to Tennessee as it moves across the Southeast.
“We are paying attention to the track of the storm and preparing for the possibility of outages,” says John Bowers, CEO of Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Selmer. “We conduct ongoing system maintenance and tree trimming to prepare for events like this, but our crews will be ready to respond if needed.”
Co-ops routinely provide assistance to one another during major outages. The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association coordinates requests for assistance among Tennessee co-ops. “Our cooperatives are always quick to help those in need, whether it be a co-op in the next county or in another state,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.
NASHVILLE – Nearly 140 high school seniors from across Tennessee are back home following the 2017 Washington Youth Tour.
The week long event included sightseeing, visits with elected officials and lots of fun meeting peers from across Tennessee and the nation. Delegates earned their spots on the Youth Tour for writing winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives: Going Beyond the Wires.” In their winning entries, the talented young writers described how member-owned, nonprofit electric co-ops strengthen their local communities and improve lives across their service areas while providing safe, reliable, affordable energy.
“We take great pride in recognizing the best and brightest from across the state,” said Todd Blocker, director of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “By recognizing their accomplishments through programs like the Washington Youth Tour, we show these leaders of tomorrow that their hometown electric co-op is more than a utility provider; these students are active members of their community and fully invested in its prosperity.”
For more than 50 years, the Washington Youth Tour has taken students from electric co-op service areas to our nation’s capital to learn more about our country and the cooperative business model. The annual event is coordinated by local electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This year’s Youth Tour involved 1,700 students from 43 states.
“You bring a voice that wants to engage with people and talk about your community and what matters to you,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “It’s up to all of us to support it, nurture it, hold it accountable and make it work. That’s the approach of NRECA, and that’s the approach you will help us pursue.”
On their 2017 visit, Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the touring Tennesseans saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other fun stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a boat cruise down the Potomac River. Among other Youth Tour highlights were a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.
Destinee Gilchrist from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative, Taya Lewis from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and Hope Newell from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first-, second- and third-place short stories of the more than 10,000 papers submitted across the state. McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and long time chaperone on the annual Youth Tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarships in honor of his love for young people.
Candace Hargrave, of Franklin County, a recent graduate of Huntland High School, was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Hargrave was a 2016 delegate for Duck River Electric Membership Corporation on the Washington Youth Tour. In the year following the tour, delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperatives and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Hargrave’s name was randomly selected from among the 100 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.
“It’s more than just a talking point,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Electric co-ops genuinely care about the prosperity of the communities we serve. The Washington Youth Tour is a small but important way for us to show these exceptional students that rural Tennessee matters. We want them to be passionate about their communities and prepared to lead when those opportunities come along.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Washington Youth Tour delegates on Monday evening, June 12, in Washington, D.C.
Candace Hargrave, a senior from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Hargrave was a 2016 delegate of the Washington Youth Tour. In the year following the tour, delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperative and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Hargrave’s name was randomly selected from among the 100 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.
Destinee Gilchrist from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative, Taya Lewis from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and Hope Newell from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first, second and third place papers of the more than 10,000 papers submitted across the state.
McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and long-time chaperone on the annual youth tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarship in honor of his love for young people.
More than 180 high school Juniors from across the state are in the nation’s capital this week for the 2017 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event teaches students about our country and the cooperative business model. The annual event is coordinated by local electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
“Our commitment to community is what sets cooperatives apart from other businesses,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The Washington Youth Tour is one way we show the youth of our service area that their co-op is more than their electricity provider. We genuinely care about the prosperity of our communities, and that includes providing special opportunities for these exceptional students and preparing them for future success.”
[CO-OP NAME] has heard from a handful of our members who were contacted by Arcadia Power. We urge members of our co-op to thoroughly research Arcadia Power and fully understand what they offer before signing up.
Arcadia Power claims to be “the utility of the future” and offers to provide “renewable energy” to any home or apartment regardless of your location. It is important to understand that Arcadia Power is not a utility, and they are not actually selling energy. Instead, they are providing Renewable Energy Certificates designed to off-set a portion of your overall energy consumption. This does not replace the energy that flows into your home or create additional sources of renewable energy.
[CO-OP NAME] is aware of the environmental impact of power generation. We are proud that our energy supplier, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has made significant investments in clean generation that will reduce its system carbon dioxide rate by 60 percent by 2020. We support TVA’s ongoing efforts to diversify its power generation mix.
[FOR CO-OPS WITH COMMUNITY SOLAR, INCLUDE DETAILS HERE]
We also encourage our members to consider TVA’s Green Power Switch program. This program allows Mountain Electric Cooperative members to to purchase renewable energy generated right here in the Tennessee Valley for as little as $4 more on your monthly bill. Learn more about the Green Power Switch program at tva.gov.
[CO-OP NAME] is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit utility, and we are always available to help our members make smart energy decisions. Visit [WEBSITE URL] or call your local office to learn more.
The Tennessee Magazine editor recognized for lifetime
of achievement in cooperative communications
[Baton Rouge] – Robin Conover, editor of The Tennessee Magazine, is the 2017 recipient of the H. E. Klinefelter Award. The award was presented Tuesday, June 6, at the Cooperative Communicators Association Institute in Baton Rouge. The Klinefelter Award is presented annually to a communicator who excels in telling the story of cooperatives.
“Robin uses her talents to document the remarkable people and natural beauty of rural Tennessee,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “As the editor of our official publication, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy her work each month in the pages of The Tennessee Magazine. We are fortunate to have Robin on our team, and we celebrate with her on this well-deserved recognition.”
The Tennessee Magazine is the official publication of the electric cooperatives of Tennessee and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. The magazine is distributed to more than 650,000 homes each month, making it the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Conover joined the staff of the magazine in 1988 and became editor in 2002.
In addition to the Klinefelter Award, the TECA communications department also received awards for Photo of the Year, Cover of the Year, as well as first place awards for column writing, headline writing and social media; second place awards for featurette writing and photo essay; and third place awards for photo feature photography.
Severe storms roared through the Volunteer State on Saturday evening, May 27, leaving more than 50,000 co-op members across the state without power. Wind speeds exceeding 95 miles per hour were recorded in some locations, bringing down trees, breaking poles and snapping power lines.
Crews worked through the holiday weekend to repair the significant damage. Tennessee’s electric cooperatives appreciate the assistance of Nolin RECC from Kentucky, which sent crews to assist with the restoration efforts.
“Severe weather events like this remind us of the resilience and dedication of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “When their communities were in need, co-op lineworkers gave up their holiday weekend, put on their gear and went to work. They have responded with efficiency and professionalism, and we appreciate their efforts.”
On Tuesday morning, May 30, fewer than 1,000 members remain without power. Co-ops expect to restore power to all meters capable of being reconnected by later today.
- Leadership Column – Move over and save lives
- Media Release – customize this and distribute to local media on or around July 1.
- Talking points – Use these tips and schedule drive-time interviews for radio stations in your service area.
Posts for July
- July 3 – Independence Day office closed information
- July 5 – Move over and save lives. Learn more at moveovertennessee.org.
- July 6 – Protect your skin when outdoors. Follow our Lineman’s Guide to a Sun-Safe Summer [LINK TO http://www.tnelectric.org/2015/06/10/a-sun-safe-summer/]
- July 11 – Enjoy the great outdoors, but keep safe. Summer electric safety tips for your family. [LINK TO http://www.tnelectric.org/2015/07/01/stay-safe-in-the-great-outdoors-this-summer/]
- July 13 – Make plans for your provisions! Minimize food loss and reduce risk of illness before a power outage.
- July 17 – Move over for utility workers in Tennessee. It’s the law. [LINK TO www.moveovertennessee.org]
- July 19 – Move over to keep utility workers safe. [LINK TO VIDEO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uem13hqAaZE&t=1s]
- July 21 – LINK TO TENNESSEE MAGAZINE ARTICLE
- July 25 – Co-op facts: [CO-OP NAME] serves #### meters in parts of ## counties.
- Media Release – customize this and distribute to local media on or around June 1.
- Talking points – Use these tips and schedule drive-time interviews for radio stations in your service area.
Posts for June
- June 1 – Link to information on how members can track their energy use [MyUsage.com, SmartHub, etc…]
- June 2 -We are one week away from Washington Youth Tour #TNWYT [Post image of delegates or photo from last year]
- June 5 – Link to The Tennessee Magazine article
- June 7– Co-op fact: [CO-OP NAME] maintains more than ### miles of line
- June 9 – WYT post [your own or share one of TECA’s]
- June 12 – WYT post [your own or share one of TECA’s]
- June 15 – WYT post [your own or share one of TECA’s]
- June 19 – Energy Vacation: Turn down your water heater temp while away. [Water heater photo]
- June 21 – Energy Vacation: Turn up the thermostat when you leave for vacation. Your furniture won’t mind [Thermostat photo]
- June 23 – Energy Vacation: Unplug your electronics before you leave for vacation. Many devices still use power even when turned off. [Cable box or game cons0le photo]