We’ve all been feeling the heat.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the July heatwave led to higher nationwide peak demand than last year – 704 gigawatts at 6:00 pm on July 19 – about 20% more than a typical summer day.  In the mid-Atlantic, peak load exceeded grid forecasts.

Night-time demand was also higher than expected. Historical data from the NOAA shows that summer overnight lows are, on average, rising twice as fast as daytime highs.  Fans and open windows once kept us comfortable on summer nights.  Now we keep our AC running.  These are not our grandfathers’ summers.

However, the more we invest in energy-efficiency, the more we can stay ahead of the curve.  In 2006, our country’s electricity demand peaked at a record-setting 789.5 gigawatts.  We’re doing something right.

Autumn brings relief.  It’s also the best time to have your HVAC system serviced or upgraded. 80% of new heating and cooling systems are purchased on an emergency basis, when the heat suddenly stops running in January, or the cooling quits in mid-July.  But, if you plan ahead, you can avoid higher prices – or worse, a system that’s improperly sized and hastily installed.

So, take advantage of the Fall temperatures.  And, if you haven’t done so already, get an energy audit done for your home or commercial property.  It’s hard to make your money back on new equipment, if your building isn’t properly sealed and insulated.  Here’s a little inside secret: when you make your building more efficient, you can actually optimize your health and comfort with a smaller HVAC system.  That’s how you really put more dollars in your pocket.

And less strain on the grid.

Everything is connected.

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