Taking the Energy Challenge

The Snohomish County Public Utility District has already signed up approximately 1,200 of its customers for its “Energy Challenge,” and for two Marysville businesses that are taking part in the program, it’s proving surprisingly simple.

Sherry Vernal

MARYSVILLE — The Snohomish County Public Utility District has already signed up approximately 1,200 of its customers for its “Energy Challenge,” and for two Marysville businesses that are taking part in the program, it’s proving surprisingly simple.

The PUD Energy Challenge is a community-wide effort that asks customers to reduce their energy use by up to 10 percent. To do so, the PUD offers them resources, tips and programs to help them cut back on their energy consumption.

Veronica Love, sales associate with Van Dam’s Abbey Carpet and Floor in Marysville, explained that her business has already switched to more energy-efficient light bulbs and received a host of ideas on energy conservation from PUD.

“Some of them I never would have thought of,” Love said. “We turn off our computers and unplug our microwave and phone chargers now. Even if they’re not turned on, certain devices still suck up electricity. We also turn down the heat to 63 degrees at night now, rather than just turning it off altogether, because it actually takes more energy to get it started back up in the mornings.”

Love has signed up for the Energy Challenge at her home as well.

“It’s a great program,” Love said. “Our home PUD bill is down $60 these past two months. It costs a bit more at the beginning to replace your light bulbs, but our new lights are brighter and last longer. You save money and you don’t need as many bulbs over time. It’s worth it.”

Sherry Vernal, of Marysville Vision Source, explained that her business has used its gas fireplace for heat, shut off its computers, machines and lights in rooms that aren’t being used, and pulled down its window shades to help keep in the heat. Dr. Kim Kron, also of Marysville Vision Source, added that the business replaced the stripping on its front door, to provide better insulation against the cold of the outdoors, and their thermostat is programmed to drop the temperature automatically after hours and on weekends.

“It’s easier to set goals when you have targets,” Kron said. “Since January and February are typically our highest energy-use months, we wanted to see how well we could do during these months.”

Unlike Van Dam’s Abbey Carpet and Floor, Marysville Vision Source is unable to switch completely to energy-efficient lighting, since several of their rooms require very specific levels and types of lighting for testing and examinations.

“Taking part in the Energy Challenge really isn’t a complicated process,” Kron said. “The PUD offers a lot of programs at no cost to their customers, that a lot of people might not be aware of. Anything that allows you to conserve more resources and your own money is beneficial. Especially for businesses, more cash flow makes it easier to survive this economy.”

PUD customers can take Energy Challenge pledges online at www.jointhePUDchallenge.com.

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