With the arrival of summer temperatures, sustainability program Switch your thinking is seeking community members to volunteer for energy saving tips and avoid using non-essential appliances during peak periods.
Through the Switched on Homes trial, Switch your thinking has been quietly rolling out energy saving tips to the community since 2015. Their idea of delivering tips via SMS recently won a National Energy Efficiency Award.
“As the hot weather hits and everyone returns home from work, people switch on their air conditioning and other appliances, which results in peak energy demand,” City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst said.
“During the Switched on Homes trial we found an average electricity reduction of six per cent when we delivered SMS tips. While it’s not a huge reduction, it’s easy to do and could be the difference between maintaining power supply and overloading the system, causing blackouts.”
This summer, Switch your thinking will build on this project by asking their Volunteer Energy Savers to shift non-essential power use during peak electricity demand. Peak demand usually occurs a few times every summer, on very hot summer days between 4pm and 8pm.
Electricity infrastructure is increasingly being built to ensure power is available during these peak times which last for just a few hours each year, but it’s at a huge cost. As peak demand typically occurs as the sun is setting, there is a limited role solar panels can play.
“This is a complex problem, but Switch your thinking offers a deceptively simple solution,” Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale President Michelle Rich said.
“If we all act together as a community, we can reduce the load during those peak times. Initial research found that up to 50 per cent of the community were able to decrease their power use at peak times, if they received an SMS telling them when to act.”
Switch your thinking is currently seeking people from across the Perth metropolitan region to sign up as Volunteer Energy Savers.
“Switch your thinking will send two or three SMS messages this summer, prompting our Volunteer Energy Savers to delay switching on non-essential appliances, like pool pumps, washing machines and dishwashers, when the grid is experiencing peak demand,” City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones said.
“These electrical items can be used at another time when energy demands are lower, spreading power demands more evenly throughout the week.”
Switch your thinking is a local government sustainability initiative, founded by the City of Gosnells, City of Armadale and Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
To sign up as a Volunteer Energy Saver and receive the peak load SMS this summer and receive the award winning monthly Energysmart tips, SMS your first name and postcode to 0409 497 125, or visit switchyourthinking.com for more information.
City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones, Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale President Michelle Rich and City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst checking their phones for energy saving tips.