EXTRA – App calculates energy savings

How much can you save using CFLs? What does it cost to run the dishwasher for an hour? Answering those questions is easy with the newest Touchstone Energy® app.

It’s called Together We Save — Save Energy Save Money, an offshoot of the popular Together We Save program.

“It has two new calculators,” said Jason McGrade, senior Web development and social media specialist at Touchstone Energy. One allows you to compare incandescent bulbs to CFLs and LEDs, based on the number of bulbs, the wattage, and how many hours they’re used per day.

For example, a house with a dozen 75-watt bulbs running eight hours a day could save $223.70 a year by switching to CFLs or $255.65 converting to LEDs. Daily and monthly savings are also displayed.

There is also an appliance calculator. “We’ve got it broken out into different appliances in different rooms of a house,” McGrade explained.

Click on “Laundry” and then “Clothes Washer” and select the number of hours it runs per month. The calculator will show what it costs to run per hour and per month.

“All of the rates are customizable to a local cooperative,” McGrade explained. When the app is downloaded, enter your ZIP code and a list of nearby co-ops appears. Simply select yours.

“The plan is to add additional calculators throughout the year, so we’ll have a full suite,” McGrade said.

The app also pulls in alerts for weather, news, “or anything that the cooperative wants to make their consumer-members aware of,” McGrade said. Members can select the frequency with which to receive alerts, ranging from real-time to not at all.

To generate alerts, co-op employees go to a back end portal “where co-ops create and maintain their profile. We have it set up so it can be automated based off of an RSS/XML feed.”

There are also daily tips available from the app in seven different categories, from air conditioning to water heating.

The app can be found in iTunes by searching “togetherwesave.com.” A Droid version will be available in mid-June.

— Source: ECT.coop, a publication of the NRECA.