Saving energy and money with a smart phone

Hopefully you had a merry Christmas. I’m betting that many of you received some kind of electronic gadget as a present. I know there were quite a few of them in my own household. For those of you who received a smart phone as a gift, I wanted to take a moment and point out an awesome app you can download to help you with your energy consumption. It’s called “Save Energy, Save Money,” and you can download it for both Androids and iPhones.

Before I get into the specifics of the app, here’s how you download it: Just go to the app store for your specific device and then search for “Touchstone Energy.” Find the App that reads, “Together We Save.” You should see it appear in the list and can then download the app to your device.

Now that you have it downloaded, you can begin using it! The first thing you should see (once the initial splash screen goes away) is a screen showing six boxes. The boxes are titled: “Calculators,” “Tips,” “Alerts,” “Site,” “About,” and “Settings.” Four of these are really pretty simple.

The first thing you want to do upon installing the app is to go to the “Settings” button. Here you will be able to choose your local electric cooperative, and also choose the frequency that you receive notifications from the app. Of course, this step is optional, but I highly recommend doing it because it will provide some functionality you wouldn’t otherwise get.

If you configured the “Settings” button, then the “About” button will let you visit your local electric cooperative’s website, call Touchstone Energy, and even provide alerts in the form of weather updates.

Likewise, the “Alerts” button provides you with the same information you see when you click “Alerts” on the “About” page.

The “Site” button simply opens a web browser on your phone and takes you directly to the website. There you can read more about Touchstone Energy, and even take a virtual energy savings home tour. It’s a really good site to get some ideas about how to save money on your electric bill.

Once you have visited those four buttons, then I definitely recommend you take a moment and look through the “Tips” page. Right now there are a finite number of tips available, but if you just tap “Random” you may be surprised at what you find.

Probably the most useful button the app offers is the “Calculators” app. No, this isn’t for doing math homework, but it’s incredibly useful for doing math about your home. For instance, if you want to see whether it is worth it to pay the extra when buying LED bulbs versus standard fluorescent, then you can use the bulb calculator to show you how much you will save in a given month, or even a given year.

If you’re thinking about buying a new refrigerator, there’s a calculator for that as well. For instance, you probably realize that older refrigerators are going to be less energy efficient than newer ones, but by how much?

If you switch your refrigerator that was purchased prior to 1980 to a new 20 cubic foot, Energy Star-rated, side-by-side refrigerator, you can save nearly $300 a year on energy costs. Wow! That makes it much more cost-effective to spend the money and replace that old fridge instead of fixing it yet again.

Of course, there are many other calculations the app can do for you. Try it out, and see for yourself. It’s free to download and free to use.