Smoothing Peak Demand in Hot Weather

We are expecting high temperatures here in NYC the next couple of days. Here are the energy saving tips that NYC.GOV is putting out:

  1. Set your air conditioner thermostat no lower than 78 degrees -- a 75-degree setting uses 18 percent more electricity and a 72-degree setting uses 39 percent more electricity. This setting allows for sufficient cooling while still conserving electric power.
  2. Only use an air conditioner when you are home. If you want to cool your room down before you arrive home, set a timer to have it switch on no more than one-half hour before you arrive
  3. Turn off all nonessential appliances.
  4. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  5. Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads (dishwashers, washers, dryers) early in the morning or very late at night.

#5 is interesting because you are still using the energy, but you are really simply shifting demand to when power is less in demand. For more on what you can do, see my own little list below.

Personal Choices
  1. CLEAN THE AC's filter. I know it's gross but this can increase efficiency tremendously
  2. Stay later at work and use their air-conditioning until 7-8pm when it is cooler and peak demand is past.
  3. Take a cool shower and drink cool liquids if you feel too hot.
  4. Unplug (not just turn off) everything you are not using. Powerstrips help.
  5. Put up Curtains on your windows to keep the light out.
  6. Replace all your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (75% less energy and heat given off)
  7. Go outside in the evening and sit by water instead of inside in the AC with lights on.

Care to play readers?
7a. In the evening, hang out in a(n independent) coffeeshop reading, with friends, or even surfing the web instead of running your own AC. Theirs will be going whether you're there or not. And TV either sucks in the summer or is reruns, so you're not missing anything there either.
That's exactly what I was doing this evening. I'm reading Power Broker by Robert Caro - it's about the infamous Robert Moses...who in his younger years was like Anikan Skywalker...idealistic and naive...I'm just getting to the part where he turns into Darth Vader.
Since I don't work in air conditioned offices anymore, I find I am more tolerant of the heat.  I use fans in my house to cool me off when I cook and when i sleep.  I wear less clothing and eat less too.
I remember when we never had air conditioners, and only in the movies was it really cool, and that was such a treat.  I love the idea of sitting by the water at night....come out to Staten Island and take the free ferry ride...stay in the front for the best cool breezes in NYC..and then walk our Esplanade for great views on Manhattan.
The other night I was forced to take the train into Manhattan (I live in Brooklyn) and get out at Times Square.  I couldn't help but notice that in this time of unbeliveable heat and impending power outages the city government is asking us to curb our electrical consumption while making no metnion of the fact that this area is lit up like a christmas tree 24/7.  We're expected to swelter in our apartments but the Empire State Building is expected to keep all those beautiful colored light polluting bulds ringing all night long.  You really want to helps the city prevent another blackout? Turn off Joe Camels' 3000 watt cigarette (not even sure of that's still there, but you get the point).  DOn't get me wrong, I'm all for doing what we can as individuals, but ultimately the city has to do what ot can to get business to play by those rules first.

By the way, my wife, my son, and I did exactly like you suggested on Sat.  We took the free ferry out to Staten Island for the first time, and we had a great day, and we stayed pretty cool.  

I bought a power meter to measure how much each device uses. It'll help you identify where the biggest savings are to be had. If you live on the top floor and have an attic space, adding extra insulation (aim for 22cm/9 inches) helps reduce the load on air-conditioning as well as reducing heating costs.

You could also set a timer on your fridge/freezer to switch off it for a couple of hours, say between 3.30 and 5.30pm, to reduce peak demand. Make sure that there is enough space for the waste heat to escape out the back. Set the fridge temperature to 5 C (41 deg F?) - that is cold enough to keep the bacteria at bay! If you are replacing anything electrical, buy the most energy efficient model, even if the initial outlay is bigger.