Clark Howard tells Jennie Garlington about one of his favorite energy-saving devices. For more everyday ways to save the environment and save money at the same time, visit Jennie at EcoSense for Living. (SaltRun Productions)


Jennie: EcoSense for living.  Everyday ways to save the environment and save money at the same time. 

Jennie: Clark, tell me what this box is.

Clark:  This is one of my favorite energy saving devices, ‘cause I didn’t have to pay for it.  In fact, I got paid to put it in.  This device seizes my air conditioner automatically on the hottest of the hot days in the peak demand times of those days when a power company might have to run its most inefficient plants and spend the most for energy.  It seizes my air conditioners and shuts them down.

Jennie:   Have you noticed a change in your home when they use this?

Clark:  You know, it’s so funny, I have never felt a difference that made any difference in my life.  And the longest they seize my air conditioners for is 15 minutes, just to get past that time where they’re really suffering to try to come up with enough energy.

Jennie:  So what kind of incentive is it?  How much do you get paid?

[cash register sound]

Clark:  Every power company program is different on incentives.  In my case, the incentive was $25.00 to allow them to install this.  They paid me to save me money, and then every time they seize it, I get two bucks.  Plus, I’m not running the air conditioner at that time that it would cost me so much money to run it.

Jennie:  Okay, so there’s a lot of insulation in here.  Why is that?

Clark:   Because I didn’t have nearly enough.  In fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you how little was up here.  So I made sure I had adequate insulation blown in –

[cash register sound]

-- then I had this special stuff sprayed in, ‘cause we had air leaks that were causing energy to be lost.  And then my ductwork!  Oh, we had over 30% leakage from our ducts.  That meant that every time the heat or air conditioning was running, I was – for every dollar I was spending, I was only getting about $.70 in value.