The problem of abstract hypothetical savings on energy costs

Last updated on March 10th, 2024 at 03:42 pm

Often times you will see something like “save 15% on your energy bill”. This promise is alluring because we think of 15% being quite a substantial savings. After all, 15% of $100 is $15. Would you like to save $15 or more on your energy bill next month?

Here’s the hidden problem – the 15% savings in your bill can not be easily proven or seen. Here’s the reason.

Savings like these usually refer to hypothetical savings, savings under perfect or ideal conditions, or savings over what you might have spent had you not bought the product or used the tip.

Let’s say that I told you by taking a certain diet pill you won’t gain as much weight as if you didn’t take the pill. Would you believe me? There’s no way to prove my claim one way or the other. If you don’t take the pill, and gain 10 pounds, who’s to say that you wouldn’t gain more or less if you did take the pill? There’s no real way of knowing.

It’s the same basic idea when it comes to energy. If I told you that by enacting a simple tip you will save 20% on your energy bill, you have no way of knowing whether you saved 20%, more, or less…because you don’t know how much you would have spent on energy if you hadn’t taken the tip.

Now you’re saying “Wait! I can compare it to my bill for previous month.” True, but your home’s energy usage changes every single month. If you used exactly the same energy month after month, then yes you’d know for sure. Problem is that never happens. And if you’re dealing with heating or cooling, the average temperature fluctuates between months. So some months you naturally use less energy than others based on conditions.

That said, tips that advertise savings really do save money. The key thing to remember is energy usage. The less energy you use, the more you save. If you enact tips that use less energy, you are saving energy – whether it is 10% or 20% or more.

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