More than 1,000 residents made commitments on the Kanu website to limit and conserve their energy usage over the summer, but it was Brian and Jackie Chappel of Kaimuki who won the recent Kanu Hawaii Energy Challenge.
The winners have earned themselves a lighting audit and retrofit for their whole home from Energy Industries Corp.
Overall, Challenge participants managed to cut electrical usage a total of 3.5 percent in July and August. That compares to the usual increase of 4.9 percent during those hot and humid summer months.
“Some people cut their energy use by more than 40 percent just by changing their behavior,” said Challenge co-chair Karen Shishido. “Most people achieved reductions without any new hardware – just by changing their habits.”
While all participants brought their electrical usage down, the Chappels managed to trim theirs by a whopping 85 percent. They invested in a solar water heater and solar panels, but found that an energy-efficient asphalt shingle roof and solar fan also helped.
Jackie Chappel said that it helped to take advantage of the 65 percent state and federal rebates for the solar energy, and low-interest loans that were also available.
Kanu used billing information supplied by Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaii Energy to compare kilowatt-hour usage during the Challenge. Comparisons were done for May and June 2011 and July and August 2011 in order to calculate the total impact in energy usage.