October 16, 2012

How To Utilise Green Energy & Become More Energy Efficient

Green energy is becoming increasingly popular today. There are many ways that you can utilize natural energy sources to reduce your global footprint. This guide has several suggestions on how you can incorporate green energy into your own life. Begin utilizing these tips today to help create a better world tomorrow.

Water Heater

To help lessen the amount of energy used in your home, consider purchasing a new energy-efficient water heater. Although it will probably cost you more at first than a regular water heater, the savings you will get from energy will continue over the lifetime of the appliance. Seek out water heaters that have ENERGY STAR and Energy Guide labels to help you make a good choice.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is now one of the most popular green energy. In The USA solar installations have doubled in the last year. It is one of the most solid Investments you can undertake. You are guaranteed to save money. In the future you will see massive differences in your electricity bills.

One thing to make sure is to go to approved solar installers as to get the best quality and warranty just in case anything happens to the panels but they are very durable.

You can invest into different little things in your household that don’t consume a lot of energy. You can invest into electronics that are charged by the sun rather than through electrical outlets. Check into what items you can get for your household that are great green alternatives and see just how much you can contribute.

Steel Roofs

Steel roofs are one of the most energy efficient additions you can make to your home. Normal asphalt shingled roofs absorb the heat rays that the sun emits which in turn heats up you attic and makes your home a warmer place. With the typical Canadian summer weather being as warm as it is you have high electricity bills for running air conditioning units. These steel roofs reflects the sun heat rays which keeps your attic and home a much cooler place without the nasty hole in you pocket from air conditioning bills.

Energy Saving Tips

A great tip to help save energy is to rinse your dishes with cold water, particularly if you are using a dishwasher. Using hot water will cause your water heater to expend unnecessary energy, resulting in a higher electric bill. Avoid this by rinsing with cold water only.

Since heating accounts for the largest portion of any home’s energy usage, this should be the first system you target when trying to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Look for leaks or insulation issues, place restrictions on thermostat usage and bring in a heating professional to assess the efficiency of your furnace. Perhaps you could invest in solar powered water heaters.

Try sealing gaps underneath your doors and windows during the summer and winter. This can prevent the warm or cool air from outside from entering your home, which will help keep your home at a good temperature all year. You could also try putting in rugs to provide more insulation to your floorboards.

Light bulbs

Switch all of your home’s light bulbs to more energy-efficient ones. Even though they may be more pricey than normal bulbs, they will save you money in the long run, by lowering your electricity bill. They not only produce more light than other bulbs, but they also last much longer.

These ideas have been used by many people to create a healthier environment for themselves. By following the tips in this article, you can do the same. You will save money in the long run, and help the planet at the same time. Make the choice for yourself, as well as, future generations.

Ditch the Resources. Send the files!

New technology is all about doing as much as possible with the least amount of cost and waste of resources. Before the age of computers, cell phones and pagers, messages had to be written on paper and then couriered to their location, either within the building or across town.

The electronic age has done away with that. Now, with the click of a button or a voice-activated command, messages and files of all sizes can be sent all over the world in a matter of minutes.

Large files that include animated graphics, music and reports with graphs and spreadsheets are being delivered to their recipients via the computer. This not only saves time and money, it also saves vital natural resources. For example, two large companies are planning to merge and form one large corporation. Company A is in New York and Company B is located in Italy. Each company is to submit a proposal to the other that includes what they expect out of the merger in terms of benefits, compensation, company restructuring, etc. Each company has a CEO and five board members that will all need to receive copies of the other company’s proposal. The final draft of the proposal is over 500 pages for one printed copy. To ship over 3,000 pages (6 copies of the proposal at 3,000 pages each) across the globe would cost quite a bit of money, take too long and cost too much.

There is a solution though.

Once the proposal is written and prepared it can be formatted into a PDF or DOCx file that can be sent online. Files this size can’t be sent through most emails, but there are companies that will allow you to send large files across the Internet. A company that offers this service takes your large file, compresses it, and sends to whoever you want wherever they may be. Within a few minutes, each CEO and all of the board members will have the file to look over.

This type of transfer saves the time of having to prepare the documents for shipment and the money that would be spent on shipping it. What people don’t consider is the amount of natural or “green” resources this type of file sharing saves. Each completed proposal would take over a ream of paper. It takes one tree to make 17 reams of paper. There would also be resources used in the printing process. Once the document was printed and prepared for shipping, the company would have to have all of the documents couriered over to the post office. Twelve reams of paper along with the packaging could weigh as much as 60 pounds by the time everything was ready. Next, the company would have to pay a hefty price to ship the proposals halfway across the world. Depending on what service they use to mail the documents, it could easily cost them upwards of $200 to $300 dollars just for the slower services. Between the cost of the materials and the extended costs of shipping and handling the bottom line to ship the entire package could be almost $1,000 in manpower, time and natural resources.

With that being said, the easiest and most cost effective way to manage this type of file sharing is to send it via the World Wide Web. Internet connections are secure and can be trusted to send and receive large amounts of data in a short amount of time. By sending files in the form of computer documents and email attachments, a company can save natural resources and not lose sleep over how much the cost is going to affect the bottom line.

The Different Types of Green Energy

Green energy, or renewable energy, is the use of sustainable, pollutant-free resources that benefit the environment by reducing overall waste production. By practicing green techniques in the home, people can reduce their gas and electricity consumption.

There are several types of green energy, all of which work in specific ways to positively impact the planet and save consumers money by reducing the cost and necessity of fossil fuels to produce electricity.

How Green Energy Works

Solar energy harnesses radiation from the sun, converting sunlight into electricity through the use of photovoltaic cell devices, large mirrors, or lenses.

Wind energy, or the energy of air in motion, can be converted into mechanical energy that generates electricity through the use of wind turbines.

Water energy, or hydropower, is the practice of converting flowing water into mechanical energy through the use of penstock piping. Electricity is then derived from mechanical energy through use of a generator.

Biomass energy, which can be produced from substances such as garbage, cow manure and wood, involves the burning of biomass fuel in boilers. This type of energy can be used in steam turbines to create electricity and can be used to heat water.

Geothermal energy is generated underground through the trapping of heat. When the heat rises to the land surface, it is harnessed as steam and used in steam turbines to produce electricity.

Ten Tips For Saving On Energy Bills

1. Wait until dishwashers and washing machines are full before operating them. Rather than run multiple cycles of half-loaded electric machines, conserve energy use by filling the machines to capacity.

2. Dry dishes by hand instead of using an electric dishwashing appliance. Washing and drying dishes by hand is more time-consuming than using a dishwasher, but the savings on your energy bills are worth the effort.

3. Unplug electric appliances and home electronic systems when they are not in use. This practice can be simplified with the use of power strip units, which allow multiple appliances to be plugged into a single source.

4. Keep all doors and windows shut when operating a home heater or air conditioner. Taking care to ensure that there are no air leaks coming from your windows or doors is also an energy-conscious decision.

5. Use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature of your air conditioner or heater. Set a reasonable, but not overly indulgent, temperature for both cool air and heat to maximize your savings.

6. Turn off electronic devices, overhead lights and computers when you leave a room in which they are located. Getting into the habit of conserving energy in this manner will save you money in the long run.

7. Dry clothes by hanging them on a line rather than using an electric dryer. Whether you hang clothes outside or indoors, air-drying them on a regular basis will lower your electric bill.

8. Conserve water by showering rather than bathing. Try to take brief showers while using an energy-efficient showerhead rather than filling and re-filling a tub of bath water.

9. Make sure that the air ducts in your home are properly insulated. Unsealed ducts can cause air leaks, which contribute to greater energy output from heating and cooling appliances.

10. Use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances in your home. Shop for products that have the ‘Energy Star’ label to ensure that they have been certified as energy-efficient.

Save Energy with Modern Double Glazing

While people love to joke about the effects of global warming, it’s hard to deny that the weather is changing. We’re seeing more weather at both extremes, with warmer summers, and colder winters. Most older homes aren’t equipped to deal with this kind of extreme weather, and homeowners are feeling the effects of the weather in their wallets, as their heating bills skyrocket.

The quickest and easiest solution to the problem of energy efficient homes is to fit double glazing, and insulation. Some older homes may already have double glazing, but could see large benefits if they upgraded from an older design to more modern windows.

Nottingham council recently ran a campaign to encourage home owners to upgrade to more energy efficient windows, and to save energy in other ways, and other councils are following suit.

The thought of upgrading windows might seem strange, but there have been a lot of improvements in the technology used to make double glazed windows, as Nottingham council were quick to point out.

For example, modern double glazed windows use inert gasses such as argon or xenon in between the panes. These are much more efficient than normal air when it comes to trapping heat. Also, modern windows use energy efficient, Low-E glass. This glass has an invisible coating of metal oxide on one of the panes. The metal oxide allows heat and sunlight to pass through it and enter the house, but reduces the amount of heat leaving the house.

Another recent innovation is “warm edge” spacers. Double glazed windows have a small spacer that keeps the two panes apart. In older windows, these spacers were often made of metal. However, metal conducts heat fairly well, so it is not an ideal choice. More modern windows use other materials for their spacers.

The energy efficiency ratings commonly seen on appliances can also be seen on double glazing. Most modern double glazing installations can be considered to be worthy of a “B” rating at the very least. There are “A” rated double glazing panes available, and some companies also produce triple glazing, which would be suitable for areas that are extremely cold, or where noise pollution may be a problem.

An owner of a typical three bedroom home can expect to save more than £100/year just by switching to double glazing. The savings can be even higher in areas where gas is expensive, and may also be higher for homes that are located in cold areas, or homes that are exposed to high winds.

Taking the step to invest in modern double glazing may seem intimidating at first. The up-front cost of getting new double glazed windows can look prohibitively high, but the energy savings, and the increased comfort, offered by modern double glazing makes it a wise investment. At current energy prices it may seem like it would take a long time to pay off the cost of double glazing, but energy prices increase frequently, so the investment should pay for itself more quickly than you might expect.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Stormclad, expert suppliers of windows Nottingham. James writes on subjects related to home improvements and energy efficiency.

Making the Sun Work for You Can Help Your Energy Bill

[easyazon-image-link asin="B000ETQ11O" alt="ODL EZ10SCANH 10 In. Tubular Skylight with Asphalt Flashing" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31utJdoqXSL._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="160" height="160"]People are increasingly becoming aware of their impact on the environment, and many are trying to figure out ways to save energy and have a better effect on the planet. If you are looking into ways to make your home more energy efficient, skylights, sunrooms, and quality windows can help lower your energy bills, and give you greener alternatives in your home.

A green home is a healthier place to live, requires less maintenance, and gives you a more comfortable living space.

Skylights

Skylights might seem like a luxury item in a home, but they can definitely fall into the green area of home improvement. Not only does the look of your home improve, but the lighting is better and it is a more comfortable place to be. Of any window in your home, a skylight has the most potential to increase the energy efficiency. Skylights also maximize the amount of natural lighting that you have in the home. And knowing that you are investing in a better world for the generations to come is also worth the value that it may cost upfront to install a skylight and decrease your home’s carbon footprint.

It is important, however, to understand the best location for a skylight in your home. Not all areas will benefit from having a skylight. Southern facing skylights will be the most beneficial when it comes to energy savings. A wisely placed skylight can help heat your home in the winter, and if it is shaded properly, it will also maximize the energy savings in the summer.

Sunrooms

The addition of a sunroom to your home can also be a green alternative to help you save on rising energy costs. The same concept applies with placement of skylights as with sunrooms. You need to have them facing to the south to bring you the most energy savings.

A sunroom that faces south will get direct sunlight all year round, and provides the most impact during the winter. If you install stone, brick or concrete floors, you can also get additional passive solar heating in the winter because these materials soak up the heat and release it when the temperatures cool off.

Windows

Windows can help or hurt your energy consumption depending on the quality and efficiency rating. They can contribute to the heat in your house in the summer and allow the warm air to escape in the winter. If you are looking to replace some windows in your home, consider spending more on better rated windows that will save you in the long run. Depending on the age of your windows, you can increase your home’s efficiency by 30% or more with good windows. Double pane windows will give you more efficiency and Low E windows prevent heat loss in the winter and keep the heat out in the summer. The type of window frame you have can also either help you or hurt you. Aluminum and steel frames don’t help your energy efficiency, but wood, vinyl and fiberglass frames that are insulated will help with your overall energy bills.

Skylights, sunrooms and windows are three areas where you can help the sun work for you to reduce your energy bills. By looking into these green alternatives and others, you will be creating a more comfortable, convenient and cost-effective home.

This post was written by Derek Dasher who blogs about home security and other home-related topics at YourLocalSecurity.com.

Solar Power: Green Energy to Live By

Solar power happens to be the most plentiful power source that the world could use and in lieu of this, home solar power systems have been made.

Among the alternate sources of power, the power from the sun is probably number one.

Nowadays, being “green” is good and once you pick the option of solar power, you are going to understand the fact that making use of the power of the sun equals very little pollution done or none at all. Apart from that, making use of solar power for your home has the following advantages:

  1. One can’t really store the traditional means to power a home. However, one can store solar power for later use. The power that can only come from the sun can even be used to avert any power outages that might be experienced. Thankfully, the storage of solar power has become quite a simple thing to do.
  2. A home solar power system is notoriously easy to maintain. Such a home power system doesn’t demand that the owner pay any costs whatsoever as well as put a lot of effort in maintaining it.

A home solar system not only provides you with definite advantages, it also has various uses. These uses include:

  1. Cooking with the use of solar power – What this is all about is that you cook without the use of fire as well as electricity. The only thing that you need to do is have enough patience as you cook since it can take a bit of time to cook with the use of solar power. Besides, there have been those who have said that using solar power in cooking gives the food a unique taste that is like no other.
  2. Normal use of electrical appliances – You will still have the comfort of using all of your electrical appliances when you have a home solar power system installed. Aside from that, you can also use solar power in keeping your house nice and warm, especially when the winter months come.

Patrick Hopkins currently writes for PhoenixKiosk.com, one of the highest rated kiosk manufacturers. They offer a full line of kiosks and software for small business to Fortune 100s. Phoenix Kiosk: Innovative Technologies From Vision to Reality.

Warm Up to an Eco-Friendly Fireplace

Although summer is well past its peak, that doesn’t mean the heat wave is quite ready to subside just yet.  However, now is a good time to start planning for the colder months that will soon make their presence felt as the temperatures begin to dip, the leaves start to turn, and the sharp tang of fall weather drifts in on the last breeze of summer.  Before the frost hits the leftover squash in your vegetable patch, you want to be prepared to ride out the long winter nights in the comfort of a toasty domicile.  But if doing your part to keep the environment free of waste and pollution is just as high on your list of priorities as keeping away the chill of winter, then you may be having some trouble settling on a solution for heating.

Natural gas is not an option you necessarily want to explore since using up our planet’s nonrenewable resources is decidedly irresponsible.   And while denuded forests can certainly be replanted, most logging operations simply clear-cut, leaving the topsoil exposed to the elements so that it is washed into the rivers, causing silt and debris that kill wildlife (while the barren Earth left behind can hardly grow scrub-brush, much less hardwoods).  Plus, the damage to air quality caused by wood smoke does not recommend it as friendly for the Earth or your lungs.  Luckily, there are some other options when it comes to heating your home in an environmentally responsible manner, and an alternative fireplace is one of the best.

The old-school way to get green heat into your interior spaces is with a pellet stove.  However, there are a couple of drawbacks.  For one thing, the setup isn’t very attractive; it basically looks like someone threw a clothes-dryer drum into your living room and called it a fireplace.  And although heat is produced through the use of sawdust (which is usually a waste product leftover at lumber mills), it still comes from wood.  Also, it does require some electricity to run (but it’s not as nice looking as most electrical options).  So it’s certainly more eco-friendly than most heating units, but still it’s probably not the absolute best choice.

But just leave it to supply and demand to deliver on a heat source that is cleaner, greener, and more attractive than your average eco-friendly option.  The emergence of bioethanol has provided a workable heating solution for the home that wants to do less to harm the Earth.  The setup is flue-less, so those who currently have wood or stone fireplaces can simply slide the box into the existing structure, while anyone without a chimney can simply put a standalone unit in the middle of the room.  Plus, the range of styles is both diverse and eminently appealing to the modern homeowner, offering a variety of fireplace ideas to anyone looking to convert, remodel, or design a room with the inclusion of eco-friendly heating.

Of course, anyone who is running on alternative energy already (solar, for example) can easily hook up an electric unit, but when the sun is hiding behind the clouds all winter long you might be glad you went for clean-burning, bioethanol fireplace instead.

Go Solar: Harnessing the Sun With the Help of Cities

Modernization and industrialization is taking place at a very large scale and with it comes the increased dependence on nonrenewable sources of energy such as crude oil, coal, and gas. All this is leading to an alarming rise in CO2 emissions and is adversely affecting our environment. The world market is being controlled by oil – as all commodities and activities are directly or indirectly dependent on it. Now it has become imperative that countries should collaborate and bring a revolution by tapping the underutilized natural energy reserves that do not harm our environment. Amongst all the renewable energy sources, solar energy is the one that has the highest potential and with the help of the state/city Governments – it can be harnessed easily.

There are various policies that states and cities are following in a bid to convince the public to install solar power systems by means of doling out subsidies or by municipal and private financing. Since the initial installation costs are extremely high – rendering solar systems as an expensive proposition – owners are reluctant to invest a lot of money in houses which they would want to dispose off at a later date. However, if city governments provide homeowners a private borrowing facility for installing a solar system which makes them obligatory to pay for the loan only up until they own the house. The new owner would subsequently be passed the remaining loan liabilities – making the solar system a viable option for a lot of households. A lot of cities in the US are committed to solar programs and have introduced bills and legislation to make solar energy an affordable option. Californians receive a 20% rebate on the cost of the solar power system with various other incentives. The city governments should encourage and subsidize this alternative energy to make it more attractive and cost effective. It is also important for the residents of the cities to be educated about solar power and its affordability. If solar energy systems are adopted by urban cities like New York with numerous high-rise building rooftops lined with photovoltaic cells – then the entire city would be capable to cater to 100% of their power needs.

A lot of cities are also initiating the ‘green transportation drive’ and encouraging the use of solar-powered vehicles. A lot of leading auto manufacturers are also joining the green bandwagon and are rolling out models with electric or hybrid engines along with interiors that are made out of recycled materials. A lot of developments are taking place to utilize the sun’s energy for the benefit of the human race without any damages to the environment.

Solar energy is the fuel of the future which has the potential to replace the fossil fuel. Hence, all countries and cities of the world would have to come together to take solar power to the next stage, however, since charity begins from home – solar power would be successful if every individual household adopts it.

About the author: Amanda is a blogger who is passionate about eco friendly lifestyle. Her home is quite eco friendly right from exteriors to interiors, including appliances and furniture. She is a firm supporter of eco friendly buildings to promote green living.

Earn Money From Solar Power

Maybe you want to live a greener lifestyle? Maybe you want to make an investment? Maybe you want to take control of your life and be more self sufficient? Maybe you want all of the above?  Who wouldn’t?

Homeowners can now work towards this by installing solar panels on their roofs. This will work towards freeing them from the grid and will also give them payments for producing power. In a scheme run by the government, homeowners can produce electricity from solar PV panels and not only save money by using the power, but also get paid for it. With the cost of oil going up, never mind the ongoing risks to the environment, more and more people are looking to alternative means of electricity production and the FIT (Feed-in tariff) scheme seems like a viable alternative.

FIT Scheme, the facts:

  • There are two types of solar power: Solar Thermal which uses the suns heat to warm up water which can in turn be used as heating; and Solar PV which uses the suns light energy to directly produce electricity. This method of solar power production is supported by the FIT scheme.
  • There is an initial investment required for the solar PV installation. But it can add value to your home. You’ll also have to use MCS accredited solar PV installers for the FIT scheme to apply.
  • Electricity can still be produced on overcast days, just less efficiently.
  • The electricity produced cannot be stored, meaning that it either gets used or goes into the grid.
  • No electricity will be produced at night time, so you’ll still be using some from the grid, but your bill can be reduced by up to 50% if you’re efficient with your use of electricity.
  • You get paid a generous amount for each kWp of power you produce and get a bonus payment on top of that for each kWp you produce and don’t use.
  • The FIT scheme is guaranteed to pay out, exempt from TAX and in line with RPI for up to 25 years.

Don’t dilly dally!

If this is something you’re genuinely considering, be warned, the FIT scheme is to be reviewed in 2012 and it’s looking increasingly likely that the Government will be cutting funding to it. But if you’re on the scheme before then, they can’t touch you.

If you want to hear more about solar PV or the FIT scheme, speak to MCS accredited solar PV installers SDS.

Latest Energy Price Rises See £420m Added to Customers’ Bills in the UK

Scottish Power has kicked of the wave of energy prices increase that will no doubt see all the energy companies announcing their own price increases in the coming weeks.

From the 1st August, customers of Scottish Power will see their electricity prices rise by 10% and their gas prices will go up by a massive 19%.

Scott Byrom, head of the energy channel at moneysupermarket.com said “The energy price rises we’ve been expecting for months have finally arrived. These price rises will affect 2.4 million households. On a national scale this adds an extra £420 million to Scottish Power customers’ annual bills.”

The infographic below documents how energy prices have risen over the last decade.

Sourced by Money Supermarket 09.06.11

Sourced by Money Supermarket 09.06.11

Customers confused

With the experts now calling for everyone to switch to a fixed price deal and with energy bills difficult to understand at the best of times its no wonder so many customers are now confused as to what their best option is.

The table below should help clear up some of that doubt that many customers may now be feeling.

Sourced by www.moneysupermarket.com 07.06.2011 *Assuming all big 6 providers apply 19% gas and 10% electricity price increase

In the table we can see the average standard price for the big six energy suppliers as it stands today. In the next column we see what the prices could be based on the increases we have seen from Scottish Power. Obviously the other suppliers will increase their prices by different amounts, some by more, some by less. What is interesting to see is the difference between the cheapest tariffs and the fixed price tariffs. Currently EDF Energy and nPower have the cheapest fixed price tariffs and this will offer customers some security with their bills. These will not be around for long however so customer must move quickly for the cheapest fixed deal.

Remember, switching energy suppliers can take up to 12 weeks so the advice is to compare energy deals now and switch today. Some comparison sites even offer cash back to switch suppliers as an added incentive.

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