How Much Will Energy Star Rated Appliances Save You?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 12:17

Energy StarWhen you consider that home appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and laundry machines account for about 13% of your home energy costs, it only makes sense to take a close look at their efficiency. High-efficiency appliances like those with Energy Star ratings not only save money in the long run, but they also benefit the environment. Case in point: In 2010, Americans saved enough power with their Energy Star-rated appliances to prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars, which also equaled about $18 billion in utility bill savings.

Energy Star-rated appliances can have higher price tags than their standard counterparts, but you must consider the dollars you’ll save over the lifetime of the appliance, which, in most cases, more than makes up for the initial cost increase.

What is Energy Star? Read the rest of this entry »

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    How to Harness Solar Power in Your Backyard

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 10:32
    Posted in category Renewables
    Image credit: The Home Depot

    Image credit: The Home Depot

    What better place to use the clean, infinitely renewable energy that the sun provides than in your outdoor space? “Living green” now has more meanings than one. Solar power might seem like the obvious choice over greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, but we still have some hurdles to overcome. According to National Geographic, the sun beams enough energy onto Earth in one hour to satisfy global energy needs for a year. The big question here is how to efficiently harness all that energy.

    Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy technology is essentially capturing the sun’s light and converting it into energy that we can use to power our homes, businesses, vehicles and more. We use panels made of solar cells that absorb photons from the sun’s rays and release usable electricity in the form of electrons. This effect was discovered in 1839, but first became available to the common citizen in the 1970s. Read the rest of this entry »

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      What’s New in the World of Renewables – India’s Floating Solar Panels

      Thursday, July 31, 2014 16:56

      floatingSolar

      It was 1985 when the first Tour de Sol, a Swiss rally for solar powered vehicles, ushered in a new era of design and innovation for solar energy use. Among the first of its kind, the contest challenged teams of students and engineers to use solar cells to propel their “racecars” through Swiss towns. Now, nearly 30 years later, similar competitions all over the world openly invite interested parties to engage with solar technology in ways that maintain the velocity of its innovation and implementation.

      American Sun Read the rest of this entry »

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        Microgrids, They’re Kind of a Big Deal

        Thursday, July 17, 2014 14:17

         

        For locals participating in the Pecan Street Demonstration in Austin’s suburban town of Mueller, TX, residential carbon footprint data is about as available as square footage. Their home utility consumption is monitored by the Pecan Street Research Institute at The University of Texas-Austin as part of the institute’s efforts to understand how individuals can lower their collective carbon impact and use energy more efficiently. This new technology, known as a smart grid system, has proven to be much more efficient than the traditional electrical grid used throughout the US. However, smart grids and the smart meters used to track energy usage of individual homes have come under fire for their ‘invasiveness’ as people have vocalized concerns about the lack of privacy that could accompany this advanced monitoring system. Fortunately for the anti-smart meter crowd, there are other ways to make a community more energy efficient.

        Microgrid Read the rest of this entry »

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          The Dirty Little Secret of The Electronic Era

          Friday, July 11, 2014 12:30

          Laptops, phones, mp3 players and other electronic gadgets have become staple commodities in today’s technological era.  Our need for new and improved electronic equipment that becomes obsolete in two or three years has spawned the fastest growing waste stream: e-waste.

           

          rsz_1dlsee_image_by_rayi_christian_w

           

          The Problem:

          In 2012 the world purchased 238.5 million televisions, 444.4 million computers and tablets and a staggering 1.75 billion cellphones. Back in 2008, Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council, estimated that in the USA alone we throw out 48 million computers and 100  every year. In fact, according to Sustainable Electronics Recycling International, the average US cellphone has a 22 month lifecycle. All these discarded electronics add up to 5-7million tons of ewaste every year from the USA alone. The volume of this electronic waste is expected to increase by 33% by 2020.

          What happens to all this obsolete technology? Read the rest of this entry »

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            LED Takes the Lead in Power Tools

            Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:02
            Posted in category Green Buildings

            1-Drill

            For decades we’ve been holding the key to efficient lighting technology in the palm of our hands. Universally acknowledged as the most sustainable choice in the crowded light bulb aisle, LED lights have been embedded in your television remote control for the past 50 years. Since 1962, when GE’s Nick Holonyak, Jr. invented the first visible-spectrum light emitting diode, that little red indicator light on your TV remote has been an LED bulb.

            While LED has been slower to catch on in the home and business illumination market due to its relatively high price point, its integration into the realm of power tools has been swift and impactful. Early on, these tiny diodes were recognized as the perfect replacement to fluorescent bulbs as indicator lights, due to a longer lifetime and smaller size. Now, LEDs’ crucial lack of heat is being put to better and wider uses in even the most arduous of work environments. Read the rest of this entry »

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              Convincing Homeowners of the Importance of an Energy Audit

              Tuesday, July 8, 2014 13:23

              Home Energy Audit

              Even though one of the biggest complaints from homeowners is high energy costs, convincing them of the value of a home energy audit can still be a challenge. The audit is quick and painless, typically involving the use of infrared cameras and blower doors, and the findings in regards to the home’s energy efficiency can be addressed to drastically reduce electric bills. Pinpointing the problem is really the most reliable, efficient way to cut excess spending on utilities.

              What is a home energy audit, anyway?

              Read the rest of this entry »

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                The World Cup of Renewable Energy

                Thursday, July 3, 2014 13:28

                 

                Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or in a room without tv access (like me), you’ve probably seen one, or several world cup games in recent days. FIFA has been everywhere lately, and not just for soccer (..or football). One hot button topic surrounding the 2014 World Cup games are the measures that planners and developers have gone through to reduce the environmental impact of the games. Of the 12 stadiums being used for the games, 10 have applied for LEED certification, a recognition that indicates a high level of sustainable awareness. While the ultimate goal of the organizers is to have some sort of green energy integrated in all of the stadiums, as of now only four of the stadiums utilize solar energy in their design. To put numbers into perspective, the installation at Estadio Mineirão produces enough energy to power about 1,200 households, while the Solar PV system at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha will generate enough energy to supply almost 2,000 households per day which is a great step towards creating a more sustainable society.

                Brazil has very obviously dedicated much thought and planning to their renewable energy projects, but what about some of the other countries participating in the World Cup? Read the rest of this entry »

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                  The Case for CFLs [Infographic]

                  Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:30

                  With the cost of energy increasing at a steady rate, and the promise of record breaking summer heat looming in the near future, the time has come for consumers to think of effective and innovative ways to save money on their utility bills.

                  The most reliable way to reduce excess spending on energy is to get an energy audit performed on your home. If you’re thinking about getting an energy audit, it is important to ensure that the person auditing your home has received their BPI certification and is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of home energy auditing. In some cases, homeowners can get a free energy audit by contacting their utilities company. Summer can be a hectic time and booking a home energy audit may not be at the top of your to-do list. So until you can schedule an audit, check out this simple suggestion for cutting back on your cost of utilities.

                  Bright Idea

                  One small change that can have a massive impact is switching the bulbs in your house to energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps, or CFLs. In addition to saving money on home energy bills, CFLs are also better for the environment than standard incandescent bulbs as they pull less electricity from power grids and in turn require less output, and pollution from power plants.

                  Since their market introduction in the mid 80s, CFLs have been a widely debated topic in the lighting and home improvement fields as consumers voiced concerns about installing CFLs in their homes and offices as the bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury. Bulb manufacturers took notice and responded to the criticisms and concerns through a well developed series of technological improvements, and safe recycling methods. CFLs have come a long way since their introduction, and the future of this energy efficient lighting source is looking bright.

                  Check out this infographic to see why using CFLs in your home or office is a great money saver and a giant step towards becoming more energy efficient.

                  DIY Energy Efficiency

                  For a full list of energy saving tips, click here.

                   

                   

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                    Study: Clean Energy Vocational Training Programs Have Better ROI than Traditional Degrees

                    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 13:49
                    Posted in category Clean Energy Training

                    The Need for Vocational Education

                    The return on investment for educational paths, also called the return on education, is higher for vocational training than for more “traditional” educational pursuits. As the leading vocational training provider in the renewable energy industry, we put together a white paper comparing the earnings premium for skills-based education programs to programs that culminate with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

                    The ROI of alternative educational paths is measured with respect to the earnings premium, calculated by using the average earnings of high school diploma holders as the baseline, and the increased earnings for post-secondary education paths as the premium. Graduates of CleanEdison’s vocational training programs were shown to have a 600% ROI, far higher than the ROI for all other post-secondary credentials.

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