Save on Electricity by Stopping the Vampire Effect

It may not be Halloween yet, but there could still be vampires lurking in your home. Instead of calling an exorcist or a vampire hunter, you can drive a wooden stake into your energy bill, cutting waste and eliminating the vampires yourself. All electronic devices in your home are constantly drawing electricity for as long as they are plugged in. The only way to stop them is to cut power to the devices entirely.

What is the vampire effect?

We all know that a powered up device, whether it’s a cable box, computer, coffee maker, or television, is drawing a sizeable amount of power. What we may not know is that even when these devices are off, they are still drawing power. This is known as the vampire effect, but also referred to as the phantom load or standby power. This smaller electrical current keeps the device in a very

more »

4 Energy Saving Tips for Sleeping in the Summer (Sans AC)

Having trouble sleeping in the heat this summer? We hear you! We have some tips that will help you keep cool, sleep comfortably, and all while not having to crank up the AC and your energy bills.

Cotton

Some of us like to have fancy linens and night clothes made from satin or silk, but these along with more cost effective polyester can be a bit too warm for those hot summer nights. Light colored cotton is a very good fabric to use instead when you want to keep cool. The fibers wick away moisture, so sweat doesn’t stay clung to you, making you feel hot and damp overnight. The same holds true for night clothes. Cotton pajamas, shirts, boxers, and other night clothes will wick away moisture, keeping you cool and dry.

Egyptian Style

Egypt has had to deal with Saharan heat for many thousands of

more »

Turn Any Bulb into a Smart Bulb

Have you been on the fence about smart bulbs? Maybe they’re too expensive, or you don’t want to set up some kind of hub to run them; whatever the reason, you’ve held off, but you’re keen to try it. The Socket is a bulb enlightener (pun definitely intended) and turns even the dumbest bulbs into a smart bulb. It works with any kind of bulb, including compact fluorescent, LED, and even incandescent.

Smart electronics are continually on the rise among the Internet of Things. Smart TVs, smart refrigerators, washing machines, and lightbulbs are all part of a growing trend. If you already have a bunch of LED bulbs (which can last up to 20 years), you may not be up for swapping them out for a connected bulb. Fortunately, the Socket will let you operate your existing bulbs as if they had Wi-Fi built in.

The aptly

more »

Power to Choose: How to Improve Shopping for an Electricity Plan?

Have you used the Power to Choose website before when shopping for an electricity plan? Did it end up costing you a lot more than you thought it would or was advertised? If you answered yes to that last question, you’re not alone.

Recently, there have been a number of complaints related to the Power to Choose site arising from apparently misleading advertised prices that have made comparing electricity plans on Power to Choose confusing, resulting in complaints and requests for changes to the website to better protect the customer.

Shopping for an Electricity Plan Gets Confusing

There are sneaky retail energy providers that set up a plan that has a very low advertised rate, which gets them much closer or directly on the front page of the Power to Choose website. In reality, most consumers don’t end up paying this rate, because it’s

more »

Clean Energy in ERCOT: A Coal Free Future in Texas

Coal could very well be on its way out in the great state of Texas. A new report from Brattle Group suggests that between natural gas and renewable energy, 100% of Texas’ energy needs could be satisfied without the need for burning coal. Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal does, and would decrease carbon emissions generated from producing electricity in the state.

The switch to a no-coal energy mixture won’t happen overnight, however. The Brattle Group report, titled Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT Part IV: The Future of Clean Energy in ERCOT takes a detailed analysis of Texas’ energy predictions over the next 20 years. Some of the factors they focused on include the cost of switching to and using natural gas and renewables, market and regulatory influences on changing the energy mixture, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from energy production.

There

more »

Amazon’s Alexa Could Be Your Home’s New Personality

How will you interact with the home of the future? We all know the internet of things is not going away any time soon, and we will have to interact with a digital smart home someday. Digital touchscreen hubs centered around smart thermostats were thought to be the general direction for this interactivity, but if Amazon has anything to say about it, their personal assistant Alexa could be the brains, voice, and personality of your future smart home.

Amazon, the online retail giant, has been very busy working with other companies to ensure the next generation of smart electronics are Alexa enabled. For those unfamiliar, Alexa is a digital “assistant” in much the same way that Siri is on the iPhone and Cortana is on Windows and Android devices. With Alexa, the initial ploy was to have the ability to order things on Amazon just by asking

more »

LEDs Fast Becoming Consumer’s Go-To Bulb

One of the points of contention pro-incandescent lobbyists had was that people should be allowed to choose the light bulbs they use. That the forcing through legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of certain incandescents was harmful to the U.S. economy and people’s personal economy. Well, it looks like the market has adapted pretty well to the change.

Lighting manufacturers do believe people should have choices in their lighting options. Currently, most home lighting comes in two forms: CFLs and LEDs. There are some incandescents here and there, but they’re slowly phasing out of mainstream use. CFLs were the first non-incandescent energy saving light option, but LEDs are quickly catching up to them in sales.

LED lights were prohibitively expensive when they first entered the market, with some bulbs costing $40-60 each. There are still some bulbs that cost that much, but they have other features

more »

7 Steps to Energy Efficient Clothes Washing

Are you getting the most out of your washing machine? Clothes washing seems like a very simple task, but there is a level of complexity added to it in the form of detergent and temperature. Liquid or packs? Too much or too little? Hot or cold cycle? These factors affect how effective your wash cycle is for the clothes in the washer, and it could be costing you money in more ways than one.

1. Sorting
Clothes should be sorted into different groups before being washed. Most people separate darks, colors, and whites, but that’s only half of the battle. Every piece of clothing should have a tag that tells you what temperature the article should be washed at. Matching clothing based on color and temperature will help them last longer and look better.

2. Detergent
With the detergent industry pulling in $7 billion each

more »

Building a Better Future with Better Buildings

There are two methods we can use to curb climate change: switch to renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. Renewable energy has been pretty steadily growing in the past decade, but it’s only half of the battle to get carbon emissions down. The other half is increasing energy efficiency, and it’s a more cost effective method for the short term.

Much of the reasoning behind the technologies we have today is cost. They may be inefficient, but they are cheap to produce. The incandescent lightbulb is one such option. The goal for Thomas Edison was to mass produce a cheap, long lasting bulb. At the time it was invented, they did last quite a while, considering the other alternatives were gas lamps or even less efficient arc lamps. Today, we have compact fluorescent lamps and LED bulbs, both of which cost more than incandescent bulbs, but also

more »

How Unplugging Your Appliances Can Let You Take a Vacation

Many of us have heard of the vampire effect, which is the effect of electrical devices sucking up energy for as long as they’re plugged in. This also applies to devices that are turned off or in a low power state. As long as the device is plugged into a functioning outlet, you’re wasting precious energy. In fact, about 75% of the total energy use for electronics and appliances comes from the time they are turned off and out of use. How much is that really costing you in a tangible sense, though?

Plasma TV – $150 per year

Window AC – $105 per year

Desktop Computer – $63 per year

Game Console – $25 per year

Microwave – $22 per year

Coffee Maker – $22 per year

Toaster Oven – $17 per year

Laptop Charger – $15 per year

Hairdryer – $15 per year

Portable Fan

more »