Cable and Satellite TV Struggle with the Transition to Energy Efficiency

The average American spends around 3 hours each day watching television, according to the Department of Labor and Statistics’ report for 2013. To some, that may not seem like a lot, but when it comes to energy efficiency, it could be jacking up your bill. Cable and satellite TV providers have struggled with reducing the energy cost of their respective receiver boxes, and that costliness gets passed on to you. But the issue doesn’t even end by turning off the TV and doing something else; that set top box is usually on all day.

Some steps have been taken to reduce their energy consumption, such as low power states when the box detects that the TV is off, but their constant power draw is still a major issue. Enter “Energy 2020,” an initiative set to reduce the consumption of energy over the next five years. The initiative

more »

Clean Energy – A New Look for Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are growing at an exponential rate as a primary source of clean energy. As we have mentioned a few times in the past, Texas is the country’s largest provider of wind energy for electricity. Unfortunately, many people see these massive wind turbines that resemble gigantic fans as eye sores. The same is also true when it comes to solar panels. Some feel that they detract from the beauty of the nearby area. Well, it just so happens that French company, New Wind, wants to change that.

New Wind has created a 36 foot tall steel “tree” with 72 “leaves” that spin in place when the wind blows. The idea is to make wind power more attractive from a visual and aesthetic perspective. All of the electricity generation is produced inside the faux tree and operates almost silently. Jérôme Michaud-Larivière was inspired to design this as

more »

Saving Energy by Turning to Gadgets

Our lives these days seem to be surrounded by a constant need for electricity. We need it for light, heating, cooling, cooking, bathing, and many other reasons. How often do you think about saving energy? The thought may come up more during the cold months where the heat is on more, or during the hot months where the AC is on full blast. Did you know that there are apps for your phone as well as energy saving gadgets that can help you cut your energy bills?

Home electronic devices account for about 15-20% of electricity consumption in the residential sector of North America. Shockingly, a lot of that percentage comes from when the devices are inactive. Even while they are powered off, all electronic devices draw a small amount of electricity. The easiest way to stop this is to simply unplug it, but that can be

more »

Appliances that Should be Examined for Energy Efficiency

The appliances in your home account for roughly 14% of your energy bill. How would you feel if you could drop that to less than 10% of your energy bill? Energy efficiency is the best way to save money and those energy savings will add up and, in most cases, pay for upgrades. Another part of appliances that many do not realize is how much water they consume. Many appliances, especially in the kitchen, use a lot more water than you think and if you have a separate water bill, can add up quick. If you want to cut back on both electricity and water consumption, looking into Energy Star rated products are your best bet.

Energy Star certifies products that are at least 20-30% more efficient than an equivalent, uncertified product. When Energy Star first started doing this, their products were considerably more expensive. That difference

more »

Home Heating 101, Pt. 2

Last time we told you about the different types of heating systems and their distribution and control methods. This time, we are going to look at the efficiency of the heating methods and how best to go about choosing a heating method for your home, as well as how to maintain efficiency in your heating system and save energy.

Efficiency

Furnaces can be highly efficient, but it depends on how old they are. Older systems could be as low as 59% efficient, while newer systems can be as high as 98.5% efficient. Boilers range from 50-90% efficiency, also depending on their age. Active solar heating’s efficiency depends upon how much sunlight you get. Poorly aligned panels will not be as effective as those that receive a lot of direct sunlight. Heat pumps work on a different efficiency scale known as the Heating Season Performance Factor. To get this value, one

more »

Home Heating 101, Pt. 1

Did you know that heating your home this winter will account for about 45% of your energy bill? That sounds like quite a lot, doesn’t it? About 57% of that heating will come from natural gas, which is an increasingly prevalent fuel form these days. There are a couple of reasons for its increased popularity: low cost, and lower emissions. Oil heat cost the average American home about $1,700 between 2007-2012, while natural gas homes spent about $700 in that same period. So, what can you do to make your home warm without breaking the bank? We will give you the rundown on home heating and how to save energy.

Heat Sources

Heating systems require three major parts: source, distribution, and control. The source is where the fuel is converted into heat, usually a furnace, boiler, or a heat pump. Distribution methods include forced air and radiators.

more »

When Helping the Environment Cuts Your Energy Costs

Are you looking to cut energy costs this year? There are several ways to reduce your energy bill and help preserve the environment while you are at it. Being green does not necessarily mean you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money on green technology, it just means you can manage your current lifestyle more efficiently. We have some energy saving tips to help you do just that.

Reducing Electricity Consumption

Reducing the amount of electricity you consume seems like a no-brainer to save on energy. Lighting your home generally contributes about 10% to your overall energy bill. Switching to energy efficient bulbs like CFLs or LEDs can reduce this because these bulbs are 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. You can also reduce energy consumption by unplugging unused electronics and appliances. Even if they are turned off, any appliance or electronic device that is plugged in

more »

20 Tips for Cutting Energy Costs at Home

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, and we have plenty of energy saving tips to help you ring in this new year by slashing energy costs all over the house!

1. Installing a programmable thermostat helps minimize inefficient heating. A properly programmed thermostat keeps the heat or AC off while you are at work or asleep to maximize savings.

2. Every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter (or raise it in the summer) can save between 1-3% on your energy bill.

3. Weatherstripping your home seals up gaps around door and window frames, preventing climate controlled air from escaping and wasting energy.

4. Adding insulation to your home can really improve energy efficiency. Make sure your attic is well-insulated and if you have a basement or cellar, adding insulation to the walls and ceiling can dramatically improve how well your home retains

more »

How Power Surges Occur in Your Home

Power surges are sudden increases in potential energy that can overload electrical circuits, appliances, and electronics in your home. They can occur for several reasons and it is a good idea to take measures protecting your home from them. Power surges can damage electronic components and even totally fry items, like computers.

The most common cause of electrical surges is lightning. A lightning strike, even just near a power line, is enough to increase the nearby electrical currents by millions of volts. Most conventional surge protectors in your home cannot withstand the surge from a lightning strike, so the best way to save sensitive electronics like computers is to unplug them until after the storm passes.

Power surges can also be caused by some demanding appliances in your home. Refrigerators and air conditioners require a boost of electricity when turning on compressors and fan motors. These types

more »

6 Simple Ways to Stay Energy Efficient as a Renter

Sometimes when renting, especially if utilities are included, we let things slip when it comes to electricity in an apartment. We might feel like “I don’t pay for the electricity, so I’m not going to worry about keeping electric use down.” Even though you may not be paying for it directly, someone still is. This year, amend your New Year’s resolution list and add “Be an Energy Efficient Renter” to it. Not only will your landlord be happy, but you might even be able to get a discount on rent!

1. Programmable Thermostat — Installing a programmable thermostat is an excellent way to cut back on energy use. Home climate control accounts for about half of our energy bills and renting is no different. A properly set thermostat can cut back on that a lot by only running when it is necessary, whether you remember

more »