How to Save Energy with Roommates

Sharing the internet, cable, rent, and electricity bills with your roommates can make living “on your own” more bearable. Unfortunately, sharing some of the bills, electricity in particular, can have an opposite effect, especially if your roommate has a tendency to leave all the lights on or run every electronic in the house all at once. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce electricity use and save money.

Unplug

For starters, you’ll want to unplug every electronic device possible when they aren’t in use. Even when they are turned off, electronic devices are always drawing power while they are plugged in. If you don’t want to always be plugging and unplugging devices, plug them into a power strip and either unplug the strip or turn the strip off, cutting power to the other devices.

Conserve

Next, you’ll want to tackle energy use related to warming and cooling

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5 Tips for Staying Cool with Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans often go unused in the summer. However, when properly used, a ceiling fan running in conjunction with your AC can actually save electricity. If that sounds rather contradictive, allow us to explain.

(1) Wind Chill

For starters, fans don’t cool rooms. That’s what the AC does. So if you’re running a fan in a room with no one in it, no one benefits. Fans cool people down through the wind chill effect. You know how you feel much colder when it’s windy during the winter? It works the same way in the summer. If you sit under a ceiling fan or have a standalone fan blowing on you while the AC is on, you’ll feel cooler and it can actually raise the temperature on your thermostat a little bit.

(2) Balanced Blades

Next, you want to make sure your fan blades are balanced. If they

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A Guide to Lighting Your Home Room by Room

Years ago, lighting your home was pretty simple. There was a ceiling light in just about every room, and that was pretty much it. Now, we have lights on our desk in the office, showcase style lighting in the living room, lamps on end tables on each side of the bed, security lights outside, and the list goes on and on. Filling each socket with a bulb is easy, but getting the most out of your home lighting can be a challenge.

Ideally, the best lighting to use is LED. Individual bulbs can last up to 20 years and they use about 80% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. These bulbs can be pricey, especially if you need a lot of them. CFLs are cheaper and about as efficient, though they likely won’t last quite as long. LEDs are best used in rooms that get a lot of

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Overcoming Triple Digit Temps

It’s hot! Temperatures have been reaching triple digits all over the U.S. and people are really feeling the heat. The AC is cranking (which has led to record breaking peak demands in Texas), and it’s nearly impossible to go outside without immediately breaking into a sweat. So, what’s the best way to overcome all this heat and humidity?

Staying Hydrated

We all know one of the main things to do during a heatwave is to stay hydrated. Dehydration is a dangerous condition that starts with feeling nauseous, getting headaches, or cramps in the legs or abdomen and can make you unable to perform what would normally be simple tasks. A dehydrated person’s skin may also feel cool to the touch.

Avoiding a Heat Stroke

Ultimately, these excessively high temperatures could lead to heat stroke. A heat stroke occurs when a person’s body is completely unable to cool

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Wind Energy Boom

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration released the Clean Power Plan which will require that the United States use more renewable energy and less coal energy to power the country by 2030. Around the same time, the Department of Energy released two reports that show wind power is on the rise for renewable energy.

One of the reports, the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggests that wind is becoming cheaper and growing rapidly. The technology costs are dropping and the amount of wind turbines being installed is increasing. In addition, it’s created 73,000 jobs for construction, maintenance, and associated tech fields to operate the turbines. The second report by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory states that distributed wind capacity has nearly reached a gigawatt. Distributed wind capacity is when wind turbines are installed on private land and is used to power

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Texas Breaks Peak Demand Record

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, monitors and manages the electricity grids all over Texas, and this past week, they’ve officially broken a record when it comes to energy management: for the first time ever, Texas has broken the peak hourly demand record of 69,000 megawatts (MW). To get an idea of how much electricity that is, imagine your house uses ten 100-watt lightbulbs for an hour. And 1,000 houses in your neighborhood use the same number of 100 watt bulbs. And 69,000 neighborhoods all over Texas have the same number of homes running the same number of 100 watt bulbs for an hour. That’s a lot of electricity.

During the 3 pm hour, Texas’ energy demand was 69,408 and it increased to 69,783 during the 4 pm hour. On average, a megawatt of energy can provide 200 homes with electricity. The high peak demand

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Simple Tips that Increase the Life of Home Appliances

Want to get the most out of your home appliances? A little bit of care can go a long way towards prolonging your appliances’ lives. Cleaning and maintaining your fridge can make it more efficient in addition to helping it live longer. Replacing air filters in your washers help them work better too. Even just managing the loads in washers can be a big help.

Cleaning your appliances is a good place to start. It’s always a good practice to regularly clean out leftovers so you don’t get something funky growing inside your fridge. Additionally, you will want to clean the condenser coils outside your fridge. These coils allow heat to escape so the fridge can continue being cool. If these coils are covered in dust or dirt, the heat has a harder time escaping, causing the refrigerator to work harder. Keep your freezer free of frost

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Electricity 101

Ever wondered how electricity actually works? It’s definitely not as simple as turning on a light switch and the light turning on. Electricity is comprised of protons (positively charged particles) which remain stationary and electrons (negatively charged particles) which are moving. The relationship between these protons and electrons is what gives us energy in the form of electricity.

We know that two magnets with the same polarity (North to North or South to South) will repel each other while two magnets with opposing polarities (North to South) will attract each other. Protons and electrons work the same way. Two protons or two electrons will try to push apart from each other while one proton and one electron will try to attract to each other. When you force two magnets that are the same polarity together, you can feel a repulsion field between them. When we do this

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When Smart Thermostat Users Don’t Know How to Use Them

Smart thermostats and even ordinary programmable thermostats are designed to save you money. Heating and cooling your home accounts for about half of your total energy use year round. If you have either of these types of thermostats, that amount should go down, right? Well, it only goes down if the thermostat is properly set up.

Current generation smart thermostats like the Nest make setup rather easy. You turn it on, set it to its learning mode, and go about your business. With its array of light, activity, temperature, and humidity sensors, the Nest tracks the presence of people in the house as well as ambient temperature to ensure that it maximizes the efficiency of your home. For example, if the AC is on but the humidity is low, the Nest will raise the temperature a bit because low humidity will make it seem cooler inside. If

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8 Ways You Waste Your Phone Battery and Electricity

Do you find that your phone battery isn’t lasting the whole day? Feel like you barely use it before it warns you that you have 10% left? There could be any number of reasons for this battery burden, but the good news is that you can help reduce the energy consumption of your phone and prolong its life.

1. Brightness – Your screen brightness has a lot to do with battery use. You may need the increased brightness during the day to see your phone in daylight, but come night time, knock it down some to save some battery power. If your phone has it, use the Auto-Brightness feature to have your phone adjust the screen’s brightness based on ambient light.

2. Apps – Some apps are battery killers. These apps either use a lot of energy while the app is open, or in some cases, such

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