Delicious Meals Cooked in an Energy Saving Slow Cooker

Tuesday, March 10th is Pack Your Lunch Day, and we have some recipes for making a cheap, energy efficient, and most importantly, delicious home cooked meal that you can bring for lunch on Tuesday. Slow cooker meals are incredibly energy efficient, costing less than 2 cents per hour versus 20 cents per hour for an electric oven. Slow cooker recipes also tend to be pretty easy; just put all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on, and about 7 hours later, you’ve got a hot meal! They are a great way to have a meal ready to eat when you get home from work.

1. Brazilian Black Bean Stew — Considered to be a national dish in Brazil, this recipe makes 8 servings, takes an hour and a half to prepare, and 8-10 hours to cook on a low setting. It blends black beans,

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Are Smart Meters Creating an Angry Home?

Do you live in an angry home? We don’t mean the home is actively yelling at you and trying to devour your family, but that the way your home is consuming energy makes the inhabitants more emotionally negative. A study conducted by Alexa Spence, a psychologist at the University of Nottingham, England, shows that smart meters could be making homeowners and co-renters uneasy.

Smart Meter Advancement

Smart meters aren’t necessarily a new invention, but they have been getting more advanced as time goes on. It started out as a way to electronically send the energy use of the whole house to the utility for billing. As energy monitors and smart meters developed, they became more precise, allowing you to see the amount of energy being used per circuit in the house and soon culminating in tracking every device that is plugged in.

Social Studies

The study led

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Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 2 – Fixed Rate and Variable Rate Plans

Part 1 – Comparing Providers

When you’re ready to make the switch from a legacy energy provider, you may be first looking at the price. To make the most effective choice while shopping around for electricity, it’s best to know what kind of plan you want. There are two main types of plans: fixed and variable. The main difference between them is that fixed plans have a set energy rate that you keep for a specific amount of time, while variable plans have a rate that goes up or down month to month, but generally you can change your plan at any time.

Variable Plan

According to the executive director of Texas ROSE (a non-profit group dedicated to affordable electricity and a healthy environment), Carol Biedrzycki, the best way to pick a variable plan is to look at the Electricity Facts Label (EFL)

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Do the Electricity Savings Outweigh the Sleep Lost from Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins March 8th, at the end of National Sleep Awareness Week. Some people will see the irony in that being that we feel like we lose an hour of sleep when we set our clocks an hour ahead. Some people like having an hour more of light at the end of the day rather than at the beginning, and we actually reap some electricity benefits from this, but is it worth the change in our sleep patterns? And how does Daylight Saving Time save electricity?

Origins

Daylight Saving Time is often credited to Benjamin Franklin, but he never actually introduced the idea. An entomologist in New Zealand first proposed it in 1895, but Germany was the first country to implement it in 1916 to help conserve resources. The United States first used it toward the end of World War I and again during

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Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 1 – Comparing Providers

Shopping around for electricity can be a confusing experience. Many people feel overwhelmed with all of the choices out there because of deregulation, so they stick with what they know. We all like to remain in our comfort zones, but it’s possible to take that step of faith out into the wide world of electric service and come out on top with a cheap, reliable energy plan. How does one go about that? We’ll give you the low down.

Choosing a Texas electricity provider is actually not as complicated as it seems. Legacy providers (the providers customers were switched to when the state became deregulated) tend to charge higher rates for the same electricity you’d get elsewhere for less. Retail Energy Providers (REPs) all offer different energy plans with varying contract lengths, prices, and features. All of the terms and conditions are spelled out in the Electricity

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How to Save Big on Your Electric Bill

There is a simple, cheap and effective way to reduce electricity usage in your home. Anyone can do it, and it’s super easy! Want to know what it is? UNPLUG. Most of us don’t realize how much electricity is wasted just because a device is plugged in; this is known as the “vampire effect” or “phantom load.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s sucking money out of your wallet, but you have the power to stop it.

The best way to save on an electric bill is to use less electricity. It seems like such an easy concept, right? But it can be so difficult because of phantom load. You turn off machines when you aren’t using them (at least we hope you do!), but you still feel like your energy bills are rather high. That’s because even while a device is off, the device is

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Lower Electricity Bills by Performing Refrigerator Maintenance

We all know that our refrigerator has to stay plugged in and turned on all the time so that it keeps our food from going bad. But leaving the fridge on all the time really eats up a lot of electricity, so how can we reduce this without unplugging it? Fortunately, we have some refrigerator electricity saving tips that should help lower electricity bills.

Door Seals

The magnetic seals on your doors eventually wear out. If the seal gets loose, the cold air will seep out and the fridge has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. Cleaning them once or twice a year can help maintain a good seal, but if they’re wearing out, that may not help much. You can test them by closing the seal over a dollar bill. Once shut, give the bill a tug. If it comes out easily, the seals

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Smart Meters in the US Still Have a Long Way to Go

Smart meters are on the rise in Texas and around the United States. Over the course of seven years, from 2007 to 2014, smart meters have jumped from 7 million installed units to over 50 million. These meters offer a lot of benefits for homeowners. They cut back on the manpower that would be needed to visit and read each meter on every house, because the information can be digitally transmitted right to the utility. But they also detail how your home uses electricity, so you can see what areas could use a cutback.

Smart meters do a lot more than just send info to the utility faster to elicit knee-jerk responses of customers paying sooner. They actually have the potential to save you money. Upgrading the smart meters we use could allow us to actually see our monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly costs. They could

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How Batteries Have Become the BFF of People on the Go

What’s your BFF gadget when you’re on the go? Phones, tablets, portable gaming systems, MP3 players . . . we use a lot of gadgets that run on batteries every day, but do you ever stop to think about that miniature powerhouse inside your television remote? Today is National Battery Day and we’re going to look at this wonder of technology that makes our day to day lives that much easier.

History of the Battery

The battery as we know it today was designed by Count Alessandro Volta, from whose name we get the term “Volts.” This Italian inventor is credited with designing the first electric battery in 1800, called a “voltaic pile.” The voltaic pile consisted of a copper plate and zinc plate separated by a piece of cardboard or felt that was soaked in salt water.

There is a possibility that batteries have been used

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The Magic of Electricity in President Lincoln’s Era

Have you ever wondered what telecommunications were like for past presidents? We take for granted how easy it is to make a phone call; the President is one of the most connected people in the world, but this was not always the case! At the time that President Lincoln was elected, the telegraph was the primary means of long distance communication. It had been in use for about 17 years, but was only available in public telegraph offices, much like if a post office were used to send an email.

Much like how we today were fascinated with smartphones as the iPhone made its debut, then future president Lincoln was fascinated with the telegraph. He saw his first telegraph key (the metal paddle used to “type” out letters) three years prior to his campaign to become president. He kept using it to ask the operator on the

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