An Energy Auditors Professional Mission |

Energy Auditors: A Professional on a Mission to Save EnergyHopefully, most people that become Doctors, want to be Doctors. If someone is going to go digging around in my belly, I want them to enjoy what they’re doing and not wish they were out leading a group of fisherman on a flounder trip.I feel the same way about Energy Auditors, anyone that is going to test my furnace for killer gases and inefficiency, better like what they’re doing. I Don’t want an auditor dreaming about moonlighting as a massage therapists and missing the big hole in my heating duct. An auditor that shows up at the door with a baby blue company shirt that has a professional logo on the chest that says RESNET ( or something similar ), a clip board, and a ladder, should be qualified and hopefully enjoy finding energy savings opportunities and areas of energy waste.A good auditor will have the ability to talk the walk, test everything in sight and measure everything not in sight. With a number of tools ( that you have never seen before ) with names like monometer and fyrite Pro, he or she will be able to tell you the difference in air pressure in pascals, the presence of CO in parts per million and the size of an air leak in cubic feet per minute. And when all the data is collected and recorded, the auditor has the ability, and the pure joy, of telling you exactly why your heat pump freezes, your ducts leak, and your power bill is dragging you to the poor house.Variety of License and Certificates:Several nationwide companies have developed training and certification programs that offer recognition for residential energy auditors. RESNET ( Residential Energy Services Network ) was established in 1995 by the National Association of State Energy Officials to develop the standard for a home energy rating system.The other main auditor training program is BPI (Building Performance Institute). Along with these two programs, RESNET and BPI, many State and local agencies will offer home performance training of their own design that concludes with a certificate and the knowledge of how to operate and test with the specialized equipment available to an inspector.Two year degrees are offered at a number of Colleges in building performance and offer a more in-depth and wide knowledge base than is offered by the 3 or 4 week RESNET courses. If an auditor is really going to get serious about saving energy and want the big bucks available by performing energy audits on high rise office buildings and manufacturing plants, than a four year degree is needed in the field of energy engineering. I am doubtful that you or I will see a true Energy Engineer on our front porch with a smoke stick and an infrared camera, but one never really knows.Energy Efficient Retrofits and Cost Effective Calculations: The main reason for performing an energy audit on a home is to prioritize a list of energy efficient retrofits and to establish the associated cost effectiveness or payback period. An auditor will test and collect data in an effort to discover where the most energy can be saved and which retrofits will save you the most money – and do it with the least amount of financial investment.Here are a few more things that an auditor will be able to complete during an energy audit.
Evaluate each major appliance for rate of energy consumption. You and I can spot an old energy hog refrigerator a mile away, but the energy auditor will be able to add type, size,condition, modified energy factor, and yearly kilowatt hours used to the deal.
Recommend appropriate energy conservation measures along with associated maintenance procedures. Just because you install a new furnace doesn’t mean you don’t need to know how and when to clean or replace the furnace filter.
Estimate labor and material costs on retrofit projects. Just how much will it cost to replace the metal framed, single pane, obscure glass, single hung window in the bathroom with a new vinyl framed, double glazed, low-E, U-30 window considering the 8″ hardiplank lap siding and the brickmoulding trim?
Project the monthly savings expected from a particular energy retrofit. How many kilowatt hours of electricity will be save if R-25 insulation is installed in an underfloor that has no insulation?
Point out, avoid, and mediate potential health and safety problems. You know, it’s not really a good idea to have an old gas fired water heater in your master bedroom closet.
The energy auditor will be able to instruct the household on behavior that wastes energy, like running around the house in a bikini in January with the thermostat set on 82 degrees. This behavior might remind you of your vacation in Hawaii, but at the end of the month, the power bill will remind you of the advantage of wool sweaters and thermal socks.
Quality Assurance Inspections: You will be amazed at the number of residential energy auditors that have home construction experience. Not only do they know how to test for air leakage, but they know how the wall was constructed in the first place. A good energy auditor will not conclude his contribution to your homes energy saving retrofits by handing you a piece of paper with a list of recommendations, but he will follow up on the retrofit process and see that the work is done correctly. Let’s face it, an insulation worker that is paid by the square foot and is one week removed from a bungalow in a neighboring country, may not be interested in the highest degree of work quality and performance.Some follow-up qualities of a home energy auditor are:
Inspect the project near completion to check for quality work.
Verify compliance with the work specifications and see that all work that was scheduled to be done actually got completed.
Provide some directions and feedback on performance to contractor supervisors.
Provide detailed procedure for correcting any work that was not completed satisfactorily.
Emphasize to the residents the importance of continuing and regular maintenance and some TLC.
Arrange for and schedule future monitoring or maintenance when appropriate.
When you have the energy auditor standing on your front steps and you have approved the patch on his work shirt as being professionally designed and recognizable as a trust worthy organization, the first question you should ask is this, ” What is your mission?”You might ask, “Why are you here?”, but that could lead to the honest response of, “for the money!” So, let’s take a look at some of the heart-felt ideals that separate Energy Auditors from fisherman, surgeons and massage therapists.Energy Auditors Mission Statement: The bottom line is simply – to conserve energy and save money – do just that and most homeowners will be tickled pink.This one is a little more reminiscent of a die-hard tree hugger, protect the environment by reducing harmful by-products. The by-products we are talking about here are mostly carbon based. When you use more energy than you really need, you cause ridiculous amounts of carbon to be released to the atmosphere.I like this one and there are no tree huggers in sight, increase home comfort. The first indicator of a successful energy saving retrofit is this -the home is more comfortable. The home is warmer, less drafty and quieter.One of the most important mission statement items involves basic health and safety. For this one, the physician and auditor have something in common. Whatever you do, do no harm. An auditor is trained in combustion appliance safety, mold and mildew remediation, indoor air quality, ventilation, lead paint hazards and asbestos dangers.Be a resource for the residents concerning energy products, conservation procedures, and lifestyle contributions. An energy auditor will leave the household a little wiser about all things that effect home energy savings. I trust most auditors learned the benefits of sharing in kindergarten.When you step up to the cashier at the grocery store, you may have a person ring up your purchase that really does not care to be there. Running a cash register for your toothpaste and potato chips was not in his or her original career plans. Tell the waitress to take the steak back to the kitchen and ask the chef to cook it like you wanted and you’d better be careful, the chef maybe a college student working his way through school and he really doesn’t care if you like the steak or not.There is a pretty fair chance that the man on your porch with the cool patch on his shirt wants to be there and is determined to save energy because he or she simply believes in it, loves it, and lives it. Saving energy is a passion, a calling, like an emergency rrom doctor. With home energy auditors, living up to a mission statement comes naturally.Thanks for stopping by, hope you come back soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…

Energy Education and the Consumer |

Household Energy Consumption and Successful Energy EducationBehavior ChoicesTwo homes constructed the same year, sitting on the same city block, with similar households, can have vastly different energy costs. The furnace can be the same and the water heaters carbon copies, but one household can effectively control their homes energy costs and the other household produces an energy bill, shamefully, out of control.This is about insulation levels and how well the ducts are sealed, but it is even more about household behavior, energy education, and putting your best, energy-saving, foot forward. This is about parents passing down environmental concerns and expectations to their children and then to grandchildren. It’s about people that lived through the great depression and know the benefit of reducing waste and living with less because that was the only choice.One thing I’ve wondered, is it easier for a rural farmer, who picks tomatoes and corn out of his own garden, to be energy wise and interested in controlling energy consumption, or is it easier for the Central Park native that buys food from an asphalt fruit stand to understand the importance of conservation? Do you need to know how many tits a cow has before you can be frugal with a gallon of milk?Which household is more apt to have had the benefit of ongoing parental household energy education? Is it the farmer, as a result of being close to nature and the environment, likely to be the energy saver and need less energy education? On the other hand, perhaps the person that lives in the high rise is more aware of energy consumption and the amount of power it takes to keep a big city running.Energy educators and power companies have a big job as they work to provide energy education to all kinds of households. Since every household has the potential for both saving energy and reducing energy waste, the energy education challenge is to design a program that can be successful for all households. The gentleman farmer that lives by the creek in the green valley can benefit from energy education and the bank teller in the duplex by central park can also.If people are aware of energy-saving tools and behaviors, they can, within limits, control their energy consumption and curb energy waste. Consumer education then becomes one of the most cost-effective conservation measures available. Educators work to bring consumer education to the people in four essential areas. The subjects remain pretty much the same, but the approach may vary according to house location, income status, and resident EducationEnergy ED and Behavioral Decisions:Behavioral decisions is the Energy Educators biggest challenge when providing household energy education. It is the biggest challenge – yet the area with the most potential. People are simply set-in-their-ways and making behavioral changes is a slow and difficult task. How do you get a person to take a shorter shower with a low-flow shower head when they are accustom to relaxing for hours under the hot flow of water with enough water pressure to make a noticeable divot in the skin? The person feels slighted and abused. After all, just how much energy does it take to run a darn shower for an extra twenty minutes anyway?To change energy wasting behavior, educators try to make a direct connection between the shower they love and the power bill they hate. People learn from their own experiences and their own power bill. Ideal learning opportunities occur when residents make a decision, perform a task or behavior, and do it with their wallet in one hand and their power bill in the other. The educator is often more successful at getting the behavior changed if it is connected directly to the power bill.Therefore, to change energy behavior, the household needs to have power bill education and a complete understanding of the information that is available on almost all monthly statements. To connect real dollars and cents to behavior is the best way to change wasteful behavior.Energy ED and Comfort Perceptions:Basic ComfortsWhenever my daughter complains about a simple hardship, like having to walk home from school in 50 degree weather, I mention her ancestors and the Oregon Trail. If walking home in mild weather was a true hardship, we would still be living in Europe somewhere with everybody else.A lot of people would like to throw the energy educator out the door the minute they mention 68 degrees and thermostat in the same sentence. Are we all getting ridiculously soft or are the comfort levels we have come to expect simply a dividend of having someone else live in a covered wagon for 4 months.The energy educator needs to take a two fold approach here. One is to re-train the household into realizing that some comfort expectations are not really needed comforts and the second is to point out that the lack of comfort can have more to do with the lack of air sealing then the setting on the thermostat.Once the household blames comfort problems on the lack of insulation and the holes in the heating ducts instead of the size of the furnace and the out-of-adjustment thermostat, the household can get back to saving energy in comfort.Energy ED and Household Operation:Chances are if you don’t know what the brake pedal does and where it is located, you shouldn’t be trying to drive the car. You can get in the car, stick your elbow out the window, start the car rolling down the road, but it’s all going to be wasted when you can’t get the car stopped. Remember, car insurance covers dents and missing bumpers, but home insurance doesn’t cover energy waste.Energy education needs to provide training on where your homes brakes are located and how to use them. Only with an understanding of basic home energy systems, can the household use those systems in a more energy efficient manner.The challenge of the energy educator is to provide the household with a basic understanding of how their homes energy systems work and how they work with each other. With the broad differences in homes spanning more than a hundred years, this is no easy task for the educator.The educator is like the child with a huge, connect-the-dots puzzle in front of them. The educator completes the challenge by connecting all the energy system dots in a home until they make a complete picture that is understood by the household.MaintenanceEnergy ED and System Maintenance:Now that the Energy Educator has provided information on the energy systems and how they work together, he or she needs to provide training on the benefit of maintaining those systems. A car that can get 50 miles per gallon will not be able to realize that great fuel mileage if the tires are flat.With the coming cold weather, the Jones’s decided it was time to finally have insulation installed under the floor. Their feet have been cold long enough and warming their feet was contributing to huge increases in their power bill. Insulation was installed under the floor, but the foundation vents were not repaired which allowed critters to enjoy the newly insulated underfloor as well. As the critters rearranged the insulation, placing a lot of it in the dirt, most of the benefit of installing insulation was lost by not properly maintaining both the insulation and the vents.One of the most important maintenance items is the heat pump. Households get lulled into a sense of having great energy efficiency once they have the benefit of a heat pump. The energy educators job is to provide information on the importance of having a Heating Contractor service the heat pump system once a year to get the most energy efficiency from the heat pump every year. Once you get a Prius, don’t maintain it it like a John Deere and drive it like a Mustang.Not an easy job this thing called energy educator. The homes are all different and the household behaviors range from Covered Wagon to Queen Elizabeth. Energy Education remains the most cost effective measure available to both households and power providers for saving energy and increasing energy efficiency. How we live in our homes and how we react to our desired comfort level has a lot to do with the size of our power bill.So, how much does it cost to stand in a hot shower for an extra twenty minutes? Well, that depends. Fresh water from the hillside spring and a solar water heater, stand there until the clouds come over or the sun sets. But if your taking a shower in the drought region of Texas, pumping the water through a filter and then twenty miles uphill to a forty story high rise, don’t take a shower at all, stick to a sponge bath.

The Potential Dangers of Energy Drinks and How to Naturally Increase Energy Levels |

The energy beverage market is growing rapidly. Many people consume these beverages in order to increase their energy levels throughout the day. There are over $9 billion dollars in sales of energy drinks just in the United States market and it continues to grow. Statistics show that over 30% of teenagers consume energy drinks on a regular basis.The Concern: There is much concern and debate over the safety of energy drinks. The caffeine levels are very high and can range up to 300 mg per bottle. In comparison to a cup of coffee which has approximately 80 mg of caffeine, one can see how an energy drink can really spike caffeine consumption to potentially unsafe levels. Too much caffeine intake can cause irritability, nervousness, heart palpitations and raise blood pressure. Oftentimes, the caffeine levels are not indicated on the labels of these drinks and people are not aware of just how much they are consuming. People who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure should not consume energy drinks at all. Also high levels of sugar and mega doses of vitamins can also be unhealthy.Premixed with Alcohol: An alarming fact is that energy drinks are now being premixed with alcohol and available to purchase. This can be dangerous as mixing a stimulant with a depressant such as alcohol can lead to serious health risks such as heart failure. Again, there appears to be such little information available to the public regarding this fact. Many people will consume these beverages at nightclubs and bars not realizing the potentially dangerous interaction of this mixture. The stimulant factor will allow someone to drink more alcohol as the normal intoxication effect is delayed for a longer period of time. This can lead to other potential problems such as unawareness of intoxication, drunk driving, bodily injuries and impaired judgment.Risk of Addiction: There is the risk of becoming addicted to energy drinks if you consume them frequently. In addition to the caffeine addiction the extremely high levels of sugar can become addictive. This combination will give you an instant energy “high” but is then followed by a feeling of energy depletion. The energy increase is unnatural and short lasting. This can of course lead to addiction as one wants to feel the energy rush and avoid the energy slumps that occur soon after. Research has also shown that high usage of energy drinks is linked to increased use of unhealthy substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and prescription drug abuse. If one consumes a lot of energy drinks there is a risk of caffeine intoxication. It’s even possible to experience side effects like rapid heartbeat and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet from the mega doses of vitamin supplements that some of these drinks contain.Alternatives to Energy Drinks: There are much healthier ways to increase your energy levels naturally rather than turning to artificial stimulants. The objective is to incorporate healthy habits that will make you feel truly alive and filled with energy.Avoid Dehydration: Being dehydrated will lower your energy levels. Drink plenty of fresh clean water to hydrate your body and naturally raise energy.Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy well balanced diet will certainly help with providing your body with energy. Protein is important for energy production. Healthy proteins should be eaten throughout the day to ensure adequate energy. Carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish if you eat too much breads, rice and pastas. Try to stick to carbohydrates in the form of vegetables to accompany your protein intake. For example, an energy boosting lunch or dinner could be grilled salmon with asparagus or roasted chicken or turkey with sautéed vegetables. Carbohydrates are very important to keeping blood sugar levels stable so make sure to have good carbohydrates in your diet.Do not skip breakfast as this meal will provide the fuel you need to keep your energy level throughout the day. Also try to eat smaller mini meals instead of three large meals. Smaller, nutritionally dense meals pack more energy power than large meals which can overload your digestive system and make you feel fatigued. Eat fiber based fruits such as bananas and apples as well as snacks such as raisins. These fibrous foods help your body to have more energy and are easy snacks for people on the go. Also don’t forget your omega-3 laden foods such as salmon, tuna and olive oil. The omega nutrients help you to stay alert.Exercise: Exercise is important to energy production. Even though working out will feel like you are expending energy it is actually an energy exchange for longer term consistent energy increases. People who exercise regularly will often notice that their energy decreases when they stop exercise for any period of time. A consistent exercise program that includes walking, light aerobics, treadmill or swimming can boost health and energy levels. All it takes is 20 to 30 minutes per day of exercise to increase your energy naturally. Exercise has the additional benefits of controlling your weight and supporting your immune system.Reduce Stress: Stress is an energy drainer. Of course we will all experience stress but finding constructive ways to reduce it is a good way to increase your energy levels. Holding on to negative emotions will certainly deplete your energy reserves. It is not just negative emotions that can rob you of energy but positive, life changing events can lower energy as well. Getting married or retiring are exciting but even these heightened positive emotions can have the same effect on energy. Bear these facts in mind when experiencing even the greatest joys of life and make sure to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet and exercise to counteract the energy draining effects.Energy Improves Quality of Life: Having adequate energy levels really makes life more enjoyable. Being able to accomplish your daily activities without complete exhaustion improves the quality of your life. Remember it is very important to always consult with your medical doctor before undertaking any changes in your diet or lifestyle, particularly if you are currently taking prescription medications or have been diagnosed with any disease. Low energy levels could be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition.

The Advantages of Solar Energy – Why Going Green Is Not Only About Protecting the Environment |

There is no doubt that reduced pollution is one of the greatest advantages of using solar panels. You do not need to be a fervent ecologist to realize the severity of the environmental problems that affect out world today. The fuel crisis, the pollution, climate changes, all these issues affect us one way or the other. There is no point in denying either their importance, or our responsibility in triggering and maintaining them.But the advantages do not limit to environmental effects, although they are incredibly relevant. There are many other benefits of using solar energy that refer to costs, maintenance or energy independence. Whether you are interested in this energy source because of a profound environmental concern, or you are more attracted to the idea of low-cost energy and money saving, going solar can prove to be a remarkably smart idea.Below you will find a comprehensive list containing the most relevant reasons why using solar energy is beneficial, so you can have a more complex image of the reason that makes it a viable and attractive alternative to fossil fuel energy. With a wider perspective than before, you might be able to make a wiser and more informed decision.1. Protecting the environmentWe start the list of advantages with the most prominent one, the environmental benefit. There is no secret in the fact that overexploitation of the Earth’s non-renewable resources will eventually lead to their paucity, to higher costs and extreme pollution. We cannot rely forever on fossil fuels to create energy, because this resource will eventually disappear. On top of that, continuing to burn fossil fuels will lead to even more pollution than today, and this will affect the climate and people’s health. Turning to a clean, safe, healthy and renewable source or energy becomes imperative.a) Solar energy is renewableOne of the first advantages is the fact that it is a renewable source of energy that we can count on for billions of years from now. The sun will keep shining. Using its power will not diminish it, like in the case of fossil fuels. When the Earth will not be able to count on fossil fuels for energy, the Sun will still provide enough power for the whole world.b) Solar energy is cleanUnlike fossil fuels, it is not polluting. No gas emissions, no unpleasant smells, no smoke – it is totally clean. Considering the growing problem of the greenhouse effect and the climate changes it triggers, finding cleaner sources of energy is the best way to protect the environment and reduce the negative effects fossil fuel energy has on the atmosphere. Choosing solar energy over non-renewable energy means more than simply protecting the environment. It means protecting ourselves and the generations to come. Fighting for a healthy, safe world implies stopping climate changes, global warming and air pollution.2. Low costsCertainly, solar energy is environmentally friendly. But, as we already mentioned, the advantages do not end there. Probably the most appealing advantage of all is the low cost. Several factors contribute to this conclusion:a) Solar energy is freeOnce you install a solar system, you can enjoy free energy as long as the Sun is up in the sky. It’s for everybody, you don’t have to pay for it. You can just enjoy its benefits. While fossil fuel energy is brought to you by different energy suppliers you have to pay serious money to, the sun’s energy is there for free.Yes, the cost of installing such technologies can prove to be a substantial investment, but in time, you will save a lot of money on energy. If you think long-term, the benefits are considerable.Fossil fuel energy is expensive, and you can see that on your monthly bills. It seems like every year energy prices increase and you have to pay more on the bills. It is obviously not convenient to continue like this. The cost efficiency balance of fossil fuel energy starts to lose its equilibrium in favor of the costs. Until when will you be able to continue paying expensive bills?Looking at it this way, abandoning fossil fuel energy in favor of a low-cost type of energy is common sense. Relying on solar energy, which is free, will lower electricity bills to an affordable level. In case you choose to produce all the energy your house needs using the power of the sun, you will save serious money on bills.b) Governmental incentivesAnother one of the economic benefits of solar energy is provided by the government. You can save money by using various financial incentives. Tax incentives, various credits and rebates encourage people to go green. Learn about the incentives available in your state, and the costs of installing solar panel systems will substantially lower.c) Low maintenance costsThe maintenance of a solar system is easy and cheap. After the initial investment in installing the solar system, the chances of spending money on it will be quite limited.d) Fast recuperation of the initial investmentAfter you install the solar energy system, you will recuperate your investment in a few years, and you will be able to enjoy its benefits sooner than you thought. When it comes to the long-term advantages of solar power, cost efficiency clearly differentiates this energy source from the rest.e) Net meteringIn case your system produces more energy than you need, you can sell it to your utility company. You can not only save money, but also make money with the help of your solar panels.f) DIY solutionsYou can reduce the initial investment with the help of a “Do It Yourself” kit. You can either learn to build solar panels by yourself, or just learn to install the solar panel. Enjoy the advantages of solar energy while learning something new and exciting.3. Energy independencea) Solar energy is self-sufficientThe perspective of energy independence is one of the most appealing reasons to choose this source of energy. Depending on another entity is always frustrating for a human being who likes to have full control over his life. Many times we have to endure power black-outs, accept increasing prices, or wait for somebody from the utility company to come to fix a problem of the energy system.Have you ever though of the possibility of becoming completely energy independent? Having a house that provides all the energy it needs by itself spares you the frustration of depending on various energy suppliers. Once your solar energy system is able to produce all the necessary energy, your house will become self-sufficient, your bills will lower, and you will have the certainty of a constantly available source of energy.b) Solar energy is available anywhereNo matter how remote the area where you live is, if the Sun shines, your house will enjoy solar energy. Among the many other advantages, the fact that it can provide energy wherever it is needed is an enormous benefit. It will be able to bring light to locations where power lines cannot be installed.A solar energy system can be easily installed in any location. Therefore, for people who would like to build vacation houses in the mountains or other remote areas, it provides a viable solution.4. FlexibilityProbably the most appealing benefits are its low costs and its environmentally friendly character. The economic benefits solar energy brings are undeniable. So is the fact that it helps you contribute to protecting the environment and becoming energy independent.Related to the idea of independence, there are other advantages that are worth mentioning. For example, solar energy systems are very flexible and adaptable to basically any situation. You can choose the solar technology that suits your needs best, install it where it fits, and invest in it depending on your budget. You can produce only a part of the energy you consume, or you can produce all the energy your house needs.Installing the system can be done at your own pace. If you cannot buy all the solar panels at once, you can start with smaller investments, and when you have the money, you can install some more panels. If you have a small house, you can install a small system, and so on. Solar energy is flexible, comfortable and convenient.

Wave Energy – An Ocean Full of Potential |

Wave Energy also known as ocean wave power, is another type of ocean based renewable energy source that uses the power of the waves to generate electricity. The Earth has not been called the “Blue Plant” without a good reason. Nearly three-quarters of the plant is covered in water, so it is only natural that the search for a clean, renewable source of energy should lead us to the oceans around us. Using the potential energy stored in the oceans and seas to generate electricity ensures that power being generated will be pollution free. Using the power of the waves and ocean currents is not new as wave, tidal and hydro power has been used for many thousands of years. What is new however, is the way in which we now harness, store and generate electricity from it.Making use of the energy that can be produced by the ocean waves is not easy as the worlds oceans are obviously vast. But these oceans contain a massive amount of usable energy just waiting to be tapped. One only needs to look back a few years to the tsunami in Japan to understand this. While it is clear there is plenty of energy present in the oceans and seas, the question is whether we can convert this stored energy into a continuous renewable energy source. The answer is we are already starting to.Unlike tidal energy which uses the ebb and flow of the tides, wave energy uses the vertical movement of the surface water that produce tidal waves. The oceans waves are full of kinetic energy (movement) as they move around the oceans, and it is this energy which can be used to power a turbine or an electrical generator. Wave energy collection is a passive process in which the energy of the waves is automatically converted by turbines. This type of renewable energy source is also environmentally friendly, as it creates no atmospheric pollution and has a small carbon footprint.While the oscillating motion of the waves may be the same around the oceans, there are a few different ways in which we can harness the energy from the moving waves. Wave power converts the periodic up-and-down movement of the oceans waves into electricity by placing equipment on the surface of the oceans that captures the energy produced by the wave movement and converts this mechanical energy into electrical power.The four main types of wave energy devices are:Point Absorbers – which are tethered to the ocean floor.
Wave Attenuators – which are long horizontal semi-submerged snake-like devices.
Oscillating Water Column – which converts wave energy into air pressure.
Overtopping Devices – where the sea waves are driven up the ramp filling-up a small tidal reservoir.These four types of wave energy devices need not be placed way out into the oceans to benefit from the power of the waves. Depending on the distance between the wave energy conversion device and the shoreline, there are three possible locations were these four energy converting devices can be placed and these are classified as: shoreline, nearshore and offshore. Each location and energy conversion device has its own advantages and disadvantages.Wave energy has great potential as Mother nature provides a large supply of renewable wave energy every day. The technology already exists for extraction of this free energy as there are many wave energy conversion devices in the oceans around the world at this time generating renewable energy, but there but there is still a long way to go as there are many technical challenges to be solved.One of the challenges to overcome in using the energy of the waves is that the ocean waves, although consistent in the fact that the worlds oceans are constantly moving (especially near coastal areas), they are variable as weather conditions and seasonal changes affect wave height. Another major challenge to effectively harnessing the energy is figuring out a way to construct devices that can survive the harsh oceanic conditions as some devices have already been destroyed by the energy carrier itself: “the sea”.However, if the technology and efficiencies are improved offshore wave energy can provide many advantages compared to other forms of renewable energy sources. One of its main advantages is that wave energy is generally considered to provide a clean source of renewable energy with limited negative environmental impacts with very low or zero CO2 emissions. Wave energy also has negligible land use and large scale implementation of wave power technologies could help stimulate declining shipbuilding and dockyard industries that could help fabricate these metal bodied wave energy devices.Despite the challenges of harnessing the power of the waves, there are still plans to build wave energy farms throughout the world. Like solar and wind power, wave power is completely green, completely clean and completely sustainable. The challenge is to figure out how to do it effectively, efficiently and economically.

How To Reduce Energy at Home |

How to reduce energy at home has gradually become a household desire as a result of high definition T.V.’s and homes the size of a castle. Throw in a struggling economy and the melt down of a nuclear plant and becoming more energy efficient seems like a great idea.Our power bills rise as a result of increasing power costs and the need for more and more power to operate are power hungry homes and our power dependent lifestyles. Becoming energy smart and working to control energy usage and energy waste is our defense against those hefty power bills.Here are 9 steps you can take to answer the question, How to Reduce Energy at Home.1. Hang on to Your Power Bill.Your power bill has a lot of information on it that you need to have to assess your homes power usage. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to monitor the power you use throughout the year, your power company already has that information available. Your power bill tells you how many therms of Natural Gas and how many kilowatt hours of electricity you used last month and how it compares to the same month a year earlier.Some households will need to hold onto the power bills that come in the mail and some can access that information from their power company on-line. It is important as household energy reduction programs are undertaken, that a years record of power consumption is available.Tip: Ask your power company if they are participating in the Green Button program. The Green Button program allows people to access their energy usage on-line.2. Welcome a Change in Lifestyle.You can no longer conduct yourself in your home like you did when electricity was 3 cents a kilowatt hour and the only electric appliance you had in your home, other than the Frigidaire, was a light bulb.Lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce energy consumption and to avoid wasting energy. It will take a greening of the mind and a conscious effort to follow desired energy saving practices.Tip: Start with something simple like turning off lighting when not needed and setting back the thermostat at night and when your away at work.3. Conduct an Energy Audit. You’ll Learn How to Reduce Energy at HomeAn energy audit of your home will help guide energy saving measures. A home energy audit will identify areas of energy waste and what measures you should address first to save the most energy on a cost-effect bases.To start the home energy audit process, have your home assessed on-line. It’s free and it will offer valuable information. There is a number of web-sites that have home energy audit calculators that you can use. The first place to look for an on-line assessment program is your power companies website.Tip: Your power company may have an on-line audit program or they may even offer a free home visit from an energy auditor. Give your power company a call.4. Weatherization is Cost Effective. Now This is How to Reduce Energy at Home.Usually, the most cost-effective method of reducing energy usage and lowering power bills is through weatherization measures. Whether you live in a cold climate and need to keep the cold weather outside or you live in a warm climate and need to keep the hot weather outside, weatherization measures offer the help you need.Air Sealing:Your home has more holes in it than you know. Air sealing these holes offers the air barrier you need to separate the outdoor climate from the indoor climate.Insulation:Adding insulation to your homes building shell – the ceiling, floor, and walls, – strengthens your homes thermal barrier and offers defense against heat loss or heat gain because of radiation, conduction, and convection.Tip: Low-income households can get weatherization help through Community Action Programs. Ask your power company if there is a home weatherization, Community Action Program in your area.5. Heating & Cooling Efficiency.Upgrading your heating and cooling system to a more energy efficient source can save energy for years to come. There is no reason for any home to have a $400 dollar electric bill anymore. Air source and ground source heat pumps have greatly increased energy efficient in the last ten years. Ductless heat pumps provide heating and cooling for a fraction of the cost of baseboard heaters, resistant ceiling heat, or electric wall heaters.The 70% efficient gas furnace of the 1970’s has been updated to the 95% efficient gas furnaces available today. Heating and Cooling Contractors are available to visit your home and discuss the options available that best fit your home and your needs.Tip: Before upgrading central heating or cooling equipment, have the supply and return ducts sealed against air leakage. No use wasting all that efficiently conditioned air through ducts that leak.6. Water Heater, Too Often ForgottenThe only time we pay attention to our water heater is right after a cold shower. After all, the water heater is often located in a mostly hidden location, it doesn’t make any noise, and it doesn’t have any bells and whistles. The water heater is often the #2 energy user in our homes and therefore, when we’re attempting to reduce energy use, needs to have some attention directed it’s way.If your water heater is leaking water from the tank, replace it right away and pay attention to the energy efficiency rating of the new water heater. If your water heater is not leaking, do these two energy saving measures:Adjust water temperature:The most energy efficient water temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a gas water heater, adjusting the temperature is easy with the dial on the water heater gas valve. If your water heater is electric, you will need to remove the element covers to adjust the temperature. It is best to turn the electricity off at the circuit panel before attempting this adjustment.Water Heater Blanket:Your water heater maybe insulated already, but additional insulation blanket around the outside will save energy. Read the owners manual for your water heater and follow the directions. Water heater blankets are available at most building stores, the blanket will also contain written instructions for it’s installation.7. Appliance Upgrades Save EnergyMicrowaves heat food more efficiently than a range. New refrigerators use less energy than ones manufactured 10 years ago. New clothes washing machines use less energy and less water. Clothes dryers with moisture sensors, turn off when clothes are dry. New surge protector power strips can stop phantom power loss.When replacing an old appliance or shopping for a new one, remember to look for the Energy Star Label.8. Lighting TechnologyYou will be surprised at the number of light bulbs you have in your home. Take a guess at the number and then go around yur home and count each one. Most people are surprised to realize how many light bulbs their home actually has.For those lighting fixtures you use the most and are left on the longest, compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs can save significant energy. There is a CFL bulb designed for every light fixture in the home.9. Renewable EnergyHomes with renewable energy sources like solar electric and wind turbines, not only produce energy but also save more energy. There seems to be a connection between the desire to produce renewable energy and the awareness to reduce energy use. So, one good way to save energy is to produce the energy your saving.If your considering a renewable energy system, the first thing you will want to do is contact your power company. Your power company knows more about renewable energy than you might think.These are the 9 steps on How to Reduce Energy at Home. Reducing energy use does not require large sacrifices nor a degree in electrical engineering, it simply requires energy use awareness and a power bill that has the ability to open your eyes.Thank you for stopping by, hope you will come back soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…

Take Your Average Utility Bill and Learn Where to Save Energy |

Dollars and CentsAt the beginning of a home energy audit, I make it a habit to ask the homeowner if I can see their current utility bill. I can get a lot of valuable information about the energy use of a home by looking at the utility bill. The average utility bill will provide current energy use and indicate how that compares with the energy use for the previous year. With a little knowledge about energy use in comparable sized homes constructed about the same year, a judgement can be formed concerning how energy efficient the home is and how much energy waste might be going on.Since I am aware of how much valuable information is on a utility bill, I am always amazed at the number of homeowners that cannot locate their current bill. They have either misplaced it or it has already been recycled with the trash. Reminds me of the student that tells the teacher, “The dog ate my homework.” It is possible that the people simply do not want me to see the utility bill because they are behind on the payments. I understand, if I had a $300 utility bill every month and I was behind $500 bucks, I would not want some stranger nosing around my bill that was possibly going to make sour judgments.The homeowner that impresses me is the one that say’s, “Just a minute, I will pull it up on the computer.” This is a person that has learned how to make technology work for them. Too bad I don’t see the average utility bill on-line more often. Technology can help people save energy too, so if you have your power bill on-line, there is a good chance you will welcome and understand energy saving technology like programmable thermostats, Blueline Energy Monitors, and phantom killing power strips.What’s on your average utility bill?Electricity and natural gas, which comprise almost 90% energy audit of residential energy use, are distributed by central utilities that bill us for the monthly service. Utility bills contain a bucket load of information in addition to the amount you owe. Energy consumption, rate information, the time period, amount paid in service fees and local taxes, delivery fees, this months energy use, the previous 12 months usage, the average daily use, and other interesting information.About 40% of your homes energy use is for heating and cooling. This energy use is called seasonal energy consumption. Depending on the season and the outdoor temperature, seasonal energy use can vary widely from season to season and month to month. Many utility bills will show a high spike in energy use in the summer indicating the cooling load and a high spike in winter indicating the heating load.To save energy, if the home becomes more energy efficient because of added insulation, air sealing, or high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, the seasonal base load will decrease and the spikes in energy use during the middle of summer and winter will not be as high.The remaining energy that we use contains all the other energy users in the home and is called the baseload. Baseload consumption varies from season to season, but not nearly as much as seasonal energy use. Contributing to the baseload energy use are items like the refrigerator, lighting, big screen TV, and the washer and dryer. To lower baseline energy, more efficient appliances are needed and household energy behavior needs to be make some adjustments. Sorry to say, baseline energy is influenced by household behavior as much as anything. You can’t teach a water heater to take a shorter shower, but you can educate Missy why a shorter shower reduces baseline energy costs.The Foreign Language of Energy Units.Utility billFlour is measured in cups and weight loss is measured in pounds. We know about cups and pounds and have a basic knowledge of just how much vinegar is in 8 ounces. What most of us don’t know is how a light bulb can use watts and how many watts are in a kilowatt hour. Nor do we know how a gas furnace can use something called British Thermal Units. I thought that’s why we came across the ocean and wrote a great document in 1776. The whole red coat, blue coat thing was to get away from the British.The nice part is, you and I don’t really need to define kilowatt hour. What we do need to know is how to find the amount of kilowatt hours we used for a given time period on our power bill and then learn how to control that usage so we can pay less for energy. The same with the therms for natural gas. A therm is approximately equal to 100,000 Btus. One Btu is about the same amount of energy that is in one good wooden match. So, if you have a 70,000 Btu furnace, your furnace will provide the same amount of heat energy that is in 70,000 matches. Now, that is one heck of a birthday cake.Here again, I’m not sure it matters if we understand what a therm is or not. If we have a gas water heater, furnace, range, and dryer, we’d better know where to find the therms on the gas bill. The more therms you use the more you pay and the more carbon you release to the atmosphere. The object then is to look at your gas bill and your seasonal and base load consumption and organize your energy saving efforts accordingly.Utility billTime Period and Meter Reading.
The utility bill will have a starting and ending date of the billing period. There will be a meter reading from the beginning of the billing period and a reading at the end of the period. The difference in the two readings will be the amount of kilowatt hours or therms that were used during the period. Some bills will then provide the average usage and cost per day.The time period information is important because it gives us a comparison between consecutive months and between the same month a year earlier. For most of us, the only place we have to look to see the success of our energy saving measures is our utility bill.So here’s my recommended process:
Instead of feeding your dog the utility bill, receive your bill electronically and save all of them for reference.
On each bill, look passed the dollars and cents and recognize the units used for the time period and the average use per day.
Recognize the amount of energy that was base line usage and the amount that was seasonal usage.
Perform an energy audit of your home and establish a priority for energy saving measures including behavioral changes.
Complete one or more energy saving measures and check the next utility bill to see if you can recognize a reduction in energy usage.
Continue with additional energy saving measures.
Rates and Demand charges.
Whatever you do, do not turn the average utility bill over and check out the small print on the back. At least on my bill, this is where all the taxes, fees, and line charges are listed. It is amazing how many different causes a portion of my payment gets to support.Utility billWhether on the back or somewhere on the front, some of us will have a rate code listed. The code will specify one price for the first block of kilowatt hours or therms and another price for the second and another price for the third block. Some power providers grant a reduction in the cost of power if you use more. Other power providers will increase the price for each additional unit which favors those that use less.Even more important than the block pricing is the time of day pricing. Some power providers, in an attempt to encourage reduced energy usage during peak times of the day, will charge us more for the energy used during the time of day when people need to use the most power. During the time we are getting ready for work and in the evening are the times when we pay the most.This time-of-day pricing is very important information that is found on the average utility bill. If we concentrate our energy saving behavorial efforts on the time when power costs the most, we can realize additional cost savings.Energy saving starts with the average utility bill.Energy savings doesn’t start with a new refrigerator or closing off the register in the unused bedroom. Energy saving starts with getting to know and understand your utility bill. Once every month, you get this reminder of why you need to save energy and how you might go about it. Every month you get this piece of paper, or electronic file, that gives you a pep talk that will help you focus your energy saving efforts.It’s OK if you want to keep your utility bill hidden from a stranger, but let’s face it, the dog is full of homework and probably doesn’t have room for more.Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you.

Solar Energy Facts |

This article will address some of the most intriguing solar energy facts. Solar energy is generally one of the most ecologically sound and desirable sources of power these days. Let’s get going with the obvious. Solar power has been in existence since the dawn of time. It has been used by microbial, plant, and animal life as a primary energy supply. Plants, using photosynthesis, create nearly all of the food on the earth and are at the base of the food chain. Furthermore the fossil fuels we rely on so heavily nowadays are created from plants and animals that lived a long time ago. Only in recent times have human beings been able to capture solar energy so that it may be utilized any time of day and night, and in any weather, stored and transferred.Annually, the earth’s atmosphere absorbs 3.85 million exajoules of energy from our sun. This most likely doesn’t mean much to you, however by comparison, the entire use of electric energy by all people today around the world is just 56.7 exajoules per year. This indicates that within a few hours, the earth receives more energy from the sun than people expend during an entire year! Solar energy is a remarkably clean supply of energy simply because, in contrast to fossil fuels, making use of this kind of energy doesn’t discharge carbon dioxide or other types of harmful toxins into the environment. Furthermore solar energy is collected by almost every single form of life. You’ve almost certainly never seen a reptile collect wood to start a fire, but you most likely have seen one lying on a rock to absorb solar energy. Solar power is probably the most environmentally sound energy option attainable right now.Perhaps you may be wondering what exactly solar power is capable of doing for our environment. Every year, humans consume 467 exajoules of energy by utilizing several principal power sources: burning coal, gasoline, and oil, along with ‘green’ sources like wind, solar, and hydro energy. However, if we could capture just 10% of the sun’s energy, we would have the capacity to replace all of the fossil fuel sources and have enough space for growth. Without any doubt solar energy facts like this make it clear how much better solar power is for the environment and how great the potential is for solar energy development.Considering that you’ve seen some of the most remarkable solar energy facts and now have an understanding regarding what solar energy can possibly do for the environment, you’d probably want to know just exactly what solar energy is. To put it simply, solar energy is the heat and light energy emitted from the sun. The sun constantly generates vast quantities of energy into our solar system. Approximately 30% of the sun’s energy that reaches the earth is immediately deflected by the atmosphere, and another 20% is absorbed into the atmosphere. However, around 50% of the energy actually reaches the earth’s surface, where it fuels photosynthesis in plants, maintains both hot tropical and warm temperate climates, maintains the temperature of the ocean, and generally speaking keeps our planet alive. All of this is accomplished without creating any pollution or destruction of natural resources.A lot of people don’t understand how solar energy functions on the technical level, and so they wonder just what solar energy is going to provide to their homes, businesses, and communities. In the last three decades, solar energy technology has developed at an accelerated rate. Solar energy is gathered at a number of large power plants in the U.S., Spain, Australia, and in other nations, where it delivers power directly to the power grid. This implies that countless houses around the globe already get electrical power generated by the sun. One of several lesser known solar energy facts is that solar power can also be employed on a considerably smaller scale. Solar panels on households and businesses, can certainly create a percentage (or possibly all) of the power these buildings have to have. On an even smaller scale, solar panel systems are put to use in India and Indonesia to disinfect water, and compact solar burners and ovens are often employed in order to cook food in other regions of the globe. Solar energy might be employed to power practically any procedure you can visualize, from large-scale power generation for towns and cities to boiling a single pot of water.What makes all of these different uses achievable is the development of solar energy systems. You will notice two standard varieties of solar energy technologies presently used today: solar thermal energy (STE) and photovoltaic (PV) energy. Solar thermal collectors just harness the heat or thermal energy generated by the sun. This thermal energy is generally used to heat water which in turn can easily be stored and used for common every day requirements or piped to a household heating system. STE may be stored by heating up or energizing a thermal mass that is designed to continue to radiate heat even when the sun isn’t shining. Solar thermal collectors actually are significantly more efficient in comparison with photovoltaic collectors but on the other hand energy storage is somewhat more cumbersome. Photovoltaic solar panel systems produce electricity when exposed to sunlight. This electric current may be used immediately or alternatively stored by using batteries for later use. This is actually one of the more significant solar energy facts whenever you are dealing with PV energy systems. Battery storage is incredibly significant since it means it is possible to store solar power for use through the night or during cloudy or rainy days.Solar energy is a very important alternative power source which can help us take care of our environment. It can also help to cut down our reliance on fossil fuels. You may be asking yourself just how big of an expense it is going to be for you to convert to solar power? Solar power is not really as costly as most people think. A total solar energy system for a house can potentially cost more than $30,000, having said that this does not really mean you will be paying that total amount. To begin with, you will discover lots of different incentive plans, which include tax credits, rebates and grants, that may reduce the price of installing solar panel systems by 30% or more. One other option you might wish to look into is a smaller solar energy system that just supplements your household power needs. A smaller sized system will cost considerably less, while still lowering your current energy bills, and it will certainly help make your home much more environmentally sound. Currently most electrical power is generated using fossil fuels. So lowering your use of electrical power from the area power company by 50% is actually an important step towards establishing a sustainable power grid.In this article, we’ve made an effort to supply you with a number of helpful and thought provoking solar energy facts. While you contemplate these facts, also think about just how much value you put on the quality of the environment and on humanity’s ability to preserve it. No matter if fossil fuels do not run out during the next 50 years, it’s very likely that their continued use as our primary energy source is going to wreak environmental havoc. Investing in solar power now might not instantly help you save money, but your monetary investment can certainly provide an improved future for everybody under the sun.