Thursday, December 28, 2017

Light a Fire This Winter: Need to Know Info About Gas, Electric, and Wood Burning Stoves

The snow is falling now, it's cold outside, and while your electric suppliers are preparing for you to turn up the heat, few things are quite as cozy as cuddling up next to a fireplace. A good fire draws the mind back in time and is so delightful to be around when the weather outside is frightful. These days, we have a few options when it comes to adding the warmth and ambiance of fire to our homes.
Over 150 years ago, wood had fueled almost 90% of the country's needed energy. Now we have fireplaces that provide heat from a few different energies: wood, gas, and electricity. If you're keen on conserving energy this winter, let's take a peek at the different styles of keeping that living room toasty.

Wood
There's something comforting about the traditional nature of a wood burning stove. They've been effectively heating homes for thousands of years at this point and continue to today. A constant source of energy, they cannot be foiled by limitations in gas supply or power outages.
While the wood-fueled fireplace may be the most attractive option, you may not reduce energy costs without thoughtful care. Chimneys are culprits of heat escape during the winter and fireplaces often centralize heat instead of being able to circulate it through your home. There is also annual safety inspection that must be considered. A wood fireplace can be a liability if not adequately cared for.


Gas
The bill from your electric suppliers will likely be the lowest with this option. Gas is convenient and you'll save on energy costs by having the ability to redirect the heat from your gas stove to the rest of the house. If you're looking for ways to save energy in your home, gas fireplaces are a great choice. They work during power outages and there's little cleaning or maintenance to be done, other than inspection once a year.
As with wood-burning fireplaces, installation can be pricey. It can be even more pricey if your gas supplier has to install an additional gas line to connect to your fireplace. Even the price of natural gas, depending on how much the fireplace is used, can be cause for concern.


Electric
As far as immediate installation goes, electric fireplaces are the easiest to install and use, and they're also inexpensive. They don't require the space that wood-burning or gas fireplaces need and some are even portable, able to be plugged into power outlets. They're incredibly convenient.
They can be the least appealing as far as visual aesthetic. Most electric fireplaces look like you're watching a fire burn on television. They eat up electricity and don't heat beyond the room they're situated. If there's a power outage, electric fireplaces are completely useless.


At the end of the day, it's all about the space you have, the look you want, and what you're trying to save on. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, but while your electric suppliers are gearing up for you to run the furnace, remember an old fashioned heating option that'll warm you, hearth, home, and heart.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Its Never Too Early to Start Teaching Your Kids About Energy Conservation

When it comes to reducing energy use, you should try to include your whole family. While kids may not fully understand the importance of energy reduction, it's important to get them involved when they're young to ensure they grow up with an environmentally-friendly mindset. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few ways you can teach your children eco-friendly values.

Educate your kids. In order to help kids appreciate energy conservation, they have to understand it first. By having a discussion with your child about energy, you'll be able to help them understand where energy and electricity come from. You should consider telling them about your local energy company and explaining how energy is received from the local energy company. Additionally, there are online resources and books to help explain the concept in a fun, easy way.

Plan activities that don't use electricity. Consider dedicating a certain time, whether it be an hour a day or a whole day out of the week, to do activities that don't use electricity or energy. Exploring outdoors is a great way to do this because oftentimes you don't require energy to do stuff outside. Planning these activities can be a great way to bring the whole family together without sitting in front of a screen.

Use energy-efficient transportation. When possible, you should encourage your family to be creative when it comes to transportation. It's important for kids to know that there are other modes of transportation that will help you reduce energy use. With that in mind, you should consider biking or walking when possible.

Keep your children involved. If you're making lifestyle changes to help increase energy savings, share these behaviors with the whole family. Whether it's taking shorter showers or ensuring all the lights are off when you leave a room, the whole family should be participating. Additionally, if you're doing projects around the house, make sure to include your children. By explaining to them what you're working on and how it's going to help you save energy, you'll be helping them further understand the importance of saving energy.

Start a garden together in the early Spring. Not only do gardens naturally help the environment, but they can also instill a sense of responsibility in your children. Additionally, they'll be able to learn about different types of plants and natural resources. You can choose to grow produce, flowers, or even plant some trees. In fact, trees are a great addition to your property. When trees provide shade, reductions in energy use can save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Also, each tree can absorb about 25 pounds of CO2 from the air each year on their own.

No matter what age your child is, it's never too early to start teaching them how to save energy and minimize their impact on the environment. Whether it's talking to them about your local energy company or growing plants, there are plenty of ways to educate your children about the importance of reducing energy use.

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Few Renewable Energy Options to Consider for Your Home


There's been a lot of talk lately about green energy and renewable energy options. While most of it may seem out of reach, the truth is that there are renewable energy options for every home.
Have you ever considered making your home a more sustainable, clean place to live? The renewable energy sources below will take you to a level far beyond installing a programmable thermostat and saving a mere 10% on cooling and heating costs.

Solar Roofing Panels
This might be one of the most obvious choices, but its benefits are practically endless. It's worth mentioning as one of the most easily accessible renewable energy sources out there, too! Depending on your roof and the orientation of your panels, it's possible to generate more than 10 watts per square foot of coverage. And solar power doesn't just mean electricity, either. In fact, you have the option of using solar power for household things like heating water and powering your air conditioning, as well. Bid your traditional electricity supplier goodbye!

Wind Turbines
Wind turbines are most typically found offshore or on large, empty plots of land, but nobody said you had to have a mammoth wind turbine in your backyard. In fact, any wind turbine powering your home would need to be scaled down to fit on your property. One of the biggest advantages here is that wind power is a bit more reliable than solar power in most cases. Where the sun may hide behind a cloud, it's a rare day that's without a good breeze.

Hydro Power
If your property houses a stream or any kind of running water, you're in luck. It may not be Niagara Falls, but a micro hydro power system can make powering your home an environmentally friendly breeze. Even a small stream can help you generate power at a price point that's lower than both solar and wind.

If you're looking to get involved in a cleaner, greener lifestyle, these renewable energy sources are excellent places to start. Who knows what other renewable energy tools may become available in the future? It's best to get started now.





Tuesday, November 21, 2017

5 Energy Conservation Tips For Homeowners


Life can be extremely expensive, and that's especially true for homeowners. Not only do these property owners have to stay on top of their home's maintenance, buy enough groceries for their entire family, and make regular car payments, they have to spend a significant amount of money on energy.

With all of that in mind, here are some excellent energy conservation tips that you should consider if you're a homeowner.

Do laundry using cold water

It might sound simple, but that's because it is! Doing your wash with cold water will actually save you plenty of cash. Washing clothes using only cold water can actually save you about $63 a year.


Clean your HVAC filters regularly

Cleaning your heating and cooling systems on a consistent basis will ensure they are working properly, thus saving you money. A dirty AC filter or furnace will slow down air flow and cause the system to work much harder, subsequently jacking up your energy bills.


Seal all air leaks inside your home

Sealing all your air leaks inside your home by properly insulating the walls and attic can actually save you up to 20% on heating bills. Not only will you be saving a tremendous amount of cash every month by not wasting energy, but your home will also be much warmer and you'll be more comfortable.


Consult with an energy company

A great tip for conserving energy that homeowners rarely think about is to actually call an energy company and see what they have to say.  It's important that you're actually working with a credible, experienced, and helpful organization.  If the company is experienced, they will likely offer energy options to try and reduce your energy usage and potentially your costs.  Rather than doing everything by yourself, stay in contact with your trusted energy company.


Turn on bathroom fans

It might sound like it won't make much of a difference, but it really will. Leaving your home's bathroom fans on for a few hours at a time can help improve comfort and save a few bucks. Bathroom fans actually suck out humidity and heat from your home, leading to a more comfortable home.

Saving energy can help lead to saving money -- so you should do all you can to make your home more energy efficient. To learn more, contact Starion Energy today.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

5 U.S. Cities That Run on 100% Renewable Energy


Cities across the United States are more committed than ever to their roles in reducing carbon emissions. Luckily, it's becoming easier and more affordable for cities to clean their air by using renewable energy. And because of this, five U.S. cities have successfully made the switch to 100% renewable energy over the past decade. Since "100% renewable" may be defined differently in each location, each location made the transition differently. The following five cities have undergone the process to become reliant on 100% renewable energy.


  1. Rock Port, Missouri - Rock Port became the first community in America to become powered entirely by wind power in 2008. The 1,300 residents rely on four large wind turbines, which are connected to the power grid. This small town produces more electricity than they can use.
  2. Kodiak Island, Alaska - Kodiak Island has been 99% powered by wind and hydro since 2014. The island's electric company decided that 95% of the community's power would rely on renewable energy sources by 2020 after relying heavily on hydro but still burning 2.8 million gallons of diesel every year. Kodiak not only met its goal but succeeded in meeting its target six years early.
  3. Greensburg, Kansas - After a tornado forced half the town's population to leave in 2007, the remaining citizens decided to rebuild with a focus on sustainability. Using wind and solar power along with geothermal technologies, Greensburg achieved 100% renewable energy in 2013. Although cost was initially a major setback, the town now saves $200,000 annually in energy costs for its largest buildings.
  4. Aspen, Colorado - In 2015, Aspen hit its goal using mainly wind and hydropower. While it was a struggle, the city accomplished their goal in a short eight years. The city already had two hydro plants and decided to buy wind power from other states to reach 100% renewable energy.
  5. Burlington, Vermont - After buying a hydro plant facility in 2014, Burlington reach 100% renewable energy. Even though it once relied heavily on coal, Burlington is now powered by wood chips, wind, solar, landfill methane, and hydropower.

Energy Conservation Tips to Help You Go Green

While it may seem impossible, you as a homeowner can go green too! Something as simple as changing your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs, which reduce energy use from about a third to as much as 80%, can be a great place to begin. Check out these few energy conservation tips to help you get started:
  • Change furnace filters regularly
  • Use a programmable thermostat
  • Seal leaks around windows and doors
  • Use a tankless water heater
While this might not seem like a lot, following these simple energy conservation tips can make a huge difference in the long run and get you started on your green energy journey.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Apartment Renter? No Problem! Here's How You Can Still Go Green

It may seem impossible to save energy when you're living in a rental apartment. After all, you only have so much control over what you can do in your space. This is often why topics on saving energy and reducing utility bills are often directed at homeowners.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce your electric bill and save energy as a renter too. Check out these nifty tips on how to save energy in your apartment:


Use LED light bulbs around your apartment. LED lights may be more expensive initially, but you'll thank your past self for making the decision to purchase a box.

LED lights last significantly longer than halogen lights and don't give off as much heat. Not only does this reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses let out into the air, but it also reduces the risk of fire in your home.

Purchase a power strip.
Power strips are a great way to save energy in your apartment. By plugging most of your electronics into one place, you can turn them all off at once when you're not using them.
This can help to reduce carbon emissions as well as reducing your electricity bill. By turning off your unused electronics in one spot, you keep them from sucking energy from the wall when they're not in use.

Use fans.
A lot of an apartment's electricity goes to the HVAC system during the summer and winter months. By placing a fan in your apartment, you can keep your air conditioning or heating at a lower temperature and circulate the air with the fan.

Invest in a programmable thermostat.
If you live in an apartment where you can install your own thermostat, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. You can reduce up to 6% of the carbon dioxide emissions from your home by lowering your thermostat only two degrees during the winter. You can also keep the heating or air conditioning off while you're away from your apartment to reduce energy use even more.

Going green isn't just something homeowners can do; you can save energy in your apartment too! By making simple changes around your home, you can make your utility smaller and reduce the impact you have on the environment around you. Contact Starion Energy today with questions or energy options.

Monday, October 30, 2017

GM Increasing Use of Renewable Energy to 20%

General Motors made a recent announcement that its manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Indiana will now use 100% renewable energy. GM is purchasing 200 megawatts of wind energy and by the end of 2018, 20% of GM's global electricity use will be powered by renewable energy.

Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy, told Energy Manager Today, "The first step in meeting our 100 percent renewable energy commitment is reducing the energy intensity of our operations overall. All seven facilities that will have their electricity needs met through this wind deal have achieved the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry, meaning they reduced energy intensity by at least 10% in five years or less."

GM has been one of America's biggest purchasers of renewable energy for decades. The company has saved approximately $5 million annually in doing so. They use solar power at 26 facilities and are continuously working towards using 100% renewable energy at all of their facilities.

Easy Ways to Save Energy At Home

There are multiple easy ways to save energy at home and contribute to the planet becoming more environmentally-friendly. If you don't know where to begin, read the list below to get some ideas on how to start saving energy.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle -- purchase minimally packaged goods, choose reusable products when possible, and recycle, recycle, recycle.

Insulate your walls and ceilings and update your windows. While this might be one of the more expensive ways to save energy in your home, it will pay off in the long run when you have to spend less on heating and cooling. You can also consider installing a programmable thermostat to save up to 10% on your cooling and heating costs.

Replace and clean your air filters. Energy costs can go up when air conditioners or hot-air furnaces have to work harder to get air through dirty air filters. Simply cleaning your air filters can save up to 175 pounds of CO2 each year.

Switch out your light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs use one-fourth the energy of a normal incandescent bulb.

Make sure your dishwasher and washer are always full before running them to avoid wasting water.
If possible, walk, carpool, or ride your bike instead of driving your car. In doing this, you will reduce your carbon footprint.

There are many easy ways to save energy at home, and these are a few good places to start. Over time, it will become easier for you to go green and hopefully, the rest of the planet will join you.

Source: https://www.energymanagertoday.com/gm-power-20-global-electricity-load-clean-energy-0172057/