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/

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Who's in Charge of Energy Regulations in the U.S.?


Regulating the energy industry in America is not done by just one regulatory organization, but rather many different organizations that each focus on something specific. These organizations can either be created by federal law or be part of government agencies and provide varying levels of energy regulations. This article provides a brief introduction to the companies that oversee the energy regulations in the U.S. energy industry.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

DOE was created in 1977 and has the broadest responsibilities in the energy regulations of power generation and electric suppliers and distribution at the federal level.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The NRC was created by Congress in 1974. After the passing of the Energy Reorganization Act, NCR was to oversee the growing nuclear energy industry. The commission is led by five commissioners selected by the U.S. Senate and is in charge of regulating the creation of nuclear energy, as well as the use of nuclear materials. In addition to inspecting and licensing nuclear power plants and reactors, the commission also has the responsibility of regulating uranium mining and nuclear waste.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

After the Federal Power Act of 1920, FERC was created. This organization oversees the electricity, oil, and natural gas industries. Some additional responsibilities include:
  • Reviewing electricity project proposals
  • Inspecting public and private sector electricity plants
  • Providing licenses for electricity plants
  • Regulating interstate wholesale electricity agreements
  • Monitoring the electricity markets
  • Enforcing regulations

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)

Surface coal and related environmental affairs are regulated by the OSMRE. In 1977, the Surface Control and Mining Act created the bureau. A prime duty of OSMRE includes working with Americans to confirm land and water quality after a mining project has been completed.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Founded more than 100 years ago, NIST promotes scientific innovation within areas including:
  • Nanotechnology
  • Computer Chips
  • Energy Production

Research is sponsored by the institute and it also recognizes achievements in areas it supports. It also focuses on sustainable energy development. Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly available. In fact, about 10% of U.S. energy consumption was from renewable energy sources in 2015.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

With offices in California, Alaska, and Louisiana, BOEM's main focus is environmental protection. The agency's responsibilities include management of oil and gas leases, environmental reviews, as well as additional renewable energy projects.
Another key responsibility is managing marine energy exploration and mining in Alaska, the Pacific regions, and the Gulf of Mexico.

All of these organizations work together in ensuring that all organizations in the United States are following regulations and working towards keeping the country productive yet safe.

Monday, October 9, 2017

3 Energy Saving Tips To Prepare You for Fall


Fall and winter might bring their own wonders like foliage, snowfall, pumpkin spice, and peppermint, but they can be killer when it comes to your energy bill. In this post, we will discuss how to prepare yourself for the coming cold of winter and provide some handy energy conservation tips.

Switch Your Light Bulbs
You've likely already noticed the days are getting shorter. While we're still a ways from the shortest day of the year, it won't be long before the decreasing amount of sunlight will have an effect on your utility provider bill. One of the easiest energy conservation tips is to consider replacing your old light bulbs with more energy efficient offerings. Today's halogen incandescent, LED, CFL lights can save you between a third and 80% of your energy usage.

Check for Leaks in Heating Vents
While a lot has been said about the importance of improving the insulation in your home (especially the attic), people are surprisingly silent about one of the largest contributors to heat loss, and therefore energy waste. Take the time to have your metal heating vents checked for any leaks and remember, metal constricts when it is cold, so a venting system that's sound in summer might have sprung a leak by the time October or November rolls around. It could save you as much as 20% with your energy company.

Set Your Thermostat Modestly
What feels better than stepping in for a chilly autumn evening and being enveloped in the warm air of your home. But if you're interested in saving on your electricity or concerned with your environmental impact, then you might want to reconsider your thermostat setting. Even setting your thermostat two degrees lower during the winter can save the typical homeowner 420 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. It can also have a big impact on the total cost of your electricity bill. So stock up in advance on cozy sweaters and blanket in order to help you keep warm without using as much energy, or consider a small solar powered space heater to help maximize the amount of heat you take in from the sun during the day.
Fall and winter can be killer if you're someone who cares about reducing energy use. But with these energy conservation tips, you'll be able to start preparing for the cooler half of the year.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Follow These Tips to Conserve Energy at Your School Today


Every day, we are looking for more ways to save energy to help our environment. We turn off lights when we're not in the room, shut off faucets when we don't need water, and recycle things for various uses so they don't go to waste in landfills. About 10% of the total energy consumption in the U.S. was from renewable energy in 2015. That may seem acceptable, but there is definitely room for improvement. So, if you are a teacher or school administrator, follow these tips to help conserve energy in your school today.
Electricity

The most obvious thing you can do when it comes to electricity conservation is to turn off all lights when they're not in use. To remind your students to turn off the lights, try hanging up little signs next to light switches. Use energy efficient or LED bulbs instead of the traditional bulbs. Run lessons and experiments on energy conservation in your classroom, so your kids can understand it better. The more they understand its importance, the more serious they'll take turning off the lights.
Heating and Cooling

Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature to ensure a level of comfort for both teachers and students. Fans can also help cool a room down. This way, you are saving energy by not relying on air conditioning. Programmable thermostats can also help you keep track of a temperature in a room.
Tech and Computers

Assure your computers are able to go into sleep mode when not in use. Doing this makes saving energy a lot easier. Have students turn off monitors if the computers are not going to be used again for a while. Always check to be sure all the computers are off at the end of the school day. Computers take up a lot of energy, so cutting down any way you can is good.
Schools are a powerhouse of energy usage, from lights to heating to the various tools of the trade used to teach a child. It can be difficult sometimes to figure out how to reduce energy costs, but providing a good, quality education to kids is an excellent way to start.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RESA: Analysis Shows Millions in Potential Electricity Savings Available to Connecticut Consumers

RESA: Many Competitive Electricity Offers Available Below The Cost Of Utility Standard Service Rate 

An analysis of Connecticut's competitive electricity market shows many competitive offers below the cost of utility service, and if all Connecticut electricity consumers taking utility standard rate service switched to these lowest available competitive offers, the potential savings are more than $18.5 million for July, the Retail Energy Supply Association said today

"Some have questioned the value of Connecticut's competitive energy market, suggesting that utility service offers a better option than signing up with a competitive supplier. But this simplistic equation ignores the values beyond price that competitive suppliers bring to the marketplace," said Retail Energy Supply Association spokesman Bryan Lee.

"Nevertheless, this analysis shows that if a shopper's only value proposition were price, many competitive suppliers offer electricity at prices below the standard service rate. If all the state's electricity customers receiving utility service instead chose the lowest available competitive offer, considerable potential savings would be realized," Lee said.

RESA said that, as of July 21 in Eversource's territory, 97 competitive supply offers were available from 23 competitive suppliers. Of those, 21 would provide a fixed rate below the utility rate and 24 offered 100 percent renewable energy green offers, some of which were below the utility's rate. The total potential savings available to standard offer customers amounted to nearly $15.7 million, RESA said

As of July 21 in United Illuminating's territory, 94 competitive offers were available from 24 competitive suppliers. Of those, 13 were below the standard offer rate and 24 offered 100 percent renewable energy green offers, some of which were at rates below the utility's standard offer rate. Total potential savings available to the utility's standard offer customers amounted to more than $2.8 million, RESA said

"Price is only one factor consumers weigh when choosing electricity supply," said Marc Hanks, RESA's New England chairman. Hanks further noted that suppliers are innovating and developing value-added products and services that go beyond price to differentiate themselves from competitors. RESA noted that while some suppliers provide incentives like gift cards and loyalty points, others offer smart thermostats, smart devices and energy services that allow consumers to take charge of their energy usage. Chief among these value-added products are green energy options that allow consumers to express their environmental preferences through their electricity purchase, RESA said

"Connecticut's consumers are benefiting from a range of developing value-added products and services available through competitive supplier product differentiation. Price is only one consideration," Hanks said. "Encouraging the public to only consider utility standard offer service is a disservice to consumers and the emerging innovation available through the state's competitive energy market."

The analysis of potential savings is based on information available through www.energizect.com, the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority's official rate board website. "The Authority has developed an excellent and comprehensive tool to inform, compare and filter the many choices designed to help consumers find the option best suited to meet their energy need," Hanks said.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Create a Sustainable Home

While there are plenty of ways to save energy in your home, going green can actually be more expensive. Buying green cleaning products and investing in energy saving initiates can sometimes turn people off because of their prices, despite being an investment into the home's energy costs down the line.

However, there are plenty of ways to save on energy costs in your home. Follow some of these tips and tricks and your wallet will thank you!

Make sure to turn off all electronics when you are done using them. Even if they are turned off they can still be sucking energy from your home, so simply turn them all the way off when you're done. This includes your computer, your television, and your microwave.

Install a programmable thermostat. Doing so will save you up to 10% on cooling and heating costs as you'll be able to plan exactly when your home will use its energy efficiently.
Ditch your newspaper and magazine subscriptions -- you'll be able to read them online for a similar price but save loads of paper in the process.
Get rid of your paper towels and invest in cloth. It may take some time getting used to, but you'll be shocked at the amount of paper you use every day that just goes into the trash!
Time your showers. Play your favorite song and see if you can get in and out by the time it is done.
Buy a lunch box instead of using plastic bags every day. Not only will you reduce your plastic consumption, you'll be inspired to pack your lunch every day because of your nice new bag.
Contact your utility provider as they may have some sustainable energy options for you to try out including solar, wind, and geothermal.
Put a recycling bin on every level of your home so there is no excuse for your family not to recycle.
Pay all of your bills online. Less paper equals less energy used overall -- and direct deposit means you won't have to worry about a thing!

These simple tips and tricks will go far when it comes to investing in taking care of Mother Nature.