Monday, March 12, 2018

Hawaii College on Track to Run Completely on 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

Three years ago, Hawaii pledged to use renewable energy sources to generate all of its electricity by 2045. While the whole state is working towards this goal, the University of Hawaii (UH) is stepping up to do its part. Working with the Hawaiian Legislature, UH set a goal for the university to be "net-zero" by January 1, 2035. "Net-zero" means the total amount of energy that is consumed by the university will equal the amount of energy it creates.

University officials announced that UH's Maui College is set to be the first U.S. college campus to use solar systems to completely make the switch from fossil fuels. The university hopes the system will be up and running by 2019 and will consist of 2.8 megawatts of solar PV.

"We are proud to move the entire University of Hawaii System closer to its net-zero energy mandate, to celebrate UH Maui College's achievement and to position the Oahu community college campuses within reach of 100 percent renewable energy generation," said UH Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton.

Leeward Community College, Honolulu Community College, Kapiolani Community College, and Windward Community College are not far behind the Maui campus and are planning to see reductions of fossil fuel use by at least 70%.

This sustainable energy project is not only saving the state energy and money, but providing educational options for these college students as well.

How Can You Start Saving Energy?

When you see the bill you get from your electricity company, you may be wondering how you can reduce your energy use at home. Let's discuss a few energy saving tips you can try.

Change your lightbulbs: Homeowners can reduce their energy use by up to 80% simply by utilizing today's energy-efficient LED, CFL, and halogen incandescent light bulbs. If you're still using traditional light bulbs in your house, now is the time to make the switch. Your electricity company may even have some suggestions for which light bulbs would be best.

Install new windows and doors. The windows and doors in your house might not be doing their job as well as you may think. Hot and cool air both escape through inefficient windows and doors, costing homeowners money on bloated HVAC bills. By choosing energy efficient models that stop air leaks, you can ensure your home stays comfortable without racking up your energy bill. 

While it may not seem like these little things make a difference, they really do! In today's society, every little bit of energy reduction helps -- so do what you can to reduce your energy use at home.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Start Your Spring Cleaning with These Energy Saving Tips

With Groundhog Day behind us and winter (hopefully) coming to a close soon, it's time to start looking forward to warm breezes and spring cleaning. But that also means ditching your energy-consuming winter habits! Say goodbye to your heated blankets and hello to a brighter, cleaner, energy-saving spring.
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips on how to reduce energy use this coming season.

Adjust Your Water Heater

When spring rolls around, so does warmer weather. While you may lament not being able to soak in a steamy shower every morning, rising outdoor temperatures are certainly worth knocking a few degrees off of your daily cleaning rituals. Rather than doing this manually every time you hop in the shower, consider lowering your water heater's temperature by a few degrees. If you perform this action as it gets warmer outside, you could be saving your water heater some work and saving yourself a little bit of summer vacation money.

Let the Breeze Work for You

Green energy might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about spring cleaning, but it may be simpler than you think. After all, have you ever performed spring cleaning without airing out your house? When you turn off the heat and open the windows, you're letting the breeze take care of circulating air and maintaining the temperature in your home. It's nature's very own air conditioning!

Update Your Thermostat

Of all the easy ways to save energy, this is probably the most common. A programmable thermostat can actually save up to 10% of annual cooling and heating costs! With that in mind, it's not hard to see why this is one of the most popular ways to rack up energy savings. Instead of lugging your window units in and out every spring and fall, a centralized AC system with a programmable thermostat can make shifting between seasons as easy as pressing a button.

If you're wondering how to reduce energy use this spring, look no further than these three tips. For more information on how to help reduce your energy use at home, contact Starion Energy today.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Study Suggests U.S. Could Run Almost Entirely on Renewable Energy By 2050

The U.S. is slowly but surely making efforts to implement renewable energy nation-wide. Now, a new study has found that it may be possible for the U.S. to run almost entirely on renewable energy by the year 2050.

The Renewable Electricity Futures Study found that with current technology, an 80% renewables future is possible. The technology that could make this happen consists of wind turbines, solar power, biopower, geothermal, and hydropower.

Many areas in the United States are already investing time and money in renewable energy, which is further showing the positive impact of these energy efforts. In fact, 75 million barrels of oil are saved each year by people and businesses that use solar energy.

Researchers made sure to include results that detailed how potential for renewable energy sources would vary by region. For example, some areas in the country have substantial wind resources, while others have more solar potential. To show these results, interactive visuals were created.

The study looked at 134 regions across the country on an hourly basis. It was assessed by 140 peer reviewers and used state-of-the-art modeling to gather the data. The final report includes assessments of costs, challenges, and opportunities for the individual renewable energy technology.

By using renewable energy, the U.S. will be providing benefits for the climate, public health, and the economy. Not only does it drastically reduce global warming emissions and increase jobs, it can also reduce the necessary water amounts for power production compared to fossil-fueled power plants.

This Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study clearly shows that while an 80% renewables future is possible, it can only be achieved with the right policies in place.

What can you do to help?

With a little effort and by working alongside your local energy supplier, you can help contribute to this sustainable future. One thing you can do is look into easy ways to save energy in your home. This can be as simple as investing in a programmable thermostat, cleaning your furnace filters, and even talking to your local energy supplier about what kind of technologies they were using to supply energy to your area.

More and more energy providers are investing in renewable energy, saving themselves and their clients money. Because of this, it's important to fully understand what technologies are being used to generate your energy. With time, patience, and commitment, we could be on our way to a more sustainable future.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Why is Renewable Energy Important?

Conserving energy is important to not only save homeowners money on energy expenses but also to protect the future of the environment. One way to conserve energy is to utilize renewable energy sources. This article is going to discuss the importance of renewable energy and what it means for our future.

First off, what is renewable energy? Renewable energy sources are those that are replenished constantly. Renewable energy is reliable and plentiful compared to non-renewable energy. Sources such as coal, natural gas, and oil are only obtained by costly explorations and possibly dangerous drilling. Furthermore, these sources will continue to become more expensive as supply decreases. However, renewable energy will become less expensive once the technology needed to access it improves.

Common types of renewable energy include:
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Hydropower
  • Biofuels
  • Geothermal
  • Tidal
One of the biggest factors in the importance of renewable energy is that these sources produce neither greenhouse gases nor harmful emissions. Unlike non-renewable energy, renewable energy causes no harm to the planet. With this lower impact on the environment, the earth will be better off in the long run.

Because of the immense benefits renewable energy sources can offer, more and more people and agencies are investing in these sources. In fact, hydropower accounted for around 6% of total energy generation in the U.S. and 46% of electricity generation from all renewable energy in 2015. Along with it's reduced harm to the environment, renewable energy can offer other benefits as well.

Compared to non-renewable energy resources, renewable energy prices have slowly been decreasing. Because of this price reduction, the world has seen significant advances in ways to utilize renewable energy. More energy efficient equipment, better engineering designs, and technology have all been a major focus of implemented renewable energy.

Furthermore, renewable energy offers long-term certainty. Because renewable energy as a long lifespan and one solar or wind farm can last for around 30 years, this allows users to have time to further increase efficiency by the time the equipment is ready to be upgraded. Unlike non-renewable sources, renewable energy will continue to become more effective while becoming less expensive.

And lastly, renewable energy can offer security. Renewable energy can be utilized anywhere, anytime. This leaves endless possibilities for harnessing this energy. On the other hand, most gas and oil sources are found in certain regions. These areas can prove to be technically challenging and can be expensive to access.

Choosing to diversify the nation's energy supply and realizing the importance of renewable energy will allow for a secure energy future. It's important to have long-term, sustainable energy options in order to continue harvesting the amount of energy we need.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Do You Know the Uses of These 3 Renewable Energy Options?

All around the world people are utilizing renewable energy options in order to do their part in energy conservation. But how are these renewable energy sources actually used? This article is going to discuss a few of the most common uses of the most common renewable energy sources in use today.

Geothermal: Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth. This heat can be sourced close to the surface or even from reservoirs of hot water miles beneath the surface. This energy is harvested on a large scale by geothermal power plants, which are becoming far more popular with each passing year. However, for smaller buildings, a geothermal heat pump may be used to heat the building and even help keep it cool using the earth's natural energy.

Geothermal energy is also being used to heat water at fish farms, aid with a variety of industrial processes, help to run greenhouses and grow plants, or simply heat commercial buildings and reduce energy use.

Ocean Power: The ocean is able to produce two types of sustainable energy, mechanical energy from the motion of the waves and thermal energy from the sun's heat. Systems that rely on warm water temperatures can easily convert ocean thermal energy into electricity. And ocean mechanical energy utilizes the tides caused by the rotation of the earth and gravity.

Unfortunately, use of ocean energy is limited by geography and regulatory guidelines. However, cold water from the ocean can be used to keep buildings cool and areas near the ocean can utilize the ocean energy for energy needs and power generation.

Hydrogen: Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe but does not actually occur naturally as a gas on earth. However, this element can be found in organic compounds and water. Additionally, hydrogen may also be produced under certain circumstances by some bacteria or algae. Fortunately, this element is high in energy but produces little pollution when burned. But until costs come down and the durability of using hydrogen improves, there will be little commercialization.

Hydrogen is commonly used to refine petroleum, produce fertilizer, treat metals, and process foods. It can also reduce energy costs when it powers marine vessels and remote buildings. Car companies are also experimenting with hydrogen fuel cells, which emit water vapor instead of harmful greenhouse gases, and the first U.S. hydrogen fueling stations are currently being tested in California.

Over half of renewable energy in the U.S. is used for producing electricity, and around 13% of all electricity generation in the U.S. came from renewable energy options in 2015. While this is certainly a great start, more and more people are trying to figure out ways to utilize more renewable energy options. Using renewable energy options can not only save people money on energy costs, but it's better for the planet too.

Friday, January 12, 2018

3 Reasons to Invest in Clean Energy

Did you know electricity is one of the main causes of air pollution in the U.S.? Much of the electricity in the U.S. is made from non-renewable sources like coal. On the other hand, more people are choosing to invest work with a utility company to in clean energy. Clean energy is pollution-free and produced from renewable energy sources. These sources are virtually inexhaustible and can include things like the sun, water, and wind. If you've been considering investing in clean energy but aren't quite sure, this article is going to discuss some of the undeniable benefits of clean energy.

Environmental Benefits

Clean energy doesn't emit harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide. Because of that, the air, water, and soil aren't affected by these pollutants. Additionally, because clean energy is made from unlimited renewable resources, it doesn't damage the land like fossil-fuel extraction does. Furthermore, many forms of sustainable energy use little to no water and other natural resources, which in turn helps preserve the environment for future generations.

Health Benefits

All of those harmful pollutants that dirty energy emits can have a severe impact on public health. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide can trigger asthma attacks and can increase the risk of respiratory infections. Additionally, particulate matter, also called soot, can be especially harmful to those who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease. And furthermore, when mercury is ingested, it can cause permanent damage to the liver and central nervous system and has also been known to cause birth defects.

Economic Benefits

Overall, green energy is supporting a homegrown energy source, which in turn is helping to secure America's energy future. Additionally, clean energy is creating employment opportunities in the U.S. Whether it's working on implementing renewable energy in buildings or working for a utility company to help provide customers with green energy, more and more jobs are being created every day. It also helps bring development to rural areas because renewable facilities often choose these areas for the open space and resource potential.

The U.S. is slowly but surely making its way to going green. In fact, about 10% of energy consumption in 2015 was from renewable energy sources. However, you can do your part by investing in clean energy with your utility company and help create a greener future for everybody.

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.

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.

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.

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.