Tuesday, June 5, 2018

3 Reasons You Should Care About Conserving Energy at Home

Over 150 years ago, the U.S. relied on wood for almost 90% of our energy needs. Since then, the nation as a whole has continuously worked towards switching over to renewable energy options instead. Especially in the recent years, more and more businesses and organizations have been making significant efforts when it comes to energy conservation. But why should you care about saving energy? Let's talk about a few reasons individuals should care about conserving energy at home.

It's environmentally friendly: It's no secret that the environment is affected by almost everything we do. However, some people don't realize how much the environment is impacted by the production of power and electricity. Even a single household reducing their energy use can help improve the environment. The less pollution that is produced, the better off the environment, and people living on Earth, will be.

It will lower energy bills: One of the direct impacts people can see from trying to save electricity is their lowered energy bills. There are a few ways homeowners can conserve energy and save some money. There are simple things like changing light bulbs. Using energy-efficient lighting can not only provide better quality lighting, but can significantly cut electricity bills. And then there are a few bigger projects homeowners can tackle, like redoing insulation and investing in products like programmable thermostats. These things may not seem like they'll make a big difference, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

It can help the economy: When it comes to looking at the bigger picture, choosing energy saving technology can help the economy too. Energy efficient projects help create jobs. Whether it's installing solar panels, getting land ready for a wind farm, or developing new products, being energy efficient is helping fuel the growth of our nation's economy. So as more people invest in renewable energy, the economy will continue to improve.

Unfortunately, many homeowners don't invest in renewable energy because they think it won't make a difference. But that's not true at all -- whether it's a small difference, like reducing energy bills, or a big difference, like creating jobs, every energy-efficient act matters. So if you've been thinking about saving energy at home, do yourself, and the environment, a favor and go for it.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Surprising Ways to Save Energy This Summer: Tips For Families

Summertime's soaring temperatures might be a welcome relief from the frigid winter -- but they aren't always good news. Although the sky stays lighter later, our bills tend to spike during the summer months due to air conditioner use. But conserving energy (and lowering your bills) might be easier than you think. Here are some ways to save energy that you might never have considered.

  • Fill up the fridge: Every time you open your refrigerator or freezer, the warm air rushes in and quickly replaces the cool air inside. That means your fridge needs to use more power to get those temperatures back down. Of course, this is why you should keep those doors closed (and never stand in front of them, deep in thought!) whenever possible. But it also helps if you don't have a lot of empty space, as that can allow more warm air to find its way in. This isn't to say that you should fill your fridge with food that will only spoil; that's a waste of money and resources, for sure. But it'll help if you can pack your freezer tightly with items you know your family will consume and that you keep extra bottles of water in your fridge to take up space. As long as these items won't go to waste, this can help with your conservation efforts.

  • Plant a tree (or several): The landscaping on your property can actually help you save electricity, providing you put some thought into it. By strategically planting trees around your home and even surrounding your air conditioner, you can provide some additional shade and thereby reduce the heat that gets into your home. Plus, the shade from trees can conserve up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions every year! You'll need to keep the position of your property in mind to make the most of this. Be sure to consult with a professional landscaper to ensure your chosen trees will block out sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.

  • Take a cool, short shower: A short shower is typically better than a long bath in terms of water waste. And a cool shower definitely snags the top spot for saving energy. When it's already hot outside, taking a cool shower can feel like sweet relief. But it can also do wonders for your pocket book and your conservation goals! Your hot water heater won't have to work nearly as hard, which means you'll save money and reduce your energy use. Since the water is cooler, you probably won't want to take a long shower anyway, which will save you more on your water bills.

  • Use fans thoughtfully: You might assume that switching on a ceiling fan doesn't allow you to save electricity. But actually, it's much more energy efficient than relying on your central cooling system. In fact, you'll actually be able to raise your thermostat setting by a few degrees and still stay comfortable, since your ceiling fan will help keep you cool. Just remember to turn off those fans once you leave the room you're in. The fan cools you, not the room, which means it's not beneficial to keep it on when no one's home.
  • Switch up your cooking routine: Baking can be cozy in winter, but you'll want to avoid it in summer if you want to keep your home cool. Instead, use a microwave, a solar cooker, an outdoor propane grill, or a halogen oven. These methods are generally more efficient and will keep your home a lot cooler. No one wants to slave over a hot stove on a hot day! You may even want to adopt some elements of a raw diet for the summer, which will keep temperatures cooler and can allow your body to absorb even more nutrients. The more bearable you can make your kitchen, the happier you'll be (and the lower bills won't hurt, either).

We hope these tips will help you reach your green goals this summer and will make your family feel much more comfortable when at home. To find out more about reducing your energy use, please contact us today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What is Renewable Energy Going to Look Like This Year?

As the years go by, more and more people, agencies, and energy companies are focusing on renewable energy. With the money these renewable energy option save homeowners and businesses, as well as the positive impact green energy has on the environment, these sustainable energy sources are becoming a main focus in the energy industry. In fact, about 10% of energy consumption in the U.S. was from renewable energy sources in 2015 and has continued to increase. But how has this focus on renewable energy changed recently? This article is going to discuss a few key trends this year will see on the renewable energy front.

Costs will continue to decrease. Over the past few years, prices of renewable energy sources have continued to steadily decrease. As more people invest in renewable energy, costs will become lower and lower. Because of this, sustainable energy options are slowly but surely becoming more favorable than nonrenewable sources. People around the world are realizing how low prices are for solar, wind, and other types of sustainable energy options and are taking advantage of these low costs.

Waste-to-energy facilities are on the rise. Waste management is a major problem in many places around the world. Fortunately, waste-to-energy facilities can help manage this growing problem. These facilities process waste and help control landfill expansion. This is crucial in areas that are running out of room for landfills and need an alternative solution. Because of this, this year is expected to see more projects revolving around waste-to-energy facilities.

Energy storage efforts continue. In order to fully support the integration of renewable energy into power availability from energy companies and the like, there needs to be serious developments in renewable energy storage. Last year saw a lot of states focusing on energy storage, with a heavy interest on education and training programs. However, more companies are exploring options for storing renewable energy and how this stored energy can be used.

Corporations are choosing sustainable energy. Last year saw a ton of announcements from big corporations regarding their energy efforts. With the push from customers and the money big businesses can save by choosing renewable energy options, this year is expected to see plenty more big corporations going green.

Hopefully, this year will see some major developments in the green energy field. Businesses, individuals, and energy companies are beginning to see all of the benefits renewable energy can offer and starting to take advantage of them.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Save Money and Mother Earth This Summer With These Green Savvy AC Tips

Of the range of renewable energy types, the goal boils down to cutting costs and our carbon footprint. That doesn't make us want to be uncomfortable, especially when the season heats up and your air conditioner becomes your saving grace.

Energy savings doesn't have to be a full investment in wind farms or acres of solar panels (though, wouldn't that be nice?), but there are simple ways to make your current energy consumption less than usual. You'll definitely want to know how to reduce energy use this summer and stay cool at the same time.

Up your technology game

Lowering your thermostat during the winter by a margin of two degrees can save 6% on carbon emissions. That's about 420 pounds of carbon dioxide per year that you're not putting into the air. The same goes for air conditioning. A huge part of this is system automation. Investing in an automated thermostat will help reduce energy costs across the board. Mobile accessibility and smart temperature control are small technologies that make a difference through the convenience of remote access and smart systems.

Duct, duct, goose

Your AC unit, like your furnace, transports air of whatever temperature through your ducts to all the rooms in your house. Over time, ducts can get a little leaky. It might not be something you readily notice, too, so having professionals look at your ducts is important. Properly sealing your ducts makes for more efficient air distribution and, in turn, lowers your energy bills. If you start noticing a room (or two) not getting to the right temperature, that's a telltale sign of leaky ducting.

Homefront focus

Similar to duct sealing, the air in your house should be well circulated and stay in the house. It seems obvious, but a lot of households neglect problem areas like entrance ways, windows, skylights, and vents. All of these small leaks add up when it comes to air escaping, which definitely hikes up the bill and does nothing to keep temperature properly maintained.

There are tons of ways to adjust your lifestyle the smallest bit to cut down energy costs and hoist the environmentally friendly banner. Renewable energy types are certainly becoming more popular as time and technology move forward, but it remains our responsibility to alter our commonly practiced habits first and impact change in everyday life. Living consciously this way, our path toward the future looks green as can be.

Monday, April 30, 2018

How Can Homeowners Save On Energy Costs in Summer?

How Can Homeowners Save On Energy Costs in Summer?

With warm and sunny weather just around the corner, homeowners should be thinking about how to save on cooling costs and energy use this Summer. Contrary to popular belief, saving energy doesn't have to be difficult! By working with a sustainable residential energy provider and doing a few things to reduce energy at home, homeowners can significantly cut back on energy use. To help you get started, this article is going to discuss a few easy ways to reduce energy costs at home this summer.
  1. Open the windows. While many people are tempted to crank up the air conditioner as soon as it gets warm out, this obviously increases energy use. Instead, homeowners should consider opening windows. Not only does this allow for some fresh air to get in the house after being closed off all winter, but it will allow for a cross-breeze and will naturally cool down the house. If homeowners do choose to crank up the AC, they should ensure they speak with their residential energy provider about heating and cooling costs.
  2. Keep the curtains closed. When the sun is out, most homeowners enjoy keeping their curtains and blinds open to let the sun into their home. However, this added heat inside the home can lead homeowners to crank up the AC. So by keeping window treatments closed, homeowners can reduce heat gain as the temperature gets warmer. This is one of the easiest ways to save energy and add a little decor to a home as well.
  3. Plant some trees. Summer is a great time to get some gardening done. And guess what? Planting trees can even help you reduce cooling costs! Shade trees and even appropriate painting can help homeowners reduce energy use and save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions each year. Furthermore, each tree that's planted absorbs about 25 pounds of CO2 each year as well. So not only will homeowners have nice trees in their yard, but they'll enjoy reduced energy costs as well.
  4. Have the AC unit serviced. As the temperature rises, the AC unit will inevitably be turned on. After sitting idle for the winter months, air conditioner units will have to kick it into overdrive to cool the house down. By getting their AC unit serviced, homeowners can ensure their unit is running as efficiently as possible. If the filters are clogged or parts are going bad, the inefficient unit will increase energy costs. But a little regular maintenance can help homeowners with their energy reduction and keep their house cool.
  5. Cook dinner outside. With warm weather comes those yummy summer foods like burgers and hot dogs. But instead of cooking them inside, homeowners should consider grilling out. Not only will they get to enjoy the nice warm weather, but they'll keep the heat out of their homes and save electricity by choosing to grill out instead. In doing this, homeowners will be saving energy and getting yummy food, so it's a win-win.
Summer is a great time to start reducing energy use. With it being not too cold or not too hot, there are plenty of opportunities for homeowners to take advantage of the mild weather and not use their cooling systems too frequently. By working with their residential energy provider and making a few simple changes at home, homeowners can reduce their energy use, their energy bills, and do their part in saving the planet at the same time.

Wednesday, April 18, 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.

Friday, April 13, 2018

How Are Big Businesses Contributing to the Renewable Energy Movement

Renewable energy has been a major topic of discussion over the past few years. From individual homeowners to giant corporations, more and more people are going green when it comes to getting electrical power. In fact, over half of U.S. renewable power sources are used for producing electricity, with about 13% of U.S. electricity being generated from renewable sources in 2015 alone. But are big companies continuing to go green this year?
Despite the U.S. government seemingly going in the opposite direction, big companies are, in fact, investing more in sustainable sources of energy. In 2017, we saw a lot of companies head in the renewable direction, including Starbucks, General Motors, General Mills, and Target.
According to Kevin Haley, marketing manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute's' Business Renewable Center, "an increasing number of non-utility buyers ... believe they need to be part of the sustainability solution." Haley added that the decreasing prices of these renewable sources are sure to be a motivating factor as well.
Already this year, renewable energy deals are expected to surpass the 2.78 gigawatts worth of power last year's deals saw. Between 2008 and 2013, there were only four big companies that signed deals for renewable power sources. But between 2013 and 2018, 51 more companies jumped on the green train.

These companies recognize that climate change is a problem and that there is a relatively easy way they can help reduce their impact on the environment.

Benefits of Using Renewable Energy Options
So why exactly are people making the shift towards more sustainable options? For starters, these renewable sources produce little to no harmful emissions. Nonrenewable sources, like coal, produce harmful amounts of CO2 and are continuing to contribute to global warming. But by making the switch to sustainable choices, people can significantly reduce their CO2 emissions.
Additionally, these harmful emissions provided by non sustainable sources are impacting public health. The pollution emitted by coal and other energy sources has been linked to health issues like breathing problems, cancer, and heart attacks. Deciding to use wind, solar, or hydroelectric power doesn't have this same negative effect on public health.
With the numerous benefits sustainable energy sources can offer, like less harmful emissions and lower costs, there's no reason for people to not make the switch. These sustainable sources can constantly replenish energy sources and help the environment in the process.