Friday, December 30, 2016

Help Your Business, Help the Planet: 3 Ways to Conserve Energy at the Office

You’ve been trying to save on energy costs at home by being just a little more conscious of your carbon footprint. But energy conservation doesn’t have to stop at your front door. You can bring your green lifestyle into your business to save your company money and help the environment. Here are just a few ways to practice energy reduction at work.

From the computers, to the printers, to the coffee pot in the break room, you probably use a lot of electronics in your office. Why leave them running overnight when no one is around to use them? At the end of each work day, simply power down your computers, unplug the microwaves, and shut off all the power strips. To save up to 10% on heating and cooling, install a programmable thermostat that manages the heating and cooling system when you’re not there. The energy drain from these machines and systems could be costing your business a significant amount of money every year.

Replace aging appliances
Advances in green energy technology have brought us more energy-efficient appliances and machines. So, when it comes time to replace your old microwave or refrigerator, choose an item with an Energy Star sticker. You’ll find that they have a longer lifespan and help you save on energy costs.

Switch to renewable energy
It may be a big investment, but over time the ROI can be worth it when you switch to an energy provider that uses renewable energy like solar or wind energy. Renewable energy is a growing movement for its eco-friendly nature and cost-efficiency. Last year, roughly 10% of all U.S. energy consumption came from renewable sources like wind and solar, and that percentage is constantly increasing.

When you go green at the office, you save money while saving the planet. There’s no good reason not to limit your carbon footprint both at home and at work, you can start taking baby steps to conserve energy today.

Monday, December 12, 2016

3 Reasons to Use Natural Gas Over Other Fossil Fuels

After a two-year high, natural gas prices have decreased to the lowest level since December of 2014.
"U.S. natural gas inventories remain historically elevated for this time of year, and will look to challenge the latest rise in prices going forward," said Robbie Fraser, a commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.

According to The Wall Street Journal, futures for January natural gas delivery decreased 3.2 cents (0.9%) to $3.603 per million British thermal units (BTU) on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At one point, trading was as high as $3.748 a million BTUs. "In the event that weather moderates and we get another period of normal to low-normal demand, then it’s going to quickly come back into focus," said Zane Curry, director of markets and research at Mobius Risk Group. Despite the market fluctuation, the benefits of natural gas and other renewable forms of energy are consistently positive.
What makes natural gas so attractive?
Natural gas still costs much less than other forms of energy, and it often compares favorable to renewable energy sources. In fact, energy savings are a big part of the industry's recent success. That's why working with a reputable energy company can potentially save money in the long run, especially if they utilize alternative sources of fuel. Talk to an electricity provider and renewable energy company today if you want to learn more about alternative plans for power. Already, solar energy users save 75 million barrels of oil each year.
Better for the World
Another added benefit of natural gas is that it's so much more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels. Although natural gas isn't as clean as wind power and other forms of renewable energy, it is the cleanest fossil fuel energy source. Natural gas also has fewer impurities, is much less complex chemically, and its combustion results in less pollution compared to other fossil fuels.
Produced in America
Wholly 97% of the domestically used natural gas was produced in North America. So along with the other added benefits of natural gas, the use of U.S.-based energy will reduce overall dependency on foreign oil sources. This can result in a better economy because more jobs are created due to high demand for natural gas. Roughly 35,000 jobs are created for every 1% of increased production.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

3 Major Benefits of Wind Power

In 2016, more than half of the renewable energy in the U.S. was used for producing electricity, and about 13% of electricity came from renewable energy sources. Environmentally friendly energy suppliers and American consumers agree that one of the best solutions to the energy crisis is wind power. Here’s why:

It’s renewable
Wind is a renewable energy source, meaning that it can be produced over and over again, never running out. The energy we currently get from fossil fuels, on the other hand, won’t last much longer. Wind energy will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, solving the problem of our ever-increasing demand for gas and petroleum products. Wind energy can also be produced right here in the U.S., make us less reliant on other countries for our power generation.

It’s better for the environment
Wind power produces green energy. It is the cleanest form of all renewable energy, creating absolutely no pollution. Fossil fuels emit harmful greenhouse gases, potentially causing climate change, but wind energy comes from the sun and does not release any toxic gas. Less pollution means a lower risk of disease for humans and damage to the environment.

It's cost-effective
The most substantial cost of producing wind energy comes from the installation of the turbines. However, the cost has decreased over the past few years, and when combined with solar power, wind provides cheap and reliable energy for both developed and developing countries. If you own a large plot of land, you can even earn some additional cash by installing wind turbines for agricultural purposes. State governments often provide interest-free loans or incentives on wind turbines. You can use the electricity generated for your own purposes, thus reducing your monthly utility bill. As a renewable energy supplier, your surplus energy will be sent back to the local grid.

More wind turbines are installed every year all across the globe, as energy suppliers discover the many benefits of using wind power. There’s no doubt that as the demand for electricity increases, so too will the prevalence of renewable energy.

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Energy-Saving Tips That Can Reduce Your Electric Company Bills Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time of celebration. But all those festive decorations and fun gatherings can add up to a shock when you get the December bill from the electric company. The answer isn’t cutting out any of your holiday traditions, but just being a little smarter about energy use; a few small changes can allow you to achieve some serious energy savings. Here are five easy tips you can put to use in the coming weeks:
  1. Turn Down the Thermostat
    Most people already know that using a programmable thermostat can save 10% of annual energy costs, and are pretty good about keeping the temperature at a reasonable level most of the time. But when you’re having people over, you might be tempted to turn the thermostat up, since you don’t want your guests to be uncomfortable. The thing to remember is that just having more people in your house will increase the temperature, as will cooking. So by lowering the thermostat, you’ll save some energy and make sure people don’t overheat.
  2. Unplug Appliances Before You Leave
    If you’re going out of town during the holidays, make sure to unplug “phantom” energy users like TVs, computers and even coffee makers. There’s no reason for them to be pulling residual amounts of power when no one is around to use them.
  3. Enjoy the AmbianceIf you’re putting up decorative lights this Christmas, use them to replace, rather than supplement, your regular lighting sources. You don’t need to have the overhead lights or table lamps blazing away when your tree is illuminated -- and you’ll get a better effect with the other lights off, anyway. (If you really want to be smart about your tree lights, consider LED strings; they cost a little more, but draw only a fraction of the energy that traditional lights do.)
  4. Choose Efficient Gifts
    The savings of this strategy stretch far beyond the month of December. When you’re doing your gift shopping, prioritize buying energy-efficient electronics. Basically, energy efficiency means using less energy to achieve the same effect: using less power without making any sacrifice in function. For that reason, it’s often called the “fifth fuel” (coal, petroleum, nuclear power and renewable energy sources being the other four). If you’re purchasing someone a battery-operated gift, make rechargeable batteries and a charger part of the package.
  5. Look at Your Electric Company OptionsIf you haven’t investigated it already, the holidays are the perfect time of year to find out if you’re in a deregulated energy market. If you are, you might be able to buy your power from an alternative electric company but still have it delivered through the local utility like you always have. Deregulation gives you the chance to do some comparative rate shopping and to support energy companies who have business models you agree with. You can even research companies charitable and community contributions and choose the company that is the best fit for you.
What other energy solutions might people employ over the holidays?
Share your tips in the comments.