Category Archives: Alternative Energy

Six Easy Strategies You Can Use Today to Take Advantage of Solar Energy
Posted by January 19, 2018 at 10:14 PM under Alternative Energy Environment

Many people believe that using solar is difficult. For decades, people were told that solar and other forms of alternative energy was impractical. No doubt, solar is much easier to use today than it was just ten years ago, but many of the ways you can use solar today, could have also been used decades ago. The world is definitely waking up to the power and potential of solar energy. Solar technology has matured and now businesses and governments worldwide are adopting solar at ever increasing rates. In short, solar is ready for “prime time.”


Strategy #1 Try Passive Solar

The amount of energy that could be saved by adopting and using passive solar is staggering. Passive solar can be as simple as opening your curtains or raising your blinds on a sunny day. No doubt this may sound too simple to be effective, but passive solar in this form can really help to heat up your home in the winter.  Don’t underestimate the potential of good old-fashioned sun exposure. Over the course of a year, it can also dramatically lower your electricity bill.


Strategy #2 Consider Skylights

Another relatively easy way to get solar energy working on your behalf comes in the form of installing skylights. This is also considered passive solar. Skylights not only provide additional lighting and reduce the amount of electricity used, but they also provide additional heating to top floors via solar energy.


Converted attic spaces and top floors with skylights can help reduce heating bills in the winter as a warmer second floor helps keep an entire home warmer. Ideally, skylights should be combined with attic insulation. Attic insulation is one of the smartest home improvements any homeowner can make and it will definitely help you get more out of the passive solar benefits of skylights. When selecting insulation, consider eco-friendly options such as blue-jean insulation, which is very effective but largely free of the chemicals that comprise most insulation options.


There is another great way to get the most out of skylights’ passive solar heating benefits. Consider adding window insulation film over your skylights in the winter, as this will help trap in heat. Combine this idea with quality insulation and you will definitely benefit from passive solar.


Strategy #3 Get a Solar Water Heater

Switching over to solar can be a big and still somewhat costly venture. However, a solar water heater is a much more manageable option. Solar water heaters effectively heat water up during the day and can cut your hot water heating budget by a large margin. The simple step of switching to a solar water heater will also help the planet and lower your carbon footprint considerably.


Strategy #4 Start Using Solar Powered Lights


Solar powered outdoor lights and path lights are an easy way to put solar to work for you. Solar energy can be easy and outdoor solar powered lights are an excellent example of this fact. Solar power walkway lights have small solar panels on the top and work to provide illumination during the day. The amount of light isn’t huge, but it is enough to get the job done, even on a relatively cloudy day. Consumers are also happy to know that getting these special lights require only a minimal financial investment.

Another outdoor solar power light option worth exploring comes in the form of security lighting. Wired security lighting can be expensive to install, but outdoor solar security lights say the expense of hiring an electrician. Best of all, you will also save on your electricity bill year-round. Solar powered security lights usually have motion sensors built right in meaning that they can be set to only go off when triggered by a large enough object. Opt for solar powered security lights and you’ll have a quick and easy way to add addition light and security to the outside of your home.


Strategy #5 Power Your Gadgets with a Portable Solar Panel


Portable solar panels are cheap and easy to use. Simply visit an online retailor such as Amazon and you’ll see that small solar panels, which can be used to recharge small electronics such as cell phones, laptops and flashlights are inexpensive. If you want to find ways both large and small to reduce your annual energy bill and lower your carbon footprint then you’ll want to explore this worthwhile option.

There is another interesting way to use a portable solar panel as well. Consider charging a portable lamp with your portable solar panel during the day and then using that lamp at night. Instead of having several lightbulbs burning in your bathroom when you get ready for bed, use your solar powered portable lamp at night. There are even portable lamps that have the solar panels built right in. Having a portable solar panel and a solar powered lamp are two smart tools to have handy for when the power goes out.


Strategy #6 Solar Powered Workshop Radio


Another smart gadget to have ready in case of an emergency is a solar powered radio. Instead of letting your solar powered radio gather dust, however, you can use it as a workshop or office radio. If you are currently using a regular powered radio then consider switching over to a solar powered radio for at least a couple of days a month. Again, this simple move will save you energy and lower your carbon footprint.

Luckily, solar has become very easy in the last decades. The days of having to struggle to figure out how best to use solar are long gone. Solar is getting easier and cheaper every year. Solar gadgets are often thought of as “emergency gadgets” but the simple fact is that solar gadgets are more useful and user-friendly than ever before. Consider incorporating solar into your everyday life and everyday activities. You’ll be glad you did!

3 Ways to Make Your Business Eco-Friendly
Posted by June 22, 2016 at 3:56 PM under Alternative Energy Environment


There are good reasons to consider making your business more eco-friendly. It’s one thing to consider the fact that your customers live on the planet, but you live on the planet as well. Close to 100% of all scientists around the globe agree that modern human industrial society has had a serious impact on the planet and the climate.

When You Care, You Win

In the coming years and decades, global temperatures will continue to increase, and this increase in temperature has a range of implications. On the list of climate change concerns are disrupted and decreased crop yields, water shortages resulting in the potential for so-called “water waters,” climate change refugees, economic disruptions, famine, an increased risk in the spread of disease globally and the list goes on.

From the direct perspective of your business, demonstrating to your customers that you are aware of climate change and its consequences as exemplified by taking pro-active eco-friendly steps in your business. This approach can help you win new clients and retain old ones.

Summed up another way, any step you can take to make your business more eco-friendly will be rewarded both for you personally, your descendants as well as your business. Creating an eco-friendly environment at your company just makes sense.

The bottom line is that every bit helps. While climate change and its consequences may be a massive global problem there is a great deal you can do personally to help reduce the impact of climate change.

Tip One-Buy Local and Be Thoughtful About Your Choices


Every business has needs and things that it uses. Whether those items are large, small or on the spectrum somewhere in between, they require energy. Manufactured goods take a great deal of energy to produce. Not only is it necessary to factor in the raw materials that go into a good but it is also necessary to consider the associated transportation costs involved getting a manufactured good from one location to another.

Concern about the carbon produced in manufacturing a good and shipping it around the country or around the world is part of what drives the “buy local” movement. For example, let’s say you need a new desk for your office. Buying a locally made desk constructed from locally sourced wood will have a far lower carbon footprint than a desk manufactured thousands of miles away. Additionally, wood is a renewable resource and one that very likely too less energy to harvest than for example metal that goes into a metal desk. There are literally dozens of choices like this one that even a small business can make and obviously the larger the business the greater the potential impact.

Steps you can take include the following:

  • Buying less paper
  • Unplugging computers and equipment when not in use
  • Composting more
  • Sustainable materials for your building and furniture
  • Donate to charities doing great things for the community and the planet

The SBA (U.S Small Business Association) offers a list of great suggestions for going green with your business.

Tip Two-Avoid Products Made with Harmful Chemicals and Opt for Alternatives When Available


Thinking about the material from which a good is manufactured is something that should never be overlooked. Many manufactured goods are manufactured using harmful chemicals. Even if chemicals had zero negative impact on the environment, which is not the case, it still takes a great deal of energy to manufacture chemicals.

When buying new products, it is important to look for products that have been manufactured in an eco-friendly fashion. Simply looking for eco-friendly products that incorporate recycled or repurposed materials can help you lower your business’s carbon footprint.

Another step for businesses to take in their quest to be eco-friendly is to ask a very simple question: do we really need this item? Do we really need to replace this item? Quite often upgrades are made not out of direct necessity, but instead out of a drive to modernize. Of course, some modernization is necessary from time to time. But like anything else, the drive for modernization can overcome basic commonsense. When you are done with your supplies, consider Freecycling, which refers to how businesses can give away unwanted items.

For this reason, it is prudent to periodically step back and evaluate the need for a particular good or a particular upgrade. Upgrading and buying new goods and equipment may be an unnecessary expense and one that can harm the environment. Again, it takes energy to produce any manufactured good.

Tip Three-Re-evaluate All Travel

plane-50893_960_720One of the most common sources of carbon comes in the form of travel. It is difficult to overemphasis the importance of rethinking your business’s approach to travel enough. Much of the good work your business does in a week with recycling, repurposing old equipment or goods, delaying the purchasing or equipment, buying eco-friendly products and more can be undone or partially undone with one unnecessary plane trip.

Plane trips, especially long ones, generate a great deal of carbon. How your business deals with the issue of travel can make a tremendous difference in your business’s overall carbon footprint. Other eco-friendly travel steps you can take include encouraging employee carpooling, finding ways for employees to work virtually, reducing and consolidating trips and more. Once you begin to think about how your business utilizes travel you will find many eco-friendly tips to employ.

There are many ways your business can help the environment. None of the eco-friendly business tips outlined in this article have to be disruptive to your business or your bottom line. Additionally, outlining for your customers the steps you are taking to be eco-aware will help you build brand loyalty. The environmental problems the planet faces were created by people and in order to solve those problems people will have to take action. Talking about climate change and its impact on humanity is not enough; it requires each and every one of us to modify our behaviors.

The 3 Most Effective Building Heating Systems Ever Devised
Posted by January 02, 2016 at 2:51 PM under Alternative Energy


During the cold winter months, it is impossible not to think about indoor heating, unless, of course you are living in a warm, sunny and tropical climate. For the rest of us, wintertime heating is a frequent thought, especially when it comes time to pay utility bills. Today, there are more options than ever when it comes to heating one’s home. Over the years, there have been many novel and highly effective ways to heat both homes and businesses. In this article, we are going to explore some of the most effective ways to heat buildings. The world of heating goes well beyond heaters and heat pumps.


  1. Geothermal Heat Pumps


Geothermal heat pumps have a lot going for them. The concept of a geothermal heat pump is fairly straightforward, in that they work to concentrate heat naturally found in the earth. Pipes are buried a few feet under the earth, where it is warmer. Then that heat is transferred through the heat pump. This approach saves both energy and money.

While businesses both small and large can receive their power from geothermal energy, increasingly homeowners are realizing that they can benefit from the same approach. There is a substantial upfront investment to get your geothermal heat pump up and running, but in the near future the system should pay for itself.


  1. The Wonders of Passive Solar and Solar Heating


Solar power is quickly becoming a reality. In fact, solar power technology is moving forward so quickly that regional monopoly power companies are scrambling. The idea that millions of people may soon be putting solar panels on their roofs has become a true reality. Solar home heating is a spectacular option for those looking to save serious money while at the same time help the environment.


Solar energy utilizes the sun to great effect, turning sunlight into energy and then into heat. Adding passive solar to the solar heating equation makes for a powerful one-two combination. Those looking for the most impressive way to heat one’s home using today’s technology are turning to solar power and passive solar. It is no accident that large corporations are beginning to place solar on the rooftops of their stores, warehouses, factories and beyond!


The simple fact is that passive solar is quite incredible. Passive solar, as the name indicates, is about taking advantage of what the sun has to offer, passively. Passive solar is all about thinking ahead and designing a home so that it takes full advantage of sunlight. The sun’s energy is used to heat a home and in sunny locations such as Colorado for example, passive solar can do wonders in both saving energy and cutting down on electric bills. Of course passive solar does have some requirements.


Just how good can passive solar homes be? Some proponents of passive homes and builders state that passive solar homes can heat and cool so efficiently that little or even no additional heating or cooling sources are usually needed. Of course this depends on factors such as region and the availability of sunlight. That stated, this approach to solar energy is remarkable in that it can help homes stay warmer and cooler without any additional energy use. Every dollar spent towards passive solar will save a tremendous amount of money in the long run. Those looking to substantially lower their carbon footprint may want to begin with looking at the passive solar options.


Frequently people feel that taking advantage of passive solar is something that one must do in the initial building stages of a home; however, it is often possible to take advantage of passive solar in existing homes. A good example would be building a sunroom or adding a skylight or windows in the optimal location. Beyond making sure that a home has enough strategically placed windows, passive solar also benefits greatly from a home being well insulated. Adding high quality insulation to your home in the attic and insulating spaces such as crawl spaces and wall interiors with blown in insulation helps to make passive solar more effective. A well insulated home is a must for any home regardless of how it is heated and that is why passive solar is a true “no brainer” when it comes to heating your home.


  1. Underfloor Radiant Heating

Installation of underfloor heating- orange panels and white plastic pipes.

Underfloor heating can be seen as being one of the most energy-efficient methods of heating a home. Heat is spread throughout a home from underneath piping installed under floors. If you love having warm cozy feet, radiant heating may very well be something you want to consider. The idea is that the warmth not only heats up your feet, but that it spreads to your whole body. While this may seem like a new and novel approach, the truth is that it has been around since the days of the ancient Romans. A common practice was to have people fan small fires under their marble floors.

The only drawback to this highly-efficient system is that it must be installed when either a home is being built or remodeled. The good news is that the cables are very thin and don’t raise the height of the floor at all. Often this type of heat is installed where people will appreciate it most- bathrooms, mudrooms and kitchens.


A Promising Future for Efficient Building Heating Approaches


You may not feel that the systems outlined in this article are right for your immediate needs. That’s okay, but just remember that there are steps you can take today to decrease your energy usage and put more money in your pocket. If you do buy a new HVAC system, look for an energy efficiency one or consider a heat pump which is a more energy efficient way to heat and cool your home.


Geo heat pumps may be more expensive but they can dramatically reduce your overall heating bills for decades to come. Insulating your home with eco-friendly insulation such as wool or blue-jean insulation is another way to start seeing a return on your money from day one. As soon as you invest in insulation, you start saving, which helps to make insulation one of the best home improvement options around.


In the future, a combination of solar, passive solar and geothermal heat pumps will likely play a huge role in heating and cooling around the world. These technologies and building approaches have a vital part to play in lowering carbon footprints and helping the world avoid potentially dangerous climate change.

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Water Consumption
Posted by May 02, 2015 at 10:12 PM under Alternative Energy Environment Home Living Tips

Земной шар как источник пресной воды

The recent yearlong drought in California has lots of people not just in the United States, but also around the globe looking for new ways to reduce water consumption. Fresh water is a precious resource. But let’s face it; fresh water hasn’t always been treated that way. All of that is set to change in the coming years. Environmental scientists are declaring very clearly that the planet is under considerable stress. Our resources are being strained, but there are steps you can take today to help reduce water consumption.

By reducing the amount of water you use, you are both helping the planet and your own bank account. Water bills are likely to become increasingly expensive. Making changes now will help you get ready for those increasing prices. You’ll be well equipped to weather any financial storms that might come your way!

Water Reducing Tip One-Low Flow Toilets

toiletToilets can use a tremendous amount of water. One easy way to reduce your water consumption is to invest in a low flow toilet. A low flow toilet still gets the job done, but uses far less energy than a standard toilet. Another way to save water is to simply flush your toilet less. Flushing your toilet a few times per week is enough to make a difference.

Part of what makes a low flow toilet an attractive option is that they are relatively inexpensive and work very well. The old idea that a toilet must sound like a jet engine taking off just isn’t accurate. The modern toilet has most definitely been reinvented. You’ll love the difference.

Water Reducing Tip Two-Deal with Dripping Faucets

faucetA dripping faucet might not initially seem like that big of a deal, but a dripping faucet is always dripping. Twenty-four hours a day of dripping adds up to a lot of wasted water. Most of the time, repairing a dripping faucet is a quick and easy process. However, even if you need to replace a faucet you’ll enjoy immediate cost savings. If you have several dripping faucets in your house, taking steps to fix those faucets can save a tremendous amount of water on a annual basis. Besides, just imagine how wonderful it will be not to hearing running water constantly!


Water Reducing Tip Three-A Low Flow Shower Head & Shorter Showers

showerInstalling a low flow showerhead can dramatically reduce your water consumption. Showers tend to use a lot of water, but you do have an alternative in the form of a low flow showerhead. The cost of a low flow showerhead is quite reasonable and you’ll have the added bonus of knowing you’re doing something great to help the environment.

In addition to installing a low flow showerhead, consider taking shorter showers. Just opting to take one shorter shower per week will help reduce your water consumption. If possible, eliminate showering one day a week. You might just find that there are side benefits such as less instances of feeling like your skin is dried out and even reduced spending on things like soap!

Water Reducing Tip Four-A Low Water Use Lawn

Lavender Flowers & ButterflyIn the coming years, low water consumption lawns are going to be quite popular, so why not become a pioneer? Grass may look nice, but it uses up a great deal of water. Opting for low water consumption plants for your yard is a significant water saving tip!

Here are some hearty yard plants and trees that look great and use very little water: lavender, shrubs, juniper, chokecherry, and white oak. These are just a few of the options to consider, and you’ll find that they are just as colorful and beautiful as the alternatives. Remember that the amount of water used by grass is substantial. Switching out a percentage of your grass yard for low water use plants, shrubs and trees is a great place to start.

Regardless of what kind of plants you have, try to group your plants together by water requirements. In this way, the water you do use will be used much more efficiently. Also a layer of organic mulch goes a very long way in preserving moisture levels. A couple of inches of strategically placed mulch can save a hundreds of gallons of water annually.

Finally, only water your lawn when it truly needs it. Overwatering your lawn is nothing more than wasting water.

Water Reducing Tip Five-A New Approach to Your Washing Machine

washer and dryerWhen it comes to using water around the house, the washing machine is a major consumer. The larger your family may be, the more laundry you have to do, and that means a lot of water. Clearly, you need clean clothes, but by only doing full loads you can be sure that you’ll waste as little water as possible.

A full washing machine should make you happy, as it lets you know that you are taking a prudent step in saving water. The fact that most households do hundreds of loads of laundry every year makes Water Reducing Tip Five one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Combine these tips and do so consistently, and over the course of a year, you’ll save a tremendous amount of money. By being creative and thinking through your water usage issues, you can save both a tremendous amount water and see huge financial savings as well. All of us have to work together to preserve our precious water resources. Implement these five tips and you’ll know that you are contributing to preserve precious water resources.

5 Steps for Lowering Your Energy Bill
Posted by April 25, 2015 at 5:51 PM under Alternative Energy Home Living Tips

invest to energy concept - euro in bulb - piggybankYour energy bill isn’t fixed in stone. All too often homeowners believe that there is little they can do to lower their monthly utility bill. Luckily, this is not the situation, as there are many steps that one can take to lower energy bills. If you are looking for a dynamic way to save big every month, then we have some great tips that will help you save even more than you may have imagined. Let’s dive in and explore five great tips designed to help you reduce your spending. Maybe you’ll actually feel a little joy when you open that envelope every month!

Energy Saving Tip Number One-Insulation
Insulation might seem a bit pricey upon first glance, but there is no denying that it is worth it. The more energy you consume on a monthly basis, the more worthwhile and cost savings an invest insulation becomes. There are plenty of options when it comes to insulation, and the good news is that you don’t have to opt for a potentially damaging and toxic chemical based insulation to get the job done.

House wrapped in a scarf isolated on whiteOptions such as blue jean and wool insulation are both people and planet friendly. These insulation options work very well and come from either recycled or renewable options.

Taking the time to insulate previously un-insulated areas, such as crawl spaces and roofs, can really pay off. Old insulation can also be a major source of energy loss. The simple fact is that insulation just doesn’t last forever and does need to be replaced. Additionally, insulation is unlike almost any other home improvement in that it starts paying for itself almost as soon as it is installed. If you want lower energy bills and a lower carbon footprint, then you’ll want to install insulation sooner than later.

Energy Saving Tip Number Two-Energy Star Appliances

586px-Energy_Star_logoEnergy Star appliances are another worthwhile investment. This is particularly true if you have old appliances. Old appliances are tremendous energy users and can really hit you in your wallet. That is, of course, the bad news, but the good news is that Energy Star appliances are affordable and will start paying for themselves immediately.

Another piece of good news is that there are numerous different kind of Energy Star appliances including refrigerators. It is important to pay attention to refrigerators due to the fact that refrigerators are always on and always using electricity. An old refrigerator can really send your energy bill soaring through the roof! If you can only select oneEnergy Star appliance, it might not be a bad idea to start with a refrigerator.


Energy Saving Tip Number Three-Windows and Doors

diagnostic de performance énergétiqueWindows and doors are notorious for leaking, and that means money is flowing out of your windows and doors. Heating or cooling air only to see it flow right out your windows and doors is depressing. Of course, replacing windows and doors can be extremely expensive.

If you can afford to replace old windows and doors, it is a good idea to do so. Older homes are usually in desperate need of new windows. When removing old windows from homes built before 1979, keep in mind that lead paint might be an issue. So look for window professionals that understand how to address the issue of windows with lead paint.

If replacing your windows and/or doors isn’t an option, there are still significant steps you can take. Modern windows are often double paned and come with other energy efficiency features. You can get some of these benefits through caulking and using plastic window treatments to keep cold or warm air from both escaping and making its way into your home. Usually the cost of this step is nominal, but the energy saving rewards can be nothing short of immense.

Energy Saving Tip Number Four-Turn Down Your Thermostat

A woman set the thermostat at house.You may have heard before that you should turn down your thermostat. The other tips on our list require some work, planning and various degrees of expense, but turning down your thermostat is as easy of a cost saving step, as you’ll ever see.

In a just a moment, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars every year. It isn’t necessary to invest in an expensive or fancy thermostat, although that can help. In the end, turning down your thermostat is all it takes to start saving.


Energy Saving Tip Number Five-Evaluate How You Use Your Space

Man sleeping in bed and holding a mobile phoneIf you are spending most of your time in just one or two rooms of your home, you may be able to turn your thermostat down and just heat and cool those key areas. This tip works particularly well for certain times of the day.

A portable heater or air conditioning unit can be a real money saver; after all, why heat or cool your entire home when you are sleeping? At night, a portable heating unit or air conditioner can help you save tremendously. Like turning down your thermostat, this is a simple but remarkably effective way to save money.

Together these five tips can completely transform your energy usage and, in the process, help you save a bundle. These five tips are also good for the planet and when used in conjunction with one another can produce impressive results. Using less energy means a lower carbon footprint, and that is something we can all get excited about!

Inexpensive Ways to Incorporate Solar Energy Into Your Life
Posted by December 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM under Alternative Energy Environment

The idea that solar energy is out of reach is simply no longer true. Around the world, experts are discussing the rise of solar and, in fact, some of the world’s leading experts are buying stock in solar companies and divesting altogether their oil interests. There is a big change getting ready to happen. It has become clear that solar is now unstoppable and that the wide scale adoption of solar is now just around the corner.

The price of “going solar” has dropped tremendously, but switching to solar to power one’s entire home is still a significant undertaking. In the next few years, this will, of course, change. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t find inexpensive ways to incorporate solar into your life and in the process save a little money.

So while your waiting for the solar revolution to start putting money back into your pocket on the large scale, why not opt for some energy saving gadgets in the here and now? In this article we’ll explore some of the best inexpensive solar energy options. As you will see, solar energy is no longer a pipe dream but is actually becoming more and more of a reality.

Portable Solar Chargers Can Give You Energy When You Need It the Most

Charging a mobile phone with a Solar powerbank - vector illustraPortable solar chargers have come a long way in recent years. Today these chargers are able to power a wide array of gadgets. Plus, they are lightweight and deliver surprisingly good performance.

Of course, you might feel as though you want to “super size” your portable solar charger. If this sounds appealing to you, then you’ll want to consider the Goal Zero Yeti 150 and Yeti 400 solar generators. These impressive solar generators can give you a much needed energy boost when you need it the most. Also their small size and weight makes them a good fit for emergency situations. A 1250-watt Goal Zero Yeti kit can provide as much as 22 hours when plugged into 2 full sized solar panels

The Solar Converter Back Pack

backpackThe solar converter backpack is an idea whose time has come. With one of these handy backpacks, you never have to worry about having dead gadgets when on the town or in the great outdoors. Let’s face it, we’ve become a gadget and tech focused society. That means that most of us can’t bear to be separated from our gadgets. Running out of a power is always a fear, but with a solar powered backpack, you never have to worry about running out of power for your gadgets wherever you may be.

Another major plus is that during a prolonged power outage you can still connect to the outside world. Simply plug your laptop, tablet or smartphone into this handy little device and you are ready to go!

Solar Powered Outdoor Lights
LightsThe most surprising thing about solar powered outdoor lights is that they are not more popular. Like all things solar, solar powered outdoor lights have improved a great deal in just the last few years, and the number of choices out there is now greater than ever before. One interesting option comes in the form of a solar-powered LED step lights. The solar powered stair light from DBPOWER turns on automatically during the night and is an easy way to help you cut down on your electricity bill.

The Solar Powered Flashlight is a Must Have Gadget

No list of easy ways to incorporate solar into your life would be complete without including a solar powered flashlight. The great thing about a solar powered flashlight is that it will continue to work even if there has been a power outage. Another great fact about solar powered flashlights is that they are exceptional for camping when used in conjunction with a solar converter backpack.

Solar Panels for Your Roof

Yes, you can “do solar” on the cheap, and that even includes solar panels. It is possible to receive a percentage of your energy requirements through solar and do so without breaking the bank. Solar panels are cheaper than ever before. Solar panel kits can be purchased for only a few hundred dollars, but expect those prices to go down perhaps dramatically in the coming years.

Is Your Roof Ready for Solar?

Photovoltaic Solar Panels on tiled roofWhen it comes to preparing for the coming solar revolution, there is one area that must not be overlooked- your roof. While solar panels are coming down in weight, your roof still must be sturdy enough and in good enough shape to handle the extra weight. There are many potential issues in this regard, for example, if your current roof has many layers of roofing material on it, then you may have a problem.

One of the big surprises that many people face in the next few years when they try to adopt solar is that choosing solar might come with a big roofing bill. However, a dramatic drop in energy costs will seem well worth it, especially in the long run.

The Solar Revolution is Upon Us

Ultimately, solar has come a very long way and done so in a relatively short time. There are many ways to incorporate solar into your life. In the coming years, solar will play a more and more important role in the overall energy picture. The site of solar energy panels on garages and rooftops will become an increasingly common sight.

Laundry Line Savings: Money, Carbon, Planet.
Posted by Donald Schmit August 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM under Alternative Energy Environment Home Living Tips
Earth from space, 2015, courtesy NASA

We’ve talked in this space about the beauty and simplicity of drying clothes on a laundry line, rather than in a gas or electric clothes drying machine. On one hand there’s the elegance of carrying on an old-world tradition, still popular in much of the world (if often forgotten in the US); on the other, there’s the innate satisfaction that comes from adopting a practice that’s not only frugal, but also good for Mother Earth. 

Let’s look at the numbers. Most homes and apartments already have a gas or electric dryer in them, so the purchase cost is often overlooked in many cost comparisons. But it’s there, nonetheless: consider you’ll pay between $500-$1,600 per unit, depending on the bells and whistles of a particular model. Most manufacturers admit you can expect to need a new clothes dryer about every ten years, so if you spread out the cost you can estimate between $50 and $160 per year in purchase price. 

Operating costs vary depending on the local cost of your electricity or gas, but if you do about one load per day, a good estimate is about 15 to 20 cents daily for a gas dryer, and 30 to 40 cents for an electric one. That’s between $55 and $146 per year. So depending upon the kind of dryer you buy and your energy costs, drying on a line can save you between $105 and $306 each and every year. 

What’s more, consider the carbon footprint; the electricity required to dry each load also represents about 5 pounds of CO2 — 1,800 pounds annually. Even drying half your clothes on a line essentially keeps 900 pounds of CO2 from the air — surely a worthy goal! — as well as saving the money as outlined above.

Save money, lower your carbon footprint, and save the planet? Seems like a good deal, right? For more information about clothes drying, contact us!

Fuel Cell Scooter hits European roads soon
Posted by Antony G March 13, 2011 at 6:20 PM under Alternative Energy

With the threat of rising fuel costs perhaps these scooters are the way of the future.

The Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter, created in collaboration with Intelligent Energy, a UK-based fuel cell company, has become the world’s first fuel cell vehicle that is about to be approved for mass commercialization. The company also said that the scooter and its components will be produced and sold in Europe.

“Suzuki Motor is pleased to announce that the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter has become the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to earn Whole Vehicle Type Approval in the EU,” said Osamu Suzuki, chairman and CEO of Suzuki Motor.

The Suzuki Burgman scooter has been unveiled in Europe at a London City Hall event last month. It is equipped with the latest version of Intelligent Energy’s air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell system.

“Our aim is to make eco-friendly fuel cell scooters increasingly common in Europe, in line with the establishment of hydrogen filling stations and other necessary infrastructure,” he added.

A fuel cell-powered scooter looks promising, but how about the hydrogen infrastructure, indispensable for normal operation? Well, in countries like Italy or Germany you’ll be able, also soon, to charge your EV or hydrogen vehicle from roadside points, where the energy will come from solar panels.

Europe has too much wind power
Posted by Jarrod M March 11, 2011 at 3:54 PM under Alternative Energy Environment News and Events

The development of alternative energy has to go hand in hand with a reinforcement of the electrical grid, otherwise the latter will eventually become so busy and will cap the production to its capacity. Such is the case with Germany’s grid, which is an example of an imbalanced structure of solar and wind energy harvesters on one hand and the outdated grid, on the other.

Following a report from published in the NY Times, we find out the opinion of Oxford University economist Dieter Helm, who stated that “basically, governments have allowed the buildup of wind without thinking through the grid consequences. There are two responses: Stop wasting so much on the rapid development of wind and its questionable economics.

In most cases, the proliferation of alternative energy is done by government subsidies, but these are made without taking into consideration that it’s also necessary to invest in the grid. Up to 100 billion euros ($138 billion) are necessary to upgrade the grid over the next decade.

The projected production capacity, the one that’s been heavily invested in, is not always working at maximum parameters, but when that happens, the companies managing the grid need to put a hold on everything, because there’s too much energy to cope with. For example, when wind blew harder in Germany recently, their usual 5 GW reached 20 GW, and cross-border connection with grids in neighboring countries had to be shut down because they couldn’t handle the spike.


Read more:

Floating Solar Panels Designed for Inland Bodies of Water
Posted by Jarrod M March 04, 2011 at 7:46 PM under Alternative Energy Home Living Tips News and Events
Israel-based Solaris Synergy and French EDF Group are planning to develop a new system of floating solar panels, called AQUASUN, which has the possibility of being installed on the surface of existing bodies of water.

The panels use silicon cells, which unlike other types, are less expensive but also prone to inefficiency caused by overheating. However,this is not a problem as the water on which they’re floating acts as a cooling system. 

Users have the option to add or remove panels in order to tailor the power output to their requirements. A single modular panel is capable of generating around 200 kW of clean energy.

This kind of system will not be installed in ecologically-sensitive areas or in open seas, but rather on reservoirs already in use for agriculture and industrial purposes. The water will not become stagnant because the panels are designed to allow oxygen to permeate through. So far, the companies have released a prototype that has been presented at the 4th International Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference in Israel. The designers have great plans for the future. They’re planning to install AQUASUN for a nine-month test period on a basin at a hydro-electric facility in southeastern France by the end of September.