New homeowners are looking for more and more energy efficient homes listed on the market. There’s no doubt as why they are. When heating and cooling bills add up to 70% of annual operating cost of home, you don’t want to be spending more than you have to. With energy costs continuously on the rise, the best investment you can make is energy efficiency.
We are told that solar can reduce our heating bill; especially if we have electric heat. I beg to differ. Yes, it’s true that electric heating and hot water heating requires an enormous amount of kWh per hour. For instance, it requires 15kW to heat and provide hot water for a 1,500 square foot home per hour. Compare that to a solar set up though. A 15 kW solar array at 200 Watts per panel would require 75 solar panels on your roof or lawn and four solar inverters plus the installation, maintenance and insurance costs. This comes at an enormous cost—even with the 30% federal subsidy. In the winter, you’re lucky to get four hours of solar power. That leaves the remaining 20 hours to still require utility power. All assuming you don’t cook, do laundry, watch TV or turn on a single light.
Hello to all! Have you been cooped this winter and looking for some easy projects to make your home more energy efficient? I know you are, otherwise why would you be here! For you, dear reader, I have searched and scoured the vast seas of the internet to ensure 7 easy projects for you, or your significant other, child, family member, etc. to do! Not only are these projects easy, but they’re low cost to you, which makes them that much better!
Studies show that water heating accounts for approximately 10% of the total energy usage in commercial buildings. For businesses such as hotels and restaurants, this number is significantly greater. There are, however, ways to reduce hot water demand without sacrificing service, comfort, or integrity, and in doing so, a business can reduce their energy cost significantly.
Some simple ideas:
A business may also consider running a more efficient water heating system. There are a number of different types of systems to choose from nowadays. For example:
Finally, once a building has a reduced demand for hot water and an efficient system for heating water, it's time to consider heat recovery. Heat recovery is the capture of heat energy from fluids or gases that would otherwise be lost. Heat can be recovered from drain water, hot air, heat pumps, and many other places in a commercial building.
You may have heard these terms thrown around in discussions about energy conservation, but what do they mean to you?
Incandescent Light Bulb: Your typical household light bulb, a glass ball with a tiny metal filament inside that conducts electricity and produces light. These bulbs are highly inefficient, producing only around 17 lumens/Watt. Most of this energy loss is due to the heat given off by these bulbs. Typical life expectancy? About 1,000 hours.
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulb: Instead of a metal filament, electricity is passed through mercury vapor within a glass tube, emitting ultraviolet light. This ultraviolet light then reacts with a phosphor coating in the bulb, causing it to glow. Though CFL's don't produce as much heat as incandescents, there is still energy loss through the process of creating ultraviolet light and converting it to visible light. Most CFL's produce about 60 lumens/Watt, and last nearly 8,000 hours, so their cost (between 3 and 10 times that of a typical incandescent) is offset by energy & replacement savings.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulb: With an efficiency similar to that of the CFL and a life-expectancy of about 30,000 hours, LED's sound like the way to go, but don't be so sure. LED's tend to be "directional light." This means that, where incandescents and CFL's produce light omni-directionally, LED's focus light in one spot. This makes them great for spot-lighting driveways and small porches, but not necessarily for lighting rooms. Greater cost is another downfall, running at about $30-$50 each.
Now you are prepared to make an educated decision on the replacement of your old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs, whether it be LED spotlights for your driveway or CFL's for your bedroom.