LED lights are the way to go this holiday season!
The Department of Energy has estimated that Christmas lights use as much electricity as half a million homes do in an average month. That’s a ton of power. And it’s expensive. The DOE also says that U.S. households could save a total of $410 million or so in electricity if everyone switched to LEDs.
It’s time to get the outdoor holiday decorations plan ready. We all have existing decorations that we use year to year, but a great way to build up your collection and change over to all energy-saving LED decorations is to add or change out one to two new decorations every year. This way it’s affordable and looks beautiful and slightly different every year!
October is Energy Awareness Month!
Energy Awareness Month serves as a perfect reminder of how applying these principles into our daily lives, consumers can develop habits to reduce their usage and save money on their utility bills. Saving energy is as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room.
Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of the average home’s electric bill. Incandescent light bulbs waste about 90 percent of the electricity used to power them, with only 10 percent of the energy going to produce light, and the rest burning off as heat.
The table below shows how using compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs can be more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs and save consumers money.
Other lighting tips:
- Hold the base and not the glass to screw in the bulb.
- Read the packaging to see where each bulb should be used. Not all ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs are designed to work in every socket.
- Use ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs where the light will be on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Frequently turning a CFL on and off shortens the bulb’s lifetime.
- Most photocells, motion sensors, and electronic timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility.
- There’s a small amount of mercury in every CFL (.4 mg to 4mg). By comparison, mercury thermometers contain about 500 mg of mercury. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use; if a CFL breaks in your home, follow the clean up recommendations of the US EPA, and properly dispose of them when broken or burned out.
Did you know…
It is officially autumn and with the days getting shorter, the amount of time we have our lights on gets longer. Did you know replacing 15 incandescent lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs can save you $50 per year and more than $600 in energy costs over the life of the bulbs?
Check out this website for the Department of Energy for additional information that might be helpful for you to save money on your electric bill.
Learn something new every day.
This month we wanted to share a slice of the energy business…
Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. “Hydrofracturing”, commonly known as fracking is an oil-field technique that involves injecting vast quantities of water into the earth, along with other materials, to break up rock formations and unlock trapped oil and gas. This well stimulation greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity.
Let’s put that into perspective
- Average amount of water used to hydraulically fracture a single Marcellus Shale well: 4.2 – 5 million gallons. (4.2 million gallons is enough water for a town of 42,000 people for one day)
- Number of Marcellus Shale wells drilled from January 2005 – July 2013: 8,700 wells
- Percentage of freshwater used: 90%
- Percentage of water recovered from fracks and reused: 10%
Getting the water
Appropriating large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing diverts water from other beneficial uses such as human consumption or stream flow. The large volumes of water required have raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing in arid areas and drought-prone areas of North America. During periods of low stream flow it may affect water supplies for municipalities and industries such as power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life.
Money “well spent”
Some energy companies plan to spend more than half a billion dollars on pipelines to transport water. The project is a costly wager that the hydraulic-fracturing industry’s thirst for reliable sources of water will grow over the next few years.
One of the proposed pipelines would slash a company’s water costs by two-thirds, or about $600,000 per well. The trucks that now deliver most of that water are a very large expense. These trucks also contribute to congested roadways in some rural areas. “We are not used to all this traffic. It’s like New York City out there,” said a commissioner in rural West Virginia.
To minimize water consumption, recycling is one possible option. In the Spring of 2013, new hydraulic fracturing water recycling rules were adopted in the state of Texas. The Water Recycling Rules are intended to encourage Texas hydraulic fracturing operators to conserve water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells.
Going one step further
There are companies that provide process water for fracking and are able to recycle all process water to avoid transportation and pollution. This has the potential to be a real game-changer for the industry because they recycle produced water on site, eliminating substantial amounts of the freshwater that’s required to frack oil and gas wells.
The results have been very promising so far. A 94-well test saved over 94 million gallons of water, which had the effect of removing 125,000 round-trips for trucks. The net effect was a savings to producers of $3.26 million dollars, which shows that going green can also save a little green.
August is an uneventful month with no major holidays and
no extra days off. However, August has been named
“What will be your legacy month”.
What will be your legacy month is a time for people to reflect past and present actions and vow to make a positive change that will impact future generations. What will you change? We at Verde Energy have chosen some topics to consider…
Global Climate Change
The Earth’s average temperature has been increasing since the mid-20th century. Scientists believe the global warming is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation. Opponents propose the Earth’s global climate naturally fluctuates.
The elevated temperature will cause sea levels to rise due to melting glaciers, change the pattern of precipitation as well as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and will affect agriculture.
Solutions include reducing emissions to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. While there is a scientific consensus is that global climate change is occurring, the political and public debate continues.
As the world consists of more than 70 percent water, keeping the fluid suitable for its myriad purposes is vital for human and environmental health and provides quite a few opportunities for business – and regulation.
On the drinking water side, the Safe Drinking Water Act sets the baseline standards for methods of filtration and disinfection as well as levels of contaminants in the country’s drinking water. It also sets the parameters for water quality testing.
The Clean Water Act, on the other hand, is concerned with the quality of water in the environment. It regulates the water discharged back into the environment, as well as the quality of surface waters. A trend in water facilities is the aiming for faster treatment, smaller facilities, and more efficient energy use.
Far from being a mere nuisance, air pollution can cause serious health problems: EPA estimates that its regulations prevent 230,000 early deaths a year. At the beginning of 2011, the agency began regulating greenhouse gasses. This was much to the chagrin of several states that are now seeking an injunction on the regulations, arguing that EPA does not have the constitutional authority to expand its own jurisdiction.
This highlights one of the challenges in regulating air quality: Balancing health safety needs with society’s need for goods and services and the economy’s need for productive industry. Critics of the current regulatory regime say its health benefits aren’t always proven and often hamper industry’s efficiency. Environmentalists, in turn, argue that industry looks past health and safety to focus only at its bottom line.
A dwindling supply of fossil fuels combined with growing concerns over climate change have worked together to concern more than just the environmental industry with the world’s future energy sources. Though a myriad of potential sources exist – solar, wind, geothermal, algae, biofuels – none has proven to be the perfect solution – yet.
Technology is moving ahead quickly, and it seems every day brings a new announcement of more-efficient solar panels or investment in biofuel research. Electric cars, in particular, are becoming more widely adopted as fuel prices soar and consumers begin to care more about their vehicles’ fuel efficiency ratings.
If you’re aiming to make your life a little less harsh on the planet, you’ll want to consider cutting your energy use and the matter you’re contributing to landfills, not to mention the chemicals you keep in your home. Almost every decision you make matters.
But retailers everywhere are advertising sustainability, green products, energy-efficiency – how do you cut through the marketing hype to live a responsible life? Several organizations, including the Rainforest Alliance and Underwriters’ Laboratories, have developed standards that rationally evaluate the claims and practices of retailers, companies, and other organizations.
U.S. buildings are responsible for 39 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions each year and consume 70 percent of the U.S. electricity load. In response, many organizations have sought to make their buildings “greener” – that is, increasing their efficiency in energy, water and materials usage and generally aiming to reduce the building’s effect on the environment.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling continues to become easier and more widespread, especially as governments are encouraging the practice. Growing consumer preference for socially and environmentally responsible companies is also incentivizing companies’ desire to recycle waste and/or produce their products from recycled materials.
A small but growing number of businesses is seeking to move toward closed-loop systems, in which all waste is recycled as part of a new product or converted to energy that fuels the plant. In addition to providing environmental benefits, closed-loop systems allow enterprises to avoid dealing with waste pits and the regulations that come along with waste disposal.
Recycling diverts waste from landfills and turns them into valuable reusable resources. The financial, environmental and social benefits of recycling are indisputable. It is something we can all do to have a positive and direct impact on our planet.
Many of these topics have been found on the Environmental Protection website. To find more, feel free to look them up at www.eponline.com