What is a Power Inverter and Why do I Need One?

Are you the owner of an RV, SUV, car, boat or other vehicle with enough free space like Honda BR-V, and want to be able to watch TV, cook, or power a laptop onboard? If yes, you’ll be needing a power inverter. But what are they, and what do they do? Read on to find out why you’ll need one to power your gadgets on the road…

power-inverter-car

What is a Power Inverter?

Basically, they are devices that turn your vehicle battery’s direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) – the kind of electricity you have in outlets in your house, that are connected to the energy grid.

Having a power converter means you can plug in your appliances and devices, and power them like you would through an electricity outlet in a house.

In your car, you can get USB adaptors for your cigarette lighter so that you can charge your phone or plug in your satnav. But for larger gadgets and electronics with proper plugs, you’ll need an inverter.

Working of a Power Inverter

Like we said, they convert currents to a type safe for use in vehicles. Your vehicle’s battery voltage provides a current that powers its internal workings – you’ll need to know which voltage your vehicle’s battery uses to choose the correct inverter.

The current supplied by a battery sticks on one circuit, in one direction – where the name ‘direct current’ comes from.

However, to power your gadgets, you’ll need alternating current, as those electronics need more power to function than the DC can provide. They’re made to function with the high-voltage AC current supplied in homes.

Power inverters increase the DC voltage, change it to AC, then use it to power your devices. They amp up your battery’s voltage so you can play video games and use a kettle in your RV. Cool, huh?

Size Selection

These babies come in a variety of sizes – most commonly 1000, 3000 or 5000 watts.

It’s recommended that a 3000 watt inverter is the happy medium between inverter sizes and best choice to get. They’re not too small like the 1000, or too powerful and overcharged like the 5000. If you need a little extra boost, there are 3500 watt capacities available.

Find the best 3000 watt inverter for your vehicle by checking out the useful comparison guide by Solar Know How.

Modified or Pure Sine Wave Inverter?

Besides the sizing, there are two main types of inverter – the modified sine wave, and the pure sine wave.

So, what’s the difference, and which one will you need?

  • Modified Sine Wave: These tend to be cheaper, and less powerful. However, they’re good for most everyday electronics you will want to use, just not very large ones.
  • Pure Sine Wave: These are compatible with pretty much all electronics, gadgets, and appliances, and produce a powerful current most like the one supplied by the electric grid. These are the most common choice, because they’re more likely to be compatible with anything you need to plug in.

Power inverters are useful for charging on the road without having to cart around adaptors and large plugs

Other Features and Tips

  • Power inverters are especially useful if you are setting up a solar power system – they convert energy from the sun into electricity you can use to power your gadgets within your vehicle. This is renewable energy that isn’t a drain on your best car battery.
  • Power inverters aren’t just for vehicles – if you have a small cottage or outhouse, they’re very useful for setting up a small power source there.
  • Many (but not all) power inverters come with USB outlets, useful for charging on the road without having to cart around adaptors and large plugs. For ease of use, get one compatible with USB.
  • The best inverters have digital screens which show you how much energy has been consumed and information about battery voltage. It’s useful to know these things at a glance, so consider getting one that has a screen.
  • Modern inverters, such as a solar inverter, have been made to be extra-quiet, so you won’t be woken up by a noisy machine while trying to simultaneously get some sleep and charge your phone in your RV.

Bagasse-Based Cogeneration in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities

Considering the fact that Pakistan is among the world’s top-10 sugarcane producers, the potential of generating electricity from bagasse is huge.  Almost all the sugar mills in Pakistan have in-house plants for cogeneration but they are inefficient in the consumption of bagasse. If instead, high pressure boilers are installed then the production capacity can be significantly improved with more efficient utilization of bagasse.

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However, due to several reasons; mostly due to financing issues, the sugar mill owners were not able to set up these plants. Only recently, after financial incentives have been offered and a tariff rate agreed upon between the government and mill owners, are these projects moving ahead.

The sugar mill owners are more than willing to supply excess electricity generated form the in-house power plants to the national grid but were not able to before, because they couldn’t reach an agreement with the government over tariff. The demand for higher tariff was justified because of large investments in setting up new boilers. It would also have saved precious foreign exchange which is spent on imported oil.

By estimating the CDM potential of cogeneration (or CHP) projects based on biofuels, getting financing for these projects would be easier. Renewable energy projects can be developed through Carbon Development Mechanism or any other carbon credit scheme for additional revenue.

Since bagasse is a clean fuel which emits very little carbon emissions it can be financed through Carbon Development Mechanism. One of the reasons high cogeneration power plants are difficult to implement is because of the high amount of costs associated. The payback period for the power plants is unknown which makes the investors reluctant to invest in the high cogeneration project. CDM financing can help improve the rate of return of the project.

Bagasse power plants generate Carbon Emission Reductions in 2 ways; one by replacing electricity produced from fossil fuels.  Secondly if not used as a fuel, it would be otherwise disposed off in an unsafe manner and the methane emissions present in biomass would pollute the environment far more than CO2 does.

Currently there are around 83 sugar mills in Pakistan producing about 3.5 million metric tons of sugar per annum with total crushing capacity 597900 TCD, which can produce approximately 3000 MW during crop season Although it may seem far-fetched at the moment, if the government starts to give more attention to  sugar industry biomass rather than coal, Pakistan can fulfill its energy needs without negative repercussions or damage to the environment.

However some sugar mills are opting to use coal as a secondary fuel since the crushing period of sugarcane lasts only 4 months in Pakistan. The plants would be using coal as the main fuel during the non-crushing season. The CDM effect is reduced with the use of coal. If a high cogeneration plant is using even 80% bagasse and 20% of coal then the CERs are almost nullified. If more than 20% coal is used then the CDM potential is completely lost because the emissions are increased. However some sugar mills are not moving ahead with coal as a secondary fuel because separate tariff rates have to be obtained for electricity generation if coal is being used in the mix which is not easily obtained.

Pakistan has huge untapped potential for bagasse-based power generation

One of the incentives being offered by the State Bank of Pakistan is that if a project qualifies as a renewable project it is eligible to get loan at 6% instead of 12%. However ones drawback is that, in order to qualify as a renewable project, CDM registration of a project is not taken into account.

Although Pakistan is on the right track by setting up high cogeneration power plants, the use of coal as a secondary fuel remains debatable.  The issue that remains to be addressed is that with such huge amounts of investment on these plants, how to use these plants efficiently during non-crushing period when bagasse is not available. It seems almost counter-productive to use coal on plants which are supposed to be based on biofuels.

Conclusion

With the demand for energy in Pakistan growing, the country is finally exploring alternatives to expand its power production. Pakistan has to rely largely on fossils for their energy needs since electricity generation from biomass energy sources is considered to be an expensive option despite abundance of natural resources. However by focusing on growing its alternate energy options such as bagasse-based cogeneration, the country will not only mitigate climate change but also tap the unharnessed energy potential of sugar industry biomass.

A Blackout, Big Oil, and Wind Energy

The annual wind turbine capacity additions in the United States totaled 14.2 gigawatts, surpassing the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012. The whole world is seeing similar growth.  The wind industry isn’t without controversy. Critics blame it for the scope of a blackout in Australia. On the other hand, international oil companies have begun to build off-shore wind farms.

Critics’ case against wind energy

According to its critics, wind power is unreliable. The wind doesn’t blow all the time. It doesn’t blow on any predictable pattern. Wind turbines require some minimum wind speed for them to work at all. And if the wind is too strong, they can’t operate safely and must shut down.

wind-farm-Lake-Turkana-Kenya

Wind can cross one or the other of these thresholds multiple times a day. They operate at full capacity for only a few hours a year. So the theoretical capacity of a wind farm greatly exceeds its actual output.

The times turbines can generate electricity do not coincide with rising and falling demand for electricity. This variability creates problems for stabilizing the grid. Critics further claim that the wind industry can’t operate without massive government subsidies.

Wind power and South Australia blackout of 2016?

South Australia depends on wind energy for about 40% of its electricity. It suffered seven tornadoes on September 28, 2016. Two of them, with winds almost as fast as Hurricane Katrina, destroyed twenty towers that held three different transmission lines. Nine wind farms shut down.  Within minutes, the entire state suffered a massive blackout.

What contributed the most to the blackout? South Australia’s high dependence on wind power? The weather? Or something else?

Renewable energy skeptics quickly claimed the blackout justified their position. The wind farms simply failed to provide enough electricity in the emergency. Wind and solar energy, they say, are inherently unreliable. South Australia’s heavy reliance demonstrates an irresponsible policy based on ideology more than technological reality.

Certainly, the weather would have caused a disturbance in electrical service no matter what source of electricity. People near the downed transmission lines could not have avoided loss of power. But prompt action by grid operators makes it possible to bypass problem areas and limit the extent of the outage.

On closer examination, however, the correct answer to the multiple-choice question above is C: something else.

Wind turbines have “low voltage ride through” settings to keep operating for brief periods when voltage dips below the threshold at which they can operate correctly. If low-voltage conditions occur too frequently, the wind turbines have a protection mechanism that turns them off.

  • Ten wind farms experienced between three and six low-voltage events within two minutes. But the turbines were operating on factory settings. No one performed any testing to determine good settings under local conditions.
  • The agency that regulates the Australian electricity market knew nothing about the protection feature. It blamed the wind farms, but surely someone on staff should have been familiar with the default operation of the turbines. After all, the agency approved purchase and installation of the turbines. It had all the documentation.
  • Two gas generating plants that should have supplied backup power failed to come online.

The weather caused a problem that became a crisis not because of technical limitations of renewable energy, but because of too many different organizations’ incompetence.

If the wind is too strong, wind turbines can’t operate safely and must shut down.

One homeowner in South Australia didn’t suffer from the outage. He didn’t even know about the blackout till he saw it on the news. He had to test the accuracy of the news reports by opening his oven and noting that the light didn’t come on.

It turns out he had installed solar panels just a few weeks earlier. And since power outages in his part of South Australia occur almost every month, he decided to install a Tesla Powerwall as well.

He can’t use it to power his entire house, but it takes care of the lights and the television. It stores enough electricity for 10 hours of off-grid power.

Big oil and wind power

International oil companies have not joined the chorus of wind-industry skeptics. Several of them, including Royal Dutch Shell, have begun to invest heavily in off-shore wind farms. Especially in the North Sea. Oil production there has steadily declined for about 15 years.

Exploring for new oil fields has become too risky and expensive. These oil companies have decided that investing in wind energy helps their cash flow and makes it more predictable.

Oil companies have more expertise in working on offshore platforms than do companies that specialize in wind energy. Instead of building a foundation for turbines on the ocean floor, at least one oil company has begun to explore how to mount them on floating platforms.

Traditional wind energy firms have been operating turbines in the North Sea for years, but the oil companies have begun to outbid them. Their off-shore expertise has helped them drive down their costs.

So far, American oil companies have shown less interest in wind farms. If they decide they’re in the oil business, they will eventually lose market share to renewable energy companies. If they decide they’re in the energy business, they’ll have to start investing in renewable energy. And if any decide to invest heavily in solar power besides or instead of wind, they will still be following the lead of Total, a French oil company.

For that matter, the coal business is dying. Perhaps some of them will have enough sense to invest in renewables to improve their cash flow.

On-Grid Vs Off Grid: Choose the Best Power for Your Home

While fuel and electricity costs rise, many households are moving to solar power systems. The easiest solution that one can find is to opt for solar panel systems.

Curious about what solar panel systems are?

Sunshine is available to using abundance, and solar systems use efficient technology to harvest and turn this energy into electricity with pre-defined methods. Solar power panels serve the purpose of collecting solar energy and converting it through the photovoltaic (PV) effect into electric power. Many homes have a roof or backyard, which can be used for installing solar systems to generate electricity.

A home solar system must provide ample electrical energy to meet all home power needs. It provides AC power, as typically all households use AC power to operate lighting systems, electronics, appliances and machinery such as machines, refrigerators, mixers, fans, air conditioners, TVs and music systems.vThe price of the home solar power plant varies on its size and type.

On-grid and off-grid solar systems come in two types of solar power plants. Let’s look at the difference between the two:

1. Off-Grid Solar System

An off-grid solar system is well designed to generate enough power throughout the year to meet the needs of a household, even in the depths of winter, when there is less sunshine. However, since there is no electricity grid connection to an off-grid solar system, battery storage is necessary.

The high cost of batteries and inverters implies that the off-grid solar system is costly than the alternatives, so they are usually needed only in more remote areas far from the grid. Nevertheless, battery costs are reducing at a high rate, so the demand for an off-grid solar system is now increasing, even in cities and towns.

Advantages of An Off-Grid Solar System

  • Such an off-grid solar system can function independently and not rely on the grid.
  • They generate enough electricity that can be collected and used at night.
  • These are suitable for remote areas that do not have grid power access.
  • Shutdowns and infrastructure faults won’t affect the power supply.

2. On-Grid Solar System

On-grid solar systems are the most widely solar product used by homeowners. Such systems do not need batteries and are connected to the public electricity grid and use solar inverters. Any surplus solar power you produce is sold to the electricity grid, and the energy you sell is usually paid a feed-in tariff (FiT) or credits.

Solar inverters are an essential part of a residential solar energy system, convert the electricity your solar panels create into a form that can be used by the appliances, lighting, and other electronics. Learn more about solar inverters here.

Unlike an off-grid solar system, because of safety reasons, these are unable to work or generate electricity during a blackout. Because blackouts usually occur when the electricity grid is disabled, if the solar inverter had fed energy into a broken grid, it would endanger the safety of the people fixing the network’s faults. Most on-grid solar systems with battery storage can separate itself from the grid (known as islanding) and continue to supply some power during a blackout.

Advantages of An On-Grid Solar System

  • On-grid solar systems are incredibly cost-effective and easy to install.
  • By balancing electricity bills in just 3-8 years, you can recoup the cost of your expenditures.
  • Residential users can earn a passive income for the surplus energy generated by the system.

Choose Between On-Grid Vs Off-Grid Solar Systems to Fit Your Needs

Solar power systems are a form of clean, renewable energy, and they have many benefits depending on the type of system you chose. Knowing the advantages of both an on-grid and off-grid solar system, you can select the one according to your needs. With the right solar system and proper installation, you can have clean and cost-effective energy, without being worried about maintenance problems.

Top 7 Tips To Make Your Home Energy Efficient During Summer

Your home is a full-fledged system. And you’re the person who decides how to run its operations. This goes for the appliances you choose, and the equipment you install. So naturally, when you implement cost-effective measures, you’re able to save money, energy, and improve performance. As a homeowner, there are two particular seasons in which you wish your home to be the most energy efficient. Those are summer and winter. So how do you keep cool in the hot weather without overworking your AC? Here are our top 7 tips to make your home energy efficient in summer.

Importance of energy efficient appliances and equipment

Energy efficient appliances and equipment use the least amount of energy to perform their required tasks by default. So if you get energy efficient appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers, and laundry machines, you’ll be conserving energy. This automatically translates into reduced utility bills. You will be saving money and protecting the environment.

Energy efficiency in home appliances is extremely important. Especially when you consider how the energy and money you saved could be used for something else. So, you get a discounted bill with minimum exploitation of natural resources.

how to make your home energy efficient

How to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient in Summer

1. Check your home insulation

A good insulation system will keep your home well protected against the elements. One of the main places that people tend to ignore is the attic. When your attic is poorly insulated you’ll notice that during the cold months, snow on your roof will melt faster. This means that a substantial amount of warm air is leaking from your home. Similarly, during summer, poor insulation will allow cool air out. This will automatically make your heating and cooling system work harder to compensate for the air leaking.

home-insulation

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s research, proper insulation will help you save 15% on heating and cooling costs. So, if you want to make your home more energy-efficient, you need to seal any crack and openings. Inspect your floors for any possible crawl spaces and your doors and windows for caulking that could have degraded.

2. Optimize your thermostat settings

If you’re looking to save up on energy bills during summer, you need to tackle the source of the issue. That is your cooling system. It might feel really nice to blast your AC when it’s unbearably hot outside. However, you don’t want the temperature inside your home to be so cold that you need to use a blanket. In fact, you can be comfortable enough with your thermostat set at 78 degrees.

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For every degree below 78, your energy increases by 6 to 8%. Accordingly, your energy bill increases as well. For instance, if you raise your thermostat from 74 to 78, you save 24% in energy usage. Keep the thermostat as high as possible before you leave the house, or turn it off altogether. The bigger the difference between the temperature outside and inside, the higher your energy bill will be.

3. Replace your air filters

When your air filters are dirty and deteriorating, your HVAC is going to overwork itself to keep your house cool. This will result in poor energy efficiency and higher utility costs. Cleaning your air filters might not be enough since you’re supposed to replace them every three months. The same goes for your air vents.

You need to clean those as well on a regular basis. And if you have pets, you will need to clean them more frequently. Not to mention the allergens and dust that circulate through your ventilation system. If you don’t have much experience in home maintenance, you need to call a professional to check them for you.

4. Use fans strategically

You might be reluctant to exclusively rely on fans to cool your home in summer, especially during heatwaves. After all, fans don’t do much except move the existing air in a particular space around over and over again. However, you can place fans throughout your home in a strategic manner so that they work more efficiently.

One great way to increase energy efficiency is to work both your cooling system and fans at the same time. The thing is that you only need to put your AC on at a higher degree than you normally would. Then, plug a fan and direct it towards the AC so that it propagates cool air throughout the whole room.

5. Install double glazed windows

Upgrading your windows is the best thing you can do to enhance your home’s energy efficiency, both during summer and winter. The gap between the two glass panes in double glazed windows acts as an additional layer of insulation. Like so, this layer creates thermal resistance that obstructs the outdoors air from coming in and indoor air from escaping. This means that in winter, warm air won’t leak outside of your home. The double glazing will also prevent the harsh cold from infiltrating your living space.

On the other hand, when the weather is really hot, your double glazed windows have the reverse effect. They hinder warm air from creeping in, and they block the cool air inside your home from seeping outside. Double glazed windows also have the added benefit of minimizing the outside noise, limiting UV damage, and increasing security.

6. Upgrade your light bulbs

If you’re still using incandescent lighting then it’s time to make the switch to LED light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs actually generate way more heat than their LED counterpart. This gives your HVAC system one more thing it has to contend with. Not just that, incandescent lights only last for 1,000 hours. They convert a mere 5% of the energy they receive to light, while the rest 95% gets lost as heat.

energy efficient home

On the other hand, LED bulbs last 25 times longer, they consume 75% less energy, and they run cooler. If buying LED light bulbs seems a bit out of your budget, you could consider compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Their lifespan is 10 times longer than that of incandescent bulbs. And you’ll still be saving about 67% in electricity usage.

7. Unplug energy-sucking appliances

Consider this a rule of thumb to energy efficiency in summer: if you’re not using it, then unplug it! Think of it this way: any appliances that use electricity will also generate heat. If you want to keep your home cool and comfortable enough during the hot weather, unplug electronics you’re not using. That goes for anything from your coffee machine and toaster, to your phone chargers and computers.

3 Major Benefits of Using Solar Inverter as a Primary Source of Residential Energy

In recent years, the solar inverter market has witnessed a surge in demand. That’s because  people have started realizing the benefits of switching to solar energy for residential as well as commercial use. Even the central and state governments are stressing on the need to switch to solar energy. They are even offering various subsidies for installing solar power systems on both residential and commercial properties. So why do you think the government is encouraging the shift from local grids to solar energy. Well, in this post, we discuss just that. Listed below are three important reasons/benefits of using a solar inverter as a primary source source of residential energy. Let’s read on:

benefits of solar inverter

1. It is a clean source of energy

While one of the reasons for shifting from fossil fuels to solar is that fossil fuels are exhaustible and are not going to last forever, an even more significant reason for this shift is that unlike fossil fuels that cause a lot of pollution, solar energy is a clean and green source of energy. It helps reduce the carbon footprint which is the need of the hour. And this reflects in the way governments across the globe have been encouraging renewable sources of energy.

India, too, is not an exception, and that is evident from the fact that the Indian government is providing subsidies for installing solar inverter systems. And the good thing is that many people across the country have already started installing solar inverter systems on their residential and commercial properties. So, if you too want to do your bit towards making the Earth a better place to live, go solar!

2. It helps save a lot of money

Well, if you have been worried about the initial investment cost of installing a solar inverter system, we already told you that the Government of India provides subsidies for installing solar inverter systems. And if this reason is not enough let us also tell you that one of the major benefits of installing a solar inverter system is that you are able to generate electricity for free. That’s because the solar energy from the Sun is a free source of energy.

Also, the yearly savings that most households make after installing solar inverter systems are such that they are able to recover their initial cost of investment within 6-7 years. And since the average lifespan of a solar inverter system is anywhere between 15 to 20 years, it means that one is able to make substantial returns on their investment once they have recovered their initial investment cost.

Now isn’t that an awesome reason for you to take the plunge?

3. It provides relief from long and frequent power cuts

Here’s another major benefit of installing a solar inverter system. If you live in an area where there are long and frequent power cuts and even the normal UPS inverter is not of much help, then installing a solar inverter system will help you reduce your dependence on your local grid. In fact, solar inverter systems have gained a lot of popularity in areas where there’s no local grid.

For example, you may be aware of the latest trend of people buying vacation homes at faraway locations. Most of these locations lack a local grid, and therefore, people rely on solar inverter systems for their energy needs.

Ready to make a move?

If you haven’t shifted to solar already, it’s high time you make a move. We suggest you to get in touch with the solar experts’ team at a reputable brand such as Luminous India and they would walk you through the process of choosing the right solar inverter system for your residential property.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy. Remember, these are not the only ways you can save on your energy costs. You have to ensure that you are on the best electricity rate plan that is right for your business. Energy comparison sites like Electricityrates.com can help you find the best rates around your area to suit your business needs. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code, and you’ll get a list of electric providers in your area to choose from based on your preferences.

1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

2. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

3. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

4. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

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5. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

6. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

LED-lighting-workplace

7. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

8. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

9. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

10. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

11. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

 

12. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.

Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.

6 Safety Management Tips For Dam Owners

Humans have increasingly become dependent on electricity, which is due in no small part to the many advances in technology. From healthcare and commerce to the way people communicate with each other, everything that makes life livable now requires electrical power.

With all the growing demand for electricity, government and business leaders are continually pressured by the public to find ways to generate more power while keeping the planet safe. Renewable energy is the buzzword for finding the balance between power generation and giving the environment a much-needed TLC (tender loving care).

That said, water is one of the most common sources of renewable energy – it generates hydroelectricity, which makes up around 44% of renewable energy in the U.S. alone. Harvesting hydropower involves harnessing the flow of water. In other words, hydropower plants require dams to be built to hold and control the water that’ll turn the generators or turbines, generating electricity.

But hydropower is just one part of the equation. Water is essential for humans, without which life won’t even be possible. From hydropower to drinking water supply, dams will continue to be vital for humanity’s survival. Owners must manage their dams effectively to keep them safe and working. Doing so can prevent risks that may result in loss of life and property.

dam-safety-management

Challenges Posed By Dams

Most dams used for hydropower generation and water supply are man-made–they’re made up of concrete. Hence, there are structural and stability challenges that need to be solved. You don’t need to see a movie just to know what might happen if a dam is breached.

 There was a time when operators relied on visual inspection, photos, and interpretation by engineers to analyze a dam’s safety levels. Today, there are state-of-the-art monitoring tools to help dam operators. Hence, there are now advanced solutions that allow dam owners to keep the structural integrity in check.

Take the case of Hunter Water Grahamstown Dam in Australia. This dam is designed to provide a drinking water supply and recycled water service to an area with approximately 600,000 people. As a storage dam, it constantly presents challenges that can compromise its structural integrity.

Using modern dam monitoring tools, Grahamstown Dam owners can effectively manage the dam’s integrity in a remote setting. In turn, this allows nearby residents to sleep soundly at night. The secret lies in using AI technology, such as Rezatec’s Dam Monitoring solution, to remotely churn out geospatial data that tracks everything–from ground movements to moisture levels. Nothing is left to chance or open interpretation. Also, fewer visual inspections are now required.

Dam Safety Management Tips

Indeed, humans have completely changed the way water is stored–whether for drinking or generating power. In a study aimed at monitoring and taking a closer look at the changing levels of global freshwater sources, researchers used NASA’s satellite and found that humans are now responsible for 57% of the planet’s seasonal water storage, which is happening in reservoirs and dams.

With the ever-increasing world population, it’s logical for one to think that more reservoirs and dams will be built in the foreseeable future. Whether it’s for drinking or harnessing hydropower, dams are here to stay. Owners and operators must learn to manage their dams dynamically.

Taking a cue from what operators did in managing the safety of the Grahamstown Dam, here are some tips on how to keep dams safe and functioning properly for years to come.

1. Create A Dam’s Risk Profile

No dam is perfect. For one, there’s always a trade-off among costs, location, and capacity when designing and building dams. It’s left to the owners to make the best out of the dams they’re managing. In a bid to reduce risks, owners should always know the status of their dams. For one, they should define risk areas and be aware of the dam’s weaknesses.

By creating a dam’s risk profile, managers won’t be caught unaware should disasters occur. For instance, if a barrier was designed to withstand a 10-magnitude earthquake, then a reading of 11 on the Richter scale should put workers on full alert even if the dam isn’t breached. Emergency inspections and responses should also be triggered.

2. Effective Dam Monitoring In Place

Dams, like the one in Grahamstown, require continued monitoring. There’s no shortcut to knowing or tracking the structural integrity of a dam except via monitoring.

In the past, owners relied on photography and visual inspections. The problem was the data gathered could be biased and were open to misinterpretation. Hence, it would be best to adopt AI-based solutions to ensure accurate monitoring data.

3. Ready Access To Construction Documentation

Dams are big structures and they’re often made up of different segments and materials. Making things more complicated is the fact that no two dams are the same–each has its own design features.

When managing a dam, the people responsible for it should have access to the dam’s design and construction blueprint. By doing so, managers will be less likely to do things that can compromise the dam’s structure and functionality.

4. Prioritize Incident Reports

Dam workers must be required to report all incidents that occur, including emergencies and operational shutdowns. Such reports will keep the management in the loop and enable key players to recommend a plan of action to prevent such incidents from happening again.

dam safety guide

5. Operations And Safety Manuals At The Ready

Dams are run by different people working in various shifts. While training workshops are essential for new and experienced workers, people tend to forget what they’re trained for. It’s crucial to have operations and safety manuals readily accessible to ensure that everyone is on the same page while operating the dam. This way, workers won’t be left guessing on what to do in case emergencies happen.

6. Multi-discipline Management Approach

While new technologies allow remote, scalable, and cost-effective dam management, it’s still vital to have human operators and engineers tracking changes or investigating anomalies. Environmental sciences should work with soil engineering and other disciplines. AI should also work with good old-fashioned human insights.

By combining multiple disciplines, dam owners will be more confident in reducing risks and meeting regulatory requirements across different sectors.

Conclusion

Dams are vital for human survival. They can be harnessed to provide water supply and electricity. Due to this, expect that there will be more dams built in the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, owners and operators should learn how to keep dams safe and effective to prevent loss of life and property.

Clever Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Domestic and Commercial Property

The world’s energy bill is expected to reach $48 trillion by 2035 for power supply, fossil fuel extraction, and investment in renewables and nuclear, among other elements. Unfortunately, the cost of increased expenses goes beyond denting household or business budgets: it also affects the environment, making it more polluted and contributing to global warming. Improving energy efficiency in home and business life is vital in order to eliminate waste, save money, and help rescue the planet. Here are a few clever ways to improve energy efficiency in the domestic and commercial property:

Insulation and Air Sealing

The structure of a home or a commercial property is one of the key determinants in energy efficiency. When designing a home or renovating a building, it’s important to pay attention to insulation and air sealing. Roof cladding is vital in order to conserve heat and keep the structure cool. Double or triple-glazed windows ensure that heat is retained indoors, and stops the cold from entering a room to make a structure energy-efficient.

home-insulation

When paired with energy efficient heating and cooling appliances, this can make a huge difference to the amount of energy used within the building. It’s also a good idea to customize your windows, and choose an efficient frame that is appropriate for your climate.

For doors, caulking and weather stripping safeguard your home and enhance energy efficiency. In some cases, it makes sense to replace a door to retain energy and keep away draughts. Properly installed and conceived skylights allow you to benefit from daylight and improve ventilation. New technologies already incorporate glazing technologies in skylights to reduce the impact of summertime heat gain and winter heat loss.

Coherent Heating, Cooling and Hot Water Systems Using Renewables

It’s also imperative to think of a coherent heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and hot water systems. One way to do this is to select effective cooling and heating equipment. Opt for dehumidifying heat pipes to reduce indoor humidity and increase comfort. Along with other actions such as increasing the thermostat and using ceiling fans, you can reduce the power consumption of aircons by 20-50%, according to Energy.gov

air quality at the workplace

 

Consider using renewable energy systems to provide electricity and cool and heat homes. Solar photovoltaics (PVs) are forms of clean energy that can provide unlimited power. Investments can be recuperated within a short time. Solar power technology has evolved for the better in the last few decades, and the costs of installing panels have gone down. In addition, many governments offer incentives to switch to clean energy, making it a win-win situation.

Upgrade Appliances And Lighting Systems

Homes and buildings can also benefit from reduced electricity use by upgrading lighting systems. Switching to light emitting diode (LED) bulbs lowers power consumption by as much as 75%. In addition, they last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, and offer better or higher illumination without increasing energy usage – useful for areas that require constant lighting such as corridors or offices.

LED-lighting-workplace

Appliances also make a difference. Switch to energy-rated appliances, from washing machines and dishwashers to coffeemakers and copiers. When purchasing news appliances and gadgets, consider the cost of operating them. Think of smart appliances that can be connected to home or building energy management systems. These types of appliances not only shut down during peak electricity demand, but also shift energy use, smartly running when utility charges are lower, such as in the middle of the night.

Energy spending worldwide has been increasing, and will continue to do so in the future. Investing in energy efficiency will not only save money for both households and businesses, but will also help the environment and make people feel good about their commitment to the planet.

Top 5 Reasons to Use Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is extracted from environmental assets that recharge in less than half of a human lifespan without draining the earth’s resources. Sunlight, wind, rain, oceans, waves, carbon, and thermal energy deposited in the earth’s crust are all commodities that are present in some way or another almost everywhere. Renewable energy is practically inexhaustible. What’s even better is that they don’t have much effect on the economy or the atmosphere.

clean energy in italy

On the other hand, fossil resources such as gasoline, coal, and natural gas are only present in limited amounts. They will eventually run out even if you want to harvest them. Fossil fuels are not replenished as quickly as humans need them to, even though natural methods create them. Currently people have started realizing the necessity of renewable energy usage and want to learn more about its functioning and its benefits. People are opting for different courses on renewable energy to get a step closer towards a greener world. Have a look at Renewable Energy Courses Basildon Essex which has quality courses available at affordable rates.

What are the reasons for using renewable energy?

Both sources of energy affect the climate, much as every other human operation. Renewable energy is no different, and each supply comes with its own set of trade-offs. However, the benefits of renewable energy over fossil fuels are evident. Here are five prominent reasons to use renewable energy in your daily life:

1. Renewable energy is abundant

As the name implies, renewable energy is produced from naturally replenishing sources such as sunlight, air, rain, compost, and even geothermal (buried) energy.

minnesota-solar

Renewables turn natural resources efficiently into energy, unlike oil, coal, and natural gas mines, which involve large networks of heavy equipment, refining facilities, pipes, and distribution. Although certain fossil fuels are getting increasingly difficult and costly to obtain, resulting in the degradation of natural ecosystems and significant financial damages, renewable energy is infinite. 

2. Renewable energy emits little to no pollutants

Increased air emissions are caused by global growth in conventional fuel, required in road transportation, manufacturing activity, electricity production, and outdoor garbage combustion in many regions. The usage of coal and lumber for cooking and heating in many developed countries leads to low indoor air quality. Cities are physically suffocated by contaminants and other air pollution generated by fossil fuels. According to World Health Organization reports, their appearance over metropolitan skies causes millions of early casualties and costs billions of dollars.

Air, thermal, and hydroelectric power emit little to no emissions into the atmosphere. Other alternative power generating techniques, such as biomass and geothermal, release emissions into the atmosphere, albeit at far lower levels than most fossil fuels.

energy-company

Renewable energy follows reuse and recycling goals and is a powerful engine for social and economic development, rather than depleting precious energy and polluting the atmosphere.

3. Renewable energy is cheap

Increased oil costs and insufficient access to capital are often associated with international unrest and uprisings. Since renewable energy is mainly generated locally, it is less impacted by geopolitical conflicts, price rises, or supply chain disturbances.

Using green resources can save you funds in the long run. You can save not only on repairs but also on running expenses. You don’t have to spend money to refuel if you use equipment that produces electricity from solar, wind, steam, or geological activities. The sum of money you save when you use green energy depends on various things, including the system itself. In most situations, switching to green energies results in cost cuts ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollar.

4. Renewable energy creates jobs

The renewable energy sector is more labor-intensive than fossil fuel systems, which are traditionally automated and capital intensive. Humans are required to mount photovoltaic panels, and technicians are required to maintain wind turbines.

electrical-engineering

This implies that more jobs are created on aggregate with each unit of energy produced by renewable energies than from fossil energy.

Thousands of workers are now supported by renewable energies in the United States. In 2016, the wind energy sector employed directly over 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers in processing, project production, design and turbine implementation, administration, and maintenance.

5. Renewable energy is reliable and resilient

Since renewable energy sources are dispersed and flexible, they are less vulnerable to large-scale malfunction. Because distributed grids are spread over a wide geographic area, an extreme weather incident in one place would not result in the loss of control for an entire site. Numerous independent windmills or solar panels make up modular structures. And if any of the system’s machinery is disabled, the remainder usually continues to function.

solar-energy-trends

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

Hurricane Sandy, for example, wreaked havoc on New York and New Jersey’s fossil-fuel-dominated electric production and delivery grids, knocking out millions of residents. On the other hand, renewable energy facilities in the Northeast escaped Hurricane Sandy with no injury or destruction.

In conclusion

Despite certain uncertainties, it is apparent that renewables can one day provide emission-free electricity to all of our households, industries, and cars.

While no one energy source will ever be able to satisfy all of the human requirements, a mixture of solar, air, biomass, geothermal, tidal, and power storage can fuel the entire planet without emitting any toxins or greenhouse gases.