Easy Ways to Make Your Business Energy Efficient

Nowadays, smart business owners are taking steps towards making their company more efficient in every way. By establishing more efficient processes, these businesses are capable of getting more done in a shorter amount of time, and they’re also saving money along the way. But, beyond helping their employees perform better, business pros are also working on implementing tools and strategies for becoming increasingly more energy efficient so that their business can be greener and so that they can save money on their energy bill.

If you are ready to take your basic eco-friendly office to the next level, keep reading for some helpful information on how to become more energy efficient at work.

Make the Switch to Laptops

Desktop computers that are always plugged in are always consuming some level of energy, even when they are turned off. Unless you have all of your electronics plugged into a power strip that is turned off at the end of every workday, those devices will continue draining energy, and you will see it on your energy bill. For this reason, a lot of businesses are opting to make the switch to using laptops rather than desktops.

Laptops only need to be plugged in when they are in need of a charge; the rest of the time, they use a built-in battery to function. This can help you save quite a bit of money on your energy bill, and it can also help you save much-needed space because laptops are smaller than desktop computers with separate monitors. This is one of the easiest ways to make your office more energy efficient, and your employees will likely welcome the change to laptops as well.

Purchase Products Having Energy Star Seal

Another way to save money on your energy bill while making your office more energy efficient is by switching to Energy Star appliances and office products that will use up far less energy than their counterparts. Properly dispose of old appliances, such as your office’s refrigerator and microwave, and replace them with Energy Star appliances so that you can start to save money and allocate it towards more important aspects of your day-to-day operations.

Beyond appliances, office products like printers, scanners, copiers, and computers can also come with the Energy Star seal, so be sure to stick with those as well. Because you use these products every day, and for hours on end, making the switch to energy efficient office equipment is wise.

Get Smart About Lighting

Another way to become more energy efficient at work is by focusing on the lighting throughout your office. It is important to replace outdated light bulbs that are less efficient than modern options. So, for example, you could replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which do not contain the harmful mercury that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain. Beyond that, you can check to see if there are any light fixtures that you do not really need to have in place after all. Plus, simply turning the lights off when you leave a room can be a great way to save money really easily.

You can even opt to install light fixtures that use sensors to determine when there are people in a room, thereby allowing the lights to turn on and off automatically. And, finally, whenever possible, take advantage of natural light during the day so that you can rely less upon artificial, energy-consuming light.

Keep Your Staff Comfortable, but Save Money Too

What temperature is your office thermostat currently set to? Do you think that you can maybe tweak the temperature a bit so that you could save money, while also keeping everyone comfortable? Many times, office thermostats are set at temperatures that end up costing the business a lot of money. Small changes in temperature can make a big difference in your energy savings, but your staff are not likely to notice the changes because they will still feel comfortable while they work.

For example, you can save money during the summer by setting the thermostat to 78-80°F. When the workday is over, you can allow the office to reach 80°F because no one will be there anyway, so you don’t need to bother keeping the air conditioner going. In the winter, on the other hand, you can keep your thermostat set anywhere from 65-68°F, and you can let it drop to 60°F overnight when no one is in the office. Go ahead and change the temperature setting by a degree or two for a month to see how much you can save.

Conclusion

It is pretty clear to see that it is very important to become more energy efficient at work. The first step involves setting up an eco-friendly office. But, once you have set the foundation, you can go even further by becoming energy efficient for the planet and for your bottom line.

The Issues and Impact of Energy Storage Technology

Renewable energy has taken off. Wind and solar in particular had grown rapidly, since they can be installed on a small scale and connected to the grid. This has created a number of problems for utility companies while failing to deliver the promised benefits because energy storage technology has not caught up. Let’s look at some of the issues with renewable energy before explaining how advances in energy storage technology will ease these concerns.

The Instability of the Power Grid

The rapid growth of renewable power has added to the instability of the power grid. First, the introduction of many variable power sources forces utilities to deal with varying power supply relative to demand. Second, the relative lack of energy storage systems means there is far more wasted energy than before. When there is a spike in solar or wind power, they can’t store most of it for future usage. This adds to the instability and risk of failure of local portions of the power grid.

If we had more widespread, efficient energy storage, energy producers could save power above the expected power created locally instead of leaving power companies to turn on and off natural gas turbines to meet variation in demand. It would also eliminate the need to build natural gas turbines as backup power sources for when new renewable power sources aren’t meeting expectations.

The Lack of Backup Power

Solar power has long been a source of power for off-the-grid properties. However, this is dependent on having energy storage on site, typically batteries. Yet many solar roofs were set up to minimize cause and maximize tax credits to the detriment of home owners. We can look at the multiple disasters that hit California along with their wildfires. Utility companies couldn’t raise rates to pay for more fire-resistant infrastructure. They could be sued for any new wildfires blamed on the power equipment. The utility company’s only solution as to turn off power to areas that were burning or at risk of catching fire, if they didn’t want to be shut down entirely.

California has one of the highest rates of solar roof installations in the world. Unfortunately, most of those solar roofs were connected directly to the power grid, and the home owner receives power from the grid. This minimized how much equipment had to be installed while giving them the ability to sell power to the grid and get power from the grid. The problem is that they couldn’t get power from the grid when the power grid was shut down unless they paid several thousand dollars extra for renewable energy storage; note that less than two percent of customers did this. That hurt the broader power grid, as well, since solar roofs couldn’t deliver power to the power grid when the power grid was shut down.

The greatest irony was suffered by electric car owners. Imagine being told that you need to flee the wildfires, and all you have is an electric car that you can’t charge. A few homeowners made matters worse by tapping into their Tesla car battery to try to power their homes for a while, draining it dry.

Yet those few people with battery storage systems were fine. Their homes were wired in such a way that they could pull from the battery power when the power grid was down, assuming they were ever connected to the grid. They could continue to run their air conditioners and other appliances though no one else had power. For those that had solar roofs connected to the grid and energy storage systems, the grid being down means all of their power went into the battery. That energy wasn’t wasted, and the family could use it.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

Biomass fuels are typically used most efficiently and beneficially when generating both power and heat through biomass cogeneration systems (also known as combined heat and power or CHP system). Biomass conversion technologies transform a variety of wastes into heat, electricity and biofuels by employing a host of strategies. Conversion routes are generally thermochemical or biochemical, but may also include chemical and physical.

The simplest way is to burn the biomass in a furnace, exploiting the heat generated to produce steam in a boiler, which is then used to drive a steam turbine. Advanced biomass conversion technologies include biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) systems, cofiring (with coal or gas), pyrolysis and second generation biofuels.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

A typical biomass cogeneration (or biomass cogen) system provides:

  • Distributed generation of electrical and/or mechanical power.
  • Waste-heat recovery for heating, cooling, or process applications.
  • Seamless system integration for a variety of technologies, thermal applications, and fuel types into existing building infrastructure.

Biomass cogeneration systems consist of a number of individual components—prime mover (heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection—configured into an integrated whole. The type of equipment that drives the overall system (i.e., the prime mover) typically identifies the CHP unit.

Prime Movers

Prime movers for biomass cogeneration units include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. These prime movers are capable of burning a variety of fuels, including natural gas, coal, oil, and alternative fuels to produce shaft power or mechanical energy.

Key Components

A biomass-fueled cogeneration facility is an integrated power system comprised of three major components:

  • Biomass receiving and feedstock preparation.
  • Energy conversion – Conversion of the biomass into steam for direct combustion systems or into biogas for the gasification systems.
  • Power and heat production – Conversion of the steam or syngas or biogas into electric power and process steam or hot water

Feedstock for Biomass Cogeneration Plants

The lowest cost forms of biomass for cogeneration plants are residues. Residues are the organic byproducts of food, fiber, and forest production, such as sawdust, rice husks, wheat straw, corn stalks, and sugarcane bagasse. Forest residues and wood wastes represent a large potential resource for energy production and include forest residues, forest thinnings, and primary mill residues.

combined-heat-and-power

Energy crops are perennial grasses and trees grown through traditional agricultural practices that are produced primarily to be used as feedstocks for energy generation, e.g. hybrid poplars, hybrid willows, and switchgrass. Animal manure can be digested anaerobically to produce biogas in large agricultural farms and dairies.

To turn a biomass resource into productive heat and/or electricity requires a number of steps and considerations, most notably evaluating the availability of suitable biomass resources; determining the economics of collection, storage, and transportation; and evaluating available technology options for converting biomass into useful heat or electricity.

Why Businesses Need to Reduce Their Carbon Output

According to a recent Nielsen study, 81 percent of consumers feel strongly that businesses should be taking measures to reduce their impact on the environment. This passion is shared across generations, and it’s safe to say that businesses that have little regard for their corporate social responsibility are significantly less desirable to consumers.

Despite this, a 2018 survey by Carbon Credentials found that only 10 percent of UK businesses had strategies in place to cut carbon emissions. Of those that did, none had a set science-based target in their carbon reduction plan. We know that climate change will devastate the economy and drastically increase the cost of doing business. That’s not even mentioning how it will impact resource scarcity and the global population as a whole. At the same time, businesses that take the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint can look forward to many more immediate benefits. Here’s why your business needs to reduce its carbon output and what you can do to champion climate action.

Cost Savings

Naturally, your expenses go down with your resource usage. From using more efficient equipment to streamlining your transportation operations to recycling office supplies, there are countless measures every business can take to make this happen. Within the first month, you’ll have more money to allocate towards growth – instead of utility bills.

Regulatory and Tax Compliance

Year-on-year, laws are passed to penalise businesses that don’t make an effort to reduce their impact on the environment and reward those that do. In the UK, this includes the Climate Change Levy, the EU Emissions Trading System and capital allowances on energy-efficient equipment, among other schemes.

Public Image

A 2015 Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers found that 66 percent of them would pay more for sustainably manufactured products. Among millennials, that portion increases to 77 percent. Gen Z is known to be even more conscious in this regard. The more your business cares, the more your customers will care about your business.

Employee Morale

In a similar light, going green fosters positive feelings from your employees as well. This has many benefits. For one, your staff will be more productive and motivated to achieve if they know they’re working for a good cause. Additionally, turnover will be reduced as employees will be less compelled to leave a work community that cares.

The Bigger Picture

This should go without saying, but reducing your company’s environmental impact has lasting benefits for your community and the economy as a whole. The likelihood of your long-term success and prosperity is far greater if the environment is in better shape.

What You Can Do

The list of measures your business can take to become more environmentally conscious is quite frankly endless. Get started by taking a look at this post on Utility Bidder, an energy supplier comparison website, about some simple ways that businesses can reduce their carbon output. The internet serves as a wealth of information on this topic.

Implementing greener practises is extremely beneficial to your business and more often than not, it is a dead-simple process. Getting started today will help you reap the benefits and reach your business goals sooner.

Top Ways to Save Energy at School

The issue of saving energy amid the exponential advancement of the technology-dependent studying process is one of the critical challenges school systems face today. Modern students are avidly embracing energy-powered tools in class, from learning the techniques of successful essay writing on popular websites like EssayShark, to sharing their studying notes with peers via file storage services like Google Drive.

On that account, the matter of energy efficiency at schools has taken on unprecedented urgency, weighing heavily on school boards to be absorbed in how to minimize electricity consumption. This has led school authorities to employ a great variety of solutions aimed at mitigating the destructive impact of environmental pollution. And, following the universal eco-inspired trend of reducing the use of electricity, we handpicked the most productive ways of saving energy for you to employ at your institution!

Utilize LED Lighting

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more innovative and energy-efficient alternatives like LED or CBL lamps is the perfect solution to start saving energy at your school. Powered by light emitting diodes, which is what this acronym stands for, LED lamps consume a lot less energy than traditional fluorescent lighting and have a much longer lifespan. This makes this type of lighting highly efficient for school. While incandescent light produces too much heat, LED light bulbs preserve it, preventing you from splurging money on cooling.

Give Preference to Natural Light

Not only will sunlight cut the electricity costs your school pays, but it will also create a favorable learning environment for students as opposed to light bulbs. Following several comprehensive studies, sunlight allows people to stay focused on their tasks longer and is thus one of the key factors in promoting a healthy studying process. In order to make the best of natural light, you can equip your classrooms appropriately, such as using suitable blinds or curtains.

Consider Advantageous Cooling Options

Air conditioning provides total salvation for people when it’s boiling hot outside. And its role gets especially critical when it comes to a score of students sharing a stuffy home room during scorching weather. But, no matter how beneficial the effect produced by an air conditioner might be, this system consumes way too much electricity. Adopting effective cooling solutions is the key to saving energy and keeping it cool in your educational institution.

college-green

Use Sensors to Regulate Lighting

For safety reasons, many schools keep the lights on in the premises for the entire day. This is by far the least reasonable option to adhere to if you want to minimize electricity consumption. As an efficient alternative of providing your students with constant lighting, you can contemplate using motion sensors. These devices can make the lights go on only if there’s someone in the room and off once the room is empty. Motion sensors are designed to detect motion and can thus automatically trigger lighting if there’s a need, instead of keeping the lighting unrestrained for the whole day.

Keep the Doors Closed

As another effective trick for reducing thermal loss in your classroom, keeping the doors closed will also maintain the coolness of the room. Thus, this practice can save you some good cash you would be forced to spend on a high-end air conditioning system.

Modernize the Kitchen

The school kitchen is veritably the hub of its electric appliances. Here you have ovens, a microwave, fridges, freezers, and the works. All these devices use a great deal of electricity and, based on the funding schools get from the government, most of them are probably old, which doubles their energy inefficiency. For this reason, replacing your kitchen appliances with newer and more cost-effective models will resolve some of the school’s energy consumption issues.

Drawing the Line

By following today’s all-embracing path toward saving energy, school authorities demonstrate their regard for environmental problems as well as their money management acumen. The modern technology-driven world offers us a variety of options to create a more energy-effective environment, improving the quality of our lives. And the essentials we have provided in this article will help make your school routine less costly and more up-to-date.

Simple Ways to Transform Your Condo Into an Eco-Friendly Space

Global warming and climate change have been at the forefront of news headlines nowadays. This brings to attention the need to protect the environment. When it comes to going green, every step matters and you can do your share with through your condominium unit.

Whether you own a condo unit for personal use or as an investment, you should think about how to transform your space and make it green.  Get started with basic maintenance care when you read this post. Then, incorporate 8 lifestyle changes and remodeling tips listed below to reduce your carbon footprint and make your condo unit eco-friendly.

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

1. Switch to LED Lights

This is one of the simplest changes that you can adopt into condo living. LED lights are the new standard for modern and eco-friendly lighting at home. If you are still using incandescent and fluorescent lights or lamps, you need to consider getting new LED lights.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and can last up to 20 years. They are, therefore, a good option to use for condo lighting if you want to minimize your carbon footprint. They are also practical since LED lights are affordable and last a long time, giving more value to your money.

2. Install Eco-Friendly Air Conditioners

The traditional air conditioners are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy that also hike up utility bills. If you want to save on power and optimize cooling within your home, it is best to find eco-friendly air conditioners. It can help you save up to 90% off your current energy bill.

But it is not just your air conditioner that you should consider replacing with eco-friendly ones. Make sure you choose other energy-efficient appliances, too.

3. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Going organic when it comes to your diet is one of the best ways to develop an eco-friendly practice at home. But when you cannot fully commit to altering your diet, it is best to start with the products you use. For example, you can switch to green cleaning products. This will not only benefit the environment but anyone living in your condo as well.

When you use natural cleaning products, you are exposed to fewer amounts of harsh chemicals. The fewer chemicals you use, the less harmful it is to your health. Also, if you have small kids, the use of chemical cleaning products should be a no-no!

The best part is that natural cleaning products are often less expensive than chemical-based ones. If you are not sure which to choose, research on brands that manufacture or specialize in natural cleaning products.

4. Furnish Your Condo with Reclaimed Materials

Have you inherited antiques from your grandparents? Do you have any unused furniture lying around? Instead of opting for new furniture items and accessories to decorate your home with, it is best to opt for those made of reclaimed materials instead. This will help reduce the waste dumped in landfills and maximize the shelf life of these materials. The use of antiques and old furnishings can also add an interesting decorative flair to your home.

Reclaimed wood materials are one of the most common recyclable materials that are used for home and interior decorating. You can repaint them to make them look brand new and fit into your interior décor theme.

5. Spruce Up Space with Plants

The addition of plants to your condo is a great way to enhance its aesthetic appeal. At the same time, add color and vibrancy to interior space. But there is also an eco-friendly benefit to incorporating plants as decoration–it improves indoor air quality.

Some of the plants that act as an air purifier are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Lady Palm
  • Bamboo or Reed Palm
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy

Before you move into your condo, get one or more of these plants for a healthy home for you and your family.

6. Be Eco-Conscious in Your Choice of Kitchen Sink

If you need to renovate your kitchen, make sure to choose eco-friendly sinks.  As the most important part of your kitchen, choose stainless steel or kitchen sinks that are made from copper recycled materials. This will add a modern look while making it eco-friendly. Sinks made of renewable materials are also great options.

Pair it with low-flow faucets to conserve water easily. Another alternative is to install a low-flow aerator with existing taps. This will significantly reduce the flow rate of 4 gallons per minute to just 0.5 gallons. That’s a huge volume of water saved.

7. Invest in a Smart Home System

A smart home might seem like an expensive investment. But when you live in a condo, you will find cheaper systems that will make your life more efficient and eco-friendly, too. A smart home system will adjust the control of various appliances and equipment, such as lighting, heating, and cooling.

With the system in place, control of indoor temperature, lighting, and the like are automated. By adjusting to the optimal level, you won’t waste energy heating or cooling your home. It also helps to ensure that no unused light is turned on (as it automatically turns the light off when you leave a room).

This is a simple step that you can take to transform your condo into an eco-friendly space. While the one-time investment might be big, it can help you save more in the long run (in terms of lower energy bills).

8. Repaint Furniture, Not Replace Them

This is another simple step that you can do if you want to promote sustainability in your condo unit. Does any piece of furniture look old? Is your cabinetry looking a little dated? Don’t throw them away just yet to get new ones!

Make sure you look at the possibility of repainting or re-facing any furniture or cabinets in your home instead of replacing them with a new one. This is true for appliances or furniture that are still in good working condition.

What steps are you taking to make your condo eco-friendly? Why not give these tips and try and let us know what benefits you gained from doing so?

Useful Tips for Students to Reduce Energy Consumption in the Dorm Room

Today´s “eco wave” is a response – a good response – to the climatic crisis the planet is going through. The youth is the one leading this change of conciseness, and the message is that its time we all get on the same page. Here’s the information on how to conserve energy that every student needs, in order to paint a little green into their dorm rooms.

Ways to save energy in your dorm room

One of the most common wastes of energy is through “phantom energy”. So, it’s recommendable to keep your chargers and any dorm room electronics unplugged when you’re not using them. Also, try to switch to LEDs  or CFLs light bulbs, which consume less energy and are cheaper. And, during the day, use natural sunlight, keep the light bulbs off until they’re really needed. If you want to keep it green during summer, instead of AC use fans, these consume much less energy.

As well, you should reduce the time you spend with your electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops. When you need to complete any of your assignments, you can visit the public library to use one of their computers. This is a great way to reduce energy consumption in your dorm room, moreover, you will have quick access to all useful materials. There is also another way to lower the time spent before the computer. You can try to find online and use custom research paper writing service. As a rule, they are cheap, so if you want to be sure of the service’s quality, check the reviews from other clients.

You could also try is to study in shared spaces; a couple of hours studying in the library equals a couple of hours of lights out in your dorm room. Do your research using books instead of reading on your computer. And, if you can’t hire a professional writer service, or need to write the assignment yourself, consider using a typewriter instead of a computer.

Tips to reduce energy consumption on a daily basis

You might feel that actions, like keeping your lights out during the day and hiring professional paper writers to reduce the usage of your devices, aren’t enough. If that’s the case keep reading and learn some measurements that will help you on a daily basis.

  • Avoid using automobiles. Instead, choose to ride a bike or take a walk to class. If you are too far from school to walk, use public transportation or carpooling.
  • Avoid printing out papers. A soft copy of your assignment is a great solution.
  • Purchase a solar charger. You will have to save for a couple of months to buy it, but you will be using renewable energy, so its a great tool and one of the best ways to save energy.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. These are versatile and will last for years.
  • Wash clothes with cold water. Heating the water consumes lots of energy and warm water doesn’t really make that much of a difference.
  • Keep your door closed. If you have a heating or cooling system in your room it’s important to always close the door. To leave the door open with one of those systems working produces a big waste of energy.

Why do it? Some advantages of saving energy

We all know that saving energy is good, but it’s always helpful to know clearly how good it is. So, here are some of the benefits you will obtain from following some ways to save energy.

  1. You will reduce your bills. Electricity is one of the most expensive services in the majority of countries around the world. So, keeping your consumption down will also help you keep your bills low. We all know: any measure that can give our pockets some relief is good for us.
  2. You will reduce your climate print. To produce electricity, its necessary to use fossil fuels, which have an enormous environmental footprint. The less energy we use, the less pollution we are responsible for. Reducing your energy consumption seems like a small step, but it makes a huge difference your our planet.
  3. Less pollution also translates into fewer health risks. Air contamination is not only bad for plants and other species of animals, it´s also harmful to humans. So, a cleaner air, without high concentrations of CO2 and other dangerous gases, represents better health for you.

Going Green: Ways to Reduce Business Energy Costs

Do you stress over your electric bill every month? Or do you assume that’s just part and parcel of owning a business, and you’ll simply have to keep up with costs? Well, that’s not exactly true. You don’t have to endure the increased energy costs; in fact, you can lower your bill while maintaining a fully functioning business.

Here are some simple changes you can make today that will ensure you’re conserving energy.

  • Turn Off Lights And Devices

Yes, this one is self-explanatory; however, you will be surprised how often it gets overlooked. How many vacant rooms have all their lights switched on? And how many temporarily unused computers are sitting there? Make sure, whenever leaving a room, turn off all lights and equipment such as printers, coffee machines, televisions, or heaters. 

  • Use Natural Sunlight

Absorb as much as you can from natural sources if you happen to work in the day time.  Switch off unnecessary lights and take advantage of that glorious sunshine! Why increase costs on lighting when you have the brightest light of all, the sun!

  • Consider Alternative Suppliers

If you are feeling run-down by overpriced utilities, or perhaps struggling to stick to a budget, it is vital that you become aware of the different business utilities where you’re located. Not only will this generate more power, but it will also help your organization thrive toward success.

  • Input LED or CFL bulbs

Save energy, costs, and the environment at the same time with light-emitting diode (LED) or long-lasting compact fluorescent light (CFL). They can really make a drastic, positive change to your savings. These energy-efficient bulbs will not only decrease your electric bill, but will also last a lot longer than the average light bulbs.

  • Upgrade To Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Whenever you are in need of photo-copiers, monitors, scanners, or any other appliances, consider purchasing office equipment that is energy efficient. But these will still need to be unplugged when not in use, as some equipment still consumes energy while switched off.

  • Invest In Programmable Thermostats

Installing programmable thermostats will automatically adjust the temperature of your workplace. This will reduce the use of heaters and air conditions, and will result in significant business savings!

  • Energy Audits

Getting an energy audit will benefit your business’ energy usage and costs. These will help you identify what exactly is consuming the most energy and where you can increase energy efficiency while trimming down your electric bills.

  • Go Green, Literally!

Spend your free time gardening and discover how trees save energy through cooling the room in the summer, and blocking cold wind in the winter. This will reduce your usage of heaters and air conditioners. Just make sure to plant them strategically. 

  • Get Motion Detectors

Lighting is a huge factor to consider when it comes to high electricity bills. So using motion detectors with automatic dimming controllers, where lights are constantly necessary, can fulfill your energy needs.

Now you can follow these simple steps and have a clear understanding of how impactful energy-efficiency is. You can save plenty on your electric bill, reduce energy costs, and use renewable energy sources at your workplace. Your business energy costs will no longer be an obstacle in your organization. 

The Costs and Benefits of Solar Panels: 6 Factors You Need to Consider

Solar panels are sliding into mainstream consumerism—and it’s posing a challenge. For instance, when you want to buy a car, there is a surge of first-hand information from friends and family who can walk you through the ins and outs of buying a vehicle.

Putting up solar panels on your roof, on the other hand, doesn’t carry the same level of hype from the people around you. What’s worse, they cost the same as a brand new car. To make matters dicier, the number of homeowners who’ve adapted to solar infrastructure isn’t all that many, too.

That aside, the stakes are high. You are, after all, going to install this on your roof. It’s also an adaptation you can’t easily shrug off as, “I’ll do better the next time if I make a mistake now.” Present figures tell us that solar installations are rising and the costs are becoming more feasible. But how much do we know about the said technology and are we personally ready to switch to natural energy?

Here are a few factors you can consider when it comes to solar panels:

Have you tried working on energy efficiency before turning to solar panels?

The whole point of using solar panels is for you to be able to store and conserve natural energy. But apart from that, have you started doing the little things to help better your energy consumption, like turning off the lights when they’re not in use or unplug the television cord when you’re not watching?

The extent of solar energy you need to come up with equates to how much you need. That said, it’s wiser for you to begin consuming your energy much more efficiently before turning to solar panels. You can begin by looking at efficiency upgrades starting with an energy audit before whipping up a blueprint.

Is your roof sturdy enough for solar panels?

This can make or break your solar panel situation. Additionally, if, for most of the day, your roof is covered in shade, then having to splurge a hefty amount for solar panels might not be worth it. You should consider that condition before marching onward.

Also, how sturdy is your roof? Even the lightest panels can be heavy for a decaying house covering. Make sure your roof is in structurally good shape. The usual warranty for solar installations can last up to 25 years and if your roof will need renovation in the next couple of months, you might want to rethink your strategy. Having it renovated first is often the smartest route versus putting up these panels straight away.

Moving forward, another factor is ownership. Many times, house dwellers can’t call the shots because they simply rent the place. A good solution to this is resorting to a community solar. This alternative lets more clients buy a stake in these installations and receive electricity bill credits.

Do you trust your installer?

Advertising comes easy nowadays. Don’t trust the first installer who hands you a flyer or presents you an ad. You have to remember that solar projects are a combination of electrical work and home improvement. References, credentials, and certifications are important. For instance, do they have accreditation under the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)? It goes without saying that you wouldn’t hire an electrician to come to your home and shake things around when they don’t have sufficient experience. Consider an expert’s number of years in the industry.

It also comes as no surprise that these installations call for big checks. Shop around for installers and get as many quotes as you can before inking a deal. This can be challenging, but try looking for a company that will be available for you throughout your installation. While solar cells are stationary, you’re going to want to work with an installer who will emphatically extend their services even after your warranty period is over.

Which solar-type should you go for?

There are two prevailing solar sciences: the first one is photovoltaic. This technology produces electricity sourced from sunlight. Thermal, the second one makes use of sunlight to heat air or water for your everyday needs. At the end of the day, your context and living conditions help determine what you need the most. Despite that, those who use solar thermal are rare and qualified installers for this aren’t that many.

Buy or lease?

Before diving right into the world of solar panel usage, run a cost-benefit analysis. Is buying your own solar infrastructure the wisest decision you can make? Purchasing your costs more in the beginning, but you’ll have more evident benefits in the long run. On the other hand, renting grants you access to more affordable electricity bills. On top of that, you spend little to no money upfront in this arrangement. The tradeoff, however, is that there are limited monetary benefits for you.

When you rent your system, the company who you ink a deal with owns the infrastructure and you only shell out a certain fee for the electricity. When your rental period is over, they can either take the solar infrastructure back or sell it to you. But if you own your infrastructure, you can reap its advantages long after you’ve bought it. To snag a better deal, weight the lifecycle cost of both arrangements to see where you benefit the most. Factor in how much you earn at present and how much you see yourself earning in the near future. You have to put in a lot of research before you make a decision.

What should your contract contain?

As with any other contract, your welfare should be upheld as these last for long periods. The deal you ink should break down ownership, financing, and performance expectations. You should also factor in data-collecting technology if your infrastructure contains web-enabled devices. Determine who has access to it, if this applies. When there are things or contract segments you’re unsure of, it’s best to consult a legal advisor.

After everything’s been said and done, you’re not only cutting back on costs, you’re also contributing to a healthier planet.

Biomass Gasification Power Systems

Biomass gasification power systems have followed two divergent pathways, which are a function of the scale of operations. At sizes much less than 1MW, the preferred technology combination today is a moving bed gasifier and ICE combination, while at scales much larger than 10 MW, the combination is of a fluidized bed gasifier and a gas turbine.

Larger scale units than 25 MW would justify the use of a combined cycle, as is the practice with natural gas fired gas turbine stations. In the future it is anticipated that extremely efficient gasification based power systems would be based on a combined cycle that incorporates a fuel cell, gas turbine  and possibly a Rankine bottoming cycle.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle

The most attractive means of utilising a biomass gasifier for power generation is to integrate the gasification process into a gas turbine combined cycle power plant. This will normally require a gasifier capable of producing a gas with heat content close to 19 MJ/Nm3. A close integration of the two parts of the plant can lead to significant efficiency gains.

The gas from the gasifier must first be cleaned to remove impurities such as alkali metals that might damage the gas turbine. The clean gas is fed into the combustor of the gas turbine where it is burned, generating a flow of hot gas which drives the turbine, generating electricity.

Hot exhaust gases from the turbine are then utilised to generate steam in a heat recovery steam generator. The steam drives a steam turbine, producing more power. Low grade waste heat from the steam generator exhaust can be used within the plant, to dry the biomass fuel before it is fed into the gasifier or to preheat the fuel before entry into the gasifier reactor vessel.

Schematic of integrated biomass gasification combined cycle

The gas-fired combined cycle power plant has become one of the most popular configurations for power generation in regions of the world where natural gas is available. The integration of a combined cycle power plant with a coal gasifier is now considered a potentially attractive means of burning coal cleanly in the future.

Biomass Fuel Cell Power Plant

Another potential use for the combustible gas from a biomass gasification plant is as fuel for a fuel cell power plant. Modern high temperature fuel cells are capable of operating with hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. Thus product gas from a biomass gasifier could become a suitable fuel.

As with the integrated biomass gasification combined cycle plant, a fuel cell plant would offer high efficiency. A future high temperature fuel cell burning biomass might be able to achieve greater than 50% efficiency.