Use Circular Manufacturing to Save Energy and Reduce Waste

The industrial sector is the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, accounting for over 20% of total emissions (including carbon dioxide and methane), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals. Manufacturing plants (as part of the industrial sector) typically involve significant pollution and energy and resource use. By implementing sustainable methods designed to green the manufacturing process, manufacturing plants can improve their environmental footprint, lower costs, and boost efficiency.

environmental benefits of circular manufacturing

Embrace circular manufacturing

Circular manufacturing (also known as lean manufacturing) is a sustainable model that extends the life and use of materials and goods to minimize waste and energy and resource usage. In particular, circular manufacturing may include: converting to a renewable power source; adopting predictive maintenance to extend the condition and longevity of equipment; and sharing equipment with other plants.

Additionally, curricular manufacturing typically involves recovering and reusing resources or waste materials generated from other plants rather than purchasing new raw materials. Just look at Kalundborg Symbiosis as a solid example of circular manufacturing: they’re a collective of nine Danish manufacturing companies who’ve been sharing material, water, and energy streams since 1961. Together they lower their carbon emissions by 635,000 tons and save 24 million EUR every year.

Partner with eco-friendly businesses

Your manufacturing plant likely partners with other businesses whether it’s to source raw parts, equipment, and materials or purchase packaging. By partnering with green businesses, you can in turn ensure your business stays as eco-friendly as possible. For example, switch to an energy supplier committed to green energy or a packaging supplier that uses recycled materials.

packaging waste

Packaging that adorns your product can have serious environmental impact.

Additionally, more and more manufacturers are entering the online selling space and partnering with ecommerce companies. In 2020, for example, 30% of manufacturing and 30% of distribution companies generated 60%-80% of their total profits from B2B ecommerce. By using a quick and efficient method of ecommerce fulfillment, manufacturing businesses can ensure they’re harnessing automation and technology to maximum advantage.

Update machinery and equipment

Old machinery and equipment typically have higher energy demands than necessary. By replacing or updating your old machinery and equipment, you can reduce energy waste and increase efficiency and productivity. Installing an electric power management system (EPMS) will also let you clearly see your plant’s electricity distribution and capacity and better control your energy and power costs. Moreover, if it’s within your budget, you can also consider investing in automation in your plant to improve energy-efficiency and reduce waste.

robotics in sustainable manufacturing

For example, “cobots” (aka collaborative robots) are designed to work alongside human employees. By taking care of dangerous or repetitive tasks, cobots can improve safety for workers (the manufacturing industry typically racks up 400,000 non-fatal injuries every year) while increasing productivity and minimizing risk of human error.

Bottom Line

Implementing sustainable changes to your manufacturing plant will pay off greatly in the long run. By embracing circular manufacturing, partnering with eco-friendly businesses, and upgrading machinery and equipment, you can lower your carbon footprint, cut costs, and improve efficiency.

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.

biomass-gasifier

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 syngas 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.

5 Things You Need To Know To Reduce Your Electricity Bill

If you are a homeowner, you have probably thought of lowering your electricity bills every time you get your bill is logical. According to a recent study, the electricity bill is the second-highest cost most homeowners pay every month. That’s not surprising because thanks to modern science, we use electricity to run appliances for everything around the home nowadays.

Especially during this time when coronavirus has damaged the world economy, people are struggling to pay their bills. Meanwhile, lockdowns mean more time at home and higher electricity use than if you were in the office most of your day. You can reduce your electricity consumption if you use it smartly. As a result, your bill will reduce too. If you are looking to cut your electric bill, this article will give you some ideas on how you can do that.

reduce-electricity-bill

1. Get A Smarter Thermostat

In case you didn’t know, your heating and cooling system takes up almost forty-five percent of your total electricity consumption every month. So, if you can reduce at least some of your thermostats consumption, you will see a huge difference in your total bill.

Depending on your local weather, you may need to run your heater or cooler throughout the day. Though this is almost half of your total electricity consumption, that doesn’t mean you need to give up your comfort to reduce the bill. All you need to do is to make the job a bit easier for the thermostat. Control your urge to set the temperature too high or too low. For instance, put on a few extra layers of clothes to stay warm instead of setting the temperature too high on the thermostat.

eco-friendly-business-practices

If you don’t want to take up the work to adjust the temperature from time to time continually, look into getting a programmable thermostat. With these thermostats, you can program the temperature for each time of the day. This way, you won’t need to change it frequently, but it will run in just the required temperature all the time.

2. Use Solar Power

As mentioned before, if you want to reduce your energy bills, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your comfort. A great way to reduce your energy consumption is not to use it all the time. You don’t need to use electricity all the time when you are getting unlimited solar energy every day.

Solar energy is also known as green energy. Using solar energy is an emerging trend worldwide. Solar panels are installed on the roof, and these panels then convert sun rays into solar energy. It is a pretty simple process, but it can work wonders for you. The best part is they are not overly expensive to install – but the energy savings are significant.

solar-energy-texas

You might be thinking that the sun will provide energy only during day time. How are we going to run our utilities at night? The answer is pretty simple. You can get solar battery storage. These storage cells store the excess energy that you don’t need in the daytime and let you use it at night. This way, be it day or night, you can get everything done using solar energy.

3. Use Ceiling Fans

If you live in a warm climate, most of your electricity consumption is used by your air cooler. Although new technologies are coming every day, and you can get energy-efficient air conditioners now, but they still consume a lot of energy. While you can’t get rid of your air cooler completely, you can sometimes use a ceiling fan to create an airflow that cools the room down.

A ceiling fan is a great cost-efficient option. These fans pull out hot air and circulate cold air. It may not give you the same effect as an air cooler, but it will surely make your room a bit more comfortable as it circulates cold air. But the best thing is a ceiling fan takes up a fraction of the electricity that air cooler consumes. So, even if you don’t use it all the time, you can alternate between the ceiling fan and the cooler.

There are a few hacks that can help you stay comfortable even with the ceiling fan. For instance, try keeping the windows and doors which are facing the east covered. This will minimize the heat that comes from the sun.

4. Minimize the electricity your laundry takes

Washing your laundry with hot water takes up a lot of energy. The heater has to work a lot to provide this much hot water to your washing machine. Try using cold water to wash your clothes. You would be surprised how using cold water can reduce almost half of your laundry cost.

The key here is to use appliances. So if you are using your washing machine, try using it as little as possible – save the laundry loads and do them all at once during off-peak hours. So if you are using your washing machine to dry your clothes, you need to reconsider that. Drying clothes is a chore that can easily be done without using any energy. Line drying laundry is an easy way that takes no electricity. It may take longer, but it is free.

5. Reduce Phantom Drainage

If you haven’t heard of phantom drainage before, you are in for a bit of a ‘shocker’! It is also known as standby power. You may think that it is unnecessary to remove the plug when you are not using the appliances. They are turned off after all. But the truth is, your devices consume electricity even when they are not in use.

According to a study, appliances consume almost fifty percent of the total energy when they are actually not used. So, this energy is going nowhere, and you are the one paying for it. Not only is it a loss of our valuable energy and degrading our environment, but it is also a waste of money. So always make sure to remove the plug when you are not using an appliance.

To Sum Up

Reducing your electricity bill is not something that can be done in a day. It’s a day to day practice. Following these simple tips will lower your electricity bill remarkably. But these are not the only things you can do.

There are many small things you can do to get better results. For instance, try to install energy-efficient appliances. They take up a lot less energy than regular ones. You should also be mindful of wasting energy by keeping lights or coolers on when they are not required. Last, but not the least, use a budget calculator to keep a tab on where your money is going.

6 Tips to Save Money On Your Electricity Bill

Utilizing energy more efficiently not only saves you money on your electricity bill, but also helps meet the ever-growing energy demand. High energy efficiency reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants and water usage. It also stabilizes electricity volatility and prices. Here’s how you can save big on your electricity bill.

tips to reduce electricity bill

1. Switch your provider

Switching your energy supplier can help you cut your electricity bills significantly. Shop around to find the cheapest rates for your business and home to save money each month. You can use a price comparison site to find the fairest offers in the market. You may also shift to retail energy providers such as Energy Texas for affordable green energy options. Consider managing your electricity bills online because sending paper bills may attract additional costs.

2. Conduct an energy audit

An energy audit gives you a clear picture of your home’s energy usage, safety, and comfort. It helps you determine how much energy you’re using, what part of your home is inefficient, and what you can improve. It helps know the changes and improvements you can make to become more energy-efficient, so consider conducting your energy audit before finding ways to reduce energy usage to identify cost-saving opportunities.

3. Use programmable thermostats

A programmable thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature regardless of your location, helping you save money on your heating and cooling costs. Your thermostat settings will differ depending on seasons, local climate, and your home’s condition. With a programmable thermostat, you can use a pre-set schedule to regulate the times your heating and cooling system turns on.

eco friendly business practices

Don’t set your thermostat at settings colder than usual when turning your AC to unnecessary energy expenses. Place your thermostat far from windows, doors, direct sunlight, kitchen, drafts, and hallways to prevent it from changing the temperature unnecessarily.

4. Insulate your roof

If your home is adequately insulated, less warm air will escape during the winter and summer, reducing the amount of heating and cooling energy. Insulation reduces heat exchange through walls, attic, roof, and ducts. Well insulated walls, ceilings, and floors require less energy to heat and cool your home. Seal and insulate your ducts to heat and cool your home. Warm or cool air can escape through gaps and cracks, so consider weather stripping and caulking to prevent air leaks, saving energy.

5. Be careful with lighting

While switching off your lights when not in use can save energy, changing your lighting can yield more energy savings. Consider replacing your bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to make your home more energy-efficient. Place lamps in corners and use daylighting techniques and automatic dimmers for improved energy efficiency. You can also use task lighting, including reading lamps, bedside and desk lights, to meet specific needs.

Reasons to Convert to LED Lighting

6. Use energy-efficient appliances

Using energy-efficient appliances reduces home energy bills, saving you money. When shopping for energy-efficient appliances, consider available space to ensure ventilation clearance. Look for the Energy Star logo to ensure your appliances are energy-efficient. Consider replacing your clothes dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances in your home with Energy Star labels to save electricity.

Endnote

If not controlled, your monthly energy costs can be very high. Use these tips to save big on your electricity bill.

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Power Bill is Skyrocketing

Working from home does have its perks, but one huge downside is dealing with energy bills that are higher than usual. However, the fact that you’re spending most of your time at home shouldn’t be a reason to simply accept skyrocketing energy bills. There might be a couple of ways you can still bring those monthly charges down despite your high consumption while working from home.

high-energy-bills

Here are the top reasons why power bills spike and what you can do to mitigate the situation.

1. Failure to upgrade appliances

Most new appliances have been equipped with energy-efficient and power-saving features. Old appliances were not required to have these features, which is why ‘vampire charges’ were such a big deal in the past. Once you upgrade to newer appliances, you’ll find that you won’t even have to religiously unplug your devices since they stop consuming substantial electricity once they’re turned off.

Furthermore, old, rickety appliances lose efficiency as they degrade, so they might be consuming more power to do simple, everyday tasks. You might think you’re saving money by sticking to appliances that are decades-old, but you will undoubtedly feel an improvement in your power bills once you make the shift.

2. Overusing ‘big’ appliances

Even with new appliances, frequent usage is still a major problem. This is especially true for power-hogging devices such as your washing machine or dishwasher. The best strategy is to wait until you have enough laundry or dirty dishes to run your machines at full-load or capacity.

This will lessen the frequency with which you run these major power-hugging appliances, therefore reducing your overall power consumption in the long run. If there is an urgent need to free up some clean dishes or clothes, handwashing them is a better alternative than running the washer just for a few items.

3. Late detection of leaky ducts

Poorly sealed or weakly insulated ducts can add thousands of dollars to your yearly power bills. This is because they release hot air into unheated spaces in your home. Make sure you are not spending more than necessary for your home’s heating or cooling systems by maintaining vents and ducts.

Aside from sealing or insulating ducts, you also have to ensure that your airflow is not restricted by furniture and other large objects. Keeping registers clean can also help optimize ducts, therefore helping with the power bills.

4. Higher rates

If you live in an area where electricity markets have been deregulated, like in Connecticut, then know that you have a choice regarding your third party power supplier. Now, unless you’re closely watching spot market news, you might not have noticed that your energy provider has been secretly hiking rates.

energy-company

 

To take better control of your power bills, compare the rates charged by power suppliers in your area, then change electricity providers so that you will get the most value for your money.

5. Not exploring cheaper power sources

If you’re already subscribed to the cheapest energy provider in your area but are still struggling with power bills, then you might want to check alternative power sources like installing solar panels or keeping solar batteries at home.

Now, unless you have an industrial-level solar energy system, it’s highly unlikely that you can cover all your power needs using PV panels, but this would at least reduce your dependence on provider-supplied electricity, thus substantially reducing your power bills.

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are several other tips and tricks that could chip away at your huge power bills like replacing your lights with LED bulbs and setting a timer on your A/C, but if you really want a substantial reduction in what you’re paying for energy, you have to make big changes around the house, such as the ones mentioned and discussed in this article.

As more and more companies mull letting employees work from home permanently, you must be able to do so without forever stressing about those monthly power charges.

5 Energy-Saving Tips for Small Businesses

On average, small and midsize businesses in the United States use 15 kWh of electricity annually, mostly on lighting, heating, and cooling. These make up 19% of total expenses on an average office building. Energy-saving helps small businesses in several ways, including increase in profits, business growth, and reducing environmental impacts by lowering carbon dioxide emissions, boosting customer experience and comfort. Here are the top 5  energy-saving tips for small businesses:

Energy-Saving Tips for Small Businesses

1. Conduct regular energy audits

Energy audits involve the hiring of utility data management services to gather, standardize, validate, and interpret utility bill data to enable you to analyze, benchmark, and find opportunities to improve building performance. The energy audits aim at identifying potential changes that can lower energy consumption.

Business energy audits include gas, water, and electricity tariff reviews, consumption analysis and recommendations, expert energy management advice, and contract management.

2. Install a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats, also known as programmable thermostats, are electronic devices that offer you high-level control over your HVAC system operation by providing specific features and settings that help you save significant amounts of energy. They automatically turn the heating and cooling system on and off, depending on your temperature settings.

eco friendly business practices

Thermostats have a set point control that turns down your HVAC when not needed and automatically turns it on before work resumes to ensure an ideal indoor temperature. Besides giving you remote control via mobile phones or online, smart thermostats enable better monitoring of energy usage so you can adjust as needed to avoid wastage or overuse.

3. Use lighting controls and sensors

Lighting controls automatically turn lights on and off as needed to save energy. Occupancy sensors turn on lights immediately; they detect occupants in a space and are ideal in areas that people move in and out of unpredictably. You may also consider dimming controls that match lighting levels with user requirements, saving energy. In addition, you can use zero-power wireless sensors that use the scavenging technique to operate without batteries.

Photosensor controls ensure that outdoor lights don’t run during the day, while timer controls can be programmed to turn outdoor and indoor lights at specific times. Using kinetic energy, they create energy that can power electrical devices. This technology is still evolving, and you may not find as many sensors.

4. Reduce your business’s electronic footprint

Electronics can consume a lot of energy in an office setting. Focusing on electronics energy consumption can help lower energy costs. Consider replacing your desktops with laptops as they use less energy. Remember to power down your electronics when not in use and avoid using screen savers.

You may also consider buying energy-efficient office equipment and avoid energy vampires like monitors to save on energy costs.

air contamination at workplace

5. Consider alternative options

Electricity can be expensive. Shop around for alternatives that can best suit your business. You may consider installing solar panels as they are a cheaper energy source compared to electricity. They also come in handy during power outages.

how to use more renewable energy

Alternatively, standby generators are also an efficient power source and are ideal even in extreme weather conditions. They are an efficient long-term energy source that helps lower energy costs.

Endnote

Small businesses are continually looking for ways to save costs to maximize profits and enhance growth. These energy-saving tips will help you cut costs to increase your profit margins.

7 Energy Saving Tips for Students

Being a student is a wonderful experience that comes with a lot of perks, especially if you’re living on campus. This is the time to explore various experiences, gain personal responsibility, and figure out your meaning in the world.

You can have a lot of fun, make a lot of new friends, and enjoy your independence to the maximum. There are no parents to tell you what to do, no bedtime hour, and very few rules to follow.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem comes when you realize that your money reserves are slowly fading away. In fact, money management is one of the biggest problems that students face when parents aren’t really an option.

The most obvious way to get more money is to get a part-time job. The less obvious way is to become disciplined and reduce your energy bills and expenses. If you haven’t thought about that yet, here are some of the most important benefits of saving energy during college time:

  • You’re significantly reducing your energy bills.
  • You’re improving your self-discipline.
  • You’re understanding how a few simple actions and habits can boost your financial life.
  • You’re protecting the environment
  • You’re gaining health benefits
  • You’re learning to become a responsible person

If you’ve never done it before, there’s no need to worry about it. You can make a decision now and commit to being a part of the energy efficiency movement. College and university life can be so much better with more money in your pockets, while also knowing that you’re contributing to a higher purpose.

In today’s article, I’m sharing 7 ways to save energy for students who are eager to reduce the costs of their bills and reduce unnecessary waste.

1. Turn Off the Lights

Spend less time with the lights on and you’ll soon notice a significant difference in your energy bills. This is a simple habit that needs to be implemented through lots of practice. To make it easier, place a note near the switch that says “TURN ME OFF” or “green to go”.

2. Unplug Unused Devices

Once I decided to cut down the energy waste, I have realized that my energy bills were huge because I was always forgetting to shut down my computer and online learning devices.

Don’t repeat my mistake. Simply unplug all the unused devices, including the phone and laptop chargers. Even when you’re not charging, the chargers are still wasting energy. Also, if you really want to save energy, reduce the TV time and don’t forget to turn it off before you leave or fall asleep.

3. Dry Your Clothes Naturally

Most students are used to drying their clothes on radiators because it’s fast and convenient. However, besides the fact that they’re wasting energy throughout the process, they’re also putting their health at risk.

Clothes are absorbing heat from the radiator while pouring condensation into the air. This creates damp and mold.

The simplest solution is to dry your clothes naturally on a rack, especially when the sun is out and you don’t need them immediately.

4. Use Dishwashers

There’s a false belief that washing dishes manually consumes less energy than a dishwasher. Well, that’s a myth that needs to be treated like a myth. To be truly energy efficient, make sure you fill your dishwasher entirely before turning it on.

5. Keep the Door Closed

What’s the point of using energy to create heat if you leave the door open? This is common sense advice that should stick with you immediately. Don’t let the heat go out by simply making a habit of keeping the doors closed.

6. Turn Down the Thermostat

Your thermostat is a very tricky device. If you set the temperature high, the thermostat won’t stop heating until it reaches the values that it has been instructed to reach. It is said that turning the thermostat down can reduce your heating bills by up to 10%.

7. Turn Down the Temperature of the Washing Machine

Whenever you wash clothes, you should consider two important aspects: First of all, use your washing machine only when you can fill it up with a lot of clothes. There’s no point in using it twice a week when you can be disciplined and wait until more dirty clothes are gathered up.

Secondly, make sure you turn down the temperature of your washing machine to approximately 30 degrees. Because washing machines leverage the same amount of water to get the job done, the temperature doesn’t need to be high.

Takeaways

Saving energy in college is easier than you may think. Every time you turn off the light and consciously think about the fact that you’re saving energy, you will be laying the foundation of a new habit.

Start developing more and more energy-saving habits and you’ll notice the amazing benefits in a very short time. Besides the fact that you’ll feel good about yourself, your energy bills will put you in less trouble every time they pop. More money for you, more benefits for the planet!

5 Money-Saving Upgrades To Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

Did you know the average American household spends about $2,000 annually for utilities? What’s more, $200 to $400 is money wasted due to drafts, air leakage, and outdated HVAC systems. That’s a lot of money, right? You can save that money by making energy efficient upgrades to your home.

Let’s take a look at these money-saving upgrades, shall we?

1. Insulation

A very cost effective way to save on energy is by adding more insulation in the attic, or switching out the typical blanket insulation for either cellulose loose-fill insulation or spray foam insulation. The spray foam insulation is the most effective type of insulation for energy efficiency.

home-insulation

With that in mind, installing spray foam insulation requires professional installation and it can range anywhere from $1 to $1.50 per square foot.

2. Energy efficient appliances and HVAC system

Older appliances tend to use a of energy and are nowhere near as energy efficient as newer models. Look for appliances and electronics that are ENERGY STAR approved products. By replacing the refrigerator, washer and dryer and even the ranges, you can save 15% on how much energy your home uses.

The same with heating and cooling. When you upgrade your HVAC system, you can save up to 20% to 50% on your energy bills – providing you make some of the other upgrades on this list.

hvac-repair

3. Programmable thermostat

It seems like everything is a smart device doesn’t it? Smart thermostats are an excellent way to reduce the amount of heating and cooling is used, especially when you’re not home. In the winter, you can decrease the temperature when you’re not at home and increase it to a comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you get home, and vice versa.

eco-friendly-business-practices

If you don’t want to go the smart thermostat route, there are programmable thermostats where you can change the settings so the temperature is where it’s set to at the desired time.

4. Eliminating air leaks

One of the biggest culprits of wasted energy is air leakages. A whopping 40% of a home’s heating or cooling is lost due to drafty doors and windows and ill-fitted air ducts. You can prevent this by upgrading your doors and windows to high energy options. Not only are the new doors and windows themselves energy efficient, but the new seals will prevent air leakage.

If you cannot afford new windows or doors, you can always use exterior-grade caulking and new weatherstripping to seal up cracks or gaps you may find.

5. Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to add a bit of style to a room, but they can also help circulate the air, regardless of the season. Most fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction the fan moves. In the summer, it should rotate counterclockwise to push the cooler air down, therefore making the air feel cooler than it actually is. In the winter, it should rotate clockwise to pull the cool air upward and push the warm air downward.

Keeping your home’s energy costs as low as possible isn’t just smart as a homeowner, it’s also a good way to increase the value of your home. And, according to HomeLight’s Q2 2020 survey, we are in a seller’s market! 60% of agents who participated in the survey said there were 60% more bidding wars in June 2020 and the market doesn’t seem to be slowing.

That means if you’re looking to sell, these energy efficient upgrades are a great way to pique a buyer’s interest – maybe even more than one!

The Costs and Benefits of Solar Panels: 6 Factors 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 tips to research your 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 such a vacation rental property with solar energy system. 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 solar 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 solar photovoltaic energy. 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.

4 Amazing Benefits of Using Natural Gas for Your Home

Homeowners have a variety of energy sources to choose from to power their homes. Each kind offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages. When you are wanting to be more eco-friendly with your energy consumption, there are many benefits of considering natural gas as your go-to energy source.

Uses Of Natural Gas

Natural gas is non-toxic, colorless, odorless and the lowest-carbon hydrocarbon. It can be used for heating and cooking purposes in both residential and commercial settings. It can also be used to fuel power stations to create electricity for use in businesses and homes.

Natural gas can also be found in many industrial processes to create goods and materials from clothing to glass. Plastics and paints are some important products that have natural gas as a crucial ingredient. The uses of natural gas are many and diverse.

Benefits of Natural Gas

Below are some of the top benefits of natural gas to understand.

1. Affordability

In most areas, natural gas is much more affordable than electricity for heating your house and your water. For the same heating tasks, natural gas can cost almost half as much as oil or coal when used as the energy source. Natural gas is a deregulated utility. This means that consumers have fewer restrictions and are able to have control over how much they pay for the gas. Affordable natural gas prices mean a lot of savings throughout the year for homeowners.

2. Eco-Friendly

Natural gas is not as eco-friendly as renewable energy sources like wind and solar. However, it is the cleanest form of fossil fuel available. When compared to coal, natural gas releases almost a third less carbon dioxide and half as less than oil when it is burned. Compared to other fuels, it also lets off little to no sulfur.

3. Dependability

Using natural gas as your energy source is more reliable and dependable for your energy needs. When a big storm hits your area and the power goes out, you will not be able to depend on any appliance that runs off of electricity. For some homeowners, this means no lights, air conditioning, heating or hot water until the power is restored. When you run your appliances using natural gas, you can still operate them when your power is out.

When you have water heaters and other important home appliances operating using natural gas, the gas is often fed to your home in underground pipelines. This allows your energy source to be safe and well-protected from extreme weather conditions such as heavy storms. If you lose electricity, you will not lose all of your comforts while waiting for the power company to fix the issues.

4. Domestic Energy Source

Much emphasis is put on finding energy sources locally instead of having to depend on foreign oils. In addition to being more abundant and economical, relying more on local energy sources is great for the economy and creates more jobs and revenue.

Learn More About Using Natural Gas In Your Area

If you are looking to turn your home into an eco-friendly environment, turning to natural gas can be a great place to start. Natural gas providers offer plans and pricing options that can be suitable for all homeowners and budgets. Allowing most or all of your appliances to receive energy derived from natural gas can bring you many rewards as a homeowner and someone who cares about their impact on the environment.

This alternative energy source over oil and coal will be good for the global community for generations to come. The use of natural gas is on the rise and will become more competitive as consumers and energy providers look to reduce the impact on air pollution and the environment.