Author: MasteryTorres

17 Ways to Lower Holiday Energy Use (Expressed Through Emojis)

The holidays often bring large crowds, more food, family, joys, and energy use. Here are some ways we have compiled to help lower holiday excess without losing any holiday cheer.

Most can be implemented right away or during your festivities. We’ve also saved a few to keep in mind for next year.

1. Insulate Windows and Doors

For doors and windows, there are two main problem areas that can allow the escape of heat or entrance of unwanted cold air. Leaks through the edges can be addressed using weatherstripping or stick-on foam. (Look for ones that stay on tight!) For older windows, try Shrink Film Window Insulation Kits for an added barrier to help keep your heat in.

2. Limit the Amount of Time Lights are On

With all of the festive decorations on full power, it can be easy to suck a good amount from the grid. By limiting the amount of time decorative lights stay on can have a significant impact on what you pay (especially when using standard C-7 bulbs!).

3. Get into the Holiday Spirit By Using Only String Lights

When the festivities are in full swing, try using only the decorative lights; turning off conventional lighting in rooms that have lit decorations. This is a great way to get into the holiday mood while lowering the impact of excess energy use – especially when using LED lights!

4. Decorate with Candles

Using candles as an integral part of your holiday decorations or party atmosphere is a great way to lower energy costs while setting the tone for the evening.

5. Use the Fireplace

Using conventional fireplaces can significantly reduce heating and light costs during the holiday season. This can even be true for energy-efficient or gas systems. With the correct use during cooler, darker hours you can see a significant reduction in heating and electric.

6. Turn the Thermostat Down When Guests Are Over

We’ve all been there – a party whose hospitality is a bit too warm… With guests radiating at an average 98.6º and ovens baking at 375º there can be a lot of heat to go around when guests are over. Trying planning a bit ahead and turn the thermostat down before they come over. It may be a bit cooler at first, but guests will thank you for the respite later.

7. Buy Gifts Without Electricity or Batteries

On average, 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. Try purchasing gifts that don’t use electricity or batteries.

8. Time to Get Rechargeable Batteries & Charger

Recent innovations in rechargable batteries make much more worthwhile to buy a rechargable pack. It will pay for itself in just a few cycles. Here are some.

9. Batch Baking

If the oven’s going, try baking multiple dishes at once – especially if they require the same range of temperature. Some recipes can use different temperatures than specified, but their overall cooking time will be affected.

10. Use the Smallest, Most Effective Appliance

For a greener kitchen, try using the smallest appliance needed for cooking. This efficiency will make for an easier clean-up and strain on the grid.

11. Keep Lids on Pots

Keeping the lid on pots while cooking helps preserve heat during the cooking process – allowing for a reduction in cooking times and less use of electric or gas (depending on your range). This will also increase the amount of moisture by not allowing it to evaporate out with heat, so keep an eye on recipes that will become soggy. Choose periodic times where you can release moisture by opening the lid and/or do a final reduction at the end when food is fully cooked.

12. Unplug Phantom Plugs (Reduce Phantom Loads)

Appliances and chargers still take power even when not turned on. This can cause a build-up of ‘Phantom Loads’ – an unecessary use of household energy. When going way this season unplug appliances and chargers to stop the impact.

13. Insulate Your Water Heater Tank

Insulating your water heater tank can reduce your annual bills by 7-16% and becomes extra handy during the winter months when temperatures outside the tank take the most heat. It will take about a 90 minutes and will be well worth the time. Here’s how to do it from the US Dept. of Energy.

14. Combine Errands to Reduce Trips

A good tip for those on gas or electric! Plus – you’ll save a ton of time (more time for egg nog).

FOR NEXT YEAR

We know it’s a bit later in the year, so we’ve saved our last picks for new season’s setup!

15. Energy Star Appliances

Investing in Energy Star confirmed appliances can save you for years on-end. Energy Star appliances use (on average) 20-30% less energy than that specified by federal regulations.

16. Use Fiber Optic Decorations

Fiber optic decorations often use only one bulb with fiber optic cords seemlessly extending the light from this single source. With advancements in technology and design there can be some really great options available.

17. LED Christmas Lights

One LED bulb can use 10 times less energy than conventional C-7 holiday bulbs. The savings can be huge with a projected cost of about $25 to $0.56 with a daily use of 12 hours for 40 days +.

How Solar Energy Could Be The Largest Source Of Electricity By Mid-Century.

This article was originally published in September, 2014.
It has been included due to its relevancy or coming-of-age toward the end of this year, with an annual growth capacity of 35% as of June – with more on the way to December.

The sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, according to a pair of reports issued today by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The two IEA technology roadmaps show how solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050 while solar thermal electricity (STE) from concentrating solar power (CSP) plants could provide an additional 11%. Combined, these solar technologies could prevent the emission of more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – that is more than all current energy-related CO2 emissions from the United States or almost all of the direct emissions from the transport sector worldwide today.

“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “However, both technologies are very capital intensive: almost all expenditures are made upfront. Lowering the cost of capital is thus of primary importance for achieving the vision in these roadmaps.”
The Executive Director also stressed that the two reports do not represent a forecast. As with other IEA technology roadmaps, they detail the expected technology improvement targets and the policy actions required to achieve that vision by 2050, highlighting priority actions and milestones for governments, research and industry stakeholders.
A central message in both publications deals with the need for clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers, which can lower deployment risks to investors and inspire confidence. “By contrast,” Ms. Van der Hoeven said, “where there is a record of policy incoherence, confusing signals or stop-and-go policy cycles, investors end up paying more for their investment, consumers pay more for their energy, and some projects that are needed simply will not go ahead.”

The two documents underline the complementary role of the two technologies. With 137 GW of capacity installed worldwide at the end of 2013 and adding up to 100 MW each day, PV deployment so far has been much faster than that of STE, mainly thanks to massive cost reductions. Under the scenario described in the roadmaps, most of the growth of solar electricity comes from PV until 2030. However, the picture changes afterwards. When reaching shares between 5% and 15% of annual electricity generation, PV starts to lose value in wholesale markets. Massive-scale STE deployment takes off at this stage thanks to CSP plants’ built-in thermal storage, which allows for generation of electricity when demand peaks in late afternoon and in the evening, thus complementing PV generation.

PV expands globally, with China being by far the leading country, followed by the United States. Over half of total capacity is situated at the final consumers’ place – whether households, shopping malls or industries. STE expands in very sunny areas with clear skies, becoming a major opportunity for Africa, India, the Middle East and the United States.

Both roadmaps provide a vision for deployment based on updated modelling results consistent with the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 and its “high-renewables” climate-friendly scenario. Each publication also offers a set of key actions for policy makers for the next five years. For both solar PV and STE, these key actions include: setting or updating long-term targets for deployment; developing streamlined procedures for providing permits and connection; and implementing remuneration schemes that reflect the true value for power systems.

Content provided for Titan Energy Customers.

IEA – The International Energy Agency is an autonomous organization that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply. While this remains a key aspect of its work, the IEA has evolved and expanded. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative research, statistics, analysis and recommendations.

For The First Time, Solar Will Be The Top New Source Of Energy This Year.

This article was originally published on March, 2 on thinkprogress.org
Based on compounded growth of Solar Energy projects and increased efficiency of technologies. As of June 2016, Solar capacities have grown 35% while Natural Gas has seen a growth of 1.8%*.
*per information provided by eia.gov.

For the first time ever utility-scale solar projects will add more new capacity to the nation’s grid than any other industry this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Tuesday.

Natural gas and wind energy follow somewhat closely, according to the EIA’s monthly report, which notes that solar, gas and wind energy will make up 93 percent of all new energy. Solar projects will generate about 9.5 gigawatts of new energy. Natural gas, meanwhile, will add 8 gigawatts while wind is poised to create 6.8 gigawatts.

One gigawatt is enough energy to power about 700,000 average homes.

The EIA report comes less than a month after the Solar Foundation said the U.S. solar industry now employs slightly over 200,000 workers, representing a growth of 20 percent since November of 2014. The new report further cements the scale of solar energy growth, since solar additions coming online this year are much higher than the 3.1 GW added to the grid in 2015. What’s more, this year’s growth would be more than what the industry achieved in the past three years combined. Just last month officials in southern California unveiled one of the largest solar power plants in the world near Palm Springs. The top five states where solar capacity is being added are California, North Carolina, Nevada, Texas, and Georgia.

The overall growth of the solar industry is partly attributed to a reduction in costs, a rush to take advantage of federal tax cuts that were recently extended, and beneficial state policies like renewable energy mandates.
Another important player is technological innovations. Every year solar panels are able to turn more sunlight into energy. On Wednesday, for instance, Panasonic announced a new efficiency world record of 23.8 percent. High efficiency panels help drive greater solar deployment and are particularly beneficial for homeowners who are looking into rooftop solar, which was not accounted for in the EIA report.

Still, solar energy growth this year is a major change to the status quo. Until now, natural gas has for the past 20 years accounted for most capacity additions, according to the report. Four states plan to add more than 1 GW of gas-fired capacity this year, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and Texas. For its part, wind energy — an industry known for requiring large upfront investments and more likely to face community’s push-back when compared to solar — will put slightly less new energy in the grid than it did last year. The wind energy industry has, however, also reported record growth recently. Wind industry developers installed more megawatts during the fourth quarter of 2015 than in all of 2014, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Yet challenges for renewable energy remain. The newest one is the stay the Supreme Court put on the Clean Power Plan, a rule that called for carbon emissions reductions from the electricity sector by 32 percent in the next 15 years.

“The industry had been anticipating the Clean Power Plan and we still expect the Clean Power Plan to ultimately be implemented,” said Baca, who noted the Supreme Court action has created some uncertainty among developers.
And yet the energy industry says it’s been facing uncertainties as to how best to fulfill the nation’s energy need even before the Supreme Court stay. That comes in part because much higher-emitting but still somewhat more reliable sources of energy like oil and coal are barely adding new output. In fact, according to the EIA these sources are lagging behind all others except hydroelectric power.

“The reality is that we are not building coal plants; getting approval to build nuclear remains difficult; and we cannot maintain the fuel diversity that ensures affordable and reliable electricity for customers with natural gas and renewables alone,” said Richard F. McMahon, vice president of energy supply and finance at Edison Electric Institute, in a speech to Wall Street officials last month.

“It is critical that we double down on industry-wide innovation in deployment of energy technologies such as energy storage, which will be used for reliability,” he added.

That improvement in technology is meanwhile happening slowly but surely. Just last year utilities Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric said that supply from batteries now competes against natural-gas fired plants, according to published reports.

“For the past century it has been cheaper to schedule coal, gas and hydroelectric generators than to store energy in batteries,” said Hugh Bromley, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, to Bloomberg. “That is starting to change as technology costs are pushed down the learning curve, largely due to the experience and scale nurtured in the consumer electronics and electric vehicle industries.”

Utility-Scale Generating Units Planned for 2016Utility-Scale Generating Units Planned for 2016. U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Content provided for Titan Energy Customers.

Winter Fuel Price Outlook For 2016.

This article was originally published earlier this year.
You will find an updated infographic created exclusively for Titan Energy customers below.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the latest version of the Short-Term Energy Outlook on November 10, 2015. As you plan for the winter heating season, this report, which forecasts fuel and energy prices, provides helpful insight. These are projections only, however; prices and trends can change quickly. Also, remember that these forecasts are national averages; local prices may vary.

Highlights of the Short-Term Energy Outlook, average future prices from the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Genscape forecasts follow:

Winter Fuel Price Outlook 2016Winter Fuel Price Infographic. Get a closer look.

A 2016 winter forecast of natural gas supply and demand from Genscape also concludes:

• Natural gas storage levels are expected to reach a record high of more than 4 trillion cubic feet, which was also predicted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

• Production will increase by 0.8 Bcf per day compared to last winter and peak in December, decline during the summer, recovering in 2017.

• Demand will be similar to last winter assuming normal temperatures. If below normal, 1.4 Bcf/day more demand is expected; if above normal, demand will be 4.5 Bcf/day lower than the previous winter.

For a complete historical and future comparison of fuel prices and trends for the winter of 2016 and beyond, see the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s STEO Current/Previous Forecast Comparisons table. Remember that weather is the biggest wild card, which can lead to price volatility. EIA expects U.S. heating degree days to be about 8 percent lower this winter compared to the previous winter.

Content provided for Titan Energy Customers.

Not Shopping For Electric Rates Can Be Costly.

This article was originally published in the Hartford Courant on April 26, in their ‘Letters to the Editor’ section.
As an energy brokerage and consultancy, we know the importantance of shopping. Now is the time to lock-in at extremely beneficial rates before prices come back up.

The Office of Consumer Counsel’s review of electric rates is flawed and could mislead Connecticut consumers to pay more for electricity and miss out on other benefits [April 21, Connecticut, “Switching May Not Pay”]. The office claims that two-thirds of customers with competitive suppliers overpaid in 2015. However, customers who don’t shop with a competitive electricity supplier and stay with the utilities overpay millions of dollars every month. That’s because competitive suppliers for the past decade have offered rates below the utilities. Each month, the state-run rate board (www.energizect.com) displays dozens of fixed-rate offers from competitive suppliers that are significantly lower than the utility price — over 30 percent less in some cases.

The report also fails to factor in supplier products and services — such as renewable energy, smart home products, energy efficiency services, cash back and rewards programs, to name just a few — that can affect the total value the customer receives. We agree with the consumer counsel’s recommendation that customers should shop for the best rate. Customers in Connecticut can greatly benefit from the competitive market if they’re encouraged to shop and educated about the benefits of energy choice.

Craig Goodman, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president of the National Energy Marketers Association.

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