Glacial Energy Blog

Final_Glacial Restructuring_Copy for Customer_generic

Tips To Prevent High Electric Bills

Energy BillAs we continue through spring and into the summer months, we’ll be changing our normal heating and cooling habits. This past winter saw some brutally cold temps nationwide, with low temperatures even hitting the south pretty hard. This resulted in many higher than normal energy bills for these months, and many wondering how to avoid such high bills again.

You can make general improvements to your home energy use to cut back on energy costs. Some homes can see electricity bills in excess of $400, but there are many ways to make your home more energy efficient. Insulating your home can have a major positive impact on your bills. Insulation keeps the temperature of your home more constant, keeping your heating and cooling systems from overworking. Weather-stripping your home to plug any air leaks will also make your home more efficient.

Another great way to make your heating and cooling systems much more efficient is to install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can be set to run your heat or AC while you are home until you go to bed, then shut themselves off, run again in the morning as you get ready for work, and then shut down while you are away. These thermostats run on their own, so you don’t need to worry about if you forget to turn it off. You can also have professionals come to your home to perform an energy audit to find any areas that will need improving.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

From Camping to Glamping

Camping SignCamping is a popular pastime shared by thousands of people all over the world. Whether it’s taking your recreational vehicle out to a campground, or setting up a small tent underneath the stars, campers all know the joy of being outdoors and away from their busy lives. There are many campers that aren’t quite up for the challenge of “roughing it�, but still appreciate the outdoors. These campers would be prime candidates for glamping.

Glamping, or glamorous camping, takes the comforts of a hotel and places them right in the middle of a serene outdoor environment. Most glampsites are centered on the amenities of a bed and hot water, but their structure can vary in their design. Some look like a small one-room house, but others, like South Korea based glamping tent manufacturer ArchiWorkshop, took a slightly different approach.

ArchiWorkshop’s glamping tents come in two designs: a donut shaped pod with a front “porch� and two doors leading to separate bedrooms, and the other is a flexible worm-like design. The worm-like glamping tent can conform to nearly any terrain, and both tents feature folding furniture, making space needs easy to manage. Both tents also feature a dual layer fabric that is waterproof, UV proof, and fire resistant. They also feature custom artwork by a local artist in South Korea.

Of course, South Korea isn’t the only country featuring glamping. The United States has plenty to offer, with glampsite rentals ranging anywhere from $50 per night to $2500 per night. David Troya of Glamping Hub recommends checking the amenity list of potential glampsites to ensure they take care of your needs, like hot water and air conditioning and heat. Most sites don’t require you to bring any equipment, so there likely won’t be much hiking to get to the sweet spot.

There are glampsites all over the world, and resource sites like www.glamping.com will help you find one that’s right for you. Once you experience the joys of glamping, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be scouring the world for new places to camp in style.

Source 1, Source 2

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Sunscreen for Windows

Shaded HomeThe right windows can accent any home. They can be stylish and provide a lot of natural light. Having large or numerous windows, especially ones that face south, can have a negative effect as well. The ultraviolet rays coming from the sun can damage your carpet or furniture. The infrared sunlight will also warm up your house considerably, which during the summer may not be very helpful for your comfort or your wallet. A lot of extra sunlight during the summer can lead to much higher energy bills due to running the air conditioner more often.

To help combat these issues, special coating films have been developed for windows. These coatings appear invisible, so they let in just as much natural light as windows without the film, but the film filters out the infrared and UV light, reducing the amount of heat gain and damage to your flooring and furniture. Some people worry that the film, which is very similar to car window tinting, will alter the color of the light entering the room. According to Darrell Smith, the executive director at the International Window Film Association, the current generation of window film is much better than it used to be.

Old window films were dark in color in order to absorb a lot of light, or they were more reflective to reflect the light back. This resulted in blocking 65% of solar energy and light. Today’s films only work on the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums of light, thus letting in all of the natural visible light while blocking about 80% of the solar energy, including 99% of UVA and UVB light. If you’re looking to get your windows coated, ask for color neutral films. Regardless of whether you get color neutral or dark films, you will save about 5% to 10% on your monthly electricity bills thanks to keeping the solar heat gain down.

The window films available today can also lend to your home’s decor. They can be used to make your windows appear etched or frosted while offering the same amount of protection. Do keep in mind that if your windows are in need of being replacing, this will not fix them. Old windows may leak air, which can cause your energy bills to increase, as cold air will seep through from the outside. If your windows are relatively new and still covered by a warranty, contact the manufacturer to ensure that adding a film will not void your warranty.

Window films can get you tax credits of up to 10% or $500. Contact your energy provider to see if you qualify for such a credit. Installing window films can be a bit pricy, but the sooner you act, the lower the rate. In the summer, the prices tend to rise with the temperatures. A 30 sq. ft. window can cost anywhere from $120 to $270, depending on where you live.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Fire in Ice

Fire and IceFreezer burn takes on a whole different meaning when it is applied to the peculiar characteristics of methane hydrate. Methane hydrate looks just like ice and is created when methane gas and water are fused together by the immense pressure that exists beneath the ocean floor, or in the permafrost of the polar regions. What makes this particular ice interesting is that if you put a match to it, it will catch fire. And if a single cubic meter of methane hydrate is simply melted instead of burned, it will yield 164 cubic meters of natural gas.

Experts estimate that there could be anywhere from 10 quadrillion to 100 quadrillion cubic feet of this natural gas encased in ice; a quadrillion is 1 with 15 zeroes after it. For reference, it is estimated that the United States has about 2.203 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is also estimated to last the country about 92 years. This untapped natural gas could last the equivalent of 417 to 4167 years for the United States.

But despite the immense wealth of potential energy to be found in methane hydrate, there is no cost effective way to harness it at this time. Harvesting natural gas from shale costs about $4 per million BTUs. It costs between $30 and $60 per million BTUs to harvest from methane hydrate. A decade ago, natural gas miners faced the same essential issue attempting to acquire gas from the shale. The current technology may not be advanced enough right now, however, in time, we will have the means to effectively extract natural gas from the methane hydrate.

Finding a way to acquire these vast untapped gases would change the energy needs of the entire world. Most countries rely on oil to satisfy their energy needs, but natural gas, especially in the quantities estimated, could effectively eliminate the need for such high carbon fuels. We likely won’t be able to harness all the gas from methane hydrate for another 10 to 15 years.

There are also some concerns regarding extracting the gas from the ice, these are centered on methane escaping and leaking into the atmosphere. While methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide does, it insulates about 20 times more heat. According to the Department of Energy, the chances of methane leaking into the atmosphere during extraction from methane hydrate is no higher than the chances of it escaping from shale.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

The Pros and Cons of Fracking

Shale Gas VectorHydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it’s commonly known as, is the method used to drill into natural gas-rich shale rock. Natural gas has been seen as the transition fuel for the United States, moving from fossil fuels to more efficient and renewable energy sources. There are several benefits to using natural gas to fuel the country, but there are also some drawbacks and unknowns that require more research and testing. What is certain is that natural gas use is on the rise at a rapid pace with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

We all know that oil reserves are finite, but while natural gas is also finite, the United States has enough natural gas reserves to last about 110 years since 2009. This should be more than ample time to transition to cleaner, more efficient energy sources. In the meantime, we can continue to use natural gas, which actually burns cleaner than oil and coal. By switching over to this “unconventional� energy source, the United States will actually put itself on a path to energy independence. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the US could be 97% energy independent by 2035. There are more than 7.4 billion barrels worth of oil under North Dakota and 262 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania. This untapped energy could really stabilize the country’s energy needs as it continues to strive for more efficient technologies.

On the downside, there are worries about fracking causing havoc with water supplies. The movie Gasland shows a man lighting the water from his kitchen faucet on fire. The movie implies that this is the result of methane seeping up from the ground due to shale drilling. In actuality, the man’s own water well was drilled into one of these naturally occurring methane pocket. Still, there have been other reported incidents of methane seeping into water supplies. One such incident was in Pennsylvania, where Chesapeake Energy was fined $1 million for not properly cementing the holes created by drilling. By implementing stronger cement and processing casings, this issue can be avoided.

Beyond the concern of contamination, these unconventional energy options of drilling into shale are more expensive than coal or oil operations. This inherently drives up the cost of energy sources. However, shale drilling and fracking is still cheaper than the development of renewable energies, such as solar and wind power. An unfortunate side effect of this is that growth in the renewable sector has been stunted.

There are still some points that need more research and development to make fracking more viable. The waste water from the fracking fluid needs to be treated. About 7 million gallons of fracking fluid is used on a single well, and contaminates in that fluid could have negative effects on the environment. They can’t simply be buried deep in the wells after the gas is extracted, because it is believed this can cause small to moderate earthquakes. As it stands, treatment facilities aren’t able to keep up with drilling, and with drilling expected to increase, it’s likely they will fall well behind.

The methane that environmentalists worry about contaminating water supplies also causes concerns when it comes to climate change. Methane can trap 25 times the amount of heat that carbon dioxide can, and it is uncertain how much escapes into the atmosphere during drilling. Fortunately, EPA reports suggest that the amount escaping has decreased more than 30% since 2007.

As the industry grows, practices and technology improves. The industry is kept in check by regulations to reduce pollutants, but they will need to weigh the risks and rewards as well as the cost effectiveness of drilling with all of these regulations in place.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

2040: The Year Natural Gas Reigns

Gas BurnerCoal has been the leading fuel for energy production for hundreds of years, but the Energy Information Administration believes natural gas will fill that role by the year 2040. Current production trends show gas taking 35% of the electricity market compared to the projected 32% for coal. This brings with it some good news and bad news.

The good news is that natural gas burns cleaner than coal, which means it is better for the environment than using coal for energy production. It is also becoming more widely available in the United States, making it cheaper to produce. Many homes already benefit from the use of natural gas for energy, both heating and electricity. This fast growing sector will see more homes being powered by natural gas.

On the downside, the rapid expansion of the natural gas sector may stunt the growth of nuclear and renewable powers. Coal production is also not dropping, interestingly. The reason for this is that gas is not easily exported to other countries. Since coal will be used less and less for electricity production, more of it can be exported to other countries to supply their energy needs. Coal consumption was also up 5.3% during the first three quarters of 2013 as opposed to the previous year.

Fossil fuel use still accounts for 82% of worldwide energy production and has been unchanged for the past quarter century. The renewable energy sector has seen widespread expansion lately, but this expansion coincides with the fossil fuel expansions. The EIA predicts that fossil fuel’s portion of energy generation will drop below 75% by 2035 as renewable energy continues to grow. Many experts argue that while this is a good move, we need to drop our fossil fuel use significantly more to stem the tide of climate change.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Pros of Keeping Your Home Cool

Control UnitSetting our thermostats low in the summer helps keeps us comfortable, and keeping your home cool at other times of the year actually has several benefits as well. Adjusting the temperature in your home down just 2° to 5° can help you sleep better and even lose weight. We’ll look at five different ways lowering the temperature on your thermostat can help you. If turning down the heat all day isn’t for you, perhaps start out lowering your temps for the overnight hours or while you’re away from home to reap some of the benefits. Studies have shown that setting your thermostat lower for just four hours per day can have a significant impact.

Houseplants

Common, non-tropical houseplants do not like hot weather. Likewise, keeping your thermostat at 75° or above creates a sauna for your plants. When they are warm, your plants need more water to stay healthy. By dropping your temperature below 75°, you can actually prolong their life, as they won’t need to consume water as fast.

Weight Loss

Keeping your temperatures set below 70° causes your body to want to keep itself warm. It does this by increasing the amount of energy consumed (burning calories) doing any physical activity. This can help you lose an extra 100 calories per day, which can drop one pound per month.

Refrigerators and Freezers

We all know a refrigerator and a freezer’s job is to keep food, beverages, and other perishables cold. If you keep your thermostat below 65°, your refrigerator does not need to work as hard to keep the internal temperatures at their set levels.

Better Sleep

Your brain needs to cool down to be able to enter sleep. By setting your temperature below 65° at night, your brain cools down quicker and gets to the point when it can shut down quicker. If your room is too warm, your mind will continue to function at higher levels, taking longer to cool and put you to sleep.

Energy Savings

For every degree you lower your thermostat during non-summer months, you can save 1% to 3% on your energy bill. Don’t let your thermostat settings go below 55°, especially if you won’t be home for a long period of time, as this presents a risk of bursting water pipes. By lowering your thermostat 5° to 10° overnight, you can save 10% to 15% on your energy use for that time period.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Downsizing Wind Energy for Your Phone

Business man on PhoneSmartphones tend to need charging about once per day, even more if they are heavily used. The inconvenience of needing to find an open outlet to charge your phone when it dies can be frustrating. Not only do you need to find an open outlet, but you may not be comfortable just leaving your phone to charge somewhere. Fortunately, a research associate and an electrical engineering professor at the University of Texas Arlington have found a solution: windmills.

When people think about windmills these days, they often envision the massive, towering wind turbines that line hilltops and shorelines, generating power for a local power grid. Smitha Rao and J.C. Chiao have taken this idea and shrunk it down to a more manageable and portable size. A typical wind turbine these days is about 114 meters tall; the micro windmills Rao and Chiao have developed are 1.8 mm tall. They are more than 63 thousand times smaller than a wind turbine. You could fit about 10 of these micro-windmills on a grain of rice. By making a large sheet consisting of hundreds of these windmills, you could recharge your phone by waving it in the air, placing it by an open window, or placing it in front of a fan or vent.

WinMEMS Technologies Company contacted Rao and Chiao to create novel technologies, and in turn, the duo presented this micro windmill idea. The windmills were inspired by introducing origami concepts into wafer-scale semiconductors. The end result is an efficient, minimalist design that is flexible and durable. Many technologies being developed for micro and nano scales are not very durable — the materials needed are too fragile. The windmills are constructed from nickel alloy, which is very durable, even on such a thin scale. It can easily withstand the relatively intense winds from a fan or breeze. Chiao has successfully tested the micro windmills back in September of 2013, and their uses will be great.

The concept of using them to recharge phones and other portable devices is only the beginning. Theoretically, an entire house could be layered with thousands of these tiny turbines within the walls and roof, and they could power the entire house’s lighting, security systems, and wireless communication systems cheaply. The fabrication process developed by WinMEMS allows for hundreds to thousands of these tiny turbines to be constructed on a wafer for the same cost as constructing a single micro-windmill.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Energy Tips You’ll Love

Neon Heart BulbValentine’s Day is just a couple of days away, and we thought we’d show our love for our customers by sharing some energy saving tips. These tips can help you reduce your monthly energy bills and help reduce carbon emissions, preserving the environment.

Lighting

The lighting we use in our homes contributes to about 10% of our monthly bill. Upgrading to more efficient bulbs can reduce that cost by 25% to 80% over incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs; LEDs in particular use less energy than incandescents and CFLs, and they last up to 25 times longer. When upgrading lights, read the packaging to determine if the light will cast the same brightness as the bulb you are replacing. Packages will often say “60 watt equivalentâ€�, but be sure to check the lumens, which is the bulb’s actual brightness. And don’t forget, when leaving a room, turn off the lights!

Thermostats

Properly set thermostats could save you up to $180 per year. Installing a programmable thermostat for your home can help regulate the energy use when heating or cooling your home, preventing you from forgetting to turn it off when you leave. During the summer, it is recommended that you set the temperature to 78°F for while you’re home and higher than 80°F when you leave. During the winter, set the temperatures to 68°F and below 64° for the same times. Every extra degree warmer in cold months or cooler during warm months can increase your electricity consumption by 6% to 8%. In addition, set your refrigerator and freezer temps to 40°F and 5°F, respectively. Water heaters should be set to 120°F, as the 140°F factory default is more than is really needed.

Laundry

When doing the laundry, make sure you are only running full loads. Washing machines use the same amount of water and energy for a full load as they do for one article of clothing. Using cold water for loads as much as possible will also reduce energy usage. Instead of using the dryer, let your clothes air dry by hanging them on a rack or clothesline. If you still use the dryer often, it’s a good idea to clean the lint trap whenever it needs it. Cleaning it will improve airflow and make the dryer more efficient.

Electronics

Many electronics these days have power saving settings. Computers and monitors can be set to go to sleep mode after a set period of inactivity; the EPA recommends setting to 15-60 minutes. Many televisions have a power saving mode, but you can also lower the brightness levels to cut back on energy use. All electronics drain energy whether they are on or off. Powered down electronics account for 5% to 10% of monthly energy use. The only way to completely stop the flow of energy is unplugging electronics completely. With entertainment centers, plug all of your electronics into a power strip and shut it off when the devices are not in use.

Appliances

Keeping refrigerators full is actually more efficient than one that is more empty. If you don’t have a full fridge, fill some jugs with water and place them into the fridge. They will help keep the air inside cooler for a longer period of time. Like with the washing machine, only run dishwashers when they have a full load to maximize their efficiency. Also likewise, letting the dishes air dry will save on energy. When preparing food, use the smallest appliance for the job. Ovens drain a lot of energy, but microwaves or toasters can accomplish the same result for smaller food.

Miscellaneous

During the winter months, set your ceiling fan to low and have it blow air upward to help circulate the heat. Changing air filters in your heating and air conditioning systems will keep them running more efficiently by improving the airflow, reducing energy use by 5% to 15%. Using blinds and drapes to shade rooms in the summer will keep your home cooler, and keeping them open during the winter will let more sunlight in and keep it warmer. Closing fireplace dampers will help seal up your home and keep you from wasting chilled or warmed air in the summer and winter months, respectively. Finally, getting yourself an energy audit can help you find more ways to seal up your home and address any areas that are wasting energy.

Source

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:  www.GlacialEnergy.com.

Page 1 of 2212345»1020...Last »