Glacial Energy Blog

Energy Efficient Computers

What do you tend to shop for when buying a new computer?  Speed, power, screen size?  That’s normal but what about how energy efficient it is?  Consider this: if all computers sold in the U.S. met ENERGY STAR requirements, energy savings would grow to $1.8 billion each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from more than 2 million cars.  Wow!

So, as you can guess, you’re going to get the most bang for your buck with an ENERGY STAR rated computer.  An ENERGY STAR rated computer uses between 30 to 65 percent less energy, depending on how it’s used.  ENERGY STAR rates different types of computers in the following categories:

  • Desktops, Integrated Computers
  • Notebooks and Tablets
  • Workstations
  • Small-scale servers
  • Thin Clients

Even when you purchase an ENERGY STAR rated computer, you have to ensure that the power management settings they recommend are enabled (they won’t always be the default settings).  Here are some key points:

  • Don’t leave the computer on around the clock.  It increases energy bills and can cause dust buildup, which can lead to a power surge.
  • Screensavers don’t save energy.  In fact, it draws power and keeps the unit from shutting down.
  • Many popular computer games will not allow the computer to go to sleep if left running in the background.

ENERGY STAR estimates that utilizing the power management settings can save you up to $50 each year on your electricity bills.  To find out more about ENERGY STAR, how they rate their products, and to calculate your savings, click on the source link below.

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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.

Electrical Safety Tips

Electricity has been around long enough that we don’t give it much thought.  We flip a switch and the light comes on (barring unforeseen circumstances, of course).  Sometimes, we get too comfortable and we neglect to take simple safety precautions.  Let’s take a look at a few tips to keep you and your family safe from electricity-related dangers.

  1. Don’t yank the power cord: You’re in a rush and it would just be so easy to give the cord a little tug instead of walking over to the outlet and unplugging it properly; but pulling the cord could damage the plug, the outlet, and the unit. Do you see a spark sometimes when you yank out the cord?  Avoid risk of electric shock and unplug all your appliances and/or electronics safely.
  2. Water and electronics don’t mix: Most of us know this but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention it.  Whether you’re in the bathroom, the kitchen, or any other room where there’s a chance an appliance could come into contact with water, keep this safety tip in mind.  For the outdoors, make sure you use extension cords that are designated for outdoor use.  They are made to withstand the elements, such as wet conditions when it rains.
  3. Visible wires mean danger: If any of your appliances’ wires are showing, now is the time to get them repaired.  In some extreme cases, it’s best to just buy a new unit.  If the damage is minimal, repairs can be made with electrical tape.
  4. Keep tree limbs trimmed: Do you have trees in your yard that are close to power lines?  Make sure to keep your tree limbs trimmed so that they are never touching the power lines.  Keep in mind that during high winds, limbs have the potential of falling on power lines, which can take out your power.
  5. Teach your kids: Teach your kids the basics about electricity.  It’s a good idea to keep sockets covered when not in use but kids grow up and can remove these easily so teaching them the importance of electrical safety is always a good idea.  Here’s a great video to show your kids: http://youtu.be/Veyv2lFc_Fk
  6. Avoid “Over� Plugging: What on earth do we mean by this?  It means don’t plug too many electronics into one power source.  Every outlet is limited to a certain amount of voltage and depending on what is plugged into it, it could be fine…or it could get overloaded.  Err on the side of caution and don’t plug too many appliances/electronics into one outlet.

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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.

Electrical Safety During Thunderstorms

For some, the sound of rain can be a calming experience but for most, a severe thunderstorm can be daunting.  However, one important thing that applies to everyone is the issue of electrical safety, especially during a thunderstorm.  Here are a few points to keep in mind the next time Mother Nature brings a bad storm to your front door.

  1. Turn off and unplug: Except for appliances such as your refrigerator, washer, and dryer, it’s a good idea to unplug electrical units such as televisions throughout your residence.  Potential power surges during a storm can cause your appliances to receive either too much power or too little power, which can fry the internal components. Damage to the units can still take place even if they are turned off but still plugged in, so it is best to unplug them.  This also applies to electronics that are plugged in through surge protectors.  The surge protector usually takes the first hit leaving your electronics vulnerable.
  2. Use the Stairs: If you live in an apartment complex on an upper level, make sure to never use the elevator during a thunderstorm.  It’s also a good idea to avoid it for a few minutes after the storm since a power surge could potentially still take place and leave you stuck inside.
  3. Avoid Showering: Well, only during thunderstorms, of course.  Water is an excellent conductor of electricity so it’s best to avoid showers and baths.
  4. Don’t Use Landline Phones: Lightning can flow into your home through your phone’s wires.  Use your cellphones instead but if you must use your landline, do so only in case of emergency.

Something to keep in mind:  When you hear thunder, lightning’s not far behind.  In fact, it’s within a 10 mile radius of you.  Just another reason why electrical safety during thunderstorms is important.  (Source)

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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 411 on Your Home’s Electrical System

The electrical system in your home is similar to the nerves in the human body. It’s essential for the modern home to run properly. If there’s something wrong with your home’s electrical system, it will affect other aspects of the house. A worst case scenario can even prove deadly considering that there are 51,000 electricity-related fires per year. Thus, it is important to know as much as possible about your home’s electrical system so that you know what to do and who to call when you need help.

Knowing more about your home’s electrical system can help you to spot signs of trouble before they escalate, allowing you to address them before they become dangerous, time consuming, and costly. Take time to understand how much energy is being used, the type and age of wiring in your home, and whether or not you have grounded outlets. Know and understand a bit about your service panel as well.

The Service Panel

The service panel, which consists of fuses and circuit breakers, is the hub that acts as the point of distribution of energy to the other areas of the house.  It sends 110, 220, or more amps of power to your home through all your outlets and switches.

If you plan on working on the service panel, do so with extreme caution and only address minor issues such as replacing fuses.  One important note on this subject is to ensure that the replacement fuse matches the amperage rating on the circuit.

Do Your Research

If you plan on taking a do-it-yourself approach with minor projects, always do extensive research first.  When in doubt, the best approach is to contact a licensed professional to do the job for you.  As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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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.

Be an Eco-Tourist!

Vacations are a wonderful way to escape reality when we need to. While you might not be able to get away from all of your troubles, a vacation is a nice way to unwind and recharge your batteries so you can get back to your life with renewed vigor. People today are starting to look for vacation options that are a bit out of the norm and a bit off the beaten path. “Green� vacations fit nicely into this category!

What is a Green Vacation?

A green vacation doesn’t mean a trip to the Emerald Isle (though that could certainly be a great destination!). What it does mean is being as environmentally conscious as possible when you travel. Ecotourism, as some call it, is a great way to visit places while reducing your carbon footprint.

Criteria of Ecotourism

According to Forbes, a destination must meet certain criteria before it’s considered an ecotourist spot.  First, all tourism providers or locations must respect local wildlife.  Second, they must employ a local staff, and lastly, tourism providers must focus on the outdoors with minimal impact to the natural environment.

Where to Go

Most of the time, green vacations focus on getting outside and enjoying nature. You can find some wonderful options all around the world. Places such as Indonesia, the Channel Islands, Alaska, and Costa Rica are great, but they are not the only options. Once you start looking, you will discover some options without even having to leave the continental United States.

Choosing a green vacation can be fun and rewarding. You get to enjoy the beauty of nature and living green, and you can often save on the costs of a traditional vacation.  Try it out for your next trip!

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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 Efficient…Cooking?!

Yes, you can make your cooking process more energy efficient.  In this blog, we break down a few ways on how you can be a greener cook.

  1. Cover your pots and pans with tightly fitting lids while cooking so the steam stays trapped.  This helps decrease cooking time and your food cooks faster (win/win!).
  2. Use pots and pans with flat bottoms and match pan size to the size of the electric surface unit. If a pan is too big or has a warped bottom, food won’t cook evenly. If the pan is too small for the surface unit, energy will be wasted.
  3. Turn off your electric stove 2 to 3 minutes before the food is finished cooking. This way, the food will cook from the energy stored in the electric coil and will help you save money.
  4. Use portable appliances for specialized cooking tasks. Appliances such as toaster ovens and slow cookers use less energy. If you plan to have a large gathering that requires you to cook a large quantity of food, you may want to consider using a portable stove in the garage rather than using the stove range in your home.  This will prevent your home from overheating and, therefore, your air conditioning unit from working harder to cool your home.
  5. Use a microwave or convection oven instead of a conventional oven whenever possible. Microwave ovens use about one-third and convection ovens about two-thirds of the energy used by conventional ovens to cook the same amount of food.
  6. Do not preheat the oven if you are cooking a dish with a slow cook time. Preheating is only recommended for dishes which will cook in just a few minutes and require the oven to get a head start.
  7. Don’t open the oven door to peek at cooking food. The temperature drops 25° F to 30° F each time the oven door is opened.
  8. Watch the clock while you cook. Do not overcook your food as it not only loses its texture, taste and consistency but also uses more energy. When foods are cooked with perfect timing and heat, they taste better and are healthier for you.
  9. Make use of the oven’s leftover heat. Your oven retains heat for 15 to 30 minutes after it is turned off. Use that free heat to warm up desserts, rolls, and more.

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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 Best Clothes Dryers for 2013

Are you in the market for a new dryer but you have no idea where to start?  In this blog we help break down some of the best available – and energy efficient – items on the market today.

Bosch WTVC3300US

On a scale of one to ten, this dryer was ranked at just above a 7 for being a well-designed machine with an excellent warranty.  First and foremost, Bosch is a name you can trust considering that it was an Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2010.   Good Housekeeping also backs this product with one of their coveted seals, which means it went through rigorous testing by an outside group and passed with flying colors.

LG DLE2050W

This item came in at a 7 on a scale of one to ten.  LG ranks high due to the excellent warranty they provide combined with superb customer service.  This particular item has what they call a “Sensor Dry System� which measures moisture in the drum during the cycle and automatically adjusts drying time and temperature for optimal fabric care.

Whirlpool WED9270XW

If you’re looking for a dryer with steam cycles, this product that comes rated at just over a 6 will be right up your alley.  At a price tag around $700, the steam cycles feature helps this product earn its relatively high rating.  This product also offers the “Eco Normal Cycle� which uses 35% less dryer energy when paired with a washer from the same line.

GE DCVH480EKWW

This product is also rated at just over a 6 due to such features as unique cycle options and an antibacterial option.  It also comes with a lint filter cleaning reminder.  Having a clean lint filter ensures that your dryer is running as efficiently as possible.

Maytag MEDE250XL

The last dryer on our list ranks at just over 5 ½ due to its wide selection of cycles.  This dryer will seem especially impressive if you’re replacing an old dryer that you’ve had for years given the technology that’s standard in dryers today. One neat feature is Maytag’s “IntelliDry Sensor� which allows the dryer to know how wet the clothing in each respective load is at any given time.  A convenient feature, “Freshen Up�, can smooth away wrinkles so you can forgo getting out the ironing board.

This is just a short list of the dryers that are available today.  Make sure to do additional research online and ask people that you know what their experiences are.  Happy dryer shopping!

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Image courtesy of Bosch

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.

 

Go Green at Work!

Today, many people are looking for ways to be environmentally friendly because they realize the importance of having a safe and livable environment for future generations. “Going Green� isn’t just for your residence – you can apply the same ideas at your place of work! Get others in on the act and you will see that it’s possible to turn just about any workplace a bit “greener�. Read on for some valuable tips!

 Set Up a Recycling Program

Seems easy, right?  That’s because it is.  Designate an area (like a breakroom) where bins can be placed for recyclable items such as paper, magazines, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and many other items.  Place clear signs above each bin indicating which bin is for what so you don’t have to do any sorting later on.  In some cases, some items can be turned in for cash and that money can be used for work-related parties and events.

Determine a Good Temperature and Stick With It

One of the issues that many companies have is that some employees insist on the temperature being very high while others want it very low. You have to come up with a happy medium that pleases everyone (or, at least, most everyone) so that employees are not trying to change the temperature throughout the day.  Also, make sure that the last person who leaves for the day sets it at a higher temperature since there’s no point in cooling an empty office at night and, therefore, wasting energy.

Turn Off the Lights and Computers

Make it someone’s responsibility at the end of the day to ensure that the lights are out and the computers are off. A quick walkthrough should suffice. After enough time passes, you’ll find that employees may begin doing this on their own out of habit.

Print Less and Reuse Paper

Keep the important emails and files on the computer rather than printing all of them out. Reducing the amount of printing will help save energy in a number of ways. You’ll use less electricity because you’re printing less and you’re reducing your paper and ink usage. Less printer waste is definitely “greener�!

“Going green� is great for any workplace. Talk with some others at your office and come up with some other ideas that you can incorporate to make it a “greener� work environment. Together, you can make a difference!

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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.

Make Your Bathroom Energy Efficient

Did you know that approximately 13% of energy consumed in the average home is attributed to heating water?  How about that the average toilet alone uses 20-30% of the water in a home?  With this knowledge, it’s a good idea to follow some green tips for your bathroom that will not only save you money but also save you energy.

  1. Fix leaky plumbing: Leaky faucets and pipes waste water and energy. A large amount of energy is required to heat water and that water is wasted through leaky faucets so your water heater has to work harder to keep the temperature constant.
  2. Stop wasting water: Have you ever woken up in the morning only to realize your water faucet was dripping all night?  Or perhaps you leave the water on when you shave or brush your teeth in the morning? Wasting water is costly. Conserving water not only saves you money on your water bill but also on your electricity bill.
  3. Go with ENERGY STAR: Whether you’re buying bathroom light fixtures, bulbs, or bath fans, ENERGY STAR products help you save over a long period of time. For example, Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs) consume 75% less energy and last 8 to 10 years longer!
  4. Take quick showers: Even cutting your shower time by five minutes can help;  and if you take baths, start taking showers instead.   Install a flow restrictor on your showerhead or buy a low-flow showerhead (2.5 gallons/minute or less).
  5. Use natural light: If you have a window or skylight in your bathroom, forgo turning on the lights while you shower.  If you’re considering renovating your bathroom, a window or skylight would be a great addition!
  6. Solar water heating: Install a tank-less or solar water heater and have it placed near your bathroom to prevent heat loss.
  7. Have proper insulation: Insulate the pipes in your bathroom as well as the walls behind the bath tub. This will help retain the heat inside the bathroom and help you save money on your energy bill.
  8. Install a ventilation fan: Install a high quality ventilation fan to remove excess steam and moisture from your bathroom. Moisture and steam can create rust and damage your bathroom fixtures.

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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.

 

Nature Provides Power in Many Different Ways

The world around us has the potential to provide us with just about everything that we are going to need, including power and electricity. For many years, we’ve been content to use fossil fuels in order to create the energy that we need but today, people are starting to look at other options simply because fossil fuels, as plentiful as you might believe they are, will run out one day. Rather than waiting for this day to arrive, it is logical to look for alternative methods by which you are going to generate that needed electricity. Once again, nature has the potential to be a great provider in this area. Let’s look at a few of the different ways that we can use nature to provide the energy we need with traditional and newer types of power.

Hydropower

One type of power you may be familiar with is hydropower. Places such as the Hoover Dam and Niagara Falls are able to produce hydropower thanks to the energy created by the water flow in their respective areas. The water creates movement in the turbine’s blades and this causes them to spin, converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The generator, connected to the turbine, creates electrical energy and can then transmit that energy out to homes and businesses.

Solar Power

We all know and love the sunshine and most of us know it’s possible to utilize the power from the sun and turn it into electricity that homes and businesses can use. This technology is not new by any means, but it is something that’s come quite a long way in the past decade. The photovoltaic cells that are part of solar arrays today are able to take the energy from the sunlight and turn it into usable energy that you can bring into your home. More and more homes and businesses are starting to utilize solar power as the arrays come down in price and become more effective.

Wind Power

Wind is another of nature’s goodies that has the potential to generate quite a bit of electricity. Wind will turn a fan or turbine and this mechanical movement generates electricity. Turbines come in different sizes, and again, many companies are starting to look into the benefits of this type of electricity.

The above are some of the ways that you can find some great energy producers in nature without the need to dig and to drill for traditional fuels. By finding and using these other energy solutions, it has the potential to provide a much better and brighter future for everyone on the planet.

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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

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