Glacial Energy Blog

Energy Efficient Lighting Tips

Lighting consumes 10% of the average American home’s utility bill so using energy-efficient lighting strategies can reduce the average home’s lighting costs significantly. Here are some tips to help increase energy efficiency.

  1. Use task lights: task lights only illuminate the area in use instead of lighting up the entire area and thus save energy. So, if you want to read a book, use a lamp instead.  Apply the same idea when you’re in the kitchen or any other room of the house.
  2. Change your bulbs: incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy and can be replaced by various kinds of energy efficient bulbs. Here are a few examples:
    • Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs): CFLs produce the same amount of light as regular incandescent bulbs but use 75% less energy. These bulbs also last 8 to 10 times longer.
    • High efficiency halogen lights: you can replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 72-watt or 70-watt halogen bulb or replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 42-watt or 40-watt halogen bulb and still get the same amount of light.
    • Light Emitting Diode: (LED) bulbs are the most energy-efficient and long-lasting types of light bulbs. You can replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 12-watt LED that will last more than 20,000 hours, or about 10 years.
  3. Don’t shop for watts, shop for lumens: lumens are the amount of light a bulb produces while watts are the amount of electricity it consumes. Energy efficient bulbs use fewer watts and produce more lumens. For example a, 12 watt LED bulb can provide the same amount of light (lumens) as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.
  4. Use fewer high wattage lights: instead of using four 25 watt bulbs, it is more energy efficient to use one 100 watt bulb. A 100 watt bulb gives 50% more light than four 25 watt bulbs. Using higher wattage bulbs will give you more light and will also save you energy.
  5. Add lamps to your décor: wherever possible, add floor lamps, standing lamps, hanging lamps or table lamps around your home. This way, by using only one or two bulbs, you can brighten up an area and you don’t need to light up an entire room.

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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.

Degrees and Jobs in the New World of Energy

When people are talking about going green and conserving energy, they often believe that they are looking at the bigger picture, and that their conservation efforts are going to be good for the world. They are correct. Working with efficient forms of energy and renewable forms of energy has the potential to do quite a bit for the world. It even has the potential to create new types of jobs, and we are just starting to see the beginnings of this right now. It’s an exciting time to start studying energy, and you will find that in the next few years there will be several more opportunities in the field of energy. In some cases, these jobs might have similarities to older jobs, but with a new perspective on energy usage.

Some Great Career Options for Renewable Energy

One of the things that we are going to start seeing is a difference in the types of some of the degrees available through different universities. Some schools, for example, are likely to start having courses that will specialize in renewable energy. Solar engineering is one such career, and is one that has quite a bit of potential. Working on creating better solar options and panels, as well as how to build and install panels is going to become very important. Engineers who are able to work with other types of renewable technology, such as wind turbines and geothermal units will find quite a bit of career potential as well.

Those who have an interest in the field of renewable energy will want to check to see what options are available at the schools of their choice. You should expect to see more classes and degree options becoming available quite soon.

Alternative Types of Jobs in the Related Fields

Now that you’ve seen some of the jobs directly involved with renewable energy, let’s consider a few of the jobs on the fringe that could become popular in the coming years. For example, companies that are working in the field are going to need to have marketing specialists who have the knowledge and the skills to help sell the technology. For that matter, even the sales staff will need to have knowledge of what the various types of technology will be able to do. In fact, when working for any company that utilizes renewable energy, most of the traditional jobs are going to have to have some knowledge of renewable energy and the products those companies offer.

With a rising need for renewable energy, it has the potential to create several more jobs opening in the coming years in many different fields!

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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

Can Music Create Electricity?

Electricity is energy, as we know, and that means that it seems feasible that music and sound wave energy should be able to create electricity. It seems plausible because it is plausible! The concept of being able to create electricity with sound waves has been around for some time. In fact, a device called an acoustic heat engine has been in existence for many years.

However, now that more and more people are starting to look at various types of alternative energy sources, they are again looking into the potential of these particular devices and technology. By tweaking the devices slightly and adding new technology, they are starting to develop ways by which they can create actual energy that is usable.

How Does It Work?

The concept behind the machine is actually rather simple. The acoustic heat engines right now can generate small amounts of electricity by using a copper plate to conduct heat to a material that has a high surface area. One of the common materials used is glass wool. This heats the air that surrounds it, and then that hot air creates a sound wave of a single frequency. This will then vibrate a piezoelectric electrode, and this is what is going to produce the voltage.

As mentioned, this technique currently is only able to generate electricity in small amounts, but many believe alterations to the technique could produce much better results.

Benefits of Sound Waves for Electricity

As these machines are getting better and better, you will find that they can offer quite a few benefits. They have fewer parts than other types of machines have, and that means that they are not as prone to breaking down and require far less maintenance.

One of the questions that many people ask is whether the machines can generate a sound that people can hear. If they are noisy, wouldn’t it only cause noise pollution? While some of the older machines have low tones that are audible, things are changing in this area as well. As the machines become more effective and smaller, the tones are higher, and eventually they are going to be above the range of human hearing.

The possibilities of this type of technology are quite exciting.  One of the methods that scientists believe might be feasible in the future is to use these acoustic heat engines to gather the heat from cooling towers at nuclear facilities to produce more energy.

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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.

How to Make a Clock Powered by a Potato

Are you looking for a fun scientific experiment that you can share with your kids? One of the simplest and most interesting experiments you can try is to make a potato-powered clock. This might sound like something out of a mad scientist’s lab, but it really works! Best of all, it’s easy to do and you are not going to need much to do it. The first thing that you have to do is assemble all your supplies.

 

The Supplies You Need

Always make sure that you have everything you need before you begin. Here’s a handy checklist that will ensure you are ready to go.

  • Two potatoes
  • Two galvanized nails
  • Two short pieces of heavy copper wire
  • Three alligator clip/wire units
  • Sharpie
  • An LED clock that uses a 1 or 2 volt button type battery

These supplies are very inexpensive and easy to find. A stop to the grocery store and the hardware store should just about do it. Some stores will have kits with everything you need except for the potatoes.

Creating the Battery

The first thing to do is take the clock, open up the battery compartment and, if there is a battery, remove it. At the site where the battery connects to the clock, you will notice a positive symbol and a negative-terminal.

Write #1 on one of your potatoes and #2 on the other potato. Insert one of the galvanized nails into each of the potatoes, and then take your two pieces of copper wire and place one in each potato as well. Make sure that you put the copper as far from the nail as you are able to get it. Next, you should use an alligator clip/wire to connect the copper wire to the positive terminal in the clock. Do the same thing with the negative terminal next.

As unbelievable as it might sound, this is actually going to provide all of the power that your clock is going to need. You will see the LED display come on and you can even set the clock now!

This is a great experiment to help the kids learn more about electricity, and to get them excited about science. Once you set up your potato battery for a clock, it can even be fun to experiment with other items to see what else it might be able to power. By getting your kids excited with these types of experiments, it can help to develop a lifelong love of learning.

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Image courtesy of 4M Toys by Toysmith.

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.

How Our Kids Learn about Energy

Just as with everything else in life, learning about energy should always begin at home. While the kids are likely going to be studying energy in some manner throughout their school life, you should take the time to teach them at least the basics while they are still at home. Of course, when you are teaching the little ones about energy, you will want to make sure that you keep the terms relatively simple, and you want to make it a fun experience. Kids are never too young to start learning about energy and energy efficiency. Here are some things that you can do to help.

Talk with the Kids

Kids are often much smarter than many adults give them credit for, and that means that they can understand more about the concept of energy than you might imagine. Explain to the little ones that in the home, electricity comes from sockets in the wall, and express just how dangerous it can be to touch these light sockets. Let the kids know how they use energy every day to power their games, to watch television, and to turn the lights on in the house. Explaining how we use energy is the first step in helping kids understand why it is important to conserve it.

Depending on the age of the children, they may be able to grasp some concepts that are a bit more advanced. Explain that electricity is a form of energy, and that electricity is generated when electrons are moving quickly and creating force fields. This concept might be a bit obtuse for some kids to understand until they are a bit older. That’s okay. When they are young, you still want the learning to be as fun as possible.

Now that you’ve explained to the kids more about energy and electricity as well as how they use it in their daily lives and the importance of saving it, ask them to explain some ways that they might be able to save and conserve. The ideas that they create could surprise you. Come up with a list of things that they can be in charge of, such as making sure that the lights are off in empty rooms. Make them a part of conserving and make it fun, and they are going to be more interested in learning about energy

Find Online Activities Too

Little ones are probably nearly as, if not more, versed in the web as their parents are today. Fortunately, you can find some great tools online that should be able to help give your kids even better insight into what energy is and how to conserve it with some fun activities. Find some sites specifically for the kids to learn about energy that have coloring pages, memory games, stories, and more. Stay on the computer with them, and show them that learning about energy can be quite fun!

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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.

Moving 101: Switching Your Power

If you are getting ready to move, you already have quite a few things on your mind more than likely. You have to think about the actual physical part of the move, make sure that your furniture arrives on time, ensure that you have your cable and phone connected, and you have to make sure that you don’t leave anything at the old place. However, one of the most important things you need to do when you move is make sure that you have your power working when you arrive at your new location. Without electricity, you are going to be left in the dark – literally!

Powering Up Your New Home

Most power companies will only be able to switch your power on at your new place on weekdays barring any holidays. However, different power companies may have different policies, so make sure you speak with your provider and find out exactly when you are going to be able to have your electricity on in the new home. Always try to get the power on a day or two before you arrive. This ensures that there are no hiccups and that you will have power when you get there. Nothing is quite as frustrating as spending the night in a house without power just because you forgot to have the power switched on moving day!

When you speak with the company about switching your power, something else that you need to know is whether or not you have to pay a deposit. Some companies are going to require this, while others may waive the deposit if you have a good credit score.

Something else that you will want to do is make sure that you do not have any of your appliances turned on in your new home until you are sure that you have power. While they wouldn’t work without power, the danger comes from the sudden surge of electricity that might jolt them if you have them plugged in and turned on when the power does start.

Your Old Address

Of course, you don’t want to pay for electricity in two locations, so you have to make sure that you contact your power company and make sure that they are turning off the power in your old place when you move. Often, you will be able to provide them with the exact dates that you are moving, so that turning off the power in one location and on in another will be seamless.

Switching your power is simple, and all it will take is a simple phone call. Just make sure that you don’t forget to make that call!

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 Invention of the First Light Bulb

The light bulb has a long and interesting history, and while you might think you know about the invention of the first light bulb, there’s a good chance that you are incorrect. Do you believe that Thomas Edison was the inventor of the very first light bulb in 1879? The history of the bulb is a bit deeper and a bit older than that.

In the Beginning

It begins in 1806, when Humphrey Davy introduced an electric lamp to the Royal Society in Britain. This was an arc lamp, which created light via an electrical spark generated between two rods made of charcoal. While an interesting device, this lamp was simply not something that was going to be practical for most people to use. It was just too bright to be in a home or a place of business. It also relied on vast amounts of power, and that meant that the batteries on which it ran drained quickly. Time passed, and the invention of electric generators was able to reduce the consumption of power. People started using the bright arc lights for searchlights.

More than thirty years later, the inventions were moved quickly toward what we now know as the light bulb of today. However, they still weren’t perfect by any means. Frederick DeMoleyns patented a bulb in 1841 that would enclose the burner in a glass container and pump out the oxygen. J.W. Starr invented something similar just a few years later, followed by an invention of a chemist named Joseph Swan. While the concepts behind these inventions were solid, they were simply impractical for everyday usage.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, inventor extraordinaire, knew that anyone who would be able to perfect the light bulb would be able to make a fortune. He also happened to be one of the brightest minds at that time. In 1878, he started looking into a way to make the light bulb better, practical, and perfect for every home. His first attempt, just a few months after he began tackling the project, was not successful. However, he then added a physicist named Francis Upton to his team. Within just a few years though, they were able to create a light bulb that is similar to the ones that you know and use today. It is not going too far to say that this invention really did change the world!

Never Done

Of course, inventions need to continually change and evolve if they are going to remain relevant, and that’s just what the light bulb is doing. Today, we have energy saving bulbs that are more efficient and longer lasting than those that Edison created well over a hundred years ago. Who knows what we might be using a hundred years from now!

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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.

Still Learning with Schoolhouse Rock

If you were a child in the late 70s and 80s, then you probably know a bit about Schoolhouse Rock. The short cartoon music videos were staples of Saturday morning television, and they covered a host of different types of topics all in an effort to teach youngsters about various things. The catchy lyrics and fun musical style of these videos were great because they were easy to remember, and they actually did a good job of teaching the basics of different subjects to children. Some of the most popular of these videos include the unforgettable “I’m Just a Bill�, “Conjunction Junction�, and “Body Machine�.

Learning about Electricity

One of the other popular videos was “Electricity, Electricity!�, and it was remarkable just how much one could learn from the lyrics. They start quite basic, talking about wanting to see in the dark, as well as how you have to flip a switch to receive electricity. They also go into detail about where the electricity comes from and how it travels through wires to get into your house. It talks about the wires, the power plants and the fuel needed to make electricity, generators, and more.

In fact, the song even has a spoken part that explains how generators contain powerful magnets that create magnetic fields, and that the wires rotated in the field to create a current and produce electricity. It mentions Ben Franklin, and even talks about a fun experiment that you can try with the kids regarding static electricity with a comb and fur! The song mentions static electricity being electricity at rest, how you get shocks, and so much more.

The song covers just about every basic thing that you are going to want to know about electricity, and it provides you with quite a few other areas that you will be able to use for further study and exploration with the kids. The songs make it much easier to learn about many different things, and it really works to help with the memory. After all, you probably know the words to quite a few songs by heart. Knowing these lyrics will give you knowledge, too.

Still Fun After All These Years

Even though they might be more than thirty years old, you will find that these videos are still very relevant today, and they are a great way to help your children learn. They can be a nice way to refresh your own knowledge, and even grammar skills! If you have kids and you want to help them learn a bit about electricity, or any of the other topics that Schoolhouse Rock covered, you can find just about every video on YouTube. The videos might not have all of the information you need, but they are always a fun starting point. They can be a nice trip down memory lane as well!

Source: http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Electricity.html and:

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.

Solar Cooking Ideas

Have you ever heard of solar cooking? This type of cooking method will actually let you cook food using the power of the sun. Of course, it is not quite as simple as cracking an egg on the sidewalk or placing a cupcake pan on the porch in the middle of summer. The first thing that you are going to have to do is understand what a solar cooker is. These are simple stoves that one can make, or even buy. Many people use them when they are camping, but they can be quite handy in emergencies as well. Of course, they can also be quite fun!

Types of Solar Cookers

Three simple and basic types of solar cookers are the solar panel cooker, the solar parabolic cooker, and the solar box cooker.

The panel cookers are going to have a pot or a pan along with reflective panels. The panels can be made from different types of material including aluminum foil covering cardboard and even polished sheet metal. Parabolic cookers look similar to a satellite or even an upside down umbrella. Because of the design and the ability of these types of cookers to gather and focus the sun’s energy, they are able to reach higher temperatures even quicker.

The box cookers are just as popular and just as simple. They have a design that looks similar to a conventional oven. The cooking container sits in a box, and the angle of the lid, with reflective material, causes the sunlight to focus on the pot and cook the items.

Simple Solar Cooking Recipes

Now that you know there are a number of different options when it comes to the type of solar cooker, it’s time to look for some of the different types of things that you will be able to cook in them. Here are just a couple of things that you can cook with the devices.

Rice is a popular and filling side dish for many meals. You can cook rice and vegetables in a solar cooker by adding just a cup of rice along with 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt into the dark pot in the solar cooler. Place it in the solar cooker and cook until the water dissipates. This should take about an hour.

Another thing that you will be able to cook in these solar cookers is bratwurst. Add water, sliced onions, and uncooked bratwurst into the dark pot. Cook it in the solar cooker for about 45 minutes or until they are done. The timing can vary based on the type of cooker you are using as well as the strength of the sun that day.

There are a multitude of other recipes to try out so consider it the next time you want to enjoy the weather outside – you’ll hardly have to be inside to cook!

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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.

Who is Henry Hub?

At first glance, the name Henry Hub might sound like some obscure comic book character from the mind of Stan Lee thanks to the alliteration! However, Henry Hub is not a comic book character, and it is not even a person. Instead, it is a noun of a different sort. Henry Hub is a thing. It is the central location, or the hub, of pricing natural gas futures, and it has been since 1990. It was in 1989 that NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) contracted Sabine to be the provider of the first natural gas futures contract.

The physical hub is in Erath, Louisiana and is under the ownership of Sabine Pipe Line LLC. Because of the location of the Hub, it’s seen some trouble with hurricanes, particularly with Ike and Rita. However, even though the hurricanes were flooding surrounding areas, the actual facility did not receive much damage at all.

Understanding all of the terms when it comes to natural gas can seem quite overwhelming at first. Trying to understand too many things at once can be this way, especially when it comes to complex things such as the pricing of the gas, the pipelines, and how to trade the gas. However, taking things slowly and just a bit at a time is going to allow you to learn more. One of the first steps in that is having a better idea of what the Henry Hub is. Fortunately, it is not going to be overly difficult though.

Investors who talk about the price of natural gas are always going to be talking about the Henry Hub price for the gas, as that is the standard. The prices for the gas are in $/mmbtu (millions of British thermal units). People are usually talking about the current price for the months contracts. However, when you hear someone talking about the spot price, he or she is talking about the actual current price, which does not have an association with futures. This price has more fluidity and can change far more rapidly.

What Pipelines Connect to the Hub?

The hub connects four intrastate pipelines as well as nine interstate pipelines. These pipelines are:

  • Acadian
  • Gulf South Pipeline
  • Bridgeline
  • Columbia Gulf Transmission
  • NGPL
  • Sea Robin
  • Southern Natural Pipeline
  • Texas Gas Transmission
  • Transcontinental Pipeline
  • Trunkline Pipeline
  • Jefferson Island
  • Sabine

It was because of the interconnectedness of these pipelines that Sabine was chosen and the Henry Hub came into being. Henry Hub has two compressor stations able to compress 520,000 decatherms each day, and it is able to transport 1.8 billion cubic feet per day. The Hub is one of the most important locations for energy today!

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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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