Glacial Energy Blog

CO2 emission and Electricity Generation

Carbon emissions are a major contributor to climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, electricity generation being an integral part.

Combustion of fossil fuels for energy and transportation is the main human activity that emits CO2, although certain industrial processes also emit CO2.

Electricity is one of the most significant sources of energy in the United States and is used to power homes and industries. The combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO2 emissions, accounting for about 40 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 33 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2009. Emission of CO2 depends on the type of fossil fuel used to generate electricity. Burning coal produces more CO2 than oil or natural gas used in generating electricity. These emissions are highly dangerous and can lead to smog, acid rain and haze.

There are many other ways to generate electricity without promoting carbon emission. These methods are referred to as eco-friendly energy generation. It is a broad term that encompasses a range of renewable energy sources including sunlight, wind, rain, biomass, landfill gas and geothermal heat. These energy sources are renewable so there is a lot of effort to utilize them around the world.

Carbon dioxide is constantly being exchanged between the atmosphere, ocean and land surface as it is both produced and absorbed by many microorganisms, plants and animals. However, emissions and removal of CO2 by these natural processes tends to balance. There are additional measures we can take to reduce carbon emissions.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide EmissionsEnergy efficiency

Improve the insulation of homes and buildings and use more efficient electrical appliances to reduce CO2 emissions.

Energy Conservation

Reduce personal energy use by turning off lights and electronics when not in use decreases electricity demand.

Sign up for Green Power

Sign up with an eco-friendly energy company for your home and businesses. It is one of the smartest options for low carbon emission in the atmosphere. About 600 of the country’s 6,000 power utilities offer a green power option. In this energy option, the local utility buys renewable energy and then passes it along to the customers. It helps support the industry for clean, green power. It’s always wise to ask the energy provider where they are getting their energy.

By simply following these major steps, we can all chip in to reduce carbon emissions, making world a better place to live.

 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 offers renewable energy products and solutions to it consumers. 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

Tips for Energy Conservation with the help of Plants

No matter the time of year or what season it is, our energy bill is always a major concern for many of us. We are concerned about saving energy costs, and never before have home owners been so focused about savings through landscaping. Growing plants around the house might be a hobby or a way to grow your own fruits and vegetables, but growing them with purpose and design can help modify the climate in and around the house. By placing trees, vines, bushes and landscape structures strategically, homeowners can reduce the electricity required to keep homes comfortable during summer and winter. Along with the reduction of power bills, a well-planned landscape beautifies your home and increases property value.

Though landscaping may cost a lot initially, you will have a return on the investment. Three basic landscape applications proven to save energy are:

  1. Using the shade of trees
  2. Using the foundation of plants
  3. Using Windbreaks.

While it sounds simple, if done properly, these techniques can help you reduce summer temperatures indoors significantly. If trees are shading the outside of your home, your indoor home temperature can decrease by 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Trees not only shade your roof, but can also beautify your house, bear you fresh fruits and provide you with some privacy from prying neighbors.

Heard of a green roof? Growing shrubs and plants on your roof can provide you with some shade and decrease the indoor temperature significantly. You can also reduce energy consumption with shrubs and trees by providing shade for the outside protection of a split system air conditioner. A study by the American Refrigeration Institute shows that shading of this type can reduce the temperature inside the home as much as 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure that shrubs planted near the compressor don’t obstruct the airflow or access for service. Another way to reduce energy consumption is by screening outdoor air conditioning equipment with plantings. This enhances the aesthetic value of the home. In addition to shading roof areas, plants can protect walls from cold and heat. Shrubs, vines and certain trees can be used as espaliers (plants trained to grow flat against walls). This foliage cover insulates the wall against summer heat and cold winter winds. Trees, shrubs and vines can also be highly effective in reducing dust and pollution.

Even though hedges have been used for many years as wind breakers, their value has increased more recently due to the rise of higher fuel costs. Winter winds usually have a huge temperature difference between a house and the outdoor environment. Summer winds impact human comfort. Tall trees on the south and west can reduce temperature while allowing breezes to pass beneath and through the foliage canopy. The difference between an exposed home and a home landscaped effective could likely mean a big difference in energy savings.

Reference: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-631.html

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 Landscaping

Homeowners have used landscaping to save energy for many years, but only recently have we started to realize the magnitude of possible savings. Proper landscaping may cut winter heating bills by as much as 15 percent, while summer cooling energy needs may be cut by as much as 50 percent, according to a government study.

There are three basic ways through which homes gain or lose heat:

Air infiltration – Without proper insulation, air travels through cracks and around doors or through open windows and doors. The average home loses 20 to 30 percent of heat in winter by air infiltration.

  1. Heat conduction – Heat can be conducted through materials by which the house is built. Controlling the temperature difference and air movement between inner and outer surfaces of walls, floors and ceilings is the best opportunity for reducing heat conduction. Heat conduction represents up to 50 percent or more of the total heat exchange between a home and the outside environment;
  2. Solar radiation – Sun rays accounts for up to 90 percent of the heat transmitted into the living area if rays are received perpendicular to a single pane. If the home is landscaped properly, sunlight will be able to get in the house, but will be reflected instead of causing an increased load on your AC.

Community landscaping for energy benefits

If a community works together with the common goal of energy conservation, your community can create and maintain landscapes that provide significant shared benefits.

In suburban neighborhoods, trees and windbreakers can be planted in common areas bordering multiple properties for many homes more efficiently than would be possible in one small yard. In urban areas with more closely spaced homes, the trees and shrubs in your yard might provide the best windbreak for your neighbor’s home in winter, while your neighbor’s yard might provide the best location for a tree to shade the west side of your home in summer.

An Energy-conserving Landscape Plan

Here are some tips for energy efficient landscaping:

Plant windbreaker to the north and northwest of you home to minimize winter winds.

  • Plant shorter shrubs on the windward side of your home to trap snow before it can blow and drift against your house.
  • Plant deciduous trees to protect your home from intense mid-day sun rays to the south.
  • Plant low-branched deciduous trees on the west side of your home to provide shade from the lower angles of afternoon sun.
  • Plant small trees or large shrubs to shade an outside air-conditioning condenser to increase its operating efficiency.

Reference: http://www.mortonarb.org/tree-plant-advice/article/703/landscaping-your-home-for-energy-efficiency.html

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

What is the home weatherization assistance program?

The Weather Assistance Program (WAP), created by the US Department of Energy, is implemented through a network of government regulatory bodies and local community agencies to provide ‘weatherization services’ for families below the average income line to lower their energy bills and become energy efficient, through achieving maximum efficiency.

Low-income families in every state in the country, District of Columbia, Native American Tribes as well as US Territories have been eligible for home Weatherization Assistance Program for over three decade.

Weatherization services

Weatherization services are offered for residential and multi-family facilities and generally within a budget (average of $6,500). Only the most energy efficient and cost-effective services are implemented.

The prime driver in home weatherization programs is low-cost, high-efficiency energy measures that go beyond home retrofitting solutions. Another key aspect of weatherization assistance programs is implementing safety measures to the homes and buildings, such as repair of old structures and checking major energy systems to ensure the place is safe to live.

WAP has goals

The primary goal for WAP is to encourage efficient energy consumption and to offer assistance to families who are unable to bear costly energy expenses.

The WAP has regular goals to achieve and are all set to weatherize 1.2milion homes at the start of the previous decade.

The US Department of Energy follows a formula for the calculation of weatherization grants to the states, which in turn run the assistance program through local communities and non-profit organizations.

Formula:

  1. Every state and local community will be allotted funds by Department of Energy for Training and Technical Assistance activities in the state.
  2. Fixed base allocation for each state.
  3. Formula allocation.

Additional factors that influence allocation are:

  1. The percentage of low-income families in each state.
  2. The climatic conditions such as heating and cooling and the degree of energy required to meet the local conditions.
  3. Approximated financial expenditure each state bears because of energy consumed by these households.

This Public Service Announcement illustrates the services available through the Weatherization Assistance Program through the North Carolina Energy Office.

Applying for home weatherization Assistance

Families across the country can seek home weatherization program to lower their energy bills.

To find out if you are eligible to apply for assistance go here.

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

What is a smart energy grid?

The official definition by the US government on its Smart Grid is that, “a Smart Grid is a developing network of new technologies, equipment, and controls working together to respond immediately to our 21st century demand for electricity.”

The standard electric grid is a legacy network, dating back to the 1890s with over 9,200 electric units carrying 1 million MW connecting transmission lines over 300,000 miles long. Patchwork across the grid has reached maximized optimization and the existing electric grid needs to be converted into a stable and ‘smart’ electric grid for the future.

Future is smart grid

Digital technology offers ‘smart’ electric solutions today. The use of digital technology will bring interactive communication between utilities and consumers as well as ‘reading’ or ‘sensing’ the loads across transmission lines for efficient management of energy delivery.

Extensive use of computer-based controls, automation, and inclusion of latest technologies as well as equipment will lead to the development of a smart grid.

What is Smart Grid an education video from Scientific American

What is the smart grid offer?

The Smart Grid will build the foundation for breakthroughs in the delivery of utilities to consumers at cost-effective prices and achieve high energy efficiency. It will also bring-in availability, efficiency, reliability and increased economic stability.

The major benefits the smart grid will provide consumers are:

  1.  Rapid restoration of power fluctuations and disturbances
  2. Decreased operations and management costs
  3. Lower peak demand, and inter-twined lowering of electricity rates
  4. Increase in large-scale network integration of renewable energy sources
  5. Greater security

With the new Smart Grid, blackouts could well be things of the past since the two-way communication between grid and consumer will allow for auto re-routing whenever there is system failure or equipment failure. Smart Grid will automatically control and minimize outages and lower the effects of equipment failure.

Smart grid empowers consumers

Also, the smart grid will streamline transmission and distribution and will also offer consumers and end-users greater power. Consumers will now have the tools as well as the information to make well-researched choices on the types of energy they use.

This means consumers will be able to view their consumption on a daily basis, apply real-time rates and strategize on how to minimize their monthly energy bills.

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

 

 

Reduce Electric Bill by unplugging Vampire Electronics

Many people don’t realize that their electronics may consumer power even when they are plugged in, but not in use. Some electronics use power because of their LED standby light, while others use up electricity simply being connected to an outlet. These electronics are commonly termed as “Vampire Electronics” as they suck up electricity without your knowledge.

Former assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner has said, “All devices have the potential to be vampire devices in the sense that its really the characteristic of sucking extra electricity while they’re in standby mode.”

These silent electronics can increase your electricity bill by $100 per year when those electronics are supposedly turned off, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Vampire electronics are usually cell phone chargers, televisions, DVD players, lamps, toasters, microwave ovens, etc. It is estimated that an average American household has around 30 to 50 vampire electronics. Many electronics may look completely turned off, but tend to use power to keep their electronic keypads on standby mode.  Even your home computer draws up to 65 watts per hour when it is on a standby mode.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 40% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed when they’re in standby mode.

A few ways to reduce your electricity bill are:

  1. Unplug the electronics when they are not in use.
  2. Try using switch boards so one switch can turn off multiple outlets.
  3. Try using energy efficient appliances to save money.
  4. If you live in an area where electricity is deregulated, shop for an alternate electricity supplier like Glacial Energy.

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

History of energy deregulation in New York

Only a short time ago, energy consumers in New York were forced to accept one level of service and one price, but they now have the freedom to exercise their choice. After New York energy deregulation, consumers were given a choice to seek out the best electricity and gas services at affordable rates out of the many available in the market. Below is a brief history of how New York became deregulated.

History of energy deregulation

Traditionally, electricity in New York was supplied by local monopolies that possessed the power plants as well as the transmission lines for power distribution. In exchange of allowing these corporations to exercise monopoly on the consumers, the state heavily regulated these companies and set up rate of return of profit for the utilities, depending on the cost of service, and planned for upcoming power needs. After deregulation, these monopolies at the state level were broken, and the utilities’ power plants were either sold to a third party or transferred to an unregulated partner of the utility.

New York was a regulated market until 1996, when the New York Public Service Commission began separating the charges for electricity as well as its delivery in the state. By separating electricity and its transmission, consumers were given the power to choose. Thus, customers were able to select an electricity supplier and bring down their electric bills while retaining the same poles and wires.

Since the late 1990s, New Yorkers were also given the opportunity to shop for their natural gas provider. Just like electricity, the New York PSC began ‘unbundling’ the energy bill, by separating charges for the gas supply from the charges for delivering energy to the business set-up or home.

Present scenario

Electricity and natural gas are two basic necessities—often called the lifeblood of society—and are equally important for residential customers and business owners. New Yorkers enjoyed a greater freedom after energy deregulation, it was realized over the years that the state needed to set up newer energy plants, expedite the power generation capacity of existing plants, and explore sources of alternative energy to meet the rising demands. Unless these steps are taken, the benefits of energy deregulation may soon be made ineffective by increased surcharges and taxes, rising bills and depleting reserves.

To ensure long-term, reliable energy supplies for New York, a fair and reasonable path need to be thought of by the government and utility companies.

Resource: http://www.dps.ny.gov/

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

History of energy deregulation in Ohio

It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the federal government decided to end monopolies and pave way for a competitive marketplace in the energy industry. A competitive market was believed to offer more discipline in determining business practices and pricing than regulation. Energy deregulation happened in a phased manner across different states and Ohio too was set to witness a change in the energy scenario.

Natural Gas Deregulation in Ohio

The natural gas market in Ohio was regulated until 1997. At that time, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission took up a pilot program in Columbia to begin “unbundling” natural gas service. This process included the separation of natural gas delivery charges from the cost of the actual gas itself, thus empowering customers to get their gas from one of the alternative suppliers known as Energy Service Companies.

Electricity deregulation in Ohio

In 1999, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 3, which set up an outline to “deregulate” the price of energy by permitting the market to determine the cost based on supplier competition. The price of electricity under the old system was based on a formula that depended heavily on the power company’s cost to produce electricity, which in turn established a rate cap. Deregulation sought to remove this rate cap as a competitive market was allowed to establish prices, which would have a nominal relation to cost.

On Jan. 1, 2001, Ohio consumers were finally provided with direct retail access to competitive electricity suppliers. Within the first month, nearly 100,000 customers in First Energy territories, including Ohio Edison, Cleveland Illuminating, and Toledo Edison switched suppliers. As energy markets began offering competitive rates, the number of consumers who have switched to service providers offering better rates has grown exponentially.

Present scenario

Despite electricity deregulation in Ohio, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio still regulates the delivery of electricity and supervises the reliability and safety of electric service. You won’t have any problem finding a competitive electricity supplier with a rate lower than what you are currently paying. And it’s easy to make the switch, too.

In Ohio, switching gas providers is also an easy task. Once your account has been established with the utility natural gas company operating in your region, you can switch to an alternative supplier offering a better rate freely. Thus, it can be said that energy deregulation in Ohio has empowered the consumer.

Resource: http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/

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

 

 

History of energy deregulation in New Hampshire

If you live in New Hampshire, you are already likely reaping the benefits of energy deregulation. With several Retail Electric Suppliers in New Hampshire providing less pricey and greener electricity alternatives, both residents and businesses now have a greater choice in selecting their supplier of electricity.

How the electricity deregulation came into effect

In New Hampshire, four electric distribution companies used to serve specific franchise territories. The territories were:

Public Service Company of New Hampshire

  • Unitil Energy Systems, Inc.
  • Granite State Electric Company
  • New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc.

The New Hampshire Legislature enacted a statute in 1996 that directed the Public Utilities Commission to develop a restructuring plan for the entire state to implement electric retail choice for all consumers by Jan. 1, 1998. In Feb. 1997, the Commission issued a restructuring plan, although subsequent litigation slowed down its implementation. Since these litigations forced the Commission to consider just the compliance plans or settlement agreements that were filed voluntarily. Electric utilities in the state were restructured at different times and to some extent, in different ways.

Phases of deregulation

In Aug. 1998, the first electric utility to restructure was GSEC, which was followed by PSNH in May 2001. In Dec. 2002, the UES companies merged, and subsequently introduced retail choice on May 1, 2003. In the restructured franchise areas, though competitive suppliers were allowed to provide service, a majority of residential customers preferred to opt for default energy service.

Nearly 70 percent of New Hampshire’s retail customers were served by PSNH, which was a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities. Demographically and geographically diverse areas were served by this company, which ranged from southern urban areas to northern rural areas of the State. However, in Dec. 2002, the share of PSNH in the Seabrook Nuclear Power Facility was sold to comply with the PSNH Restructuring Settlement but retained ownership of hydropower and fossil facilities. PSNH acquired Connecticut Valley Electric Company in Jan. 2004. Thus, customers of CVEC became customers of PSNH and started paying the same rates as other PSNH customers. Subsequent to the completion of this acquisition, Central Vermont Public Service Company and CVEC withdrew their claims in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal court, consequently resolving all lingering litigation related to the restructuring.

Nearly 6 percent of New Hampshire’s retail customers are served by GSEC, whose franchise province includes southern and western areas of the state. Following an ownership transfer in 2012, GSEC (which was previously National Grid’s subsidiary) became a subsidiary of Liberty Utilities.

When two of its former subsidiaries, namely Exeter and Hampton Electric Company, and Concord Electric Company, were combined by Unitil Corporation, UES was formed. It served almost 11 percent of retail customers in New Hampshire who lived in the Capital and Seacoast areas.

New Hampshire residents living in the central part of the State, which constitute almost 11 percent of the total retail customers, are served by NHEC. Thus, the electricity deregulation came into existence all over the State.

Resource: http://www.puc.nh.gov/Electric/electric.htm

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


Saving Water Can Save Money, Electricity Usage

Accounting for nearly 18% of your electric bill, heating water is the second largest energy expense in your home. Whether looking for a short-term band-aid or a long-term solution, you can get started with these simple tips.

Short-Term Tips

  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water for most uses.
  • Insulate your hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. When in doubt, get professional help.
  • Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Most new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
  • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

 Long-Term Tips

  • Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Learn more about ENERGY STAR  appliances by visiting http://www.energystar.gov.
  • Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless water heaters, which heat water directly without using a storage tank. Researchers have found energy savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural gas storage tank water heater.
  • Consider installing a drain-water waste heat recovery system. Drain-water, or greywater, heat recovery systems capture the energy from waste hot water—such as showers and dishwashers—to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures.
  • Heat pump water heaters can be very cost effective in some areas. They typically use 50% less electricity to heat water than conventional electric water heaters. This technology can pose some installation challenges, so you should consult with an installer before you purchase one.

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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