Glacial Energy Blog

6 Easy Energy Saving Tips

Saving energy seems like it would be a difficult task, but with these easy tips you can make a huge impact on your energy usage, and your electric bill.

1. Turn off lights when not needed. Get into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room. Leaving just one 100-watt light bulb turned on all day, every day, would cost over $87 in a year.

 2. Close curtains and blinds. Windows are usually the least insulated part of a house. Blinds and curtains add an extra layer of insulation, which can really add up to big savings over the course of a year.

 3. Program your programmable thermostat. Many people tend to just use the “hold” feature, which turns a programmable thermostat into a wasteful, standard thermostat. If you have a programmable thermostat, learn how to use it properly. If you don’t have one, buy an Energy Star-rated programmable thermostat.

 4. Use a microwave oven to heat foods. Microwave ovens use significantly less energy to heat food than conventional stovetops and ovens. Microwaves also do not put off extra heat, resulting in less strain on your air conditioner during those hot summer months.

 5. Unplug vampire devices when not in use. Vampire devices, like televisions, DVD players, stereos, and computers, still use energy even when turned off. For the equipment’s protection, they should always be plugged into a surge protector. You can then save energy by simply getting into the habit of turning off those surge protectors before bed.

 6. Use your dishwasher. We often forget that a large part of our home’s energy usage can be attributed to heating water. Dishwashers are much more efficient than washing dishes by hand. Just make sure the dishwasher is completely full before turning it on.

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

 

Quickest Way to Improve Energy Efficiency

What do you believe is the quickest and easiest ways to improve energy efficiency in your facility?   Many proponents of alternative energy would have you believe that solar panels and wind turbines are one of the best ways to go Green and improve energy efficiency.  I do not want to knock solar panels and wind turbines, but those are not the best solutions for everyone.  While solar panels and wind turbines will allow you to generate your own electricity, taking a business completely off the grid can be cost prohibitive, and many use these solutions to simply reduce their electric bills rather than eliminate them.

Here is a hint: improving how efficiently a business uses energy is a bright idea.  Lighting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve energy efficiency at a business.  It can seem like someone flipped a switch and the electric meter just slowed down for some lighting conversions.  Specifically, I am talking about LED lighting.  While LED lighting can be expensive up front, the potential energy savings can be dramatic when compared to standard incandescent, fluorescent, sodium halide, or halogen bulbs currently in use at many businesses. LED’s can save up to 95%, that is quite a bit of savings – so here is a quick math lesson.  A typical fixture in a business, depending on the business, uses 60W to 100W bulbs to achieve the best brightness.  That means the LEDs that replace these bulbs have to use only 6W to 10W for that magic 90% reduction in energy usage for lighting.  While not all fixtures will necessarily generate that kind of reduction, most LEDs will have at least 80% savings in energy usage.  The savings also depends on the business and type of operation.  I would like to share some examples that have the potential to reduce your energy use nearly 90% on lighting.

Gas stations have a lot of bright lights under their canopies to illuminate the fuel pads, especially if the gas station is operating 24 hours per day.  Typically, high pressure sodium, incandescent, or metal halide fixtures that are used to shine some light on the gas pumps use up to 400W.  Some LED fixtures can produce the same amount of lighting using only 52W to the fixture.  That is an 86% reduction in energy usage.  Gas stations usually have at least one light fixture per pump, if not more, so the savings can be huge if an LED fixture, such as this one, is used to replace the existing high pressure sodium, incandescent, or metal halide fixtures.

Not everyone owns their own gas station, however LEDs can serve in a variety of applications.  Does your business have can lights recessed into the ceiling?  Incandescent bulbs for these fixtures typically are 60W to 120W and can be found in many businesses.  The same amount of light output can be generated with just a 6W LED fixture.  For the higher end of the lighting output, that is a whopping 95% energy savings compared to an incandescent bulb.

Another popular lighting fixture for businesses is a recessed fluorescent tube fixture, anywhere from 2 feet by 2 feed to 4 feet by 4 feet to match the ceiling tiles.  Well, there are LED fixtures for those too.  I understand fluorescent fixtures are more efficient than incandescent fixtures, however LED lighting still saves about 75% over fluorescent setups.  This particular LED fixture can bring your maximum energy usage down to 14W from a 40W fluorescent fixture.  That can still add up to significant savings.

Best of all, to further enhance the energy savings, all the LED fixtures I have presented can be paired with motion sensors and other lighting controls to change the lighting levels.  For each of these fixtures, the amount of light at 40% brightness can be generated at 9% energy usage.  That means the 52W gas station fixture at just under half brightness will only use 4.68W of energy.  I have seen these fixtures in action, 40% brightness is still pretty bright.  That means that 4.68W is substituting for a 400W fixture, and we can even say it is a 160W fixture at 40% brightness, and that is a 97% energy reduction from 160W to 4.68W.  The 6W can light at 40% brightness uses just over half a watt, and the panel lighting uses about 1.25W at the same lighting levels.  It is these numbers that truly demonstrate the savings of LED lighting.

About the Author- One Stop Green, LLC  facilitates environmentally friendly improvements to residential and commercial properties through distribution of green, energy efficient products and services. Their goal is to provide practical, long-term, and economical solutions for existing and non-existing facilities while remaining dedicated to the principles of sustainability. One Stop Green’s mission is to help consumers take control of their energy options so they can reduce their carbon footprint and do their part for the environment while protecting themselves against rising energy costs and taking advantage of valuable Federal tax credits and deductions.

 

 

Energy Saving Tips: Home Appliances

Individuals in the market for new appliances are often guided to purchase Energy Star rated units, but if you are not in the market for new appliances, or you don’t have the money to run out and buy something new, review these simple energy saving tips. By using your home appliances efficiently, you can lower your electricity usage without adding more work for yourself or others.

Oven and Stove
• Consider using a microwave instead of a conventional oven whenever possible.
• Cook several dishes simultaneously in the oven.
• While cooking, avoid “peeking� by opening the oven door. Each “peek� can lower the oven temperature.
• Use the smallest burner necessary to do the job. Match your pan size to the burner size. For example, a 6″ pan on an 8″ burner can waste over 40% of the heat produced by the burner.

Refrigerators & Freezers
• Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are not running too cold. The temperature in your refrigerator should be at 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Open refrigerator/freezer doors only when necessary.
• Make sure the seals on your refrigerator, freezer and oven doors fit tightly. Easily perform this test by leaving a lit flashlight inside a closed appliance and if you see light around the gasket, replace the gasket.
• Keep refrigerator coils (on the back or the bottom of the appliance) clean.

Clothes Washers & Dryers
• Use lower temperature settings on your washing machine, preferably the cold water cycle, and only use cold for rinses. The temperature of the rinse water does not affect cleaning.
• Load the washing machine to capacity. Washing one large load will take less energy than washing two loads on a low or medium setting. When you don’t have a full load, match the water level to the size of the load.
• Dry full loads when possible, but be careful not to overfill the dryer, because air needs to circulate around the clothes.
• Don’t over-dry clothes that you are going to iron. Take clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp to reduce the need for ironing—another big energy user.
• If you have room, you can also hang your clothes out to dry.
• Clean the dryer filter after each use. A clogged filter will restrict airflow and reduce dryer performance.

Dishwashers
• Operate your dishwasher at full capacity. And if the manufacturer’s instructions permit, open the door of the dishwasher at the end of the last rinse cycle, rather than using the drying cycle.

Water Heaters
• Set your water heater thermostat at the lowest temperature that provides you with sufficient hot water. If you use a lot of hot water, you may need to set the temperature higher to provide enough hot water for your needs.
• Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket, especially if it’s in an unheated area of your home.

If you are in the market for new appliances, read more about Energy Star products by visiting www.energystar.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

Electric Future: Solar Energy

In the country that invented the solar panel, solar energy still only produces less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity. But as the price of solar power continues to fall and as states, such as California, mandate that a third of all power come from renewables by 2020, solar energy could become a major player in electricity production.

Solar Energy is the energy that is produced by the sun in the form of heat and light. It is one of the most renewable and readily available sources of energy. Solar energy has been used by people since ancient times by using simple magnifying glasses to concentrate the light of the sun into beams so hot they would cause wood to catch fire.

The collection of thermal radiation from the sun is relatively easy, and involves the use of a fluid passing through a heat sink exposed to sunlight. The circulated fluid can be used as a heat source, or if concentrated, be used to turn a wheel or turbine to generate electricity; however, the materials needed to produce solar cells can be rather expensive.

 Environmental Impact

Although solar energy is considered to be one of the cleanest and renewable sources of energy among the available sources but is has some environmental impacts too. Solar energy uses photovoltaic cells to produce solar power. However, manufacturing the photovoltaic cells to produces that energy requires silicon and produces some waste products. Inappropriate handling of these materials may lead to hazardous exposure to humans and the environment. Furthermore, installing solar power plants may require large piece of land, which may impact existing ecosystems.

 Future of Solar Energy

In recent years manufacturing costs of photovoltaic cells has dropped by 3-5% per year while government subsidies have increased. While to some such facts about solar energy seem trivial, this makes solar energy an ever-more affordable energy source. In the next few years it is expected that millions of households in the world will be using solar energy.

Whether they’re on a house or an industrial solar field in the desert, solar panels have always been one shape: flat. MIT Engineering Professor Jeffrey Grossman, inspired by the ways trees spread their leaves to capture sunlight, developed a 3D solar panel. Unlike with flat solar panels, these new 3D panels can actually pick up almost as much electricity on a cloudy day as it can when it’s sunny out. Read more about Professor Grossman’s work 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

 

Saving Energy, and Money, in the Workplace

We can all help to conserve energy and save money at our workplaces by implementing some quick and easy changes in our work habits and becoming more conscious about our working environments.

Some helpful hints include:

Electronics and Appliances

  • Maintain all electrical equipment in optimum condition by scheduling regular servicing to ensure it is kept running efficiently.
  • Turn off photocopier at night or purchase a new copier with low standby feature. Purchase printers and fax machines with power management feature and use it.
  • Always turn off all electrical appliances and pull the plugs from the wall sockets at the end of the workday, including cell phone chargers, fans, coffeemakers, desktop printers, radios, etc.
  • Replace desktop computers with thin clients or laptop computers and docking stations.
  • Replace cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors with LED or liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

 Lighting

  • Turn off lights in all rooms and areas that are not in use such as the common areas, break room and conference rooms. Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when not in use to reduce energy use and costs.
  • Use task lighting instead of brightly lighting an entire room.
  • Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for desk lamps and overhead lighting. Using CFLs instead of comparable incandescent bulbs can save about 50% on your lighting costs and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Windows and Blinds
    • During the summer months, pull the shades or close the window blinds during the midday to limit the amount of heat that enters the room in warmer weather and to limit the amount of heat that escapes during the winter months. Overhangs or exterior window covers are most effective to block sunlight on south-facing windows.
    • In the winter months, open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your workspace. At night, close the blinds to reduce heat loss.

     Heating and Cooling

    • Adjust and program the thermostat to shut off during the night and to turn on half an hour before the beginning of the workday. Set the thermostat no higher than 69 degrees during the winter months.
    • Encourage employees to dress according to the weather and time of the year, adjusting their layers of clothing before changing the thermostat settings.


    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

     

Do It Yourself: Home Energy Use Assessment

Whether clipping coupons or shopping the best deals online, smart shoppers understand the value of saving a buck. As a thrifty consumer, have you considered other ways to save money in your household? Your electric bill can be a source of savings, if you know what to look for and how to make small changes at home.

1. Locate Air Leaks
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air leaks can minimize home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year. Checking for leaks is important, especially as your home ages. Checking for leaks is easy.
• Look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Any gaps or holes should be plugged and/or caulked.
• Use incense to carefully test for leaks by moving a lit stick along walls (avoiding drapes and other flammables); where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in or out.
• Make sure the floor of your attic and ceiling of your basement, as well as exterior walls, have adequate insulation.

2. Analyze Your Appliances
Appliances are major energy users, so your task should be to identify models that may be costing you a lot, and to find ways to trim waste. One of the easiest ways to save is by upgrading to a new Energy Star certified, high-efficiency model. Heating and cooling usually account for the biggest home energy usage. To save money, make sure vents are open in rooms you want conditioned, but close the ones in rooms you hardly use. Also be sure that vents are clean and unobstructed. To further reduce energy usage, check to see if your furnace filters look dirty and change them at suggested by your heating/cooling equipment specifications.

3. Look for Hidden Energy Users
When electronics, like TVs, DVD players and cell phone chargers, are plugged in but not on, they still draw power, resulting in about 8% of our annual electric bills. It’s simple to stop the drain by looking around your house, and unplugging any unused devices you find. To make it even easier, plug your electronics into a power strip, and switch that off when you are finished watching your favorite TV marathon or charging your mobile devices.

4. See the Light
Lighting eats up about 10% of a typical electric bill. Swap out high-wattage bulbs with lower users, ideally CFLs. Start with one or two bulbs in the places where you have lights on the longest; you don’t need to rush out and try to replace every bulb all at once. Also be aware that rapid on and off switching decreases the life of CFLs, so it may not be worth it to install the pricier bulbs in places like closets, where you rarely have the lights on. In such areas, try a lower-wattage regular bulb, like a 40 W instead of a 60 W.

After you have made some improvements, revisit your audit steps in a month or two. Go over your energy bills, and compare. Did your usage drop? Consider going back through the steps above, looking for any appliances or areas you missed before.

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

Myth or Fact: Smart Meters

Although there has been some skepticism, Smart Meters are already starting to change the way people use and manage their electricity. Some myths about Smart Meters include:

 Myth: Smart Meters can turn off appliances in your home without your permission.

Fact: Smart meters do not identify electrical devices in the home or record when they are operated.  Smart meters only record total energy usage, as do older, analog meters. Furthermore, Smart Meters do not have the capability to operate appliances inside a home or business, including turning appliances on or off.  In the future, companies may offer voluntary programs in the future that include Home Area Network Devices for inside the home that give customers the ability to control certain appliances.

 Myth: Smart meters are surveillance devices.

Fact: Smart meters do not monitor household activity.  Smart meters only record and send energy usage data over secure, encrypted networks.  They never send personal data.  The advantage of smart meters is that companies will no longer have to send an employee to the house or business to read the meter, which actually equates to more privacy for the customer.

Myth: Smart meters will emit radiation into my home.

Fact: Smart Meters do not emit any microwave radiation, but communicate using radio frequencies (RF), similar to common every day devices such as radios, cell phones, baby monitors, wireless networks, etc. Smart Meters emit extremely low, infrequent signals 48 times per day. Each transmission is only a fraction of a second, resulting in an average daily transmission of about 5 seconds. Also, exposure levels decrease significantly as distance from the transmitter increases. RF also weakens as barriers such as building materials and meter enclosures enter its path

Myth: Installation of a smart meter will automatically cause an increase in customer bills. 


Fact: Smart meters have been tested and proven to record energy usage accurately and do not cause higher bills. In most cases, higher bills can be attributed to changes in weather, timing of rates, older equipment malfunctions and human error.

Most Important Thing to Know About Smart Meters

There are many things you should know about Smart Meters, but the most important thing you should know is that Smart Meters give you the ability to have insights into how you’re using electricity in your home.
Through access to energy usage data, consumers will be able to better understand their own energy usage. Beyond that, the Smart Meters will also enable cutting-edge technology, like smart thermostats, smart appliances and smart homes.

For additional information about smart meters please visit Wikipedia or view our blog article about smart meters.

 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

 

Myth or Fact: Electricity Deregulation

Since the electricity market was deregulated several years ago, residents in cities participating in this emerging competitive market have enjoyed their power to choose retail electric providers. Electricity deregulation has been a success despite the abundance of several detractors, most of which are coming from areas and states where the implementation of energy deregulation has failed. Some myths about electricity deregulation include:

Myth: Electricity deregulation has failed because retail rates are rising – not dropping – in regions with competitive electricity markets.

Fact: Electricity rates have been rising throughout the country, not only in deregulated states. These increases are largely a result of rising costs for the fuel used by generators to produce electricity. The push for cleaner, more reliable and efficient power plants drive costs higher as well. Despite this pressure, if one takes into account price increases over the same timeframe in other consumer goods like food, housing and health care, electricity price increases are mostly modest by comparison.

Myth: The price of electricity increased due to Energy Deregulation

Fact: Legislators in some states who are not eager proponents of energy deregulation are blaming this policy for the increase in electric prices. Higher prices due to dramatic increases in the prices for natural gas and petroleum products are an occurrence not only in deregulated states but on a nationwide scale as well. For consumers, no matter how electricity is marketed – through a deregulated competitive market, cooperatives or through municipalities – the price is still dictated by the cost of the raw materials used for generation.

Myth: Rates may be increasing across the country, but the worst increases have been in deregulated states.

Fact: In most of the states that deregulated to increase competition, political agreements were made to cap rates for a certain period of time and, in some cases, actually roll them back. As a result, many customers in deregulated states have been paying below market rates in recent years despite increases in the input costs for generating electricity. As these rate caps expire, rates are catching up and starting to reflect current market prices that are being driven by significantly higher fuel prices.

Myth: Electricity is a prime commodity that should not be deregulated

Fact: Electricity can be compared with an analogy to food, another vital commodity that consumers simply could not live without. In a country like the United States, the food market has considerably very intense market competition all along its supply chain: starting from the production and raw materials, to the final product packaging and form that is served on every American’s dining table. This competition resulted in greater abundance for food that can later be translated to very cheap retail prices. The same would be true for electricity, wherein competition among retail electric providers not only placed the prices of electricity in check but have also resulted in higher levels of customer service never been enjoyed by consumers in a regulated and monopoly-controlled power market.

For additional details about deregulation you can also visit Wikipedia. You can also learn about the history of deregulation by viewing our blog.

 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 History of Energy

History of Electricity Deregulation

Beginning with the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act, the United States started eliminating many layers of economic regulation that had placed industries under strict government overseers.  The latest industry to feel the forces of deregulation is electricity.

For most of the 20th century, one company generated the electricity, transported it to the local retailer and distributed it to homes and businesses. These companies became mini monopolies, operating in prescribed geographic areas subject to state and federal regulations. The lack of competition resulted in the price of electricity varying from under four cents a kilowatt-hour in Idaho to more than twelve cents in Hawaii.  

Under deregulation, electricity providers were broken into three parts:

 

The Power Generation Company, the actual power producer

who runs the power plants and sells on the open market.

 

 

 

The Transmission and Distribution Service Provider,

or TDSP, who owns and services the wires and meters, and

 

 

The Retail Electric Provider, or REP, who buys power

from the producers and sells it to users.

 

Residential and Commercial customers purchase electricity service from a REP that purchases power from a power plant and takes care of billing and customer service. The power itself is still transferred over the same power lines from the local TDSP, making the switch painless for consumers.

Similar to mobile phone providers, electricity deregulation allows multiple companies to compete for business in an electricity market. REPs compete on price, service and renewable energy options, giving consumers more choices and lower prices. Similar to choosing which company you use for your cell phone, residential and commercial consumers now may choose their electricity supplier.

Not all states have embraced electricity deregulation. Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and several other states are leading the way in providing consumers more competitive options in energy providers.  Glacial Energy is a retail electricity and natural gas provider that serves over 20 states.

 

 

 

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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