Glacial Energy Blog

What Room in Your House Uses the Most Electricity?

AmmeterSome months, we find that our energy bills are higher than others. We just pass it off as using more electricity that month, but we rarely try to break down what specifically is causing the bill to go up. There are a few ways to determine what room is the biggest eater of energy, and more accurately, what appliances are doing most of the eating.

The old standby of how to find which room is taking the most juice is to go to your circuit breaker panel and shut off all of them except ones for a specific room. After this, check the electric meter outside your house and count how many ticks go by over the course of 15 seconds, and multiply that by four to find how much is consumed per minute. After that, shut those circuits off and turn on another set for a different room. Repeat the process until you go through the whole board. This should give a good indication of what room is sucking up all the electricity.

More than likely, large appliances like refrigerators and window air conditioners will be the biggest culprits, but you can get the exact amount of consumed energy for any plug-in appliance by using a device like Kill A Watt. This device plugs into your wall outlet, and then you plug in an electric device to it. It measures everything from volts and amperes to kilowatt hours and hertz. You can also use an ammeter. An ammeter attaches to each circuit and will give you a readout of the draw on that particular circuit.

Finally, a comprehensive energy monitor will not only give you feedback on the draw of circuits, but some of them, combined with software, can track trends and energy costs in your home. Monitors like the TED5000 connect to the main power line and monitor the draw of electricity, wirelessly sending the data, including kWh and cost to your handheld TED device. This device will help you determine what’s drawing the most power by simply walking around the house and turning appliances and electronics on and off. The ECM 1240 Home Monitor is another monitor that connects to the mains, but also has individual sensors for each sensor. You will more than likely need an electrician to install this device. It wirelessly sends usage data to an iPhone and tracks that data over time.

With these combined devices and software, you can determine what room in your house requires the most energy.  By reviewing this data, you can work around these electricity guzzlers to save yourself some money on your monthly energy bills.

Image:  an ammeter

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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.

Twenty Tips for a More Energy Efficient Home

A modern homeGoing green and making your home more energy efficient isn’t just about keeping the environment clean. It can actually save you some money too. There are all sorts of ways to make your home more energy efficient, whether it’s installing insulation, upgrading your central air system, replacing your windows, switching to better lighting solutions, or changing the vehicle you drive. All of these tips combined can save you hundreds of dollars each year and make the planet a little better in the process.

1.       Perform an energy audit – Having a technician perform an energy audit on your home will reveal areas that need improvement. These would include windows, ducts, and insulation. Repairs can be as simple as weather stripping doors and windows, or as complex as adding insulation and sealing ductwork.

2.       Tap into the Smart Grid – By installing a Smart Meter, you can track your home’s energy use through web based software and mobile apps. They’ll show you how your house is consuming electricity allowing you to focus on making those areas more efficient.

3.       Seal Air Leaks – When you experience a particularly windy day, light a stick of incense and stand near windows, doors, and various fixtures. If the smoke from the incense travels horizontally, you may have discovered a leak. By weather stripping or caulking these locations, you will make your home more airtight. Also cover or close open exhaust vents and shut fireplace dampers.

4.       Check filters – Air conditioning, heating, and dryer filters can become clogged with lint and dust, restricting their air flow. By cleaning or replacing these, you will make these systems more efficient by reducing how hard they have to work for the same amount of use.

5.       Insulation – Insulation is especially important in wide open areas like basements and attics, but it’s also highly effective when lining walls and crawlspaces. Attics are the primary culprit for heat loss in a home, as heat collects in the cavernous space and is radiated through the vents. This causes heating systems to work harder to keep the house at the right temperature.

6.       Hiring Contractors – When looking to hire a contractor for any home improvement, ensure they are licensed, insured, and certified. Get bids from at least three companies, check references, and get recommendations from friends or family.

7.       Heating and Cooling – Invest in a programmable thermostat to regulate when your heating and cooling systems run. If you’re not home to enjoy them, they’re wasting energy. Replacing filters and cleaning radiators and vents will ensure proper airflow and keep the amount of time the system has to run to a minimum. In winter months, keep as many south facing drapes and shades open as possible. This will allow the most sunlight in to warm the house naturally.

8.       Air Ducts – Seal any accessible ducts with metal tape or duct sealant to keep air from escaping when your heating or cooling system is running. Close vents for ducts pouring air into unused rooms. Also ensure that no joint segments have separated.

9.       Carbon Monoxide Detectors – CO detectors are required in many states for new buildings, but it doesn’t hurt to install a plug-in unit, especially if your home uses gas heating or stoves, or a fireplace. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas that has no odor, so in the event your alarm goes off, open as much ventilation as possible and leave your building.

10.   Passive Solar Heating – Passive solar homes require very specific design and placement to take full advantage of the sun’s daily course through the sky. In winter months, sunlight passes through large, south facing windows to capture the light and warmth of a low-lying sun, and in the summer months, it utilizes reflective coatings and heat absorbing walls and floors to dissipate the heat from a high arcing sun.

11.   Air Conditioners – When installing window AC units, bigger isn’t necessarily better. The larger units will drain more energy, and in a closed off room, the extra energy will be wasted. The same goes for central air systems. Buy a system that is suited for your house’s size and configuration to ensure nothing goes to waste. Programmable thermostats are also important for regulating when the system is in operation, especially when you’re not home.

12.   Cool Roofs – Roofs are notorious for exuding heat in large quantities, whether it’s absorbed sunlight being radiated from shingles, or trapped attic air coming through the vents. A cool roof is designed to reflect more sunlight than it absorbs and can be installed by using special reflective paint, a sheet covering, or reflective shingles. This can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50°F and keep your air conditioning from working as hard.

13.   Green Roofs – Perfect for urban locations, a green roof can be implemented on a flat or shallow pit roof. While initially costly to implement, their benefits are wide reaching. A green roof provides natural insulation for your building, manages rain water, and provides a garden space to grow vegetables or otherwise enjoy nature in an urban setting.

14.   Landscaping – A well landscaped yard not only looks attractive, but it can also provide natural benefits for heating, cooling, and wind protection. This can actually lower your monthly bills by up to 25% and lower ambient temperatures 3°-6°F.

15.   Water Heaters – Insulate water lines to keep hot and cold water from losing their effective temperature on their way to your faucet, shower, or washing machine. Repair or replace any leaking faucets and pipes, as these can waste gallons of water without you realizing it. If you use a hot water tank, drain a quart out of it once per month to remove sediment that may have built up at the bottom of the tank.

16.   Windows – Windows can account for anywhere between 10%-25% of your heating and cooling costs by letting air out. Installing Energy Star rated windows or weather stripping existing windows will make them more efficient and keeping air from escaping. Windows can also be coated with special films that reflect heat back into rooms in the winter and reflect sunlight back in the summer.

17.   Lighting – Installing Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs will cut way back on your electricity usage for lighting. Additionally, using motion detectors for outdoor lights will save you from needing to leave lights on when you go out at night.

18.   Appliances – Look for Energy Star rated appliances to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth in energy usage. Everything from printers and computers to washers and refrigerators are rated by their efficiency and have Energy Star certified variants.

19.   Renewable Energy – Solar panels are an increasingly popular way to generate electricity for your home. They can be mounted atop an existing, south-facing roof or in an open area outside your home to capture the rays of the sun and use the energy collected to power heating systems including water heaters. Heating and cooling systems can be connected to geothermal systems as well. Water is piped to varying depths to warm or chill the water to useable temperatures for heating and cooling systems. Small wind turbines can be used to generate electricity for your home or recharge recreational vehicle batteries. If the energy generated by both solar and wind exceeds your home’s needs, it can actually be piped out to the electrical grid, which energy companies will pay for.

20.   Transportation – Investing in energy efficient vehicles, like biodiesel and hybrids, is an excellent way to conserve energy and reduce the impact on the environment. They can also end up saving you money in terms of fuel consumption. For those with more common vehicles, reduce the amount of fuel you use by cutting back on idling time and high speed driving. Idling a car to warm it up in the winter time consumes gas and increases emissions, but doesn’t actually get you anywhere. High speeds over 60 mph decreases the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Avoid overloading your vehicle as every 100 lbs costs you an extra $0.08 per gallon. Short trips also use a lot of fuel; combining errands into a single trip will use your fuel more efficiently.

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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 Future of the Coal Industry

coal smoking power plant against the sunClimate change is a growing concern all over the globe, and consumers are looking to secure a cleaner future by switching to renewable energy solutions. Unfortunately for the coal industry, this means a major downturn in their sales. But, to keep up with the times, other, more environmentally friendly methods must be explored. There are already several technologies in place for harvesting renewable energy, but many media outlets and political parties downplay renewable energy sources as being inefficient and difficult to integrate into the current power grid.

First of all, is renewable energy expensive? When it comes to the implementation of the technology and upgrading current generation systems, yes, it is an expensive investment. However, the long reaching environmental impact will more than pay for the upgrades. The real key to unlocking the potential of renewable energy is to incorporate more efficient technologies, such as LED lighting. But, as renewable energy methods expand their capabilities, and new technologies emerge, such as wave and tidal, the overall cost of all renewable sources will drop.

Nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) lobbies are pushing to propel their own technologies into the market and take over the energy industry. However, even if they meet the strict standards set by energy commissions, they are expected to account for less than a quarter of the projected CO2 abatement and renewable energy will have to bear the rest. In Australia, renewables are expected to actually dominate the energy industry’s new capacity out to 2020, with over $2 trillion to be invested in the various methods employed to capture renewable energy.

Under new policies put in place by Australia’s International Energy Agency (IEA), fossil fuels will have a higher net revenue than they would under the proposed 450 Plan. However, under the 450 Plan and implementing CCS systems, they will account for most of it while having a much more positive impact on the environment.

Ultimately, the coal industry needs to work more toward investing in Carbon Capture and Storage to start reversing the negative impact they have on the environment. Unfortunately, the Australian Coal Association believes that all coal that can be burned, should be burned. The consequences of this mentality will undoubtedly cause more issues for all people, but also pressure the renewable sector to take the heavy burden of offsetting CO2 emissions.

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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 Your Business can be Greener

Green BusinessThere are numerous ways to make our businesses greener. They can be simple, immediate measures like cutting back on printers, scanners, and general paper use or installing high efficiency lighting. There are more in depth measures that can be taken too, that will have a strong, positive impact on the environment. These include revamping HVAC systems with heat recovery units and more efficient motors, grey water reclamation, and green roofs. Here, we’ll look at a few case studies in California of how businesses are being greener.

Clif Bar & Company has been looking to make transportation of their products as green as possible, and starting in 2006, they began a program they called “Cool Commute.” This program offered a cash incentive to employees to purchase biodiesel or hybrid vehicles to use as part of the Clif Bar fleet. The company also offered employees smaller incentives to use bicycles, carpooling, and public transportation to get to and from work. Because of these efforts to reduce transportation related pollution, Clif Bar and Co. received the 2008 Acterra Award for Sustainability; the highest honor bestowed by Acterra.

Nomad Café’s owner, Christopher Waters, wanted to build a community centered on sustainability. He implemented a no-waste policy that has paid off by saving the café over $12,000 each year. They accomplished this by using only biodegradable packaging for their to-go orders and charging extra for their use. This in turn led to customers bringing in their own cups and containers. All printed materials are printed on 100% recycled white paper and 30% recycled colored paper. Finally, 95% of all waste is either composted or recycled to maximize efficiency. Nomad’s efforts have garnered the attention of several green advocacy groups and they have received several awards for their efforts, including being one of only 10 businesses in California to receive WRAP of the Year.

Stater Bros. supermarkets in southern California has taken steps to manage the use of refrigerant in their stores. They implemented leak detection sensors throughout their refrigerant systems to locate any wasted refrigerant totaling 200 parts per million (ppm). Standard practices only require detection for 1000 ppm, so this system detects leaks long before they get to a point where they can actually pose a hazard to employees. Monthly system checks and yearly refrigerant audits help keep this system at peak condition, ensuring that nothing goes to waste. This has cut their refrigerant needs by 57% and saved an estimated $270,000 per year. In addition, the supermarkets compost 1600-1900 tons of waste each month to minimize the actual waste produced throughout their stores.

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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 Usage: Apartments vs. Single-Family Homes

High-rise apartment complexMost apartments are essentially semi-permanent hotels and would consume a lot of electricity with so many people living in them, right? Compared to a single-family home, they probably eat a lot of power each day. However, that is not actually the case. Electricity usage in apartments has actually dropped almost 40% in recent times. In fact, those living in an apartment complex with at least five units are likely using less energy than someone living in a single-family home.

This comes from the fact that apartments that are one of 5 or more units are generally small and require little electricity for lighting, heating, and cooling. Part of this comes from apartment complexes having few windows and exterior walls per unit. This cuts back on heating/cooling loss. A lot of these units consist of about 3 rooms, a common area for lounging, cooking, and dining, a bedroom, and a restroom. It doesn’t take much in the way of lighting to brighten up that space.

In 1980, 5+ unit apartments made up 13% of the total households in America, and in 2009, they accounted for 17% of total households. According to this graph by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in that same time frame, despite increasing their coverage by 4%, 5+ unit apartment complexes still only account for 9% of site energy consumption for all households. This means that while their numbers have grown, their energy consumption has dropped.

There are some companies that focus solely on the energy needs of multi-family housing and have devised ways that could potentially save $3.4 billion nationwide each year. Some of these possible solutions include equipping window and wall mounted air conditioners with a modlet that allows control of the device over the internet or from a smart phone. Another solution is to modify steam-based heaters so they are more efficient and easier to control. As it stands, some steam radiators output so much heat, that residents have to open windows in the winter.

The EIA and many companies are looking for ways to make homes more energy efficient, but as it stands, apartment complexes have the upper hand when it comes to overall efficiency for families.

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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.

A Helpful Moving Checklist

Moving ChecklistMoving can be a stressful undertaking. “Did I pack all of the dishware?” “Did I remember to put all the legal documents in the right binder?” and “How am I going to fit all of this into the moving truck?” may be some of the questions you ask yourself when it comes time to relocate. Here we’ll list all the important steps leading up to your big move so that you can keep everything organized and not have to worry about whether the family dog is riding with Uncle Jack or Aunt Sally and her cats.

Two Months before the Move

  • Sort and Purge – Systematically search each room of your home and determine what will be going with you and what can be donated, sold, or tossed out. Make notes for anything that will require insurance or extra care and packing.
  • Research – Look into possible options for movers and start getting quotes for pricing. Over the phone inquiries may not be very accurate, so be sure to get an on-site estimate. Ensure the moving vehicle has a USDOT number.
  • Create a Moving Binder – Keep all your estimates, receipts, and inventory lists in this binder for easy access.
  • Organize School Records – If you or your children are going to school, make arrangements to have them transferred to your new district.

Six Weeks Before

  • Order Supplies – Start stocking up on boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and markers. Order special containers for wardrobes or dishes, if needed.
  • Use It or Lose It – Any perishable foods or cleaning supplies that won’t be travelling with you should get used up or properly disposed of.
  • Take Measurements – Measure the rooms and doorways at your new residence to ensure your furniture will fit well.

One Month Before

  • Choose a Mover – Once you have chosen your moving company, get written confirmation of locations, times, and costs.
  • Begin Packing – Start by packing up items you don’t use often, such as lawn games, seasonal items, and infrequently used appliances. Continue to note anything that will require special attention. Make note on your inventory list any items worth more than $100 per pound like computers, televisions, and gaming consoles.
  • Label – Label and number each box, listing contents and room destination. Make note of boxes containing items you’ll need immediately after the move, like the coffee maker, neck massager, and foot spa.
  • Separate Valuables – Any boxes containing highly valuable items like jewelry should be in a box that you will personally transport. Keep your moving binder in this box too for easy access.
  • Change Your Address – Fill out a change-of-address form at your local post office or online at www.usps.gov. In the event of possible stray parcels, ask a neighbor to check your mailbox for you every couple weeks for a month or two.
  • Notify Important Parties – Banks, brokerage firms, your employer’s human resources department, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, credit card, insurance, and utility companies should all be notified of your move.
  • Forward Medical Records – Obtain copies of all medical records or arrange to have them forwarded to your new providers. Ask for referrals if necessary.

Two Weeks Before

  • Two Weeks Notice - Put in your notice of your leaving you place of employment, or if you’re not going to change jobs, arrange to have the day off from work to supervise the move.
  • Tune Up – Have your car inspected by a mechanic and get suggestions for maintenance if you plan on moving to a different climate.
  • Clean Out Your Safe-Deposit Box – If you are changing banks, take all of the items in your safe-deposit box and put them into the box you will personally be transporting your valuables in.
  • Contact the Moving Company – Double check all of the arrangements you have made.

One Week Before

  • Refill Prescriptions – Stock up on any prescriptions you will need for the next few weeks.
  • Pack Your Suitcases – Try to have everything packed a few days before the actual move. Pack a suitcase for each family member so they have enough clothes to last the entirety of the move.

Three Days Before

  • Defrost the Freezer – If you plan to take your refrigerator, empty it, clean it, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving.
  • Double Check the Details – Reconfirm arrival times, destinations, and stops with your moving company to ensure everything happens when it should. Include contact details like cell phone numbers and also give written or printed directions to the drivers.
  • Plan for Payment – If the payment for moving hasn’t already been taken care of, get a money order, check, or cash to cover the moving cost. Set aside an extra 10-15% for a tip. Tipping each individual mover on especially difficult moves and providing refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day

  • Verify – Ensure that the vehicle that shows up to move your belongings is for the company you hired and that their USDOT number matches your documentation.
  • Take Inventory – Before the movers leave, sign the bill of inventory/lading and keep a copy for your records.

After the Move

  • Unpack and Relax – Start unpacking essential items and give yourself a good neck massage if needed. Sort boxes by room for easier unpacking.
  • Enjoy your new Home!

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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.

 

What Makes Windows Energy Efficient?

Window profileEnergy efficient windows can save you a bundle of money by preventing heat loss or gain in winter and summer, respectively. These types of windows seal up your house and make it as air-tight as possible, which in turn keeps your heating and cooling appliances running at maximum efficiency. But what exactly does it mean for windows to be energy efficient?

Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Window

An energy efficient window consists of five major parts: Frame Material, Panes, Coating, Gas Fills, and Spacers.

  • Frame Material – Energy Star rated windows can implement one of several different framing materials. Fiberglass is durable, low maintenance, and has good insulating properties. These frames can be hollow or filled with insulating foam. Vinyl frames also require little maintenance and have a good thermal insulation. These may also be filled with insulation. Wider sills may be reinforced by wood or metal. Aluminum frames are often recycled; containing at least 15% recycled material. They are also durable and low maintenance. They are constructed with thermal breaks to reduce the amount of heat lost through the metal itself. Wooden frames provide good insulation and are favored in historical neighborhoods for their look and strength. Though not the most durable on their own, they are often reinforced by aluminum or vinyl to cut back on necessary maintenance. Any of these materials may be combined in a single framework, giving a specific look with added durability or strength.
  • Panes – Windows are primarily constructed with two panes of glass with a gap in between them. This insulates the window far better than a single pane of glass.
  • Low-E Glass – The glass in each pane is coated with an infrared-reflecting coating to help repel heat during the summer and trap it during the winter. These coatings also reflect ultraviolet light which can damage furniture.
  • Gas Fills – In the space between the two panes of glass, some windows are filled with argon, krypton, or other gases to help improve the level of insulation. They are odorless, colorless, and non-toxic, so there is nothing to worry about with these fillings.
  • Spacers – Spacers keep the individual panes separated the proper distance for energy efficiency. These spacers also insulate the pane’s edges, further preventing heat loss.

Performance Ratings

All windows are given performance ratings based on their construction and insulating properties. These ratings are established by the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC.

  • U-Factor – This is the amount of heat transfer the window exhibits, which gives a clear indication of how well the window insulates. The value generally ranges anywhere from 0.25 to 1.25 with 0.25 being the better rating. The rating is derived by using the equation Btu/hour * ft^2.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – This is the measurement of how well the window blocks incoming sunlight and usually ranges from 0.25 to 0.80, with 0.25 being the better rating.
  • Visible Transmittance (VT) – This is the measure of how much light your window lets in and ranges from 0 to 1, with most ratings between 0.20 and 0.80. The higher this number, the more light is let in.
  • Air Leakage (AL) – This is the measure of how much air passes through the joints of a window. The lower your rating, the less air escapes. Most building codes require a maximum rating of 0.3 cubic feet lost per minute over every square foot of window.
  • Condensation Resistance – This is the measure of how much condensation builds up on the window and is scaled from 0 to 100.  The higher the number, the less condensation will build up on the window.

It is important to note that Energy Star certification is only based on the U-Factor and SHGC ratings. All of these factors come together to give you an exact picture of how efficient your windows are at keeping your temperatures balanced where you want them. Using energy efficient windows will save energy by keeping your appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, and heaters from running longer than they really need to.

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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 Top Five Most Energy Efficient States in America

Downtown Los Angeles SkylineThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases an annual list of the top 25 energy efficient states in America. It may come as a surprise that a few of the largest cities are actually ranked in the top five slots. The ratings are based on the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings in each city and the amount of energy saved. President Obama set a goal to reduce the amount of energy waste by businesses by 50% over the next 20 years, and these cities are leading the nation in that effort.

There are more than 20,000 ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the United States that have cut annual energy expenditures by $2.7 billion. This savings equates to the annual consumption of enough electricity to power more than two million homes. Commercial buildings alone account for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. However, from 2012 to 2013, the EPA saw a 24% cumulative increase of ENERGY STAR certifications for commercial buildings. To receive an ENERGY STAR certification, a commercial building must perform within the top 25% of similar buildings, and reduce energy consumption and emissions by 35%.

Los Angeles, CA holds the top spot for the most energy efficient city in the country with a total of 528 ENERGY STAR certified buildings. Washington, DC takes second place with 462 buildings, Chicago, IL with 353 buildings, New York City, NY with 325, and Atlanta, GA with 304. Collectively, these cities have saved $551.4 million in annual energy costs and offset the emissions equal to powering nearly 372,000 homes.

City

# of Certified Buildings

Cost Savings

Home Emissions Offset

Los Angeles

528

$134.8 million

52,300

Washington, DC

462

$127.4 million

83,100

Chicago, IL

353

$92.3 million

118,400

New York City, NY

325

$144.6 million

63,600

Atlanta, GA

304

$52.3 million

55,500

 

Source 1, Source 2

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

The Power Behind Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls. View on Horseshoe Waterfall from Canadian SideNiagara Falls is a popular location for tourists to visit, especially those in the United States and Canada. During peak flows, over 750,000 gallons of water go over the falls every second, with 600,000 of those gallons flowing over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls alone. There is a lot of power behind all of that water, which is why the US and Canada have set up hydroelectricity plants along this great river.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) established the Niagara Power Project, which in 1961, led to the construction of the largest hydroelectricity facility in Western civilization at the time. The two hydropower plants that comprise the Niagara Power Project, Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant, currently generate 24 megawatts of electricity each year, saving millions of dollars in energy costs over coal and natural gas use. The Niagara Power Project is the largest electricity producer in the whole state of New York.

The two hydro power plants have a forebay to hold about 740 million gallons of water and a combined 25 turbines to generate the 24 megawatts of electricity. Behind the Lewiston plant is a 1900 acre reservoir to hold extra water for use during peak hours. To harness this great power, the hydropower plants divert up to 375,000 gallons per second through underground conduits leading to the Robert Moses plant’s turbines, where the water spins turbines that generate electricity. The Lewiston plant will pump excess water into its reservoir during late night off-peak hours and will function as a second set of turbines during the peak day hours to maximize efficiency by reversing the flow of the water it pumped up into the reservoir and letting it pass through the Lewiston plant’s turbines and the Robert Moses plant’s turbines.

A treaty signed in 1950 regulates the amount of water that can be diverted in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the falls. It requires that at least 100,000 cubic feet of water flows over the falls every second during daylight hours between April and October – peak tourist season. At all other times of year and at night, only 50,000 cubic feet needs to flow over the falls per second.

Every winter, the NYPA and Ontario Power Generation work together to prevent the lake water from freezing, which would result in flooding shorelines and reduce the power plants’ output. This is accomplished by using specialized boats and an ice boom. The ice boom is located at Lake Erie’s outlet and prevents ice from building up, while also letting water flow down river. When the temperature drops below zero, special ice breaking boats are sent out to patrol the river and crush the ice into manageable chunks which are directed over the falls.

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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.

Monitoring Your Electricity to Save Money

Electric MeterWho doesn’t like saving money? We all get the same feeling when our energy bills come in, particularly after a month of heavy electricity usage. But, it can be tough to know exactly how much energy you’re using before you get your bill. Your energy bill breaks down your total energy consumption, but not by what devices. Some electricity providers can sell a smart meter to help track the usage, but not all of them carry one. The Energy Detective has a way you can install your own smart meter: TED5000.

The Energy Detector 5000 is a comprehensive software and hardware kit that ties into your electrical system to monitor your energy consumption. TED5000s are factory tested to be accurate to within 2% of your retail energy provider’s actual data. The kit can come with an option wireless display that will give you up to the second data on your usage. You can use this display to detect phantom loads – appliances that drain electricity even while they are in standby or off – and set up custom profiles for up to five different appliances. By using the handheld wireless receiver, you can check the consumption of every electric device in your home by unplugging it and seeing how much the consumption level changes on the readout.

The kit also comes with computer software giving you a highly detailed analysis of your energy use, and can even be printed out for your records. The TED5000 can also be set to send you text message alerts based on parameters you set, at no additional cost. All this data is password protected and encrypted to ensure only those with your authorization may access it.

The TED5000 is fairly inexpensive, starting at around $200, but within just a couple years, you can actually save that much by monitoring your electricity consumption and being smart about running your appliances. TED5000 gives you the ability to monitor your electricity usage right in the palm of your hand.

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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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