Wind Power and Water Conservation

Converting partially to wind power for energy needs could help the drought situation in the United States. If a third of the nation’s electricity came from wind power by 2050, it would save about 260 billion gallons of water a year.

It could also help save large amounts of money in climate-change related costs and health costs.  The extra wind power would decrease greenhouse gas emissions, saving $400 billion in climate change-related costs. Also, by eliminating smoke stacks and replacing them with wind turbines, it would cut $108 billion in pollution-related health care costs.

To reach the goal of 404 gigawatts generated in 48 states by their projected time of 2050, offshore wind power would need to expand. Currently, there is no offshore wind power, and to reach the goal, there would need to be 86 gigawatts generated by offshore wind power.

Not only would getting 35 percent of their energy from wind power help cut greenhouse gas emissions and save on electricity, it could help drought stricken regions. Alternative power sources have many other benefits besides being energy efficient.

Interested in going green at home or the office? Take a look at our tips for going green.

The Impact of Fluorescent Lighting

LEDs are sweeping the nation and beginning to replace fluorescent light bulbs because they use less energy, helping energy bills and the environment both. However, the environment isn’t the only thing this can have an impact on. It could help with a lot of people’s vision.
Fluorescent lighting is harsh on the eyes and can cause damage. These types of bulbs in an office or school setting along with staring at multiple electronic devices all day can really have an impact on a person’s eyes.
Research done in Australia showed that working in a building with these lights for 40 or more hours a week increases the risk of cataracts and pterygia in the eyes. This is because fluorescent bulbs that are cool or bright white emit UV radiation equal or stronger than the sun produces.
Using LED bulbs or natural lighting works the best in place of fluorescent bulbs. Natural lighting actually helps workers to stay more alert when working according to a study by a Swiss neuroscientist. People with less access to sunlight during the day were significantly sleepier in the evening.
To reduce the damage on eyes in the office, school or even home, get rid of fluorescent bulbs. It will provide a healthier environment all the way around. Eco Electric can help install new lighting in residential or commercial buildings.

Home Energy Audits

Does the energy bill keep creeping higher? It might be time to do a home energy audit to find out where energy is being lost, causing that increase. By following the recommendations of auditors, the home can become more energy efficient.

Homeowners have two options when doing a home energy audit; they can do it themselves or hire a professional. Doing it oneself won’t be quite as thorough, but will still be beneficial.

Keep a checklist while walking around the house and inspecting for possible problem spots. The first thing to check for is air leaks or drafts. Homeowners could save five to thirty percent on their energy bill by reducing the drafts in their home.

Next up is the insulation. Lack of adequate insulation can cause dramatic heat loss in the home. In older homes, often the insulation isn’t enough and needs to be updated.

Make sure the air conditioner and furnace are working properly. Changing filters at least every three months is also beneficial. Getting the cooling and heat united inspected and cleaned annually can prevent many energy loss problems.

Lighting accounts for approximately 10 percent of the electric bill. Switching out bulbs for more energy efficient ones such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or led emitting diodes (LEDs).

Lastly, check appliances and electronics. If something is constantly plugged in that doesn’t need to be, consider unplugging it when it is not in use. This can help cut back on unnecessary energy use.

Ready for a professional opinion? Eco Electric can also help by doing a home electrical evaluation where we’ll inspect the electrical system and offer suggestions on making the home more energy efficient.

Proper Disposal of CFLs

Old compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury vapor, which can be harmful if released. It can end up seeping into the water table. Instead of just throwing them away, which can break the bulb, releasing the mercury, they should be disposed of properly to prevent contamination.

There are certain states and local jurisdictions who regulate the recycling of CFLs. Local waste collection agencies usually are aware of this information and collect these materials for recycling. Most of the time it is a free service, but some agencies might charge a small fee. Also, they may only collect household hazardous waste a couple times a year, so households will need to keep their waste until the scheduled times.

Some hardware stores will offer in-store recycling as well. However, not every store offers this service, so it’s best to call ahead and check before heading there with hazardous waste.

There are also pre-labeled recycling kits that are provided by certain lightbulb manufacturers and other organizations. They give households the ability to mail the old lightbulbs to recycling centers. This is a great option for those in areas where their waste collection agency doesn’t take lightbulbs.

Before tossing old CFLs in the trash, check with local regulations and the waste collection agency for recycling options.

Solar Device Chargers

Worried about charging devices when away from an electrical outlet? Or wanting to lessen electrical usage while still charging laptops, cameras, phones and more? Invest in a solar charger. They have solar panels that convert energy from direct sunlight.

If the solar charger is just for small devices, it is best to choose one with an internal battery. The energy gets stored on the device, which means it can be used to charge devices even if it is cloudy. However, the internal battery might need replaced after a couple of years.

For those outdoor adventurers who spend a lot of time in the sun, there is a solar charger that plugs directly into a device. This type of solar charger is more reliable than the one with the internal battery, but only works when there is sunlight to draw energy from.

These lightweight, portable solar charging devices are great for outdoor adventure. Many people like to document their camping and hiking adventures with a camera or phone camera. It could be a problem if they get outside and realize their battery has died. That’s where these chargers come in handy.

Or homeowners who are looking to cut down on their energy use, for financial and environmental reasons, could use these to charge their electronics instead of plugging them into the wall socket. Especially during summer when energy consumption skyrockets from air conditioner use, this could be a good way to use a little less electricity.

Sustainable Energy: 3rd World Countries

Energy has been a fundamental pillar in sustainability and environmental equality. This is particularly vital in alleviating poverty in rural communities. Beyond bringing electricity to limited communities, it promotes general well-being as well as it stimulates health in 3rd world countries. Being that approximately one quarter of the earth’s population (1.6 billion people globally) has no accessibility to electricity, individuals have to rely on kerosene sources to provide heat and light sources indoors; which result in almost 2 million deaths due to bad indoor air quality. With alternative sources in place of kerosene, like the SolarPuff lantern, widespread social, economic, and climate problems would cease to exist. Instead of families spending money on fuel sources, those resources can be spent on investing in quality of life, not just for one’s self but for family, as well as for following generations.

Currently, over two hundred renewable energy programs have been implemented in one hundred different countries to help developing economies. These programs will yield important milestones and will yield benefits for years to come. Unlike built economies, like those in Europe, 3rd world countries don’t have to worry about degradation of old systems in order to enact renewable sources in a slow transition. Those countries that don’t have electricity will be able to transition straight into sustainable sources, as it will be the only structure they know. But these programs are still in the developmental stages of building, and implementing them will take time. Once essential components come together, the world will gain a new era of life.

How Solar Power is Saving Everyone Money

There are of couple main arguments for switching to solar power energy. Two of the most common are the environmental benefits, and the money savings. These arguments are very true, but there’s a new argument for switching to solar power. This new argument states that the rise in use of solar energy is making electricity cheaper for everyone. How is this possible?
This year alone solar power has seen tremendous growth. According to GTM research “in the first half of 2014, 53% of all new electricity generating capacity built in this country was solar”. Solar power installation also is expected to continue to rise through the rest of the year. With so many people making the switch to solar power what is happening to the electrical grid people are currently using?
A study in California showed that due to the increase of solar power usage, electricity prices were falling by 2.5% on the west coast. The increase in solar power usage isn’t the only reason electricity prices are falling, there’s more to it. But solar energy does play a huge part in the price decrease.
Use of solar power is making electricity costs cheaper because electricity from the sun displaces mid-day peaking electricity plants. The easiest way to explain it is solar installations in residential areas reduce the demand being place on the power grid. With the demand being lowered, prices are then lowered for everyone during these peak times.
As the use of solar power continues to grow the pressure on electrical grids all over the country will diminish. This effect will help save American’s more money. A rise in solar power is good for the economy as well. Installing solar energy alternatives is creating jobs and the IRS is offering tax breaks for those who help support the switch to solar energy.
Overall, solar energy benefits everyone and the environment too! If you’re ready to make the switch to solar energy call EcoElectric today! Our staff is knowledgeable and trained on solar energy or any other house hold electrical issue that may arise.

Safety Tips During a Power Outage

“Oh no, who turned the lights off?” You might have been sitting in downtown Boise the night of August 10th and had this thought cross your mind, or maybe you were watching 2013 Super Bowl, which was more of you just watching a pitch black stadium. In either situation something caused the power to go out. There are a ton of different reasons why the power may go off. Some of common reasons are weather related. A large storm, lightning, ice, heavy rain, high temperatures, or natural disasters may be to blame. A power outage may also result from a manmade accident such as car wrecks or animals on the wires. Do you know what to do if you ever find yourself suddenly sitting in the dark?

Safety is priority in any situation like this. There are many different precautions one should take in many different areas of your home. One major thing you should be aware of is a power surge. When power is eventually restored it can return in surges which can damage electronic items. One way to avoid your electronics being ruined is by unplugging them once the power does go off. Also by unplugging items you can prevent a circuit overload in your home.

While candles have been the way of light when the power goes down for years, home owners should think about having multiple flashlights on hand, or other forms of light that are battery operated. While candles do provide light, they can also be very dangerous for you and your home. If a candle tips over a house fire could begin, resulting in a larger issue than just the power being out. Flashlights will not set your home on fire, and can provide better lighting for you and your family for a longer period of time.

A power outage can also affect your food and drinking supply. Generally, there is a four hour safe window for perishable food items. If your power is out less than four hours food stored in refrigerators and freezers will still be safe to eat. To ensure food that needs to be kept cold stays cold keep the freezer and fridge doors closed as much as possible. If the power is scheduled to be out longer than four hours, don’t worry your food isn’t a complete waste. For food from the fridge you can store it in a cooler filled with ice. A freezer will tend to keep food colder longer then the fridge, and can usually keep freezer foods safe for 24 hours depending on how full the freezer is. When the power is out sometimes a water filtration system can also stop working resulting in unsafe drinking water from sinks. As a precaution, drinking water from bottles or boiling water before use is advisable.

Finally, to help prevent any serious dangers during a power outage always keep a first aid safety kit in your home. This kit should contain flashlights with extra batteries, basic medical needs, blankets and purified water. If you ever have any electrical questions or needs contact EcoElectric of Idaho.

Green Electricity

While going green and becoming more eco-friendly is the current craze, many people aren’t informed of all the ways you can go green. This is why we offer going green tips! When thinking about going green people turn to many different alternative ways of living. Some of the most common are changing modes of transportation, and altering how they get electricity to power their homes.
Solar power is commonly thought of as the way to go when looking to change your energy source. Did you know there are other alternatives as well?
Simple changes can be made inside your home with the flip of a switch. We don’t mean just turning the power off, although that will save you a lot of money, but could also get a little tricky at times. Here are some additional money saving options:

Dimmer installations: by using a dimmer you don’t have to use 100% of the energy a light bulb can put out, especially in a room where you don’t need that much light.

Whole house fans: These work great during those summer nights when it cools down nicely. Whole house fans operate by taking in all the cool air from outside and bringing it inside your home, creating a pleasant cooling breeze throughout your home. Your house will cool down to a temperature that is close to outside, and you won’t have to run the air conditioner for nearly as long.

• Ceiling fans: While these have been around for a while, they are great at saving electricity. They circulate the air in a room and the constant movement of air helps make the room feel cooler.

LED Lighting Installation: The change is as simple as changing your light bulbs. LED light bulbs do cost more when you originally purchase them, but they pay for themselves in the long run. They last for years and use less energy to operate.

Going green isn’t as hard as some people think it is. You can become eco-friendly in your home tonight if you wish! There are many other ways to start saving money on your electric bill and Eco Electric can help you! Eco Electric provides installation services for whole house fans, ceiling fans, dimmers switches and LED lighting as well as many other electrical services.

Have a Sustainable 4th of July

In our opinion, the right way to celebrate the 4th of July is to spend the day outdoors with friends and family while celebrating our national independence. This may include barbecues, swimming, attending local fireworks, and even setting off some of your own legal fireworks. Because of this, the 4th of July doesn’t have a whole lot to do with electricity. It is the one day of the year when most of us would prefer to be outside. Despite the nature of the holiday as an outdoor affair, we at Eco Electric want to talk about sustainability. Solar panels may not provide much entertainment to your celebrations but there are still a lot of environmentally friendly ways to celebrate the holiday. These methods, while saving the planet, can also help you get more bang for your buck!

1)    Reusable party ware: Ditch the disposable plates, cups, and silverware and go with washable dishware. If you are having a party, you might even consider a “bring your own plate” theme with competitions for ugliest, and most unique plates. Additionally, you can turn the event into a dish swap, where party-goers exchange dishes with one another. Benefits: less landfill, fewer dishes to wash afterword, new tradition

2)    Reuse decorations: Decorations for the 4th of July remain the same every year. You have probably noticed this at some point in your life. This year, instead of throwing out your decorations and sending them to the local landfill, consider saving the decorations for next year. Benefits: less landfill, time and money savings next year

3)    The more the merrier: Larger groups use less energy than individuals (or smaller groups). Think of inviting additional people to your party. You might even consider a potluck-style party to cut down on food costs. Benefits: lower electricity use than individual celebrations, more people to celebrate with, increased variety of food

4)    Attend a public fireworks show: Public firework shows tend to be much more thrilling than the individuals ones. Part of this is due to the fact that they can use fireworks that are illegal for the general public to buy, but it also involves atmosphere, choreographed shows, music, and getting out of the house to celebrate. Benefits: less pollution from personal fireworks, sense of community, increased safety, firework purchase savings

5)    Make your own popsicles: The 4th of July is generally hot. Popsicles can, however, make the heat more tolerable. Consider making your own popsicles. You can google a recipe and then use a popsicle mold to get the right shape. Benefits: healthier, reusable, fun family activity, decreased waste from popsicle wrappers and sticks

However you choose to celebrate, the staff at Eco Electric wishes you a fun and safe 4th of July!