January 22nd, 2015 Newsletter
Car Types: Pros and Cons
At Eco Electric, we are all about reducing our impact on the environment. We leave no stone unturned and that includes using biodiesel fuel in all our cars. Unlike traditional cars or even hybrid cars, biodiesel is a clean-burning renewable source that replaces traditional petroleum sources. Consisting of a mix of feestocks including recycled cooking oil, animal fats and soybean oils among many other sources, it is the only EPA-designated biofuel in production and, therefore, the only biodegradable fuel source on the market. As the availability of gasoline sources becomes more and more limited, biodiesel fuels become a viable contender as a fuel option of the future. They also provide an efficient step in recycling.
Biodiesel fuel can cost significantly less than the cost of a gallon of traditional diesel, and the properties of a biodiesel engine don’t effect the ability of the car to have great fuel economy, often matching that of a hybrid car. Biodiesel fuels can also be produced locally, reducing their carbon footprint from start to the finish. But biodiesel fuels are only one of several viable energy alternative resources.
Green Labs Program: Energy Consumption
On college campuses, conserving energy is no easy task. But at the University of Colorado, students work in partnership with the CU Facilities Management and Environmental Center to implement projects to help conserve energy and increase efficiency. The programs involved have students working on a volunteer basis to put together contests to get other students involved in the community projects to reduce energy consumption. Since CU’s three largest energy consumers are the laboratories, IT and dining, students are very familiar with the areas and have the opportunity to be both creative and resourceful in coming up with energy saving ideas. The campus is aiming for a ninety percent change by 2020.
The Green Labs Program involves: pushing involvement of individual laboratory students in all aspects of the project to upgrade inefficient equipment and systems, create ways to reduce large quantities of lab materials from entering the waste stream, raise awareness of the usage footprint and reduce use of unused or duplicate equipment.
Not only do these programs save resources, but the projects get funding if they have long-term sustainability, and are feasible ideas in accordance with the program mandates. The rapid increase of student involvement has lead the program to become successful, but it still has many years to go.
Energy Star: Saving Money
The ENERGY STAR label has become a well-known badge. It not only signifies a level of strict energy standards set by the government, but it gives the guarantee that a product will have the better efficiency compared to a leading product without the star.
With tools like the Energy Star Home Advisor, homeowners can be guided through an assessment that can assist in renovations, and supply information to help in the preparation stages of any home improvement. Among many different tools offered, Eco Electric’s Green Services are here to help along the way, meeting energy star certification requirements and making your home the most efficient it can be.
Here are a few steps you can take to save energy and money this winter:
Home Energy Audit: A whole home audit is the best way to inventory your home’s energy use; where energy is lost, where it can be saved, and where your home performs the best. It allows you to know the workings of your home and what is best for your needs and for the layout of your home.
Insulate: This is a key part of any energy efficient home. The better insulated a home is, the more efficient heating and cooling can be accomplished leading to lower utility bills.
Choose Energy Star Products: Many products are available with the energy star label from LED lightbulbs, major home appliances fans and space heaters. Just look for the blue label.
Choose WaterSense Fixtures: Most people are unaware that you still use electricity when using a water source of any kind in your home. Keep in mind it takes electricity to heat your water as well as to pump it through your home. With WaterSense fixtures, water efficiency is the number one priority, and includes low-flow faucets, shower heads and more. These are designed in partnership with the EPA.
Making informed decisions will not only save money in the long run, but can also help save resources along the way. For questions about an in-home electrical audit or about Energy Star Products, visit our website or give us a call.
Space Heaters: Whole Room Heating
The cold winter temperatures always come with higher power bills. The average American uses a central heating system to heat their home, which accounts for more than fifty percent of all energy costs in a home on an annual basis. They consist of a system that pushes forced-air from a heat source with a furnace, and the heat is delivered to the rest of the home by a series of ducts. But, did you know that there are alternative ways to heat your home without having to wait for the temperature to slowly adjust, while saving money at the same time?
In-Floor Radiant Heating is considered the most efficient of the alternative heating systems to warm a home. Radiant floors unlike other types of heating systems, have to be installed underneath a floor at the time of a home being built or at the time of a renovation. They are most common in bathrooms and kitchens; rooms that most people typically preferred kept at warmer temperatures and where stone floorings are more common. This form of heating warms the panels under your feet, and since heat rises, the heat warms the room quicker and without a blanket of cold air forming where at foot level.
Baseboard and Convection Electrical Heaters are other forms of home heating. They are installed either in the wall or along your baseboards. Both are considered zone heaters, with either an onboard or wall mounted thermostat (dependent on your preference). Both plug into a standard 220v plug-in and in terms of efficiency, the convection heaters tend to be about 30% more efficient versus the baseboard models.
Portable Room Heaters are the built for those who want the convenience and portability of moving a heater from room to room. Built to heat smaller spaces like an office, they are perfect for making a room the ideal temperature without having to raise the temperature on the thermostat and consume power to heat the rest of the home. Models of portable heaters can range from small mobile heaters to larger table size heaters. New to the market portable heaters include infrared heaters which use infrared technology and have the appearance of a side table.
Electric fireplaces are the most popular of home heating systems. Offering both style and functionality, electric fireplaces provide a focal point to a room and give the appearance of a wood burning fireplace. Available as portable models or freestanding, traditional fireplaces complete with a mantel and even storage areas, they are built to perform based upon the size of a room and plug into a standard plug-in where available. This makes them very versatile, and built to fit with almost any atmosphere.
Whole room space heaters may be another alternative to having to wait for heat. You can save money by combining both a space heater and your central heat together; using space heaters in the rooms frequently used and the central heat to keep the rest of the home at a minimal temperature. Being that space heaters are meant for single rooms, they are great for those who have smaller homes or don’t use every room in a house all the time. One rule of thumb with space heaters is that they should never be used overnight, as they need to be monitored at all times.
Careful consideration should be applied when selecting portable heaters. For example, recently a fire occurred as a result of a space heater being used in a horse barn to keep pipes from freezing. The space heater was placed too close to highly flammable hay and the building caught fire, causing the death of many horses and the complete loss of the structure. This tragedy could have been prevented by installing an appropriate heating system for the structure. For help deciding which type of electric heat will work best, or running the extra power sources for these heaters, contact EcoElectric.