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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Solar Pool Pumping
Solar Pool Pumping is one of the most cost-effective and logical uses of solar electricity. Using a few solar panels, panel mounting, and controller, the DC pool pump will have enough electricity to run all day using free, clean electricity from the sun. 

This is good news, because, swimming pools are usually the second largest and most expensive electrical load (after air conditioning) on your electric bill.

These systems completely remove that cost. Recent data shows that your pool pump can cost $85.00 per month or more.

Contact me for sizing and pricing for your pool solar pumping.
8:20 pm cst 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Go Solar Texas
Texas has the greatest solar resource potential in the nation. We can protect our environment and move to a cleaner energy future by using our technological know how to tap into solar energy. From the NASA researchers innovating new solar technologies at Johnson Space Center to the small businesses installing solar panels on Texas rooftops, solar power is already a reality here in Texas. Attracted by its clean, reliable, and independent energy, solar is being used by schools, homes, even the oil industry! The Legislature helped create a boom for wind power in Texas. Now it’s time for them to help Texas Go Solar by creating incentives for homeowners and businesses to install solar power. A small investment now could bring billions in investment to the state over the next decade and help bring clear, blue skies back to Texas.

http://www.environmenttexas.org/energy/go-solar-texas/fact-sheet
9:36 pm cst 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Grand Canyon Goes Solar
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The roof and grounds of the Visitor Center near the Grand Canyon's South Rim will soon host some 84 solar panels that will help power the building frequented by an estimated 4.5 million sightseers a year.

The solar energy system is expected to supply about 18 kilowatts of electricity, enough to offset 30 percent of the power used at the center, according to the utility APS.
12:35 pm cst 

Frugal family tips to save money on energy bills
 
USA Today
Frugal family tips to save money on energy bills Jan 30, 2009 USA Today Sandra Block When looking for ways to cut home energy costs, it helps to disregard some things your mother told you. You do not, for example, need to wash your clothes in hot water to get them clean, says Steve Luxton, a home energy auditor for CMC Energy in Fort Washington, Pa. And turning off the lights when you leave a room doesn't hurt, Luxton says, but the overall reduction in your energy costs will be minimal. If you really want to slash your energy bills, he says, get rid of that avocado-green fridge in the basement. While old refrigerators provide a good way to store your beer and Costco purchases, they're huge energy wasters, he says. On the other hand, if your mother insisted that you wear a sweater in the house, she was on to something. Because heating and cooling accounts for 50% of the typical household's energy costs, turning down your thermostat by even 1 or 2 degrees can make a big difference in your monthly bill, Luxton says. For this month's Frugal Family Challenge, USA TODAY and ABC's Good Morning America Weekend have challenged two families to cut their home energy bills. Both families live in Smyrna, Del., and spend more than $500 a month on heating and electricity in the wintertime. Both families live in houses that are about 5 years old, so their homes are already fairly energy efficient. But that doesn't mean they can't cut costs, Luxton says. The typical family can reduce energy bills by 10% to 20% just by changing their habits, he says. Here's a look at the families participating in this month's challenge: The Wattays The Wattays spend $650 to $700 a month on heat and electricity in the winter, and it's not hard to see why. Molly, 34, and Dana, 44, have four children: Benjamin, 14; Jessica, 12; Cameron, 11; and Spencer, 5 months. That adds up to a lot of dirty clothes: Molly estimates that she and Dana do about 10 loads of laundry a week. Dana's mother lives with the Wattays and has a room in their finished basement. Molly's home office is also in the basement, so they use a space heater to keep the chill off. The Wattays also use a space heater in their family room. The older children like to take 30-minute showers and usually go to sleep with music on. Luxton's recommendations for the Wattays: •Unplug at least one space heater. Luxton estimates that this alone could save the family $20 to $30 a month. An electric space heater is "a very costly device," he says. Electricity is more expensive than natural gas in most parts of the country, so using a space heater to supplement their primary source of heat isn't cost effective, he says. •Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Lighting accounts for only 5% of the average family's electricity bill, so this won't result in big savings, Luxton says. Still, every little bit helps. CFL bulbs use two-thirds the energy of conventional light bulbs, he says. In addition, they last five to seven years, based on average daily use, Luxton says. Even though they cost more, they don't have to be replaced as often as incandescent bulbs, he says. •Take shorter showers. Showers account for most of a household's hot-water use, Luxton says. Baths are even worse. Cutting showers to 10 minutes from 30 minutes could slash water-heating costs by 50%. •Install a programmable thermostat so the Wattays can automatically lower the temperature at night. They've already installed a programmable thermostat and replaced light bulbs used in recessed and overhead light fixtures with CFL bulbs. Molly says she didn't notice much difference in the lighting until a recent evening, when she changed Spencer's diaper. "I almost called a doctor because I thought he was jaundiced," she says. When she moved the baby closer to a lamp, she realized it was the fluorescent light that made her child's skin look slightly orange. The older children have started taking 10-minute showers, and Molly hopes they'll eventually shorten them to eight. The Wattays recently purchased a "very loud, obnoxious timer," Molly says. When shower time is up, she says, "It starts beeping and gets louder if you don't shut it off. " "We're trying to raise energy-conscious children," Molly says. "We're hoping the children are going to see the benefit of turning off the lights and taking shorter showers. " The Luttrells John and Jeanette Luttrell and their two children, Jessica, 10, and Julia, 8, live in a one-story, four-bedroom house with a finished basement. It's not a big house, but in the winter, they spend about $500 a month on utilities. They could reduce that expense significantly, Luxton says, by changing the way they use some of their major appliances. When Jeanette, 36, does the family's laundry, she washes sheets and towels on hot. "That's what my mom told me to do," she says. Once she puts the clothes in the dryer, she often leaves them there until long after they're dry. By the time she checks on them, they're wrinkled, so she has to run the dryer again. Sometimes, she says, she dries the clothes several times before she gets around to folding them. Like a lot of families, the Luttrells have an old refrigerator in the basement, which they use to store beverages. They also have a home computer and a PlayStation, which are on most of the time. When the family is home and awake, Jeanette likes to keep the temperature at 72. While the house is fairly new, "It's a cold house," she says. Luxton's recommendations for the Luttrells: •Unplug the second refrigerator. The Luttrells' downstairs refrigerator is 14 years old, which means it's much less efficient than newer models, Luxton says. The worst offenders, Luttrell says, are refrigerators made in the 1970s. "The harvest golds and avocado greens that date back to the '70s were built as durable and long-lasting machines, but unfortunately, they're energy hogs. They're like V-8 engines compared to today's refrigerators. " • Wash clothes in cold water. Contrary to popular belief, "Cold water will clean clothes," says Luxton. People who wash their clothes in hot water believe they're killing germs, he says, "But in reality, it makes no difference whatsoever. " Cold-water-formulated detergent may cost a little more, Luxton says, but the extra cost "will be more than offset by the first wash load when they're not using hot water. " Luxton recommended that both families use their dryers' humidistat setting instead of timed drying. The humidistat setting automatically shuts the dryer off when the clothes are dry, he says. With timed drying, clothes often continue to tumble in the dryer long after they're dry, which wastes energy, Luxton says. • Turn off the home computer and PlayStation when not in use. At the very least, turn off the computer monitor, which accounts for most of a computer's energy use. • Lower the thermostat on the water heater to 120. The Luttrells' hot water heater is set to at least 160 degrees. That's much higher than they need for their dishwasher, and it's also dangerous, Luxton says. A water temperature of 125 degrees can scald skin. • Caulk the windows, which will help reduce some of the drafts in their home. Jeanette says the family has already replaced some of their bulbs with CFLs, and John has purchased caulk for the windows. At Luxton's suggestion, they turned off the pilot light in a gas fireplace that they rarely use. The girls are also taking shorter showers, and the Luttrells have unplugged the downstairs fridge. "I just hope we learn how to save energy," Jeanette says. "I think a $500 bill is way too much for our house.
12:21 pm cst 


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