Efficiency, Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy

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Industry Info

Here you can find various information about the clean energy industry's news, products, and policies. It's always interesting to see what is new and exciting in such an active industry like ours. The information is from a variety of sources from around the web. We invite you to have a look around to find out more about what's happening.

  • Summary: Weatherization in America article(August 18, 2010 - James Curry)

    Writer Julie Leatherman writes about the state of weatherization in America today (well, a year or two ago, actually). It’s very interesting to know that there has been a weatherization funding program active in the US for 35 years now! Still, after all of this time, there are over 38 MILLION homes that are eligible for funding > 15 MILLION of which are very good candidates. For those of us into numbers, that’s over 1250 homes/town in America (on average) that are candidates!!!

    Although the $1500 tax credit that she speaks about is now only $500, there are still a multitude of benefits available from utility companies across the country, some that pay up to 75% of the available benefits (ex. MA gas utility companies, National Grid and NSTAR). Sound like a good idea, now??


    About the Author
    Julie Leatherman is the Chief Financial Officer at Service Partners, LLC, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia http://www.weatherizationsp.com. Service Partners is a national specialty building products distribution company.

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    In 1976 the United States Department of Energy began a Weatherization Assistance Program. Over 5.8 million homes have benefited from this program to date and it is estimated that another 1 million homes are expected to receive assistance in the future. States are now administering over $5 billion in stimulus funds through this program!

    There are about 38 million homes in the United States that are currently eligible for weatherization services. Of these 38 million homes it is estimated that about 15 million are great candidates for weatherization.

    In addition to increasing the efficiency of existing homes and reducing fossil-fuel consumption, this weatherization initiative will certainly add jobs which will help stimulate the economy. The states will receive approximately 10 to 30 times the funding that they received last year. About one fifth of the state funding is designated for training and technical assistance for weatherization professionals. Energy auditors will be trained to scan homes to identify potential energy saving opportunities for the home owners. This is a great opportunity for weatherization contractors to identify opportunities and offer solutions directly to the homeowner.

    The good news for the consumer is that from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 owners of existing homes can qualify for weatherization tax credits. Tax credits are available for 30% of the cost of eligible energy efficient products or systems up to a cap of $1500 per home. Only improvements to your primary residence qualify for the program. Energy efficient measures eligible for tax credits include adding insulation to walls, ceilings, or other parts of the home, replacing doors or windows, HVAC systems, and water heaters. There are specific energy efficiency requirements for these modifications that can be found at energystar.gov. In addition to the tax credits, the Weatherization Assistance Program estimates that home owners will save from $400 to $500 per year on energy costs after making weatherization improvements.

    Source: “Weatherization and Tax Credits” EZineArticles. 12/09/2009. <http://ezinearticles.com/?Weatherization-and-Tax-Credits&id=3356620>

  • Going down the permanent drain… unless we can stop it!(June 23, 2010 - James Curry)

    One of the most overlooked energy crises today is our supply of water. This could be because it’s not an issue that affects many of us, personally or financially. For the most part, we all have the water we need, readily available to us.

    Many experts believe water conservation to be the most critical, as we need water to survive, energy/environmetal problem that we are now faced with. The article below describes how we are using water at an unsustainable rate, and can expect the supply to continue to rapidly diminish.

    Read on below to find out more about this topic and some of the methods available to curtail our water’s decent down the drain…

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    Every year, the amount of water that the global agricultural sector takes out of the ground is over 160 cubic meters more than natural replenishment rates. And that’s just one sector. As water all around the world is used very inefficiently, there’s recent surge in efforts to water conserve. Some at the global and corporate level, and some at the individual level.

    The growing water conservation movement can be broken down into three main goals:

    • Sustainability
    The planet has a finite amount of water. In order to ensure that we’ll have enough to support our burgeoning global population, the amount of ground water used for agricultural purposes is going to have to be drastically reduced, and fast.

    • Energy Conservation
    Pumping water out of the ground actually results in huge energy losses. It can take up to an excessive percentage of total electricity used in a given area. For instance, California uses as much as 15 percent of its total energy on water management alone.

    • Habitat Conservation
    Working to maintain fresh water supplies in forests and other natural habitats help ensures that the conservation of surrounding flora and fauna.

    The negative effects of water waste, such as climate change and other environmental concerns, have inspired a host of new technologies and trends focused on attempts to conserve water and use it more efficiently. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the latest:

    • Wave Farms
    The first wave farm went live in Portugal in 2008. Using massive tubes that stretch into the ocean, this technology harnesses the power of waves through a specialized hydraulic technology.

    • Rainwater Harvesting
    This concept has been around for centuries, but has recently been enjoying a surge in popularity. While the water caught may not always be suitable for drinking, it can be used in many other ways. Rainwater is better for plants than tap water, it can often be used for things like washing dishes.

    • Dual-Flush Water Conservation Toilets
    These typically have two different buttons: one for solid waste and one for liquid waste. The liquid waste button releases half as much water as the solid. One of these toilets can save a family of four an average of 10,000 gallons of water a year.

    • Drip Irrigation
    While drip irrigation happens to be the most expensive type of irrigation used in agriculture, it’s also experiencing a resurgence due to its water saving abilities. The technique involves using tubing to deliver water straight to the root system of a plant, as opposed to simply spreading water over the ground. The result is a minimal loss of water.

    • Steam Auto Detailing

    The world’s first steam cleaning auto detailing company opened in the United States in 2006. They utilize a proprietary system to steam-clean vehicles with an average of one pint of water per car. This is obviously a drastic reduction in the normal amount of water needed to achieve the same goal, such as a standard car wash or simply washing a vehicle in your driveway.

    SOURCE: “Amazing Spikes in Water Conservation” EZineArticles. 11/24/2010. <http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Angela_L_Williams>