Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home Energy Saving Tips

Home Energy Saving Tips

Here are some tips to help you save energy, save money and do your part for the environment.

Try these easy, low-cost or no-cost energy saving tips.

See how easy it is to save energy and money. Watch these energy saving tips featuring Shell Busey.

Keep your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted with annual maintenance. If your furnace is working at peak efficiency it will use less energy and cost less to operate.
Clean or replace the filter every 1-2 months - a dirty filter reduces the airflow and forces the furnace to run longer to heat your home.

Consider purchasing a new ENERGY STAR® qualified furnace with a variable speed motor. An average home can save up to $650 in natural gas and electrical costs annually when upgrading from a standard 60% efficiency natural gas furnace to a 95% efficiency furnace with a high efficiency variable speed motor.

Click here to see a video on how to change your furnace filter
Lower your thermostat by 4 - 5 degrees Celsius (7 - 9 degrees Fahrenheit) while you're sleeping at night and when no one is at home.
Install a programmable thermostat. You can save 2% on your heating bill for every 1 degree C you turn down your thermostat. With a programmable thermostat to consistently lower your heat when you don’t need it, you could save up to $92 a year!
Switch to cold when doing your laundry. 85 – 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes is used to heat the water. By turning the dial to cold on your washing machine, you help the environment, save energy, and save money.
Wash full loads.
Choose a front loading washing machine. Not only does a front loading washing machine save water, it saves energy as well. It uses about 40% less water and about 50% less energy.
Weather-stripping provides a barrier between the fixed and movable sections of doors and windows. Apply weather-stripping to operable windows, exterior doors, garage doors, and doors that lead to the attic.
Click here to see a video on how to apply weather-stripping to exterior doors
Windows, doorframes, sills and joints
Apply a sealant or caulk around windows, doorframes, sills and joints. On a windy day feel for leaks or use a couple of incense sticks to help identify leaks around windows, electrical outlets, vents and exterior doors. As well look for spider webs - if there is a web there is a draft.
Use plastic window covers to help prevent heat loss.
Keep return air grills and heating vents clear of furniture, rugs and drapes, so there is no interference with the flow of heat through your home.
Click here to see a video on how to apply caulking to windows and doors
Click here to see a video on how to apply shrink film to windows
If you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace, check for leaks by looking for spider webs. If there is a web, there is a draft. A large amount of heat is also lost from an un-insulated basement.
Add insulation to basement walls.
Drapes & Blinds
On sunny days, open south facing drapes and let the sun in, a natural source of heat. If you have large windows that don't receive direct sun, keep the drapes closed.
Close your drapes and blinds during the night.
Pipes, ducts, fans and vents
Plug gaps around pipes, ducts, fans and vents that go through walls, ceilings and floors from heated to unheated spaces.
Showerheads and faucets
Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.
Click here to see a video on how to install a low-flow showerhead
Click here to see a video on how to install a Water Wizard ™
Always wash a full load in your dishwasher and air-dry your dishes on the “energy saver” setting.
Turn on the heat just prior to use, save by not heating it continuously.
Wood Fireplace
Close the damper to prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney, and ensure the damper fits properly.
Use the Equalized Payment Plan so you can average your bills and avoid peak winter bills.
See what the big energy users in your home are and get suggestions for changes to save energy and money using energycheck, a quick an easy home energy audit found on the SaskEnergy website.
For more energy savings tips visit the Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada website.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Energy Saving Tips

Energy Saving Tips

Tell Some Friends About This Page!

Conserve Energy, Conserve the Earth Energy-Saving Solutions for Your Home
Energy costs are reaching record highs, and heating and electricity bills are keeping pace. Luckily, there are steps you can take in your home to lower your heating and electricity bills.

Stop funneling money to coal-fired power plants

Tip # 1 - Purchase clean, renewable electricity!
Visit to find out if you can switch from purchasing electricity from CO2-spewing coal-fired power plants to clean, renewable energy sources.

Smarter Lighting: A Bright Idea
One of the easiest and cheapest places to start saving energy is with lighting.

Tip #2 -- Replace your most frequently used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only a third as much electricity as a standard incandescent bulb. Because a compact fluorescent will usually last ten times as long as a regular bulb, which means it is will easily pay for itself. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal the removal of one million cars from the road.

Tip #3 -- Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture.
Outdoor lights that are left on all night can add unnecessary waste energy and disturb wildlife. You can safely and efficiently light the outside of your home by installing light fixtures that are activated by motion sensor or a timer. These devices will keep areas well lit when you need them to be while reducing your energy bill

Hot Water shouldn't be a drain on your wallet.
Over 10% of your energy bill goes to heating water for your dishwasher, shower, and faucets. You can cut this energy use, and your energy bill, by implementing these easy steps.

Tip #4 -- Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees and drain any sediment.
Though you need to keep your water heater above 120 degrees to prevent bacteria from building up, many hot water heaters are set too high. Draining some water a few times a year reduces sediment and increases efficiency.

Tip #5 -- Add insulation to your hot-water heater.
The standard hot water heater is on all the time, adding extra insulation will save more energy than you think. Most hardware stores sell pre-made insulator "jackets" that can be easily wrapped around one's water heater. Adding insulation to your water heater and any exposed pipes can knock up to 15 percent off the costs of heating water.

Tip #6 -- Install a low-flow shower head.
Low-flow shower heads are also a worthwhile investment (especially for renters, because you can take them with you) that will reduce the amount of hot water you use and hence the energy needed to heat it.

Heat your home - Not the planet.
Heating and cooling your home is the single largest expense on your energy bills. But taking steps to weatherize your home, you can make keeping your home a comfortable temperature easier and cheaper.

Tip #7 -- Check for and seal any cracks or gaps.
Heating one's home is the single largest use of energy for the average customer. Tiny gaps and cracks in an older home are roughly equivalent to a one-foot square hole punched in your wall, which means that sealing gaps with caulking and weather stripping makes a big difference in keeping the heat inside your home and saves you money.

Tip #8 -- Tighten Windows and Loosen Your Budget
If all windows were as efficient as the best products now widely available in the marketplace, the average household would save $150 a year, and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by about 4,300 pounds per year. A cheaper and easier method than replacing windows is to insulate your windows during the colder months with transparent film that keeps the heat in and the cold out.

Tip #9 -- Heating Ducts: Keep the air flowing
If just one in ten households used current technology to upgrade their inefficient heating systems, we could keep 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air. You can also save money and cut pollution by having your heating vents and ducts cleaned regularly, and having your furnace serviced.

Tip # 10 - Sweaters are in this season, so lower your thermostat!
Besides insulation, you can make a big difference in your heating bill by keeping your home at a slightly lower temperature. Lowering your thermostat one degree can cut as much as 10% of your heating bill.

Appliances and Electronics

Tip # 11 -- Replace old appliances with more efficient models.
Though buying a new appliance isn't cheap, replacing an old appliance, like a refrigerator, washing machine, or furnace -- with a new, energy-efficient model can significantly cut your energy bill. Look for the Energy Star label as a minimum; some models can be even more efficient. And though buying a new appliance is a major investment, many states and utility companies offer substantial credits or other incentives to replace an outdated appliance with a more efficient one.

Tip # 12 Defrost your Freezer
The frost and ice that builds up in your freezer over time does more than make it hard to get to your ice cream - it also causes your freezer to work harder to keep the freezer at a cold temperature. By routinely defrosting your freezer, you can keep your ice cream cold and the planet cool.

Tip # 13 - Dirty Clothes, Clean Planet
Modern washing machines and detergents can clean clothes effectively in cold water - which means you don't have to waste energy by using hot water. Another way you can save energy in your washer-dryer and your dishwasher is to always wash full loads.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The History of Wind Energy

By Emil Bedi, CANCEEand Hakan Falk, "Energy Saving Now".

Wind has been used by humankind as a natural source of energy for tens of thousands of years. The use of wind energy dates back to the dawn of civilisation when sailing vessels were powered by the wind. The first simple sailboats were set afloat in Egypt about 5,000 years ago. Around the year 700 AD, in what is Afghanistan today, the first wind machines rotating around a vertical axis were employed to grind grain. The famous fixed-tower windmills with sails provided irrigation for many parts of the Mediterranean island of Crete. Wind-driven gristmills were one of the greatest technical challenges of the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, the Dutch improved on the design that had spread throughout the Middle East and continued to use it for its primary purpose of grinding grain.
A wind powered water pump was introduced in the United States in 1854. It was the familiar fan type with many vanes around a wheel and a tail to keep it pointed into the wind. By 1940, over 6 million of these windmills were being used in the United States mainly for pumping water and generating electricity. The “Wild West” was won at least in part with the help of these wind pumps that were used to supply water for the massive herds of cattle.
However, the 20th century soon brought an end to the widespread use of wind energy, which gave way to the “modern” energy resources, oil and electricity. It was not until after the oil crisis that wind energy options met with renewed interest. As a result of the drastic rises in oil prices at the beginning of the 1970s, energy planners have once again been turning their attention increasingly to the utilization of wind energy. State-sponsored research and development grants in many countries have provided a fresh stimulus to the development of technology for the utilization of wind energy. Efforts have been concentrated on developing wind energy converters for generating electricity, because in the industrialized countries the application of wind pumps is of minor importance.

The oil embargo of 1973 was the driving force behind wind turbine development programs in the United States. Westinghouse Electric developed first generation of 200 kW wind turbines, known as MOD-OAs. The largest of this series and the largest in the world, the 3,2 MW MOD-5B is operating in Oahu, Hawaii. The Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978 and a 25% tax credit for investors in turbines jump started commercial development of the United States wind industry and resulted in 6870 turbines being installed in California between 1981 and 1984. The tax credits expired on Dec. 31, 1985. None of the small wind turbine companies, however, were owned by large companies committed to long term market development, so when the federal tax credits expired and oil prices dropped to USD 10 a barrel, most of the small wind turbine industry once again disappeared. The companies that survived this “market adjustment” and are producing small wind turbines today are those whose machines were the most reliable and whose reputations were the best. Nevertheless the year 1998 showed that the interest in wind energy is back again.

Denmark’s wind energy industry is a major commercial success story. From standing start in the 1980 to a turnover of 1 billion USD in 1998. Danish wind turbines dominate the global market. From a few hundred workers in 1981 the industry now employs 15000 people. Its turnover is twice as large as the value of Denmark’s North Sea gas production. Output , mainly for export around the world, has increased to 1216 MW of capacity in 1998. Now over half of the wind turbine capacity installed globally is of Danish origin.

The Danish government introduced support for renewable energy technology in 1979, covering 30% of capital cost. State aid encouraged the development of a highly successful wind turbine industry (it has also been used to promote the use of straw, biogas and solar projects).Danish wind turbine manufacturers were advised on ways of improving the performance and reducing costs of their machines by experts based at the National Wind Turbine Test Centre at Riso. The grants for wind turbines were reduced to 15% in 1986and finally phased out all together in 1989 as the industry became established. They have since been replaced by tax credits – the owners of wind turbines obtain a proportion of the income from the sale of electricity tax free.

Huge wind power development In Denmark was mainly based on activity of local people organised in co-operatives. Here is one example from Bryrup Wind turbine Co-operative (Jutland), 110 km from the West-coast and 50 km from the Eastern coastline. This co-operative has 70 partners owning three wind turbines installed between 1986 and ‘89. The effects is as follows: one 95 kW producing 184 000 kWh a year and two 150 kW each producing 275,000 kWh. Thus average total production amounts to 734 000 kWh annually.
Total price for all three turbines including foundation and connection to the public grid amounted to 2,5 million DKr (1 USD equals 6.2 DKr). This investment is split up in 734 “shares!’, each related to a production (and a consumption) of 1000 kWh, at a cost of 3,400 DKr. This equals half a month salary after tax for an unskilled Danish worker. Each partner can buy “shares” in proportion to his annual consumption of electricity plus 30%. If for instance annual consumption is 10 000 kWh you may add 3 000 kWh and thus be able to acquire maximum 13 “shares”. This restriction is applied because the profit for co-operative partners is tax- free, and the Danish legislators did not wanted this profit to be unreasonable. The partners have bought an amount of “shares” at numbers between 1 and 28. At the democratic general assemblies each partner has one vote despite numbers of “shares”. The reason for putting shares in quotation marks is related to the fact that these “shares” can not be traded like normal shares. By coming sales, buyers must apply to the rules referring to electricity consumption.
The economy of this co-operative is good. They distribute every year - after putting aside a reasonable amount for maintenance and renewals - 510 DKr per “share”, which gives a tax-free Interest rate of 15% what is more than banks can offer for your money. Today installation of wind turbines is a bit more costly. A share will amount to 4000 DKr, thus reducing interest rate to 12,75%.
The Danish governmental support for wind power has caused that every tenth Danish family is member of a wind turbine co-operative or single owner of a wind turbine.

In contrast to the situation in Denmark or California, where a large number of wind generators were installed early on, the revival in Germany was relatively late in coming. In 1989, the German Federal Government initiated a promotion programme which called for the installation of wind generators with a total capacity of 250 MW over the next seven years. German utilities are legally obliged to credit 90% of the standard rate charged to their customers for the wind-generated electricity supplied to the public power mains by any operator. This currently corresponds to a value of DM 0.17/KWh (US$ 0.11/KWh). This programme has led to a rapid increase in the number of installations and today Germany is leading country in installed wind power capacity.

Windpower has retained its status as the fastest growing energy source in the world. Until the year 1998 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of over 9500 megawatts have been built around the world and they generated enough power for about 3,5 million homes.

Installed capacity in MW
End of 1998
Increase of capacity
36,4 %
9,9 %
30,6 %
19,9 %
87,7 %
15,0 %
19,1 %
65,6 %
27 %

In Europe, over 1600 MW was constructed in the year 1998 and energy analysts now consider that by the year 2010 almost 40.000 MW can be installed around the continent. Germany led the way in 1998, with a record 793 MW of wind schemes going up. This brought the country’s total to an impressive 2875 MW, producing as much electricity as two of the country’s largest coal-fired power stations. The average size of turbine increased by 150 kW to 785 kW. Spain also boomed, with 256 MW of new installations contributing to a total of 707 MW. It is estimated that 23% of electricity in the northern Spanish province of Navarra is now provided by the wind. Denmark was equally active, with 300 MW installed. The United States was the other flourishing market, its revived activity bringing a further 235 MW on line. Worldwatch Institute values the sales of wind turbines globally in the year 1998 at roughly USD 2 billion. It says that larger turbines, more efficient manufacturing and careful siting have brought wind power costs down from USD 2600 per kilowatt in 1981 to USD 800 in 1998. The institute expected at least an additional 2500 MW to be installed world-wide during 1999. The reality seems much better because until the end of June 1999 more than 2000 MW were added to the total capacity.
Megawatts in World
Megawatts in Europe
The cost of wind power continued to decline through advancements in design, siting practices and the cost of capital from around 14 US cents per kWh in 1986 to below 5 cents per kWh in 1999. Wind power is now cost-competitive in many electric power applications and that is why it is experiencing rapidly growing deployment.
Over the past two years wind energy capacity has been expanding at an annual rate of more than 30%. In contrast, the nuclear industry is growing at a rate of less than 1% whilst coal has not grown at all in the 1990’s. Europe is the centre of this young and high-tech industry. 90% of the world’s manufacturers of medium and large wind turbines are European.

Wind capacity in end of June1999 (MW).
The Netherlands

On current expectations, wind power is expected to grow at an annual rate of 20 % between 1998 and 2003, resulting in a total of 33 400 MW of installed capacity around the world by the end of that period. According to recent study “Wind Force 10” wind power could generate 10 % of global electricity by 2020, and create 1,7 million jobs at the same time. International installation of 1,2 million MW of wind capacity by 2020 would generate more electricity than the entire continent of Europe consumes today. Total wind energy potential in the world is 53 trillion kWh, 17 times higher than the Wind Force 10 goal. According to the study the cost of generating electricity with wind turbines is expected to drop to 2.5 US cents/kWh by 2020, compared to the current 4.7 US cents/kWh.
Environmental benefits of the 10 % target would be enormous – savings of 69 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005, 267 millions tons in 2010 and 1780 million tonnes in 2020.

Renewable energy has become an important employer. There are over 110.000 jobs in the manufacture, installation and maintenance of renewable energy technologies in the European Union. Wind energy accounts for around 20% of this. Most of the 700 companies involved are small and medium sized enterprises. As the industry grows, so more jobs are created. At the end of 1996 more than 20.000 Europeans were estimated to be employed in wind energy, and this figure is projected to grow to 40.000 by the year 2000.

Wind power systems are being built all over the world. They are ideally suited to the needs of developing countries, which urgently need new capacity. They can be brought on line relatively cheaply and quickly in comparison with large power stations, which need major electrical infrastructure and grid systems to transmit their power. Developed countries are also a key growth area as they turn to wind power for environmental and economic reasons. Wind energy can be integrated into existing electrical systems, reducing the amount of power which needs to be generated by burning fossil fuels.

© Copyright 2000.


Monday, January 5, 2009


By Emil Bedi, CANCEE and Hakan Falk, "Energy Saving Now".

Beside environmental problems associated with large-scale use of fossil and nuclear fuels and the problems with sustainability there are also social problems arising from present trends of energy utilization.

Political and economic problems

In the earlier stages of the industrial revolution, fuel sources were local and widely distributed. Industrial activity tended to grow in areas where local sources of coal were available. As the transport associated with industrialisation spread and developed, fuels began to be transported from more and more distant places. Now, with the most accessible sources of oil and gas depleted, fuels are transported around the world from small number of major producing areas. The result is that the major industrial nations have become dependent upon supplies from those producing nations, in particular oil from the Middle East, and are highly vulnerable to disruption of these supplies. This vulnerability and dependence has been a major factor shaping world politics. A series of major economic and political crises has resulted from Sues crisis in 1956 to the 1970s, oil crisis to the Gulf war in early 1990s. Since the producing nations are generally weak militarily and the consuming nations are generally stronger, latter are under pressure to dominate the former economically, politically and if necessary, militarily to maintain access to oil (most important fuel today).

Oil price depends on political situation and each conflict in oil sensitive region leads to higher energy prices. World economy is thus shaped with such conflicts.


A related aspect of vulnerability in the present form of industrialisation is the centralized nature of fuel production and distribution. Electricity is generated in relatively few, very large power stations, and distributed through the country. Oil is imported in giant tankers, and converted to fuel in large refineries for further distribution. Concerns have been expressed that these large, vital installations offer potential target for terrorists or military opponents. As has been seen in recent years in the Middle East (Gulf War), the result can be massive ecological damage as well as economic devastation. The normal response to such vulnerability is to put greater resources into security and to increased level of protection. High level of centralisation leads also to problems with employment. Decentralized energy production and utilization which is the case of renewable energy sources can create much more new jobs than centralized fossil fuel installations.


Nuclear weapon proliferation is one of the biggest threat to the world peace today with several countries already in or trying to be a member of “nuclear club”. In developed countries nuclear electricity industries grew out of nuclear weapons development. The earliest nuclear reactors were built to produce material for nuclear bombs. There has always been a close connection between the two terms of the technology used, so that military spending on research and development for nuclear weapons technology has in effect been a major subsidy for civilian nuclear electricity industries. Nuclear fuel is not directly useful for nuclear weapons. Much further processing is needed. However, for a country wishing to develop nuclear weapons without publicly revealing the fact, an obvious approach would seem to be combine weapons development with a nuclear electricity generation industry.

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