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Appliances That Steal From You at Night

This week we briefly touched on a few of these types of appliances, and while these objects are a smaller piece of the personal energy pie, training yourself to adapt to unplugging items when not in use can have a big impact – both financially, and ecologically speaking. Here’s a fantastic article outlining “Energy Vampires” such as coffee makers and laptop computers with smart reminders that save you money:

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-vampires-are-attacking-your-home-here-s-how-stop-them

Learning new habits takes time, but with all of the tips and tricks we learned this week, you’ll be able to save money and reduce your carbon footprint – in several cases – without even spending a dime. If you’re already using these “best practices” in your home, and are ready to take the next step in energy savings, don’t hesitate to reach out and call us today!

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Lead the Green Revolution on LED Lighting

While it may seem like a small step towards saving money or becoming energy efficient, LED lighting can have a big impact on your household’s bottom line. 

According to Silicon Valley Power, LED lighting can cost less than roughly ¼ of a 300W halogen light, per hour – which is a huge opportunity cost for people to save money year over year, especially if everyone converts to LED lighting (https://www.siliconvalleypower.com/residents/save-energy/appliance-energy-use-chart). Not convinced? Don’t take my word for it! Feel free to peruse the following links to see how LED lighting can save you money in your home:

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Goliath Appliances: Refrigerators, Dryers, Microwaves – Oh My!

Let’s take a look at a slightly smaller portion of the residential energy circle: big appliances. Refrigerators, washing/drying machines, dishwashers – how do they all stack up, in energy cost and consumption?

While there is always some variation in the type of products you’re comparing, here is a good list to consult when thinking about the cost to power your in-home and in-office appliances: https://www.siliconvalleypower.com/residents/save-energy/appliance-energy-use-chart. Some quick calculations will show you how much energy is used in each row / year and had some interesting revelations.

Here’s the link to the Energy.gov energy calculator also, if you prefer to do your own energy consumption analysis.

Some of the high consumption levels on this list aren’t surprising of course, but the good news is that a lot of this technology is improving drastically, and quickly; and with the general push towards energy efficiency, there may even be a rebate in your area for upgrading to Energy Star certified appliances!

To learn why, feel free to check out their information at the following links:

Even if you reasonably do not wish to replace all of your appliances at once for energy star certified appliances, there are plenty of energy saving tips to help you cut down on the amount of power these same appliances consume.

How do you ensure your current appliances are used as efficiently as possible? Please check out the following article, here, which provides insight into how to get a better estimate of the current energy consumption of your fridge (and is applicable to other large appliances as well), and ways to improve upon your energy consumption without spending a dime – and don’t forget, air-drying is free!

Like all things related to energy efficiency, the annoying answer time and time-again is that your energy consumption truly depends on the age of the equipment you are using, the way in which you/your family is using said equipment (are you unplugging your laptop every time you’re not using it?), and can also depend upon your local utility rates. For this reason, and because you want to make savvy financial decisions and cut waste, it’s important to have a good understanding of how you ‘consume’ energy and how you can mitigate that consumption. Mitigation is also the cheapest way to save money on energy costs, so before you even consider buying solar panels, we recommend exploring what you’re currently doing to power your home or business, and all of the equipment within it, and work to reduce your energy consumption first, then get solar panels to offset your carbon footprint further. As always, if you have questions on this, please give us a call today!

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Heating for One: Why so Expensive?

While I would love to explore the intricate and highly complex details of heating, it’s safe to say that this article does a much better job of explaining the ins and outs of storing heat indoors than I ever could, so please give it a read:

The cheapest, most efficient way to heat your home this winter, By Stephen Marcus Monday 21 December 2020

https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/is-it-more-energy-efficient-to-leave-the-heating-on.html

The biggest takeaways I get from the article, are that most homes in the US use centralized heating, but all types of heating will lose heat in the wintertime – through heat transfers within the heating process, or simply by escaping through the front/back door/walls/floorboards. The best way to prevent this is by having good insulation to keep heat trapped indoors longer, and if your house uses thermostatic radiator valves, you’re likely ahead of the game in terms of energy efficiency. The article also provides some excellent tips for cutting energy use, from the best types of insulation to use in your home and where to add it to make the most impact, to adding a lid to boiling water so it will come to a boil more quickly and therefore use less energy (https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/120-ways-to-save-energy.html), to investing in thermal solar panels which turn energy directly into heat!

It’s important to note that until we can all afford to move to things like thermal solar panels, we will be somewhat reliant on fossil fuels to heat our homes – so the question becomes, how can we waste less? The possibilities are limitless. What are some of your favorite techniques for saving money in the wintertime? Please share them here, or give us a call today if you would like to discuss the insulation and heating system in your home!

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Setting the Stage: Energy Consumption in the Home

As homeowners, we understand the appeal to have the best gadgets and gear to help with daily chores and life. For example, the dishwasher saves us hours of time spent over a sink with rubber gloves, the leaf-blower provides a similar benefit over using a manual rake. It wasn’t until recently that we really discovered that we needed to start asking ourselves what the carbon cost of these items might be, and how to prevent waste. There’s a lot to unpack here, but if you can get through it, you’ll be one step closer to making your home carbon neutral, and saving a ton of money in the process.

This week, we’ll take a holistic view of the home’s energy consumption, and see if we can uncover an opportunity or two in eliminating our own carbon footprint.

To start, we need to have a fundamental understanding of which appliances use the most energy in our homes. Here are a few articles to help guide you in the right direction:

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Gratitude

With any new endeavor undoubtedly comes new challenges. Building SUNTEX from the ground up has been a vision of ours for so long, that sometimes it’s hard to see how much progress we’ve already made as a team.

Before we really take off this year with training and hiring and teaching others the benefits of solar energy, I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who’s made this dream a reality so far. We’re incredibly grateful to our sales staff and all the new team members that have joined us since the start of the year (whom are already proving themselves to be invaluable members to the team); to our customers who allow us to keep doing work we love, and giving us honest feedback so we can continually improve; to our partners that have helped to shape us and grow organically – we can’t wait to see what this year brings!

So this Sunday, as we reflect on the week prior and focus our gaze on the week ahead, let me start this week by sending a Huge Thank you to all those within the SUNTEX family, we’re happy to have you.

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Solar Scavenger hunt

This weekend, I challenge you to go have some fun outdoors: here’s a short “Solar Scavenger Hunt” for those living or visiting the major cities in Texas today and tomorrow. If you have other favorites/suggestions, please do leave a comment and let’s go have some fun!

Austin

Dallas / Fort Worth

El Paso

Houston

San Antonio

 

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What Did We Learn This Week?

Happy Friday Folks! If you’ve been following along this week, thank you for reading along! I hope you have had

the chance to explore a few different options to save money on the total up-front cost of going solar. With the Federal Tax Credit along with local Cash-back rebates and other types of incentives, ‘going solar’ is moving away from being a ‘luxury item’ and towards a national commodity. Don’t believe me? Call us and get a customized quote today!

For more facts and figures on the growth of solar in the U.S., please check out one of my favorite organizations, SEIA, or the Solar Energy Industries Association, here: https://www.seia.org/solar-industry-research-data.

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What Other Solar Savings are Available?

Now, what other incentives are available in Texas? The list varies depending upon your Retail Energy Provider, or REP.

Different REPs offer different levels of rebates and incentives, so to learn more about what your specific REP offers homeowners in your area, check out our incentive page at the following link: http://suntexllc.com/solar-rebates-and-local-incentives/

We will continue to update this page as we learn more, but if your REP is not listed, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your solar savings options with you further!

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Advocacy is the Best Policy

As the threat of climate change looms, there is more and more pressure on government agencies to modernize the energy sector, and with your advocacy, we’ll be one step closer to making that happen together.

While the price of solar appears to be in a sweet spot, it is still possible that the incoming state and federal administrations will choose to increase solar incentives like the federal investment tax credit (ITC) in the near future. Recently in 2019, along with the passing of the second stimulus package, the 2021 Federal [solar] ITC which had been scheduled to decrease to 22% this year, was instead scheduled to remain at 26% through 2022.

 

Source: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/solar-and-wind-tax-credit-extensions-energy-rd-package-in-spending-bill-before-congress

So, theoretically you could wait until later in the year, or next year, once new legislation is released addressing this exact question to see if you should go solar now; or, you could even take that question a step further: call your representatives, and urge them to consider increasing the Federal Investment Tax Credit (and other local solar incentives) today!

Please reach out to us with any questions you may have about this process – or about the solar process in general – we’d love to help!

If you’re in Texas, here are some links to your local and state representative pages:

John Cornyn contact information: https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact

Ted Cruz contact information: https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=general&id=23

House representatives: https://house.texas.gov/members/

Senate directory: https://senate.texas.gov/members.php

Thank you for your advocacy, for your civic service, and for your dedication to mitigating climate change.

 

For more information about the current Federal ITC, please check out the official guide on energy.gov, here: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2020/01/f70/Guide%20to%20the%20Federal%20Investment%20Tax%20Credit%20for%20Commercial%20Solar%20PV.pdf.

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