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Energy Production Around the World

One thing we did not specifically call out in yesterday’s blog, that I’d like to call attention to now is on the CO2 production page, here – https://yearbook.enerdata.net/co2-fuel-combustion/CO2-emissions-data-from-fuel-combustion.html – take a look at the CO2 production contributors by source titled, “Breakdown by energy 2019”. Notice anything interesting? On this chart, you will find that the CO2 production comes directly from Oil, Coal, and Gas – even though there are other energy contributors in these countries, namely Wind, Solar, and Hydro. This is because while there may be some negligible CO2 costs with regard to transportation of goods or the initial installation, these sources do not contribute to the production of CO2 in the air! 

If this is obvious, then congratulations – you’re ahead of the game – since this is part of why they’re called “renewable sources”. If you read the paragraphs below this chart, you’ll get a better picture as to which countries specifically are increasing/reducing their carbon footprint and how. The short story is that by harnessing sun power, wind power, and water power to create electricity, they are reducing their consumption of CO2-producing energy sources (oil, coal, and gas)which is why renewable energy is so very important to the reduction of CO2 in our atmosphere.

Now that we have this basic understanding of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, let’s take a look at some of the energy production numbers around the world.

Global energy production: see here – https://yearbook.enerdata.net/total-energy/world-energy-production.html, and for a more detailed look, here – https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-balances-overview.

What do you notice about energy supply and energy demand (or energy consumption, as discussed in yesterday’s blog)? Post your comments about global energy production trends below!

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What To Do If Your Water Gets Turned Off in a Snowstorm!

Wow! I never thought I would be writing so many contingency plans for home maintenance for Snow in Texas, but alas, here we are.

Humans are incredibly resilient creatures – and in tough times our endurance is tested, but not broken. Lots of Texans have been without power this week, but I’d like to focus on the next phase of this ongoing weather problem: your water source. As if a global pandemic and sub-freezing temperatures with no indoor heating wasn’t enough?! First we should consider why this is happening, and for some this may be obvious, however a lot of us are enduring our first major freeze as homeowners, and it’s important to understand what next steps will be taken and why: https://www.kvue.com/article/weather/austin-texas-power-outage-pipes-protection-tips/269-af02c419-4c91-4033-a5de-1c4d342813f4.

Now that we know what’s next to come in this snowstorm, here are a few tips and tricks for on how to prepare for losing your water service: https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/no-water-now-what-27-tips-to-prepare-for-a-water-outage/. This article outlines things like storing water in air-tight containers to protect it’s potability; or reminding us to use that hand-sanitizer we’ve all been stocking up on all year, instead of using the little water you have to clean your hands; there are also rainwater collection systems (or in this case, snow-water collection) that you can employ to trap any extra water that falls from your rooftop which can be really helpful if your water is off for days at a time. Keep in mind you may still need to boil your water before consuming, even if storing in an air-tight and UV-light protected casing. If you don’t want to invest in an expensive rainwater catchment system, don’t! Instead, you can put bottles/bowls beneath your roof-line (or beneath your gutter drainage system if you have one) in order to collect water for later usage; or, if you’re feeling really industrious, plug your bathtub and add snow – once it melts, you can boil some of it to take a bath or wash your hands (I would not recommend drinking it).

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DIY: Energy Audits

If you’re curious about how much energy you’re currently using and where that energy is allocated, feel free conduct an energy audit! Our first step in creating a quote for your home is to conduct a customized energy audit of your home, and then try to determine how you might best save money, however you can also do so on your own by looking at your energy bill, particularly the section that includes your energy usage in kWh, or kilowatt hours (if you’re unsure how to translate kWh into kW, check out the following article which outlines the differences in these two measurements – hint: it’s not the number of kW per hour – https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/what-is-a-kwh-kw-and-kwh-explained.html#:~:text=A%20kilowatt%20hour%20(kWh)%20is,much%20energy%20you’re%20using.&text=It%20is%20simply%20a%20unit,up%201%20kWh%20of%20energy.)

When you look at this section of your bill, take note of a couple of things – 1) what is your average monthly kWh usage, and 2) what is the cost to you per kWh of energy usage? These amounts will help you to determine whether or not a solar system, new air-conditioning unit, new double-pained windows, etc. could help you save energy long-term.

For a guide in doing an energy audit yourself, and considering where you might be expending a lot of energy currently, check out the following: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/home-energy-audits/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits.

Doing these calculations ahead of shopping for energy efficiency upgrades will really set you up for success, because you’ll have a much better idea of where your energy usage currently stands – for any additional questions you have on this process, or about the cost of a solar system, give us a call today!

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Look at What the Neighbors are Doing Now!

One of my favorite quotes in life that I’m constantly returning to is the one from Theodore Roosevelt in which he says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s easy for us to look at our energy costs and think, “Well, it could be worse – look at my neighbor!” however it’s much harder for us to hold ourselves personally accountable, and even harder when that accountability is for the sake of the collective good versus an individual.

The problem with this of course, is that our needle is always moving. If we compare ourselves to neighbor A one day, and then neighbor A decides to purchase an inflatable bouncy castle that runs all-day, every-day (for example), then our perception of our own good energy management will change ever so slightly – you’ll still likely be better off than neighbor A, but you might start to ease up on your personal energy consumption and production goals because, neighbor A has eased up on theirs, and by default you have a little more “wiggle room.”

This article was written not to suggest that we should all be living in dimly-lit caves to save energy – though if you do, thank you for your sacrifice for the collective good – but to start to really look at our energy consumption on a personal level and ask, how could it be improved? Where can I save money? And, notably, will my actions even make a difference?

This week, we’ll explore some of the psychology and data in the energy sector, and what we can do to break some of those bad habits as we work to mitigate our own energy costs together.

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Solar Industry Insights

Last week we focused on strategies to reduce your energy consumption, and therefore reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint as well. It’s important to look at the energy picture holistically so you’re able to really understand how you consume energy currently, and how this might change with adding a solar system to your home.

This week, we’ll celebrate a few key wins in solar thus far in 2021. As energy companies, Retail Energy Providers (REPs), energy partners, and local and federal governments build out their annual budget for this year, we’re starting to see some exciting news for customers looking to go solar this year!

Though we’ve already mentioned it before, it’s important to keep in mind that while the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was scheduled to decrease to 22% this year, it will now remain at 26% of the total sticker price, and that policy was extended through the end of 2022 (check out the following article for more information on this: https://www.recsolar.com/blogs/calculate-solar-tax-credit-2021/).

Plus, now that battery technology is improving, have you considered what your solar project may look like if you include energy storage? Check out the following link if you’re curious how the solar federal ITC may or may not apply for your project: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2017/06/legal-perspective-storage-solar-itc/. We’re happy to help you make sense of your own personal energy consumption and production goals, and can conduct an energy audit of your home to see how close/far away you are from achieving them. Call us 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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