Energy Efficiency

Bad Bathroom HabitsIt is the subject no one wants to bring up: bathroom habits. Not what you might think, we are talking about how you use energy and water in the bathroom! It turns out, what you do in the bathroom makes a huge difference not only on your water and energy consumption, but also on the size of your utility bills.

Power Lines Courtesy Of Hoyasmeg At FlickrFor years, low-cost solar-plus-battery systems were seen as a distant possibility at best, a fringe technology not likely to be a threat to mainstream electricity delivery any time soon. By far, the limiting factor has been battery costs. But thanks to a confluence of factors playing out across the energy industry, the reality is that affordable battery storage is coming much sooner than most people realize. That approaching day of cheaper battery storage, when combined with solar PV, has the potential to fundamentally alter the electricity landscape.

Batteries to Bolster SolarDid you know? Solar-plus-storage has actually been around for decades. In fact, it was what kickstarted the solar industry in the early 1980s. A bunch of marijuana “farmers” in northern California who weren’t connected to the grid needed a way to get electric lights for their grow operations. A young hippie stumbled upon an ARCO solar panel at a consumer electronics show, and soon after founded AEE Solar and started powering off-grid homes with solar panels and car batteries, and his customers always paid in cash.

Wind Turbine Power CordOver the last five years, American inventors and investors have delivered significant progress in developing and deploying key clean energy technologies, supported by Administration policies. Electricity production from solar and wind has doubled. Our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gasoline, saving families money at the pump. And in 2012, U.S. carbon pollution fell to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The simple fact is that key clean energy technology costs are continuing to come down, and these technologies are producing more American energy than ever before.

5258813444 756e7f101b ZMillions of dollars and massive amounts of fossil fuels are spent cooling homes and buildings covered by conventional roofs that absorb sunlight, get as hot as 185 degrees and radiate that heat inside. Add to that the fact that sunlight-absorbing roofs contribute to the urban heat island effect, which increases air pollution, and it’s easy to see the need for something new. Luckily, there is promise for reducing this burden to the environment and economy — in cool roofs.