The Most Cost Effective Energy Saver

The Light Switch

One of the most cost effective ways to control energy costs regardless of whether you are a business or largeWSS0S-D0residential user is to shut off the lights when leaving a room or office. To this day I can still hear my Dad’s voice reminding me to shut off the lights in my room or the basement after I left them… was he ahead of his time or just being frugal? Either way the principle is simple but very powerful. However, we are not conditioned to do this especially if we are not the ones responsible for paying the electric bill. Habits are hard to change but people have been known to change when being made aware, reminded and or given an incentive to do so. So regardless of the fact that it saves money, let’s appeal to your eco-sense. By leaving the lights on you will contribute to additional green houses gases being sent into the atmosphere while adding to our continued dependence on foreign sources for fuel. Shouldn’t that be enough incentive for most?

There are many things you can do even if you can not change peoples habits via appealing to their eco-sense. You can change the light switches to either ones with motion sensors or timers. This approach cost some money but the pay back may very well be worth it. Another way is to replace the bulbs with more energy efficient ones.

Replace your Old-fashioned Incandescent Light Bulbs

One initiative here in New Jersey, USA is Project Porchlight and initiative of ONECHANGE whose motto is simple actions matter. Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs use 75% less energy than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. For every bulb you swap, you will cut as much as 1,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year and save up to $50 on your energy bills over the lifetime of the bulb.

If every household in North America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a CFL bulb, it would be like taking 2 million cars off the road for a year. Considering the average home has around 45 light bulbs, imagine if we replaced all of our lights with CFL bulbs.

So what are you waiting for?

Swap your bulbs today to maximize your energy/money savings and remember to turn off your lights when they’re not in use!

For more information about the CFL bulb initiative , please visit

Great Home Solar Application

Solar Attic Fan

You can now lower your energy bills by installing a solar powered attic fan. It works regardless of the time of year, to save you up to 30% on your cooling costs.

During the hot summer months attic temperatures can exceed 160 degrees, and small, passive roof vents are often unable to dissipate this heat, which drives temperatures and cooling costs through the roof. In the winter the heat trapped in your attic can melt the snow that accumulates on your roof, which could then refreeze, leading to destructive and costly ice damming.

Also keep in mind, moisture from everyday activities such as showering and cooking produce water vapor that migrates into the attic, and could lead to mold and mildew. And if it saturates your insulation, it could cause fungal decay and destruction of your roof frame and decking. So it helps all year long by reducing your energy bills and potential for indoor pollution today.

For more information see SunRise Solar.

Save Gas this Memorial Day

Gas Prices Rising as Summer Approaches

Gas prices are on the rise, so it is time again to review our driving habits.

SLOW DOWN! Fuel shows that gas mileage decreases at speeds above 60 mph. “You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas” also “Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town” as discussed on their site.

In New Jersey when on the roads it seems like the speed limit is 75 m.p.h. when it is actually 65 m.p.h. Slowing down at least to the speed limit will save you money as you use about 5% more gas for every 10 m.p.h. above 55.  Of course for some people time is money too so they may choose to drive fast.  Speeding has also has a social cost by accounting for many more accidents that end up happening.

Other ways to save at the pump:

1) Keep tires inflated properly to at least the tire manufacturers specification for the amount of weight being carried.

2) Use gas that has a cleaning additive to it or at least add your own every other tank.

3) Smoothly accelerate and learn to take your foot off the gas well in advance of the red light ahead of you to coast to it.

4) Instead of using your trunk as a storage place remove the weight of unnecessary items.

5) Lose some of your weight… if everyone lost 10lbs. of weight imagine how much gas would be saved along with better health!

6) Bike or walk instead for short trips around the corner or to the local market… not only do you save gas but you get added health benefits as well.

7) Only fill the tank to halfway as each gallon of gas weighs 7.5lbs. If you multiply that by 10 gallons it is like carrying an extra person around with you.

8) Fill up your tank when it is cooler out in the early AM or in the PM hours as in hot weather the gas you pump vaporizes meaning you get less in your tank.

A Cool Idea to Store Energy

Enter Ice Bear

technology_ice_bear2The Ice Bear distributed energy storage system enables a powerful change in how — and, more importantly, when — energy is consumed for air conditioning. The system is designed to absorb off-peak load and dispatch it on-peak, while consuming an equal or lesser amount of energy on each building.

The Ice Bear unit is incorporated into a building’s standard AC system and is designed to absorb off-peak load and dispatch it on-peak, while consuming an equal or lesser amount of energy on each building, creating the industry’s first effectively lossless storage solution.

Using thermally efficient, off-peak power to produce and store energy for use during peak hours the following day, the Ice Bear system reduces peak energy required by conventional AC systems. AC energy demand – typically 40-50% of a building’s electricity use during peak hours – can be reduced by as much as 95%.

Decoupling daytime air conditioning use from peak energy demand, each Ice Bear distributed energy storage unit reduces an average of 7.2 kW of source equivalent peak demand for a minimum of 6 hours daily, shifting 32 kW-hours of on-peak energy to off-peak hours.

The breakthrough technology features of the Ice Bear unit includes the industry’s first effectively lossless storage with unlimited deep discharging, unlimited storage cycles, very low maintenance, no chemicals or heavy metals, and a 25-year asset life.

How It Works

The Ice Bear energy storage system works with a standard commercial air conditioning system. Requiring no modification to existing ductwork, each Ice Bear unit can be applied to 85% of air conditioners ranging from a 3-5 ton system to a 20-ton system, providing 30 ton hours of cooling.

The Ice Bear energy storage unit operates in two basic modes, Ice Cooling and Ice Charging, to store cooling energy at night, and to deliver that energy the following day.

During Ice Charge mode, a self-contained charging system freezes 450 gallons of water in the Ice Bear’s insulated tank by pumping refrigerant through a configuration of copper coils within it. The water that surrounds these coils freezes and turns to ice. The condensing unit then turns off, and the ice is stored until its cooling energy is needed.

As daytime temperatures rise, the power consumption of air conditioning rises along with it, pushing the grid to peak demand levels. During this peak window, typically from noon to 6 pm, the Ice Bear unit replaces the energy intensive compressor of the air conditioner.

The Ice Bear unit, fully charged from the night before, switches to Ice Cooling mode. The Ice Bear uses the ice, rather than the AC unit’s compressor, to cool the hot refrigerant, slowing melting the ice as it travels through a series of copper coils. A small, highly efficient pump pushes ice-cold refrigerant through a modified Ice Energy LiquidDX® evaporator coil installed in the conventional air conditioning unit.

The Ice Cooling cycle lasts for at least 6 hours. Once the ice has fully melted, the Ice Bear transfers the job of cooling back to the building’s AC unit, to provide cooling, as needed, until the next day. During the cool of the night, the Ice Charge mode is activated and the entire cycle begins again.

The company is headquartered in Windsor, Colorado, with offices in Lake Forest and Sacramento, California. For more information, visit See their Product Video for a demonstration of it.

Yesteryear Technology Saves Energy $$$ Today

Below is a flashback of looking back to see how things were done, prior to all the high tech gadgetry ways to save time and money. So in the retro spirit let’s look at sure fire a no tech cost effective way to save money.

The clothesline

You may remember the visual to the right from your childhood days when your Mom hung out the clothes on one of these inverted umbrella type rigs or perhaps via stringing a line between the house and a nearby tree.

Well what is old is new again, at least when it comes to saving energy. We recently started doing for drying heavy things like towels, sweatshirts and jeans. The money we saved by using the dryer less often was measurable, almost 12-14% off each months electric bill. If you use a gas dryer you will get similar savings as well.

Environmental concerns and sky-rocketing energy costs have also prompted many state and local governments to pass “right-to-dry” laws allowing their use (check with you local ordinances before installing one).

Advantages of a clothes line

  • Saves money
  • Zero greenhouse gas emissions per load.
  • Laundry smells “clothesline fresh” without using chemicals.
  • Less wear and tear on your clothing fabrics.
  • Laundry items tend to not shrink from the hot air of a clothes dryer.
  • No static cling!!
  • Your clothes are softer as dryers tend to remove short, soft, fine fibers.
  • Possibly less ironing as items not immediately removed from dryer tend to get wrinkled.
  • Items may dry more quickly on dry or sunny and windy days.
  • Avoids airborne lint and reduced air quality.
  • Eliminates heating up the inside of a house by a clothes dryer especially helpful during the summer months.
  • Eliminates the internal house noise from the running clothes dryer.

Disadvantages of using a clothes line

  • Laundry items need to be hung indoors during rainy weather.
  • Neighbors may find it aesthetically unpleasant so it is best to erect it in an inconspicuous place.
  • Laundry items may be more stiff which is easily remedied by giving them a short dryer spin.
  • Wind, temperature, and humidity can vary the drying time.
  • Environmental contaminants such as soil, dust, smoke, pollen and animal droppings can come in contact with clothing.

Drying laundry indoors

Laundry may be dried indoors for a variety of reasons including:

  • inclement weather
  • physical disability
  • lack of space for a line
  • legal restrictions
  • to raise the humidity level indoors
  • to lower the air temperature indoors
  • convenience
  • to preserve privacy

Several types of devices are also available for indoor drying. A drying rack or clotheshorse can help save space in an apartment or clothes line can be strung in the basement during the winter. Small loads can simply be draped over furniture or a shower curtain pole. The drying time indoors will typically be longer than outdoor drying because of the lack of direct sun and wind.

To learn some other quick inexpensive ways to save money visit the SAVING $ tab above to start saving energy and money today!

Happy Earth Day!

Don’t Throw It Away…Recycle It

Happy Earth Day!

Rather than plant a tree for Earth Day, Recycle the stuff you do not want.  It has a bigger impact sooner then just planting a tree, shrub or flowers. Below are some resources for redirecting it to people in need who can use the items thus saving them from going to the land fill.

One Mans’ Trash is Another Mans’ Treasure

Craigslist is a good place to place free stuff ad to give away things.

Freecycle is site that helps connect donors with recipients.

Habitat for Humanity has ReStores that take construction material donations.

Reuse Development helps promote reuse.

PUP Pick Up Please will come to your house if you have many items.

All are some of many the great causes or ways to recycle your unwanted items. You can also use your favorite search engine to find a local organization that will accept donations.


  • Walk or bike to work today (and other days as well).
  • Replace an incandescent light in your home or office with an LED or CFL one.
  • Buy and use a re-useable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
  • Consume less food and buy local produce.
  • Recycle your electronics.

For additional tips see our SAVING $ section.

Do your part to celebrate the day and make the earth better by doing it!

Reducing Your Waste Saves Energy

What is in our Garbage?

Paper accounts for 47% of it, Food waste 18%, Plastic 15%, Yard Waste 9%, Wood 3%, Metal 3%, Glass 2% and Other 3%. So if we could get rid of or greatly reduce the first four categories listed we can reduce overall garbage by as much as a WHOPPING 89%!! How? Read below for two easy ways to reduce your trash, save your community money and cut down on your carbon footprint.


Another “YesterYear” technology that has been around for quite some time is recycling. It is easy to do and if you have young children they will probably teach you or guilt you into to it as they are now taught its benefits in school. Many municipalities require at least some level of recycling for containers of glass, metal and #1 or #2 plastics and newspapers. These types of  materials are the most valuable and allow them to make money to at least cover the cost of collection. So what about all that junk mail, card board packaging, used electronics and fluorescent lights? Well many municipalities will also take these materials however you have must take them to their respective recycling centers, so it does requires an effort. If your municipality does not take some of these items yet go here find where to recycle it.

Is it worth the effort?

Well the picture shown tells the tale. The picture on the left  is our garbage can and next to is two of three of our neighbors trash cans both are holding trash from one week. We have a household of five people, two adults and 3 children. They have two adults and one child. The difference is we make an effort to recycle as much as possible beyond what the town requires, they do not. Essentially our energy usage and carbon footprint is less because of  our recycling efforts. This is easy enough for everyone to do with a small amount of effort and thought.


Circular Compost Bin

Circular Compost Bin

Another big way we cut down on trash is by composting. We take all our food scraps, grass clippings, leaves and other yard debris and put them in a composting bin. The one pictured is one of many types available. This particular model allows you to spin it frequently speeding up the process of decomposition turning it  into “black gold”. We use this black gold as a natural soil enhancer as it contains many natural nutrients that plants and shrubs need. This also allows us to not have to use fertilizers for feeding our plants. This added benefit makes this an even more Eco friendly solution.   Doing both these simple things adds up to big energy savings and reduces your carbon foot print.  A good site to start with to learn about it is Master Composter.

Start today it is easier to do than you think.

Wrap it in Green this Holiday

It’s not only what is inside that counts this holiday, but how you wrap your presents that matters as well. All of those lovely gifts can lead to a pile of boxes, gift-wrap and plastic packaging destined for the landfill. In 2009 Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging, making up more than one third of all solid waste in landfills.

It’s in the Wrap

Everyone will appreciate gifts wrapped with recycled love. Comics are favorites, but outdated maps, yellow pages and finished coloring-book pages also can have a nice wrapping effect. And how about cutting the brown paper bags from the grocery store. Cut them open and use the inside for a crayon or paint canvas custom designed by the artists you have at home. If you must use wrap, look for recycled or at least partially recycled brands.

Gift Bags, too

Reuse last year’s gift bags if you can, but if you’re low on supply, try one made of natural fibers or recycled content, or make your own. Brown (recycled) lunch bags are always good as are the paper sack from the grocery store. If you must buy some new ones, once again look for at least partially recycled products.

One site we like is Green Field Paper. Of course there are many more just Google “Recycled Wrapping Paper” and you will have many to choose from. We are certain that with a little extra effort your holiday, be it Hanukkah,Christmas, Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice will be greener and more meaningful. Amazon also sells various vendors as well.

Light Up Your Holiday with LEDs

Be on the cutting edge with LED holiday lights.


Each bulb with this new LED technology uses only 0.04 watts and is up to 90 percent more efficient than its incandescent counterpart. So a household burning 10 strands of lights for eight hours a day for a month at $0.0853 per kilowatt-hour would spend $127.67 for large incandescent bulbs, $7.20 for traditional mini-lights, and just $0.72 for LEDs. Also these newer bulbs are sturdier, last up to 100,000 hours, or 20 years, and barely warm up thus eliminating most fire concerns.

To also maximize holiday lighting savings, use timers to limit light displays to no more than six evening hours a day. Leaving lights on for 24 hours a day will easily quadruple your energy costs while also creating 4 times as much green house gases from the additional energy needed to light them.

And be safe, unattended lights can cause fires, especially if the lights are on a dried holiday tree or wreath, so always unplug your interior lights before going to bed or leaving the house. See the U.S. Department of Energy website to learn about the savings.