Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saving Energy by Eliminating Fax Machines

One of the most common office machines besides a PC is the fax machine. Many offices have multiple fax machines on each floor. While they don't consume large amounts of energy, there is a promising technology on the horizon to reduce the number of fax machines. This technology is called IP Faxing or FOIP (Faxing over Internet Protocol). There is a good article explaining the technology and benefits to IP Faxing here. Saving energy and saving money with IP Faxing or FoIP.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saving Money with Home Automation

Here's an article about combining automation technology with residential appliances, air conditioning, even blinds and drapes to automate the functions of the home to make them more energy efficient.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Saving Money with an Energy Audit

Energy audits are a great way to get started in establishing your energy consumption baseline and to establish goals for reducing energy. There are many online checklists and forms to help with home/residential energy audits.

For commercial or industrial energy audits you will likely need to find someone certified as a Certified Energy Consultant or Certified Energy Advisor. There are also some online tips for locating and selecting an Energy Consultant or Energy Advisor.

Saving Energy with Window Treatments

Have you ever gone out to your car on a cold winter day, get in and the car is toasty warm. Or have you ever gone out on a warm day and get in to find the seats and steering wheel so hot you couldn't touch it. Both of these are the result of the sun shining through the glass on your car. Fortunately most cars have some degree of window tinting to help reduce these effects. Unfortunately your house probably doesn't.

Windows can be a useful source of free warmth in the winter but a big problem in the summer. Fortunately there are solutions in window treatments. These window treatments can be used like the leaves on a tree, there to provide shade in the summer and open to let the sun through in the winter.

Window treatments can fall into many categories, each providing varying degrees of protection from the sun.

Some options to investigate for your particular application are
* Awnings
* Blinds
* Draperies
* High-reflectivity films
* Insulated panels
* Mesh window screens
* Overhangs
* Shades
* Shutters
* Storm panels

Some of these such as films and tinting work great in the summer but also prevent the warmth of the sun from penetrating in the winter.

Helping the Environment by Reducing Energy Consumptin and Improving Energy Efficiency

Today there is a lot of talk about helping the environment, global warming, greenhouse gasses, air pollution, water pollution, etc. There are some ideas such as carbon credits, carbon offsets by planting trees and reducing oil production. While these may or may not have a positive impact on the environment at some point in the future, there is a more definite way with proven efficacy to reduce the impact on the environment.

The best way to reduce the impact on the environment NOW is to improve energy efficiency of our homes, cars, factories and schools. This is a doable process that begins within the pages of this blog. Here we discuss many ways to make quick and lasting reductions in energy and utility consumption.

How Solar Power Works (A non-technical view)

Reducing energy cost with solar power is a white hot topic today. Many people understand that solar power can help reduce energy but do not understand how. Nothing reduces energy like a free energy source (the sun).

For a non-technical explanation of how a solar power(photovoltaic system) works and how a solar hot water system works, Duke Energy has a good article here.

For a good explanation of how to size and install a solar power system, Duke Energy has a good article here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Reducing Energy with Water Treatment

Many industrial and commercial machines require cooling. Most often this cooling is done with cooling water. The two most common ways to cool with water are once-through or closed loop with a cooling tower.

Once through cooling uses fresh city water, cools the machine and goes to drain. Replacing this, right off, is a huge dollar savings. With the cost of water and sewer a cooling tower could offer a 1 year payback or less just on these cost.

The other, preferred, way to cool this machine is with a closed-loop cooler such as a cooling tower. Cooling towers use the evaporative cooling effect to cool water. They are very efficient and consume only what water is evaporated. The downside of a water staying in cooling tower is it's propensity to have biological growth such as algae. This is countered with water treatment.

Proper water treatment can be as simple as using chlorine or bromine. Another, higher tech solution, is an ozone generator. The ozone generator produces ozone O3 and injects it into the water. This ozone is a powerful biocide and keeps the water crystal clear. Using a reputable water treatment specialist is key to understanding your water treatment needs. Proper water treatment can also improve air quality and reduce certain health issues such as legionnaires disease.

Untreated water causes machine fouling from algae inside the cooling tubes. This slowly takes machine efficiency away and can even cause machine damage. Properly applied water treatment with a cooling tower saves water, sewer and can improve machine efficiency reducing energy consumption and energy cost.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How do Variable Frequency Drives Work to Reduce Energy Consumption?

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) also called variable speed drives or inverters work to electrically change the speed of a motor. There is a technical explanation of how this is done using terms like vectors, flux, feedback,motor slip, etc. There is also a practical way to understanding how they work and how they help save energy. Since we want to know how to save money, this is the route we'll take.

Motors are everywhere in commercial and industrial facilities. Fans, pumps, conveyors, air conditioners, air compressors are all driven by motors, and the list goes on. Most of these devices are sized for maximum conditions such as maximum flow rate for a pump or fan, maximum output for an air compressor and so on. In the old days these devices normally ran at full capacity (meaning full load and maximum energy consumption). The output was then throttled in some way with valves, dampers or bypasses. This was a very inefficient way to operate and this is why the VFD is such a wonderful device. It helps precisely match the motor speed with the needed output.

Typical motors in the US run at a frequency of 60 hertz or 60 cycles. This is the normal alternating current frequency for US power plants. Motors are designed to run full speed at 60 hertz. Slower speeds are directly proportional to the AC frequency fed to the motor. So at 30 Hz the motor is running at half speed and so on. As the name implies, it is the job of the variable frequency drive (VFD) to alter this frequency and change motor speed as needed.

VFD's can work in two ways, manual or automatic. In manual mode the operator has to manually adjust the motor speed by manually selecting the frequency setting. This works fine for speeds that infrequently or never change. Settings such as conveyor speed, a summer and winter fan speed, etc. are good examples of when a manual speed change works fine.

In automatic mode, electronic controls constantly monitor conditions and adjust the VFD accordingly. For example it may monitor pump pressure and automatically adjust speed to meet the pressure set point. This setting requires some additional controls and control feedback but, when set up properly, the speed control is remarkable.

VFD's save money (and potentially lots of it) by running the motor only at what speed is required. No more running with the gas pedal at full throttle and adjusting the speed with the brakes! We now have a cruise control that tells the motor to only do the work required and no more.

Preheat Dishwasher Water?

There are a lot of questions about preheating dishwasher water. Here are the answers:

1. Should I preheat dishwasher water? No. It takes the same amount of energy to heat water inside the dishwasher or in the hotwater heater. Reduce hot water temperature as much as possible (target 120 degrees) in your hot water heater. This lets you still have a very warm bath or shower (hot tubs are less than 110 degrees). Heat the water in the dishwasher only. The goal is to heat water at the point of use as much as possible, not in a storage tank. The dishwasher is good at this. It monitors the water temperature and heats it at the point of use and only to the temperature required to get the dishes clean.

2. How can I reduce my dishwasher cost?

Use air dry only. Heat drying actually uses the dishwasher's heating element to heat the air in the washer. This drys the dishes but is very expensive. New dishwashers are very energy efficient. In fact it is cheaper to wash a full load of dishes in the dishwasher with air dry than to hand wash.

Wash with full loads only. It takes the same amount of water for a full load or a partial load.

Wash when you are gone or at night. The higher humidity from the hot water isn't as objectionable and doesn't add humidity to the house during the middle of a hot summer day. This also reduces air conditioning load.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Gamble with Energy Conservation

Energy conservation doesn't have to be a gamble. It's not poker. Saving energy and reducing cost can be a sure bet with the following tips:

1. Have a plan to win! Identify your highest energy consuming equipment (air conditioning, heating, hot water heating for the home, air conditioning, compressed air, chillers, boilers for commercial and industrial). and focus on reducing these by 10%.

2. Don't roll the dice. Get help from a qualified energy consultant. In many cases there are local, state or federal grants to help pay for these energy audits.

3. Keep an eye on the cards (monitor and chart utility bills on a monthly basis to identify trends). This will help identify winning strategies.

Reducing Heat Loss and Infiltration with Air Curtains

For busy retail and commercial establishments, the simple fact of people coming and going can get expensive by the loss of conditioned or heated indoor air. Every time the door opens you are bringing in undesirable outside air, bugs, dust, pollen, etc. One solution for this problem is an air curtains at each doorway. These air curtains are mounted above the primary entrance/egress doors. Each time the door opens this air curtain turns on and blows a blast of air on the inside of the door locally pressuring this area. This slight pressurization and turbulence helps prevent the loss of expensive treated indoor air or the infiltration of outdoor conditions. It also helps to maintain indoor air quality.

Air curtains are inexpensive, easy to install and offer quick payback.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reducing Fuel Cost with Videoconferencing

By far the best way to reduce fuel cost and other associated automobile costs are to, well, eliminate them. In today's world this isn't as far fetched as it may seem with videoconferencing.

Many people are familiar with and use consumer level videoconferencing like Skype and Microsoft Live Messenger. These products work adequately for home use. They have the ability to conference call multiple parties. They are also free. They are especially useful for one to one video conferencing with low to mid range quality.

The next level of quality is the high end professional level conferencing. One product is DimDim. This is an open source videoconferencing product. You can pay a small fee to use DimDim's servers or download the source code, install it in your office and use it totally free. DimDim is a high quality videoconferencing solution that can be used for pure conferencing, computer training, etc.

Another pay as you go solution is Cisco's Webex. This service is especially useful for computer training.

With some use of technology, fuel cost can be dramatically reduced.

Reducing Heating and Air Conditioning Cost by Reducing Chimney Drafts with Chimney Plugs

Fireplaces are an often overlooked source for reducing heating and cooling cost. Fireplaces are vented to the outside by the chimney. This is an opening of several square feed for flue gases and smoke to escape. This is necessary for the fireplace to operate safely and effectively. Unfortunately this is also potentially one of the largest openings in your house to loose your expensive heated and air conditioned air.

The chimney was originally installed with a door to reduce this air flow when not in use. This chimney damper is a heavy steel door that you should close when the fireplace isn't in use to prevent drafts through the chimney. At best the damper will act as a small window opening to the outside. In many cases it will act as a door wide open to the outside. Over time these dampers can break, warp or otherwise not close properly. This can be detected by smoke or other odors coming in throught the chimney, and cold drafts in the winter. When you fell cold drafts through the chimney in the winter you are also loosing expensive heat up the chimney.

There are a couple of options to fix this. If the fireplace is no longer being used, consider having a professional cap the chimney. This will permanently close the window to the outside. Many houses built with fireplaces have never been used or are no longer being used.

Another cheaper and less permanent option is an inflatable chimney plug. These chimney plugs (also known as Chimney Balloon (tm) or Chimney Pillows (tm)) act like a large, heavy duty inflatable fireplace damper. When not in use, these plugs are installed in the top of the chimney and plug off the chimney opening like a cork. When the fireplace is going to be used, the plug is deflated, removed and set aside for later.

Chimney plugs or balloons are durable, effective and inexpensive. These plugs can easily pay for themselves in one heating season.

Reducing Air Conditioning Cost with Wind Chill

We all know the effect called wind chill. How a stiff wind makes wind chill numbers plummet below the actual temperature. The wind chill effect is more accurately called the evaporative cooling effect. Note that wind chill doesn't actually reduce the temperature of the air, it just makes the body feel like it is colder. This works because the wind blowing across the body evaporates moisture from the skin. This evaporative cooling effect will slightly lower the temperature of the skin from the evaporation and make the body feel cooler.

So how do we reduce air conditioning cost? Simple, we bring the wind chill inside by using fans. Fans blowing across the body make you feel more comfortable at a higher temperature. So buy energy efficient ceiling fans or portable fans, place them in highly occupied areas and turn the air conditioning set point up. This will keep the air conditioning from running as much, make you feel more comfortable and save money all at the same time!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Solar Powered Air Conditioning Saves Energy

It makes sense, the times we need air conditioning are also the most sunny. Merge the two together and you have the concept of solar powered air conditioning. It's now becoming a reality. Toyota has announced the availability of solar powered air conditioners on some of their premium efficiency cars like the Prius. Also solar powered home air conditioners are being developed and built on a small scale. That's a sure way to reduce air conditioning cost!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reducing Energy in the Kitchen

Research has shown it: food preparation can be an energy hog. In fact according to a study by Pacific Gas and Electric’s Food Service Technology Center, as much as 80% of the energy consumed by the foodservice industry is wasted. This accounts for $8 Billion annually in wasted energy. To reduce the cost of food preparation follow the tips below:

Eat at home. Preparing and eating at home consumes less energy for the same dish as compared to a restaurant. In fact, restaurants consume more energy per square foot than most any other type of commercial building according to Energy Star.

Use smaller appliances. Microwaves, toaster ovens, counter top grilles and roasters consume little as 25-30% of conventional ovens.

Purchase energy efficient appliances at home.

Purchase modern, energy efficient appliances in the commercial kitchen and restaurant. With all of the food warmers, steamers, ovens and commercial dishwashers in a kitchen, qualified Energy Star products can save as much as 50% of the energy compared to non-qualified equipment.

Saving Energy with Reflective Roofing

It may be easily overlooked but substantial energy savings can be obtained by looking up-up to the roof that is. Although it is easy to overlook, the roof is the perfect place to start on a bottom down energy conservation plan. Reflective coatings, shingles and materials now can obtain the coveted Energy Star rating. These reflective roof shingles and roof coatings can lower roof temperatures by 100 degrees. Reflective aluminum shingles also don’t hold heat like ordinary fiberglass and tar shingles. This means your roof not only stays cooler during the day, it cools off faster at night. The overall effect can reduce peak air conditioning demand by 10-15% according to

Many of the large reputable name vendors supply reflective shingles and coatings. Reflective or aluminized coatings can be over-applied to most industrial and commercial built-up type roofs. This coating can add additional life to the roof by reducing heat and reflecting UV radiation.

For a list of Energy Star roofing partners, go to Energy Star Roofing Partners.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saving Money with Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves

During the 1970s and 1980 the "Buck Stove" became ubiquitous as people used wood to heat their homes and save money. These wood burning stoves were light years ahead in efficiency over an open fireplace and much more efficient over older style wood stoves.

Fast forward to today. Even the more efficient stoves of 20 years ago are very inefficient compared to modern designs. Modern wood stoves and their ultra-modern counterpart, the pellet stove are extremely efficient, low smoke stoves.

Many localities such as Nova Scotia and Spokane, are offering rebates to people who upgrade their older stoves.

These stoves can easily heat an entire house even in the coldest of environments.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Green Driving or Geo Driving

The governor should have read our blog entry on saving money and reducing fuel consumption while driving here:!!

Reducing gas mileage

Reducing fuel cost with a GPS

Reducing fuel cost with low rolling resistance tires

Natural Gas Cars

Could the 1st step in replacing the gasoline car be here? Quite possibly. The holy grail of automobile fuel appears to be hydrogen. Its only emission is water. However, an intermediate step to hydrogen by be natural gas cars. There is currently a lot of interest in natural gas cars. Natural gas burn extremely clean with low emissions.

Natural Gas Vehicle Information

Natural Gas Automobile Conversion Information

While we continue to wait on hydrogen powered cars, this may be a viable alternative. The current price of natural gas for automobile use (measured in GGE or Gasoline Gallon Equivalent, 128 cubic feet of natural gas) is less that gasoline in many markets.

Natural gas cars use compressed natural gas rather than the form typically sent to your home or business.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reducing Energy with Crawlspace Ventilation

One of the most noticeable discomforts in the home is humidity. Too little causes the skin to burn and tingle, too much causes a damp, muggy sensation. Controlling excessive humidity through proper crawlspace ventilation is essential.

Excessive crawlspace ventilation can cause many problems, not the least of which is decay of wood under the house and buckling floors. Water vapor from the ground is also a key contributor to indoor humidity.

Houses with a crawlspace are all made with ventilation grilles. These do very little to eliminate the humidity. Forced air ventilation is the most efficient solution. Many companies will now install automated systems which sense the crawlspace and outdoor humidity levels. When the outdoor humidity is less than the crawlspace they automatically start the forced air fans to force dryer air into the space and evacuate the humid crawlspace air.

Minimizing water vapor from entering the house also has a positive impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. The more water vapor in the air, the harder the air conditioner has to work. See the other post on improving air conditioning efficiency here.

Reducing Electrical Cost with a Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal heat pumps aren't new but are certainly getting more attention of late. The theory behind geothermal heat pumps lies in the fact that ground temperatures below the frost line and well water temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year. Depending on location, these temperatures range from a nearly consistent 45 degrees in northern areas to a nearly consistent 75 degrees in southern areas. This relatively cool, relatively stable temperatures are the source for the heat pump.

Ground source heat pumps rely on the stable temperature of the earth below the frost line. With ground source heat pumps, pipes are buried in a zig-zag pattern blow the frost line. These pipes are filled with a heat transfer liquid. A pump circulates the liquid through the pipes where they are exposed to the cool earth. This naturally cools the liquid. Next a fan blows across a heat exchanger inside the house to blow the cool air inside. This adds heat to the liquid so again it goes outside to cool down in a closed loop. This is the principal behind ground source cooling.

Another variation is well source or water source cooling. In this instance water is pumped out of an underground water well. The cool water is pumped through an indoor heat exchanger and used to cool the air. The water is warmer but is still pure and clean. It hasn't come in contact with any contaminants so it can be sent back underground into the well. This way water isn't "consumed" and wasted. It is recycled taking the cool water from the well and returning warmer water.

In any form geothermal heat pumps aren't cheap. The installation cost can easily exceed 2 times a standard heat pump but electricity savings can be substantial. Still, look for a 3-5 year payback in initial investment.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reduce Water Usage With Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are a cheap way to capture rainwater from downspouts to use for later irrigation or watering. One quarter inch of rain on a 12'X12' square area is 5 gallons of water. It doesn't take much to figure that the roof on the average house with 1/4" of rain will see 100 gallons or more depending on the roof size. This captured water saves in water and sewer cost.

There are many sources online and in many localities selling rain barrels, gutter screens, etc. to help insure good clean water.

Reducing Utilities in the Lawn

The lawn is an area that has potential in most areas for helping reduce overall utility cost. Most lawns are high maintenance, requiring frequent watering, fertilizing and mowing. Everyone loves a plush, thick lawn with colorful landscaping. This doesn’t have to be given up with some planning.

Proper planning can help reduce fuel or electric cost to mow, edge and trim lawns. Lawn mowers are some of the most inefficient consumers of gasoline. In many areas lawns need to be mowed every 7-10 days. There are sod options that can reduce this mowing to monthly or even less. One such sod option is Zoysia grass. Zoysia is a very hearty grass that creeps (it spreads horizontally). Zoysia can be grown in most areas and is very drought resistant, high traffic tolerant and low maintenance.

Drought resistant plants should also be considered. For most people on municipal water, for every gallon of water used, they are also being charged a sewer fee. So in addition to watering the plants, you are paying for sewer which you didn’t use. There are many drought resistant plants available. Your local nursery may have a limited selection of these plants but there are many online options. In fact, many western states are already requiring the use of drought resistant, low water plants and lawn.

One way to help with your lawn is by using organic lawn care products and organic fertilizers. When your soil looses organic matter it can become compacted and dead. Organic lawn products can revive and loosen the soil and make it easier for your plants to grow. A properly planned lawn can use up to 70% less water than an ordinary lawn.

Don’t overlook proper planning in your lawn to help reduce fuel, water and sewer cost.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saving Energy with Attic Ventilation

In hot summer months proper and adequate attic ventilation is essential for several reasons. First, it helps prolong the life of your roofing. The cooler the shingles stay, the longer they last. Secondly, keeping the attic cooler and properly ventilated can make a noticeable impact on cooling bills.

Attic temperatures in hot climates can easily exceed 140 degrees. Even with good attic insulation, some of this heat will naturally radiate to the ceiling. Improving attic ventilation with electric fans or ridge vents can make a noticeable difference. Electric fans offer the benefit of forced air ventilation. They are more efficient but also cost electricity to run. Ridge vents are slots cut in the peak of the roof and covered with special ridge caps. This allows natural convection currents to come in through soffit vents and out through the ridge caps.

By reducing attic temperatures we naturally lower the cooling load on the air conditioning system and lower electric utility cost.

Saving Energy with Electronic Controls

Just as the cost of consumer electronics and computers keeps going down, so does the cost of industrial controls. Programmable Logic Controllers, single purpose temperature controllers, temperature and pressure sensors, etc. all continue to improve in quality and reliability at reduced prices.

On source for basic to medium-level controls is AutomationDirect at This company offers many solutions for PLC’s of different sizes, capabilities and purposes. It also offers many other single purpose controllers such as temperature controllers. AutomationDirect offers superb technical support for free. Their prices are virtually unbeatable.

A source for electronic sensors (themperature, pressure, humidity, etc.) to tie into these controllers is Kele at Kele offers quality sensors at discounted rates.

Saving Energy with the Fan Law

The fan law is a set of formulas describing the behavior of air flow and horsepower requirements at different fan speeds. This law has one very interesting component, the relationship between fan speed (RPM) and fan horsepower requirements. As the fan speed changes, the horsepower change is the cube of the change in speed. In other words, if the fan speed is decreased by 10% (or a new speed of .9 of the original speed) the fan horsepower is reduced 27%. This is calculated by taking the speed ratio and cubing the number or multiplying it by itself 3 times. Therefore a .9 change in speed is .9*.9*.9 or .729 of the original. What this means is a relatively small change in a fan speed results in huge horsepower and dollar savings.

Take for example, a 50 hp fan motor running at full capacity. A 10% reduction in speed reduces the horsepower requirements to 37 horsepower. Over a year, this speed reduction can easily account for thousands of dollars.

There are many instances were a 10% speed reduction or more are possible all the time or even some of the time.

The two ways to reduce a fan speed are mechanical (pulleys) or electrical (variable speed drive). If you know that a fixed reduction is possible at all times, a simple pulley change will give you predictable savings. If fan speed reductions aren’t precisely known or if the speed change varies (less air in the winter, more in the summer) an variable speed drive or inverter is the best solution.

An inverter is a relatively inexpensive item when compared to the annual savings. They are easy to install, easy to use and very reliable. There are other benefits to an inverter such as reduced start speed minimizing mechanical stress and electrical demand spikes.

Numerous inverter manufacturers are available. When choosing an inverter, make sure it is fan rated. There are some special software settings on an fan rated or HVAC rated inverter that make it especially suited for this purpose.

Some of the most economical choices for fan rated inverters are AutomationDirect at or AC Tech at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Load management, Load Control, Interruptible Power

Whatever you want to call it, load management, load control or interruptible power, the idea is the same and it can offer some savings worth considering.

The idea behind these programs is the electric company has the authority to reduce their peak demand. Utility companies have do build for peak demand; therefore, the lower their peak demand, the fewer power plants they need. One way to minimize the peak demand is to offer incentives for some customers to cut back on electrical use during peak periods.

On the residential side, load control is usually wired into the large electric appliances such as hot water heaters and air conditioning. During peak periods (middle of the day on a hot summer heat wave, for example) the utility company can automatically switch these appliances off for a period of time. This isn’t usually a problem for most people because they are at work and school and don’t know the difference. The utility company knows the difference though, because they get to lower their peak generating load.

On the industrial side, load control works much the same way with much larger benefits to the utility company. One industrial site can easily consume the power of hundreds of households. The utility company recognized this and is willing to offer industry a larger incentive to sign up for this program. Most industrial plans don’t offer automatic load reductions. A company typically determines the minimum electrical load they will need (office air conditioners, computer rooms, minimal lighting, etc). The utility company will then require the company to manually adjust at or below the contract amount.

For a residential customer, the savings aren’t huge, usually around 3% reduction in rate or a fixed rebate each month accounting to this amount. However, for industrial customers the rate reduction can be 10% or more depending on the utility company.

Load control helps the customer save money for the promise of reducing load. It helps the utility companies reduce cost in not having to construct larger plants. This is a win-win arrangement for customers, utility companies and the environment.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Reducing Gas Cost with Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Low rolling resistance tires are made specially for improving fuel economy and reducing gas cost. Many car manufacturers specify the rolling resistance requirements of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) tires. These original equipment tires are specified specifically to help maximize the car's fuel economy rating. The special combination of rubber compound, hardness, size and tread pattern help minimize the tire's rolling resistance.

When replacing tires, keep rolling resistance in mind. A tire that lowers your fuel economy quickly becomes much more expensive than a cheaper tire. Using LRR tires can effect up to 4.5% of a car's fuel economy according to at

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reducing Fuel and Driving Cost with GPS

The GPS (Global Positioning Systems) has proven to be one of the most powerful commercial tools that delivery and trucking have. This satellite tracking system allows drivers to map the quickest or fastest routes to any destination. It even allows the driver to detour around a wreck or construction minimizing idle time.

In the past few years this technology has gotten cheap. So cheap, in fact, that many drivers already have a GPS. Many people who travel a lot use the GPS to help them find their destination. Vacationers often use it for the same reason.

However, with the cost of fuel escalating, the GPS can be used find the most fuel efficient routes to even local destinations. Often times the mileage to the mall, grocery store or work can be optimized using a GPS.

Base GPS units can be found for $120-$140. This has all the technology needed for saving big dollars. At $3.50 per gallon with a car getting 25 miles per gallon saving only 2.5 miles per day will pay back the cost of the GPS in 1 year ($126 savings). Only 2.5 miles per day! Not to mention using it to reduce mileage on vacations.

Not only can the GPS help find the best route to a destination, it can also help find the closest gas stations, restaurants and other destinations. This is technology that quickly pays for itself, is fun to use and makes traveling much less stressful.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Improving Electrical Cost with Solar Power

Solar Power isn’t new. It’s been around for a long time but its popularity and efficiency are both increasing at remarkable rates. Solar power works by harnessing the solar energy of the sun, converting and converting it to electricity inside the solar panel. The electricity generated is then stored in batteries to help with cloudy or dark conditions. The battery power is converted to alternating current (A/C) to match the power inside your house.

The most inefficient part of the process is the solar panels. They have historically been very large, bulky and inefficient. Modern technology has allowed the units to become more efficient reducing the size needed and making the technology more practical in more places.

However, solar power is still very expensive. A $20,000-30,000 outlay isn’t uncommon for an average household. To address this, many utility companies and private companies are investigating an agreement called a power purchase agreement (PPA) whereby they install the equipment at no charge in your house and then sell you the power from the solar grid much as the utility company does know from their power grid.

Several utilities including California-based Southern California Edison and North Carolina-based Duke Energy are planning on large-scale solar power offerings. In addition to the utilities, private companies such as Sun Run are fronting the installation and maintenance cost of the solar equipment with a long term agreement to purchase the electricity from them.

Many retail stores including Wal-Mart, Staples and Sam’s Club are combing sun lights in their roofs for free in-store lighting with solar power. Free light when the sun is out from the sun lights and free solar energy powering the fluorescent lights when clouds come out or at night.

Reducing Operating Cost of Appliances


While there have been some leaps in laundry appliances, unfortunately very little has been in the way of drying clothes. A clothes dryer is very little different that one from years ago. It is still a very inefficient process of electrical resistance heating for electric dryers or an electric flame for gas dryers. There are however some things that can be done to maximize the efficiency of the dryer:

1. Don’t overload. This seem obvious but newer washers can often wash more that a dryer can practically dry. Keep the load reasonable.
2. Keep the lint filter clean. Check before each load. For heavy lint bearing items such as towels or blankets it may be necessary to clean mid-cycle.
3. Run the dryer back-to-back. Running multiple cycles help utilize the hot dryer.
4. Make sure that exhaust vents and ducts are clean and unobstructed. A quality dryer flexible duct is less likely to collapse or crimp closed than a cheaper duct. Opt for the better flex duct. Dryer booster fans bay also help for long runs of exhaust ducting.
5. Capturing the heat from dryer exhaust seems like a no-brainer but there are several problems including high moisture content of the exhaust air, lint in the air, etc. There is some development in place for heat recovery especially in commercial and institutional laundries. Some even advertise 40-50% reduction in fuel and reduced drying time. Rototherm is one such source.

Although dryer technology hasn’t changed much per se, dryers have become inherently more efficient from more efficient washing machines. Newer washers use less water, wash clothes better and most importantly spin water from the clothes much better. Spin speeds on some modern washers exceeds 1000 rpm. The more water that is removed in the spin cycle, the less is required to be removed in the dryer. Still, there are some tips at improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of doing laundry:

1. Don’t overload. Although many new washers have larger capacities than older models this doesn’t mean that you should overload. Overloading can prevent the laundry from getting clean causing a re-wash.
2. Use cold water for washing when possible and for rinsing always. Modern washing machines and newer high efficiency detergents normally don’t need warm or hot water. Use cold water when possible.
3. Re-spin if necessary. If the laundry isn’t spun out completely re-run the spin cycle. This especially helps with older washing machines with lower spin speeds. The cost of the extra spin cycle pales in comparison to the high cost of drying the extra water in the clothes.
4. Investigate newer front load or high efficiency top-load machines. Both offer similar spin speeds and water removal benefits. Front load washers also offer the bonus of less abrasion and thus less wear on clothes helping them last longer.


Surprisingly the refrigerator isn’t a huge electrical cost if it’s fairly modern. A new refrigerator (2000 or newer) cost an average of $50-75 per year to operate. However, older units can easily cost 2-3 times that amount. There are some tips to minimizing the cost of refrigeration.

1. Keep the coils clean and unobstructed. The refrigerator and freezer have condenser coils located either underneath or on the back. Keep the area in front of the door and around the back unobstructed to keep adequate air flow. This helps the refrigerator run less to keep the box cool. Also, frequently check and clean any lint form the coils. Some units have a fan to blow air across the coils. This helps cool the condenser but also pulls in lint. Check this every 3-6 months and vacuum as necessary.
2. Keep the refrigerator full. This may sound counter-intuitive but a full refrigerator is more efficient that an empty one. Food and drinks in the refrigerator hold their cooler temperature better than the air inside. When you open the door the air inside quickly gets warmer. The food and drinks inside aren’t as quick to warm up. They actually act as a sort of “cool sink” to help hold the cool air inside the box. If you are single or normally keep very little in the refrigerator, consider filling milk jugs or other containers with water. This will help improve the efficiency of the unit.
3. Chest freezers are more efficient than your combination refrigerator. Consider getting a chest freezer and minimizing the use of your combination unit. Chest freezers actually keep food longer because they normally aren’t frost free. The defrosting cycle in a freezer compartment of a combination freezer actually heats the air periodically inside the unit to melt any accumulated ice on the sides. A chest freezer doesn’t do this so the food remains frozen solid the entire time.

Reducing Cost with Heat Recovery

In the industrial/manufacturing sector dealing with heat is one of the single most expensive cost. Whether it is from generating heat for drying, curing, baking or through disposing of heat through exhaust, ventilation, air conditioning, or other cooling means such as cooling towers.

In today’s world, heat needs to be treated as a commodity. Harnessing heat and reusing it is essential to lowering energy cost. Whether the heat is in the form of air or water there are many options for capturing and utilizing this heat in a positive way.

Hot air is usually sent up a stack never to be heard from again. In some cases the hot air leaving a process can range from 350 degrees to well over 750 degrees. This heat is too valuable to let escape.

Stack economizers are a specially designed heat exchanger made for specific applications. There are air to water economizers made to transfer the heat from the exhaust air to water. This water can then be used as “free” hot boiler makeup water, or other uses where hot water is needed. There are also air to air heat exchangers. These are commonly used to pre-heat combustion air going into a boiler. In both cases, the air to water or air to air heat exchangers can improve boiler efficiency substantially.

Just as hot air is sent to the winds, often hot water is sent down the drain. This hot water can come from various cooling processes, boiler blow down or just hot water dumped at the end of a washing or rinsing cycle. This hot water can be filtered if need be and sent through a water to water heat exchanger. This hot water can be used to pre-heat boiler makeup, fill water for a washing cycle, etc. Tranter is an excellent source for plate heat exchangers which efficiently transfer heat from waste water to fresh water.

Heat can no longer be ignored as a waste product. It must be treated as a commodity and special attention must be paid to re-using it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reducing Gas Cost by Improving Mileage

One of the largest single energy expenses for a family is gasoline. With the price of gasoline getting so much attention, many people are wandering what to do to improve their fuel economy and thus reduce fuel cost on a monthly and annual basis. The driving suggestions indicated here have all been tried by the author with an easy 15-20% improvement in fuel economy. For this author, that's an extra 100 miles per tank. The bottom line to improving fuel economy is simple: the engine is there to propel the car. Let it do its job. Keep the car moving, maintain momentum and reduce stops and idling.

1. Reduce the weight in the car. Every extra pound carried in the car and trunk is extra work for the engine. It's also a momentum sponge, draining momentum every time the accelerator is released.

2. Maximize tire pressure. Run the tires to at least the car manufacturer's maximum pressure rating. Some advocates recommend going beyond the car manufacturer's maximum rating and going instead to the tire manufacturer's maximum rating. Check with your auto mechanic for is advice on this.

3. SLOOOOOW down on the acceleration. Slow WAY down. Accelerations are the hardest work for the engine. Keep engine RPM's low (below 2000) at all times, especially during acceleration.

4. Minimize decelerations. Watch out for stop lights. If they are red or about turn red, let off and coast as far back as possible. No need to fly up to the light and slam on the brakes. The best solution is to hit the light just as it turns green to maintain at least some momentum. Some advocates recommend a sharp reduction in speed far back from the light and slowing coasting forward. This will adjust your timing so you can continue to roll slowly up to the light as it turns green.

5. Minimize left-hand turns. Left hand turns mean potential waiting on oncoming traffic. Remember, we want to keep moving, not waiting.

6. Keep engine RPM's down to 2000 or less at all times. For modern overdrive cars, this usually means 61-64 MPH maximum. For older cars this could be as little as 55 MPH. This is critical and causes the most reason for objection. Most of us are used to getting there as quickly as possible. Watching RPM's This forces us to slow down.

7. Investigate an instantaneous miles per gallon (MPG) computer. Some cars have this available on their on-board computer. If not these MPG Computers will plug into your car's engine control computer. This allows you to constantly monitor your driving conditions and make adjustments to speed or acceleration accordingly.

8. Let gravity help. If you are currently going at the speed limit, let off the gas (or press in the clutch on a manual shift) when going down hills. If you are going below the speed limit, keep the 2000 RPM engine speed and gain speed when going down the hill in preparation for the next uphill climb.

9. When going uphill, watch the engine RPM's. This may even result in a reduction in speed up the hill to maintain the sacred 2000 RPM limit.

10.Keep the windows up! For speeds over about 45, having the windows down actually causes as much or more drag on the car than running the air conditioning. For lower speeds such as city driving rolling the windows down is better. The best solution of all on moderate days is windows up, fan on, AC off.

11. Use synthetic oil if your car manufacturer recommends it. Synthetic oil has much less friction and allow the engine (or transmission if changed) to operate much efficiently with less drag.

12. Combine trips. A hot engine is more efficient than a cold engine because of extra friction from the cold oil. Combining trips keeps the engine hot. In general 1 ten mile trip is much more efficient that 2 five mile trips.

There is a group of enthusiast called hypermilers. Hypermiling is taking the fuel economy of your car to the extreme. Where this author has easily obtained 15-20% improvement, some hypermilers claim to have doubled their mileage. There are numerous sites showing advanced hypermiling tips and driving techniques.

Tire Pressure

Reducing Air Conditioning Cost and Heating Cost

Today’s heating and air conditioning units are incredibly efficient when compared to those from just a few years ago, much less those that are 10-15 years old. There is nothing you can do to change the design efficiency of your central air system but there are some things you can do to maximize the overall effectiveness of it.

What can be done now!

1. System cleanliness is very important. Regular, annual cleaning of the inside (evaporator) coils and the outside (condenser) coils is extremely important. The condenser unit is subject to weather, dust, debris from mowing, weeds or other obstructions. The inside unit is also subject to dirt accumulated from dust and pollen passing by the return filter. Keeping these clean is essential. In most cases this is a job that a homeowner can do with some instruction and care. If not, a reputable HVAC repair contractor can provide this service.

2. Use adequate return filters. The $1.25 blue woven fiberglass filters are good enough to stop a cat from entering the system but not much else. These are very inefficient. They let through most dust and pollen that passes by. In order to keep the system clean as mentioned above (not to mention reducing allergens, reducing dust on furniture, etc.) a much better solution is needed. Right now, HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the best thing going. These filters are up to 99% efficient. Honeywell HEPA and IQAir HEPA are among some of the leading manufactures for these filters. There are also portable HEPA filters that can be placed in particularly dusty areas to help reduce the overall dust in the house.

3. Humidity control is also essential for air conditioning efficiency. In addition to an air conditioner cooling the hot, moist air, it also dehumidifies it. This process of literally removes moisture from the air. Cooling the air isn’t nearly as expensive with lower humidity as in higher humidity. Proper home caulking, sealing and windows play a huge part in minimizing humidity infiltration from the outside. To help reduce indoor humidity, always run bathroom fans when showering or bathing. Also run exhaust hoods when cooking. In areas of extreme humidity such as a basement, a stand alone portable dehumidifier will help the overall efficiency of the central air conditioning system.

4. Humidity is essential for heating. (What? We just talked about cutting humidity out in the summer, now we want to add it back in the winter? YES! Winter air is much dryer than the summer. Moist air at a certain temperature actually FEELS warmer than dry air at the same temperature. Therefore, having a central humidifier or room humidifier will allow you to comfortably lower the temperature of the heater. Don’t raise the humidity too high, though, to prevent issues with mold growth. Mold removal isn’t desirable.

5. Install and use a programmable set-back thermostat. This will allow you to adjust the temperature to different settings throughout the day. For example you can adjust air conditioning up or heating down a few degrees during the day while at work. You can also reduce the heat setting at night while sleeping. Programmable thermostats are cheap, easy to install and use and pay for themselves in short order. Most home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) have a large selection.

6. Use portable air conditioning or ductless air conditioning in remote areas that are rarely used such as a game room, play room or basement. These portable air conditioning units work great for these areas where you only want to have the areas cooled on rare occasions. This is much cheaper than trying to cool these rooms all of the time.

What can we plan for!

1. Replace older units with newer units. While there may still be a 2-3 year payback on initial purchase, these units can cut cooling and heating bills as much as 50% compared to older units. Check with your local utility provider. Many offer grants, low interest financing or other incentives to get you to install more efficient units.

2. Investigate zone controls. Modern air conditioning controls make it very economical to break your home into heating and cooling zones, each with their own temperature and humidity settings.

Improving Energy Efficiency of Your Home

One of the best ways to reduce air conditioning and heating cost for your home is improving its energy efficiency. Reducing air infiltration, reducing heat loss and reducing sun exposure can offer big savings.

What can be done now!

1. Reducing air infiltration (hot air coming in during summer months, cold air and drafts in the winter) is one of the most effective things to do to minimize heating and cooling cost. Simple things like re-caulking around windows and openings for piping, utilities, etc., repairing damaged seals around door sweeps and properly using window blinds or curtains can be a quick help. Small holes around windows or other siding penetrations can cause lots of leaking air. Leaking air means your expensive conditioned air gets more expensive. Simple tips such as keeping vertical blinds closed and pointing up in the summer and pointing down or open in the winter help with utilizing the sun. Window blinds pointing up in the summer minimize the amount of sun that sneaks through. Turning them down in the winter or opening them up let sunlight and heat in reducing the load on you heater.

2. Investigate home window tenting for southern or southwestern facing windows to minimize the effects of the summer sun.

3. Plant a tree! Yes a properly placed tree on the southern or southwestern side of the house can provide cheap shade during the summer. When leaves fall in the autumn, the barren tree lets sunlight through to help heat the house. As an added benefit, you have prime material for your compost bin!

What can we plan for!

1. Additional insulation. Forget the horrors of asbestos and asbestos cancer. Today’s insulation is safe, easy to install and effective. Whether it be additional fiberglass insulation or blown-in cellulose insulation made from recycled newspaper a weekend of work in the attic pays year-round dividends.

2. Energy efficient windows offer benefits to older houses. No more storm windows, no more sticking wooden windows. Today’s replacement windows are easy to install, easy to clean and no more painting! Some are even made to utilize your existing window frame.

Reducing Hot Water Heating Cost

The “Big Three” electric consumers in most households are hot water heating, heating/cooling and clothes drying. In this article we will discuss how to reduce hot water cost.

What can be done now!

1. Reduce hot water temperature

The quickest and easiest way to reduce this hot water cost is to reduce the temperature. First, hot water temperatures above 110 are generally uncomfortable and temperatures above 125 can be dangerous (hot tubs run at 105-108 degrees). Therefore, why set your hot water above this? Most newer hot water heaters come pre-set at 130 degrees. Some older units are even set from 140 to 180 degrees. Setting the temperature above what is comfortable to bathe in is wasteful.

Dishwashers monitor the temperature of the water and heat to the desired 135-140 degrees. The idea behind reducing hot water cost is to heat the water only as much as needed and, if possible, heat it only at the source of consumption. This is what the dishwasher does best. It heats the water to the desired temperature at the point of consumption. We don’t pay needlessly for heating and storing hot water.

For an average consumption of 50 gallons per day of hot water, at an average US residential rate of $.10/kwh, reducing the temperature of the hot water by just 10 degrees saves approximately $50 per year.

2. Reduce the amount of hot water needed.

Reduce the need for hot water by utilizing low flow shower heads and sink aerators. Use warm or hot sparingly for laundry; most modern energy efficient washing machines and detergents work fine with cold water. When it may be necessary to wash with warm or hot water, never rinse with anything but cold.

Maximize the load in your dishwasher. Surprisingly the dishwasher, if used correctly, is the most energy efficient way of washing dishes. A modern dishwasher will use less than 9 gallons of water per load. Even an older dishwasher uses around 12 gallons per load. To maximize the benefit of a dishwasher, pre-rinse all dishes in cold water before loading and run full loads in the dishwasher.

What can we plan for!

1. Tankless water heaters.

Storing hot water in a central tank is “so last year” and is so wasteful. Even though modern hot water heaters have improved insulation to minimize heat loss when not in use, we still loose heat and have to re-heat throughout the day. Temperature loss from the tank depends on several factors including tank size, temperature of the room where tank is located and temperature of the hot water,however, a loss of 1kwh/day or 365 kwh/year aren’t uncommon. At the $0.10/kwh average US electric rate, this add ups to $36.50/year just to overcome the heat lost in the tank. Not to mention the wasted water it takes to get the hot water to the sink or shower.

The most efficient way to heat water is to heat it on-demand, or only where needed and when needed. Many companies have tankless water heaters such as Rinnai, Bosch Aquastar, Rheem and Skye. Although these tankless systems can be pricey, the cost with competition is coming down.

2. Pre-heat water going into hot water heater.

The higher we can get the temperature of the water going into the hot water heater, the less work it has to do to heat it up. Going back to our previous example of lowering the hot water temperature, if we can pre-heat the water feeding the hot water heater by 10 degrees we can save $50 per year. There are several ways to pre-heat the water.

Run hot water piping through hot areas such as the attic or garage. In the summer attic temperatures can easily pre-heat water to the point that little work is done by the hot water heater. Other un-conditioned spaces such as a garage can pre-heat water. Care must be taken to prevent the piping from sweating or condensing and dripping onto the ceiling or other critical area. Also keep in mind that these same areas may get cold in the winter. Having the water system designed so that water can be routed through the hot areas in the summer and through a warmer area in the winter will be the most efficient. Your plumber can make specific recommendations about routing and installation.

Another way to pre-heat water is through solar panels. In the energy crisis of the 1970’s Israel passed a law that all new construction contain solar hot water heaters. There are many options for solar hot water heating including some plans on building them yourself.

For years companies have used a process of capturing heat from the high pressure side of the air conditioner to heat water for pools. This process uses a refrigerant to water heat exchanger. Packless Industries and Tranter Heat Exchangers make small heat exchangers for this purpose. This has two benefits: First it pre-heats water going into the hot water heater. Secondly it helps cool the hot refrigerant going outside to the condenser. You get free water heating and an improvement in air conditioning performance at the same time. You can go to one of the heat exchanger manufacturer's website for help in sizing the heat exchanger.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reducing Industrial, Commercial and Retail Lighting Cost

Although fluorescent lighting in the home is a relatively new frontier, it has been around for decades in commercial, industrial and retail settings. Although fluorescent lighting has been around for years, there have been vast improvements in technology over the past decade.

Energy cost for lighting cost in a large setting (school, store, industrial setting) can be huge. Annual cost from $20,000-$250,000 are common. Many people have overlooked lighting cost as a potential cost savings. Updating lighting in a facility can result in huge savings and can be implemented with relative ease.

Tubular fluorescent lamps are designated by their diameter (in eights of an inch) and by length in inches. For example an F96T12 lamp is 96 inches long and 12 eights of an inch (1.5 inches in diameter). The most common lamps in use today are the T12 lamps. These are being rapidly replaced or retrofitted with the drastically more efficient T8 and T5 lamps.

Fluorescent fixtures consist of 2 primary components, the ballast and the lamp. A fluorescent lamp works by electrically exciting an inert gas (usually argon) inside the lamp tube. This electrical excitation is the job of the ballast.

Historically light ballast produced the high frequency required to excite the gas magnetically. This was a very inefficient process with the ballast loosing as much as 15-20% of the electricity in heat and magnetic losses. Newer ballast are electronic and can produce the high frequency with little electrical loss. Because the electronic ballast can operate at a much higher frequency and thus excite the lamp at a higher frequency, the same lamp will produce as much as 10% more light just by replacing a magnetic ballast with an electronic type.

More energy efficiency is gained by retrofitting a T-12 lamp with a T-8 lamp or by replacing the entire fixture with a T-5 fixture. For existing applications where a T-12 fixture is in use, a drop-in T-8 lamp is generally available in 4 and 8 foot lengths. This retrofit will require an electronic ballast. Therefore, if the fixture is several years old and has a magnetic ballast this will require a ballast and lamp retrofit. Generally lamp sockets are the same. This retrofit can take place as existing lamps and/or ballast go bad. This reduces the initial cost and makes the facility re-lamping more manageable but also lengthens the time to recover the cost savings over the entire facility.

Retrofitting a T-12 fixture with magnetic ballast to a T-8 fixture with electronic ballast can easily reduce the fixture efficiency by 30% in addition to improving the light output of the fixture as much as 10%.

T-5 fixtures can offer improvements of 20-30% over T-8 fixtures, however a complete fixture replacement or major (and expensive) retrofit is required. T-5 fixtures should be considered for any new construction.

Reducing Lighting Cost at Home

There is a lot of attention of late regarding residential fluorescent lighting. The advent of these compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) has revolutionized options for residential lighting. The primary source of residential lighting for years has been the standard incandescent lamp and, to a lesser degree, the halogen lamp (for track lighting, etc.) A byproduct of any lighting source is heat. A measure of the efficiency of a lamp is how much energy is converted to light and how much to heat.

Anyone who has grabbed a hot incandescent lamp can tell you just how hot they can get (Ouch!!). This is a good indication that a great deal of the energy consumed by these types of bulbs goes directly to heat instead of light. In fact, these lights produce heat by a process of electrical resistance, the same principal used by a toaster or hair dryer. This is primarily a heat producing process with light as a byproduct.

Fluorescent lamps work on a much different principal. They work by electrically exciting a gas inside the glass to the point where it fluoresces (or lights up).

Fluorescent lights are 4-5 times more efficient than incandescent lights of the same light output (lumens). As a result you can replace a 100 watt incandescent bulb with a CFL having similar or better light output and which consumes only 20-25 watts.

This has two benefits: First it reduces your primary lighting cost as discussed. Secondly it reduces your cooling cost. Any heat produced by a light must be removed by your air conditioning system.

Modern compact fluorescents are made to fit virtually any fixture, however, some care must be taken on certain fixture types (3-way lamps, dimmer applications) to match the CFL with the application. Fluorescent doesn't have to be boring. Fashionable designs with energy efficiency in mind are made by Hinkley Lighting and Murray Feiss Lighting.

Although in theory, these CFL’s offer very attractive savings, the fact that most residential lights aren’t used many hours per day makes the actual payback on purchasing the CFL occur 2-3 years later. However, the significantly longer life of a CFL over a standard incandescent helps recover actual cost much sooner.
Although still quite rare and more difficult to find, a new technology called LED lighting is a promising technology. LED lights are even more efficient that fluorescents without some of the size and shape restrictions seen in a fluorescent. LED lights (Light Emitting Diode) produce very little heat as a side effect and have a very long life.

Reducing Energy, Saving Money

The purpose of this blog is to explore ways to reduce energy consumption at home, work and at travel. This will include topics to reduce electricity, natural gas, water, sewer and gasoline. The purpose of this blog is to reduce energy consumption and thus reduce energy dollars spent. The primary purpose of the blog isn't from an environmental angle, however, virtually any reduction in energy consumption has a postive effect on the environment (reduced air and water emissions, etc.) The author has a background in energy efficiency from a background from a career in highly competitive manufacturing environments.

Welcome aboard!!