Category Archives: Energy

Green Real Estate – A Growing Trend

The sustainable real estate concept is not a new one. For the past few years, architects have been designing energy-efficient buildings for companies as a way to trim costly utility fees. Recently, however, home builders have begun implementing the same innovation in residential construction, expecting green houses to become a popular and possibly dominating trend over the next few decades. This is all part of a world-wide effort to balance energy needs and available resources. What remains to be seen is what changes to the housing market will occur in that time.

Sustainable homes will have a number of major benefits. Most importantly, at least for homeowners, the savings that will result from reduced energy usage will be substantial. In the interest of environment-conscious residents, these homes will have a positive and lasting impact, and families can feel confident knowing they are making a contribution. In fact, studies show that home buyers are more likely to pay higher prices for homes with energy-saving characteristics.

Don’t expect people to leap on board just yet. Before investing, potential buyers want to know what will happen to the property value after they’ve lived there for 5 to 10 years. Researchers have conducted various studies that show a correlation between lower utility costs and increased property value. This may be due to the growth in energy demands expected to take place over the next 35 years. According to a North Carolina Energy Star report, the value of an energy efficient home is estimated to increase $20.73 for each dollar saved.

Electricity and ventilation are two key areas that will significantly impact energy costs. For new homes, that means solar panels and energy efficient windows. Specialized windows, particularly those that are double pane, can help regulate the amount of cool air and heat that escapes, which will reduce the energy needed to run heating and cooling units. In addition to purely money-saving benefits, healthier environments, which can be credited to reduced air-born contaminates, offer plenty of motivation form home seekers.

One of the specific recommendations that Than Merrill, CEO of the real estate investment company Fortunebuilders recommends is to replace that old energy-inefficient water heater. “Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand. That way, you do not have the extra energy consumption occurring when hot water is not being used.”

Residents, especially first-timers, should always be aware of the potential cost of utilities when considering a budget strategy. Those planning to settle in for several years, which is often the case, should take into account factors that are known to affect the home’s value. As green property becomes more common, their sustainable features should become more influential throughout the decision making process.

Economic, Environmental and Societal Benefits of America’s Fracking Boom

Beyond enhancing our domestic energy supplies, the U.S. fracking boom has had a transformative, positive effect on the economy – creating opportunities for consumers and young professionals alike. Even further, fracking has created widespread health and environmental benefits. The supply of natural gas produced from hydraulic fracking is helping displace the burning of dirty coal, which contributes to the death of thousands of Americans each year. If our national priority is to continue to reduce our reliance on coal in order to meet ever-stricter emissions guidelines, fracking offers gigantic improvements, even if energy consumption increases overall. Fracking doesn’t use as much water per energy unit as other carbon-based fuels or nuclear, helping to preserve other natural resources as well. Hydraulic fracturing has proven, following a five-year information gathering period from the Environmental Protection Agency, not to threaten our drinking water as energy production from fossil fuels does.

Safe and responsible fracking methods help to lower carbon dioxide emissions while unlocking valuable shale gas energy and economic opportunity. There is a natural connection between energy security and job growth, as improved access to energy and electricity provides more chances for private sector expansion and upward social mobility. Hydraulic fracking is not a new technology – it’s been in use for over 60 years – having made “sense” and “cents” for decades already. Looking to the future we can expect to see our use of natural gas continue, assisting more and more families and individuals across the country. A wide variety of hydraulic fracking jobs exist within the industry, and these positions are almost guaranteed to remain secure. During the recent economic down turn, employment in the natural gas industry remained a consistent bright spot.

Hydraulic fracturing is responsible for America’s energy independence. It’s helped prices at the pump stay lower than ever before, helping families in a time of need. Looking at the big picture, it’s clear that we need fracking tools and technology to continue improving so that we may preserve its benefits and continue to build on its efficacy for the years ahead.

Myths about Hydraulic Fracturing

One of the most prevalent myths about hydraulic fracturing is that it is a new tactic. The process of hydraulic fracturing has actually been around for over 60 years, and leaders in the industry have made huge steps in their progress to optimize the methods. In a hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” job, fluids that consist mainly water and sand are injected under high pressure into the producing formation, creating fissures that allow resources to move freely from rock pores where energy sources were trapped.

Opponents also seem to dwell on the environmental repercussions of hydraulic fracturing, yet the safe and responsible energy extracted from shale has actually lessened the carbon footprint of U.S. energy companies like Cunningham Energy, over the last two decades. Fracking and oil industry regulations continue to be improved, and each company undergoes rigorous regulation and review before implementing new methods. The  environment is actually one of the leaders in the fracking industry’s main priorities, as they are looking for long-term, lasting solutions to our energy issues.

Lastly, fracking has allowed for strides in energy independence. As President Obama recently stated, “for the first time in 18 years, America is poised to produce more of our own oil than we buy from other nations.”

Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America.” This shows how hydraulic fracturing made such a difference in where the U.S. gets its energy–on its own soil.

Top ways your business can save energy

From the obvious offense of leaving lights on when no one is in the room to the sneaky energy suckers like incandescent “exit” signs that use up ten times the energy as an LED one, most businesses and organizations have some room for energy efficiency improvement. Below are some tips to get started:

Lighting

Replace all your inefficient, outdated or underused lighting throughout the building. When replacing it, consider newer technologies, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These can also be used with compatible dimming systems to maximize efficiency by only using what is necessary. Similarly, utilizing sunlight when it’s available for the workspace can be a huge benefit. Not only does it save energy, but it is also healthier for employees.

Temperature Control

Installing either programmable thermostats or locking devices to prevent changes can save a ton of money and energy. When the temperature is at an adequate place, such as around 63 degrees during business hours and 68 degrees during nonbusiness hours, the space will remain comfortable and consistent, as well as allowing the unchangeable thermostat to prevent any tampering.

Fun fact: A one degree change in your thermostat may save you 3% off your energy bill.

Equipment

Simple changes like turning off all computers, monitors, printers and copiers during nonbusiness hours can make a huge difference. Or, try switching to laptops, which can save 80-90% of the power that a desktop uses. Additionally, many businesses have had success with installing sensors that automatically turn off lights and other equipment when it is not in use.

Employee Education

Lastly, ensure that your employees thoroughly understand why your goal is to save energy and the environmental and financial repercussions of using energy irresponsibly. Several organizations, such as Cenergistic, formerly known as Energy Education Inc., exist to help organizations conserve energy through customized plans. These are often coupled with employee education, which may show why they are so effective, in addition to the customized services they offer.

Three Ways to Save Energy This Winter

In the wintertime it is very easy to hibernate and hide away for four incredibly chilly months. Rather than create a nest in your home and never leave the bubble, there are ways to save energy and warm up without boosting your utility bills. This article unfortunately does not apply to you if you’re in the warmth this winter and not surrounded in snow up to your neck. Energy conservation companies like Cenergistic Inc. strive to save energy year round. Saving energy is good for both your wallet and the environment.

  • Allow Sunlight In

Although your first instinct might be to close all of the drapes in your home and sulk in a pity party of chilly air, open your drapes and let the sunlight in! During the day in the winter although you might not think so, natural sunlight is one way to heat your home for free. Not to mention it will also cheer up your mood seeing some fresh rays in your home.

  • Turn Down the Heat at Night

Keeping your heat running on high temperatures all day and night can be a bit costly. By turning down your heat at night by 10 to 15 degrees, you can save around 10 percent on your heating bills each year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Turn down the heat to a temperature, which you can tolerate and doesn’t make your home too cool!

3)    Laundry Tips

Wash your clothes in cool water in the winter, which saves you from spending more money on hot water. Cool water in the winter is fine for your clothes even though many myths say that warm water is the best way to disinfect your clothes. It is important to also run full loads of laundry to avoid having to use excessive amounts of water.