Talking green

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, Do I Need Them?

May 28th, 2013

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). They are more expensive but do they really save energy? If so, how much?

While there are different types of CFL’s, the ones that are ENERGY STAR certified are the ones that can save the most energy. If every American home replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR certified light bulb, that would save enough energy to light three million homes for a year. On top of that, it would save about six-hundred million in energy costs and prevent nine billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. With statistics like that, it is a wonder why everyone has not already switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

When it comes to managing energy in your home or commercial space, swapping out regular light bulbs for energy efficient ones is a very easy task which can have beneficial long term effects. A CFL tends to last between four and ten times longer than a regular light bulb. Because of this, money is not only saved in the electric bill, but also physically purchasing light bulbs. DOUBBLE WHAMMY!

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates is a leader in energy and environmental consulting.

As a leader in the business and residential energy market, CQI Associates manages Commercial and Residential Energy Cooperatives in Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, and Illinois. Our goal is to provide energy and environmental management services that allow our clients to increase profitability by minimizing operating costs.

We custom-tailor our services to suit each and every customer’s unique needs, a proven method that has produced significant results. We save the average customer 8–15% on an annual basis.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Source:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=LB

 

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Lifestyle Changes That Can Save Energy

May 21st, 2013

There are many habits that we have which do nothing but waste energy. If you are looking to quickly and easily cut your electric bill, slightly altering some of your habits may be the best way to do that.

Habits That Waste Energy

  • Not turning off lights when you leave a room
  • When brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet when it is not in use.
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Example that toaster you may not use every day, or your phone charger when it is not in use.
  • Replace your furnace filter to reduce strain on your furnace.
  • Set the air conditioner/ thermostat lower when you are not at home.
  • Do not stare aimlessly into your refrigerator, keeping the door shut when it is not in use will save you energy.
  • If the air conditioner is on, close the window.
  • Swap traditional light bulbs for energy saving bulbs.

Utilizing some of these quick and easy tips will dramatically lower your utility bill.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

 

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What Is Renewable Energy and Why is it Important?

May 16th, 2013

Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources that are continuously replenished such as sunlight, rain, wind and geothermal heat. About 17% of global energy consumption comes from renewable resources. Over time, that number will increase as resources become more readily available for consumer use.

Renewable energy is important because it provides many benefits. Some of the benefits include but are not limited to:

Environmental Benefits

Renewable energy can benefit the environment because it has a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. By reusing the Earth’s natural resources that are able to quickly replenish themselves, we are cutting down on our use of more precious natural resources such as coal or oil.

Long Term Use

Renewable energy is just that, renewable. That means we won’t ever run out of it. Other resources are in limited supply and will be depleted someday. Unlike sunlight or wind, which will always renew itself.

Jobs

Most energy investments are spent on importing the materials into the US. Not with renewable energy, those investments are spent on building facilities and hiring people to maintain the facilities. The money you spend is staying local to create jobs and boost the economy.

Types of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from many different places. There is sunlight, which is transformed into solar energy; wind which is captured with wind turbines and flowing water which turns into hydroelectric power.

Other types of renewable energy include bioenergy, hydrogen, geothermal energy and ocean energy.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Source:

http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=527&t=1

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/why

 

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How Practical Are Solar Panels?

May 7th, 2013

The sun produces enough energy to feed plants and warm up the ground, but what if it could also power your electricity and heat or cool your home. Now that would be a great way to save money and energy. Thankfully, since the invention of the solar panel, there is a way to do this.

A solar panel is a piece of equipment that is used to convert sunlight into energy. Since the beginning of humanity, humans have been aware of how powerful the sun is and have tried to harness the suns energy for our own advantage.

More recently though, as consumers demand for a more environmentally friendly and cost efficient way to use energy in their homes, solar panels have been on the rise. While they are a great idea in many different aspects, how practical are they on your home?

The price for installing solar panels depends on where you are located, how big the building is and other factors. Regardless of the cost, once you receive your first electric bill, the savings will be obvious, by lowering your monthly electric bill. While the solar panels will not pay for themselves after the first month, it is a very cost effective way for cutting your energy bills and your carbon footprint.

While there may be an initial expense, the return on investment is worth it to cut your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly electric bill. If you are looking to protect the environment and save money in the process, installing solar panels on the roof of your building may be the best way to do that.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Source:

http://www.prlog.org/10184388-history-of-solar-panels.html

 

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Prices Climb for the Seventh Time in Eight Weeks

April 30th, 2013

Week in Review for April 12-18, 2013 US DOE

For the seventh time in eight weeks, energy prices climbed. During this seven-day report period the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 5.2%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose 3.9%. 

You can easily argue that the recent price increases were fueled by the natural gas storage reports and the natural gas rig counts. Both reports would lead you to believe that the energy markets were no longer oversupplied.

On the natural gas storage front, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported our first injection of the refill season. However, the injection was below expectations. We saw an injection of 31 Bcf. The five-year average injection for this time period was 39 Bcf. We now have 32% less gas in storage than we did last year at this time. Even more concerning was the fact that storage levels were now 4.2% below the five-year average.

On the natural gas supply side, supplies leveled off because the rig counts are down. The recent Baker Hughes rig count reported that there were only 377 active natural gas rigs in the United States. Last year at this time, we had 624 active gas rigs. This means that the natural gas rig count was 39% below last year’s levels.

These reports tend to spook the marketplace and place upward pressure on energy prices. The next wild card to watch is summer demand. The concern is that demand for natural gas may be higher this summer than last because more gas will be needed to refill the storage facilities. If we experience a hotter than normal summer, we may see more upward pressure on energy prices.

PJM Electricity
PJM Graph for Electricity – 12 Month Average Peak Power Price
On-Peak 1 Year Forward Price


Natural Gas
NYMEX Graph for Natural Gas – 12 Month Average Price per Therm at the Louisiana Well-Head
(Excludes Interstate Transportation)



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How to Save Energy in the Summer Heat

April 22nd, 2013

In case you have spent the last week under a rock, it may surprise you to discover that spring has sprung. Gone are the cold winter days, bundling up and searching for that missing mitten. Now is the time to break out those flip-flops and switch off the heater. Thankfully, for the time being, the air-cools down dramatically at night not creating unbearable conditions for us. But, what happens when the temperature remains at a constant high in the eighties, nineties or even reaching above one hundred degrees? You will be running your air-conditioning and at what cost? Surely, you do not want to spend a whole week’s paycheck on maintaining a comfortable temperature. Here are a few tips and tricks to save energy (and money) this summer:

Not using it, Turn it off!

This seems simple enough, but how many times have you exited a room and left your computer or TV on? The same goes for your lights. What is the benefit of leaving them on when there is no one in the room? It is just wasting energy.

Turn up your thermostat.

A key way to save energy in the summer is to not make the air conditioner as cold as possible. Alternatively, even to turn it off on some of those cooler summer days. What is the use of keeping the air conditioner so cold that you are wearing a sweatshirt and shivering? A comfortable temperature should be between seventy-five and seventy-eight degrees (or even a little warmer for maximum energy saving effectiveness.)

Replace your air filters.

A quick easy way to save energy is to replace the air filters in your house. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the system to run longer and increase your energy use. For a maximum energy saving benefit, replace the filters monthly. Air filters can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Quick Kitchen Helpers

If the option is to cook something in the microwave for a few minutes, or spend a longer amount of time standing over a stove, is it really a question of which is easier? Well, not only will cooking in the microwave save you time, it also uses less energy. Speaking of the kitchen, who enjoys washing dishes by hand? No one, your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then if you are in a super energy saving mood, let the dishes air dry for even more energy saving!

 

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Prices Climb for the Sixth Time in Seven Weeks

April 16th, 2013

Last week’s price drop was not repeated this week. Thus, for the sixth time in seven weeks energy prices climbed. For this seven-day report period the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 3.4%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose 3.2%.

The unusually cold temperatures that hit most of the U.S. in March played a major role in this recent price rally. The cold weather helped wipe out the natural gas storage bubble and placed upward pressure on prices.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), March 2013 had “the highest average weekly net withdrawal recorded during this four- week period since the Weekly Natural Gas Storage report began recording inventory levels in 2002.” We now have 32% less gas in storage than we did one year ago. Even more concerning is the fact that storage levels have dropped 3.8% below the five-year average.

However, here is the good news: Even though natural gas and electricity prices have risen over the last year, energy prices are still trading near their second lowest level in ten years. We can thank “shale gas” for these low prices. According to EIA, shale gas production now accounts for 30% of total gas production in the United States. To put this in perspective, consider that shale gas only accounted for 8% of production in 2007.

The next wild card to watch is summer demand. The concern is that demand for natural gas may be higher this summer than last summer because more gas will be needed to refill the storage facilities. If we experience a hotter than normal summer, we could see even more upward pressure on energy prices.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

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Renewable Energy: New York Could Soon Be Green

April 9th, 2013

Imagine New York being powered by wind, water and sunlight instead of traditional power sources. That fantasy isn’t too far from what could be reality according to a new study led by researchers from Stanford and Cornell universities. The study cites that by 2030, only 17 years from now, New York may be able to rely on totally green energy sources for power. From the windy shores of Long Island to the sunny center of New York City itself, these places may be central in New York’s new power strategy. This plan could have a ripple effect throughout the energy community and influence more states to do the same.

Their energy goal is for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support the production of about 10.4 million megawatt-hours of energy from hydro, wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas annually by 2015. The authority was 46 percent of the way to the goal at the end of last year. This in turn could lead to 30 percent renewables by 2015. This kind of progress is monumental in the field of renewable energy. Just imagine: in a New York minute, you’d be able  to get some famous New York pizza and a cup of coffee from ovens and coffee makers powered by wind or solar power!

New York isn’t the only place making green energy strides. In March, the General Assembly in Maryland passed a bill approving offshore wind turbine development. The bill itself would require electricity suppliers in Maryland to get up to 2.5 percent of their power from offshore wind as early as 2017. And it would offer a successful developer a subsidy of up to $1.7 billion over 20 years. This could be a larger step in what seems to be a bright future for green energy sources. Trade the pizza in the New York scenario for some authentic Baltimore crab cakes eaten under green energy-lit lights, because it could very well be the future.

The benefits of green, renewable energy are many. As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, they include:

  • Little to No Global Warming Emissions - Renewable energy sources produce a negligible amount of harmful emissions compared to natural gas or coal. Increasing the supply of renewable energy would replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions
  • Improved Public Health and Environmental Quality - The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs.
  • A Vast and Inexhaustible Energy Supply - Throughout the United States, strong winds, sunny skies, plant residues, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished energy resource supply. These diverse sources of renewable energy have the technical potential to provide all the electricity the nation needs many times over.
  • A More Reliable and Resilient Energy System - Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Modular systems are composed of numerous individual wind turbines or solar arrays. Even if some of the equipment in the system is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.

 

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Sources:

NY Renewable Energy Study Finds New York Could Soon Be Powered By Wind, Water And Sunlight, Huffington Post

O’Malley offshore wind bill passes, The Baltimore Sun

Benefits of Renewable Energy Use, USCUSA

 

 

 

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How to Save Energy and Cut Down on Utility Costs

March 29th, 2013

Here are a few hot tips to help you save energy and cut down on utility costs – because everyone should think about going green as the landscape gets greener with the warm weather in spring. We’re offering up a few lesser known energy efficiency tips to help you save you money this season.

- Use cold water to wash laundry – it’ll keep your colors bright and saves 90% of energy in comparison to a hot water spin cycle.

    - Consider investing in a programmable thermostat to eliminate the need to keep the heat or air blasted on high when no one is at home.

      - Test out dryer balls, which are said to reduce the drying time of your clothes by up to 50%.

        - Plug your televisions and electronic devices into power strips that you can turn off with the flick of a switch when you’re not using them. Even electronics and appliances that aren’t in use suck up energy.

          - Talk with an energy management consultant, like the experts at CQI Associates, who can audit your home and offer advice on how to save energy and cut down on utility costs.

            CQI Associates is an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            There’s A New Way To Cut Down On Energy Spending — And Get Rewards, Too

             

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            Gas Up: Increased Price of Gas Attributed to American Oil Refineries

            March 21st, 2013

            The weeks leading to the start of spring ushered in more than just warmer weather: they also saw a steep rise in the price of gas. Though President Obama’s State of the Union address pointed out that the U.S. is producing more oil on its own shores than it has in 15 years, the cost of filling up is still an issue yet to be resolved.

            So what’s causing gas stations to charge an additional 45 cents at the pump? According to analysis by the Energy Information Administration, approximately 2/3 of the price increases in gas since the start of the New Year can be attributed to what’s known as a “crack spread,” which is a measure of refinery profit margins. What this means is that American oil refiners who “crack” crude oil into gas are the party responsible for the current cost of the fuel for our cars.

            Of course, the cost of crude oil and the taxes placed upon it account for part of the refinery’s mark-up. But other contributing factors include:

            • Maintenance outages that are necessary to continue safe operations but that decrease capacity has led to less productivity, fueling the need for mark-ups
            • Regional refinery limitations and restrictions on transporting refined gasoline between oil creates price discrepancies in different areas
            • The transition from winter grade to summer grade products required to meet U.S. emissions standards and the minimal profit margin for refiners also creates incentive for increased prices

            Proposed solutions to what seems to be the ongoing issue of high prices at the pump involve setting up a reliable reserve of processed gasoline to access in times of crisis.

            We’ll be watching the cost of fueling up and reporting on any additional news related to the increased price.

            CQI Associates is an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            U.S. Gas Price Spike: Blame the Long Road From Well to Pump

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