Talking green

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!

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            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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            Commercial Energy Audits: Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

            March 15th, 2013

            Monthly utility bills have you gasping for air? Concerned about conserving and applying the maxim reduce, reuse, and recycle to the way your business operates? A professional energy assessment, or audit, might be the key to helping your company go green and embrace sustainable business operations.

            To truly maximize energy savings, businesses should take a full-bodied approach to analyzing different aspects of their office’s systems. Energy expenses can be traced to a variety of sources, and commercial energy audits generally examine the following in efforts to reduce overall consumption:

            . Temperature Settings

            . Un-occupied Cycles & Set points

            . Lighting & Lighting Control

            . Energy Management Systems

            . Air Flow

            . Exhaust Systems

            . HVAC Equipment Replacement

            . Demand Management

            . Maintenance Practices

            . Staff Participation

            Using both analysis of occupant behavior and advanced technology like blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermostats, energy auditors can glean insights regarding energy consumption and develop a plan to improve overall energy use.

            CQI Associates has developed effective energy audits based on over 15 years of facility assessments, the LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Management Certification Guidelines, as well as recommendations made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our evaluation tools are a proven way to help your business determine how it can improve its operations and run a more energy efficient building.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

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            Energy Saving Tips for Spring from National Energy Consultants

            March 8th, 2013

            It looks like “Snowquestration” wasn’t quite the crisis everyone thought it’d be, and with March flying by faster than the flocks of birds soon to be seen coming back from down south, there’s no question spring is imminent. Here are a few energy-saving tips to keep in mind as the weather begins to warm.

            Get Natural – Circulation

            Popping open a window can work wonders to bring cool air in while circulating the hot out. As the temperatures drop in the evening, consider turning your fans and air conditioners off and leaving your windows open during the night. In the morning, you can close them up to help keep the cool air inside.

            Turn it Up

            If you can keep your thermostat turned high, creating little difference between the temperature indoors and out, your cooling system won’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature, thereby lowering monthly utility bills.

            Become a Fan of Fans

            Fans have the capacity to keep you cool, while allowing you to raise your thermostat by about four degrees without creating discomfort.

            Beat the Heat

            Do what you can to avoid creating more heat in the house. Opt for the stove, microwave, outdoor grill, or raw foods so that you don’t radiate heat by turning on the oven. Make use of natural light whenever possible, opening blinds and shades partway. Try not to run appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines until you have a full load.

            If you want to save energy in the spring, a little common sense will go a long way in lowering your monthly utility bills and making your home a greener place to be.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            Spring and Summer Energy-Saving Tips

             

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            Energy News: Energy Department and USDA Support Energy Efficiency Initiatives

            March 1st, 2013

            Imagine the fuel (and energy) it takes to power tractors, plows, tillers – the equipment that goes hand in hand with running a farm. Expensive? No doubt. The Energy Information Administration approximates that families living in rural areas spend close to $400 extra each year on energy bills than the average urban dwelling family.

            Making energy more affordable for Americans while protecting natural resources has become a federal concern; the government, its departments, and agencies have been working in recent years to address this issue. The USDA is one such department – its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), is collaborating with agriculture producers and rural small businesses to construct thousands of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The end result will be 7.32 kWhs in savings each year, which is enough energy to bring power to 680,000 households every year.

            The Energy Department is likewise making strides in this arena, with what’s been dubbed the “Weatherization Assistance Program,” which is aimed at assisting low income rural families in cutting back on utility expenses with a series of efficiency upgrades in the home. This might range from better insulation to replacement of windows that aren’t airtight, to fixing heating and cooling systems. Around since 1976, this program has been working for years to assist low-income families in significantly reducing their energy bills.

            The recent partnership between the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, and the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has created additional opportunities for more outreach to rural Americans. Some of the joint initiatives include:

            • Educating and offering technical assistance on energy efficiency and renewable energy into programs aimed at youth and adults.
            • Informing about tax credit incentives and other financing options for energy upgrades in the home.
            • Stand behind energy efficiency and renewable energy targets in rural areas to create more jobs, increase business opportunities, and boost local economies.

            CQI Associates is also a part of the movement to bring green energy to Americans everywhere. As a leading energy consultant, CQI implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            Energy Department and USDA Partner to Support Energy Efficiency in Rural Communities

             

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            Solar Energy, Drip Irrigation, and Revolutionized Farming Methods

            February 22nd, 2013

            Solar energy has been making waves (or should we say, rays?) in the way energy is consumed and produced, and now it’s beginning to bring change to rural and underdeveloped areas. In Benin, a small country in West Africa, photovoltaic panels are powering drip irrigation systems in the district of Kalalé, which has made strides in improving their food production.

            The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), launched a plan in 2007 to put solar-powered drip irrigation systems in two dry and rural West African villages, Dunkassa and Bessassi. Combining two forms of technologies – solar power and drip irrigation – that had known success separately but were not often used in conjunction with one another, SELF helped bring water to the arid areas so crops could get the water needed to thrive.

            With the dry season making up half of the year in Benin, the country has had a deficit of fresh vegetables, contributing to ongoing issues related to malnutrition and sickness, especially in children.

            Traditionally, drip irrigation systems have been powered by diesel engines that bring reservoir water through pipes and to the plant roots. SELF envisioned these irrigation systems running off of solar power in an economical fashion. Though the dual solar-irrigation systems cost around $25,000, according to SELF, the ROI is seen in two to three years. The conclusion? Though the initial overheard costs are higher, solar still proves to be cost effective over time, especially with the rising prices of fuel.

            With a grant from National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge Initiative, SELF is moving forward to shed more light on the situation in West Africa, bringing solar systems to homes, schools, health clinics, and more. It’s one step towards bringing their solar integrated development model to the developing world.Over time, this technology will be utilized in the United States to provide similar benefits by leveraging solar power in innovative ways.

            CQI Associates implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa

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            The State of the Union Address, Energy Consumption, and Environmental Impact

            February 21st, 2013

            Obama’s State of the Union Address sparked continued discussion of energy reform and the ongoing debate about climate change. Here’s our rundown on what the president has proposed as a part of his agenda this past Tuesday.

            - Obama called Congress to action to issue legislation that seeks to quash carbon pollution while promoting the production of clean energy.

            - Taking the energy crisis and rising environmental concerns seriously, Obama expressed his intention to develop executive actions in conjunction with his cabinet to make strides in reducing pollution, dealing with the effects of climate change, and rapidly evolving the sustainable energy market.

            - Talk of an Energy Security Trust is in the works, which would use revenue from federal oil and gas production to fund research and technology to end the need to use oil as automotive fuel.

            - Obama also announced his intention to promote the development of cleaner-burning natural gas with Congress’ help in order to protect the environment.

            Whatever may happen in the upcoming term in terms of advancements in energy and environmental care, one thing’s for sure: you don’t have to wait until legislation is made to keep up with more sustainable energy practices. The energy consultants at CQI can help public and private clients alike to optimize energy consumption, reduce environmental liability, seek out renewable energy sources, and more.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            In State of the Union Obama Targets Energy, Climate

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            Why the Power Went Out at the Super Bowl

            February 15th, 2013

            When the power went out after the half time show at the Super Bowl, it was easy to jokingly place the blame on Beyonce’s lit-up song and dance routine complete with holographs. And while it’s possible that her powerful performance caused the power to go out, putting the grid on overload just like when too many appliances run in the same room at once, experts predict that it’s unlikely.

            Though the cause of the blackout at the Super Bowl is still being investigated, many believe it has to do with a piece of equipment failing and thereby causing a short circuit, which in turn lead to a circuit breaker opening and disconnecting power to a part of the stadium circuits.

            The Superdome’s energy provider, Entergy, quickly released a statement during the Super Bowl blackout saying that it was still servicing the area and that the problem was related to an electricity abnormality. Later, both the Superdome and Entergy issued a joint statement revealing that the equipment that monitored electrical load “sensed an abnormality in the system” (Source). Once the irregularity was detected, the circuit breaker, as is standard, opened a breaker to cut power to part of the Superdome – this is meant to prevent fires caused by overheated wires.

            Though Entergy cannot reveal how much electricity was being used at the time of the blackout during the Super Bowl, what we do know is that prior to the event, Entergy agreed to donate carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions from the high-energy use. Including NFL hotels, the Morial Convention Center, and the Superdome during the week of the game, an anticipated 3.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions were expected to be produced. So while you’re cheering on your favorite team and chowing down on chips next year during the Super Bowl, take a moment to remember exactly how much energy is being used so the game can go on.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            What Caused the Super Bowl Blackout at the Superdome?

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            Why LEED-Certified Buildings are Worthwhile

            February 1st, 2013

            LEED Certification: it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. A third party evaluation process, LEED is meant to improve building performance while facilitating healthy environments for its occupants. Providing a set of guidelines that support building owners and operators in producing green building design, construction, and maintenance, the LEED program is recognized on an international scale.

            Here are some concrete ways in which LEED-certified buildings provide environmentally friendly spaces that simultaneously save money in the long run. LEED-certified buildings…

            • Reduce operating costs while increasing asset value
            • Cut down on waste that winds up in landfills
            • Conserve both energy and water
            • Provide healthy, non-toxic spaces for occupants
            • Diminishes harmful greenhouse gas emissions
            • Qualifies building owners for tax rebates, zoning allowances, and additional incentives in many areas across the States

             

            For business everywhere, a LEED-certified building can lend a hand in boosting bottom lines. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED-certified buildings yield the following measurable savings:

            New Construction:

            Operating costs – lower 13.6%

            Building Value – increases 10.9%

            ROI – improves 9.9%

            Occupancy – rises 6.4%

            Rent – increases 6.1%

            Existing Building Projects:

            Operating costs – lower 8.5%

            Building Value – increases 6.8%

            ROI – improves 2.5%

            Occupancy – rises 1%

            Rent – increases 19.2%

            Those numbers are real, and CQI Associates, a forerunning energy and environmental management consulting company can help your business leverage those savings with our LEED Certification and Green Building Certification Project Management in Maryland, Washington, DC, and nationwide.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            LEED

            LEED is good for business

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            Commercial Businesses Turn to Energy Co-Ops for Huge Savings

            January 31st, 2013

            For any company, paying utility bills is a customary albeit costly aspect of keeping work operations in order. Across the States, for a long time, business owners had to pay local utility companies for their natural gas and electricity needs – and then, the prices were dictated by the Public Service Commission. Thanks to electric deregulation laws issued in the late 1990s and early 2000s, business owners – and consumers of all sorts – can source energy from a self-selected supplier. This makes it possible for companies to take advantage of what a commercial co-op has to offer. What does this mean for them?

            -Fixed rate monthly fee for electric and gas bills, which won’t fluctuate while under contract, in spite of changes in your energy use.

            -Lower utility costs due to the combined purchasing power of the group.

            -Access to clean, renewable, wind powered electricity with select energy cooperatives.

            CQI Associates is a leading energy consultant providing access to residential and commercial energy cooperatives in energy deregulated states across the U.S. By aggregating the kilowatt load of each business in the co-op, CQI is able to negotiate overall utility costs to a low and fair price. Below, see the list of areas we service with our cost-effective commercial energy co-ops:

            Energy Deregulated States with Energy Co-Op Access:

            • Arizona
            • Arkansas
            • California,
            • Connecticut
            • Delaware
            • Illinois
            • Maine
            • Maryland
            • Massachusetts
            • Michigan
            • Montana
            • Nevada
            • New Hampshire
            • New Jersey
            • New Mexico
            • New York
            • Ohio
            • Oklahoma
            • Oregon
            • Pennsylvania
            • Rhode Island
            • Texas
            • Virginia
            • Washington, DC

             

             

             

            Though we handle the complicated aspects of energy management, we want the interested client to be involved if they so choose, which is why we offer informational meetings and webinars to provide education about the process. Nevertheless, our primary mission is to handle commercial utility concerns so that business owners can direct their focus on core objectives and company goals.

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

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

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