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Not All Kilowatts Are Created Equal

In January of 2010 the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, a private-public initiative, was created to develop an aggressive national commitment to energy efficiency, with a goal of curbing our energy usage 50% by 2025. Considering homes, businesses, schools, governments and industries account for more than 70% of the natural gas and electricity consumed in the U.S., one of the best ways to become a more energy efficient nation is to target building energy consumption.

 

How does this affect us?


Based on the initiatives of several states and utility companies, there are several ways to encourage the end-consumer to curb their energy consumption:

 

  • Demand Response – manages peak electrical demand by providing incentives to utility companies and customers to reduce load on demand
  • Critical Peak Pricing – energy charges are increased significantly during peak electrical demands, often charging up to 4 times more per kWh than during off peak hours.
  • Smart Meters – helps consumers more closely monitor their energy usage, allowing them to see where they can alter their energy consumption

 

Some states, especially those like Texas, who are suffering severe heat waves are in an energy crisis where the threat of black outs during the hottest points of the day are looming ever closer. With the threat of overloaded electrical grids and rotating power outages and an overall increased demand for electrical use, consumers are left asking the question:

 

What can we do?


With record breaking heat waves occurring across the country, it is imperative to reduce our electrical usage, especially during peak demand periods, before the grids become too overloaded and we are left in 110˚ heat without any air conditioning relief. Fortunately, there are several key strategies to reduce our consumption, especially between the critical hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the hottest summer months:

 

  • Raise your set thermostat temperature by 2-3˚ and notice up to 20-30% reduction in your electrical bill
  • Remember to turn the lights off in all empty rooms and wait to run the washing machine and dishwasher during off-peak hours
  • Install a Solar Attic Fan to allow your air conditioning unit to run without fighting the attic heat. Most customers will notice a 30-50% reduction in their energy consumption, ESPECIALLY during the hottest points of the day
  • Install Skylight Tubes in the darker corners of your home: closets, hallways, home office space to eliminate the need entirely for light switches in the daytime. 90% of the energy a typical incandescent light bulb emits is heat, further heating up your home and raising your electrical consumption

 

The energy crisis is gaining respect as consumers are no longer able to ignore the rising costs, from the fuel pump to their air conditioning bill. It is imperative we make our homes more energy efficient, but as many of us know, many energy efficient household improvements are entirely too costly. U.S. Sunlight has created products that allow homeowners to make incremental changes to the energy efficiency of their home without sacrificing their pocket books, it’s our way of helping you go green and save green.

 

Cooling off the less costly way

Let the mercury hit 100 degrees Friday. Joan Harvey will reach for a cool moist towel, a handheld fan and iced tea. Her 1873 home in historic Mount Tabor has no air conditioning.

 

“I’ve lived most of my life in England where they don’t have air conditioning, and so I’m not interested in it,” Harvey said. “It takes up too much power. Besides, I think it’s unhealthy to circulate used air.”

 

People are better off with cross-ventilation, in Harvey’s opinion. Environmentally sensitive people shared a variety of ways they respond to the heat wave, such as the one that will descend on the Morris area today.

 

State meteorologist/climatologist Keith Arnesen, who said July temperatures have been two degrees above normal, predicts temperatures pushing 90 and climbing higher as the week wears on. “There probably will be some weather stations in New Jersey that hit 100 degrees Friday,”Arnesen said. “It’s going to be well above normal for the remainder of the week, some days more so than others.”

 

Yet Scott Olson of Byram still doesn’t regret his decision not to fix his air conditioner after it broke in 2009. He lives in a 1927 chestnut cabin, with a 1986 addition, in a wooded area near Lake Mohawk.

 

For the past two years, he’s been working with nature instead of turning on an air conditioner that churns out carbon dioxide. The result? An electric bill half of what he used to pay and more peace of mind.

 

McWilliams also urges her listeners to put their window units on a low setting and use them in conjunction with a ceiling fan, and also to make sure they don’t buy a unit with more BTUs than is required for the room they’re cooling. “A lot of new units have timers now,” she added. “If you’re at work all day, set it to turn on a half-hour before you get home.” The best ever option, she said, is an attic fan.

 

Read more here

   

Outdoor Workers Trying to Beat the Heat

We want you and your employees to stay safe in the heat of the summer. Please make sure to follow some of these precautions and pay attention to warning signs so that you always have a successful day on the job!

 

Even as temperatures soar, the job has to get done.

 

Employers and employees have to adjust to ensure that everyone stays safe in the harsh desert summer. Workers at outdoor jobs including construction, air-conditioning, agriculture, landscaping and garbage collection stand a higher risk of heat-related illnesses.

 

"It's very, very hot. Too hot, but it pays the bills," said John Booker, a laborer with Lyons Roofing of Phoenix. He and a group of other men were tearing down and replacing shingles on Tuesday atop a Glendale home.


Despite triple-digit temperatures, Booker, 22, wore a long-sleeved gray shirt over a black undershirt. He said the outfit absorbs the sweat and keeps him wet so when the wind blows, it has a cooling effect.

 

"In the winter time, this job ain't nothing," Booker said.

 

He drinks about 3 gallons of water as his workday goes by and takes regular breaks, as mandated by his foreman, Nathan Begay.

 

Begay said, "The shingles absorb the heat, so you can feel it coming through your shoes and your gloves."

 

He rotates his workers so that every 15 minutes someone is taking a break in the shade. The men started working at dawn and hoped to call it a day by 2 p.m., before the most intense heat set in.

 

U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently announced a nationwide outreach by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to educate employers and employees about the risks of working outdoors in the heat and how to prevent heat-related illnesses.

 

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 110 people died of heat-related causes in 2009, up from 85 in 2008. About 1,400 people suffer serious heat-related illnesses in Arizona annually. The average per person hospital treatment cost for heat-related illnesses in Arizona in 2008 was $7,500, with approximately $11 million spent for emergency visits.

 

Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer, claiming about 1,500 lives in the country every year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And that number is higher than the combined 30-year mean annual deaths attributed to tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.

 

About two to three people die every year from heat-related issues on the job in Arizona, said Darin Perkins, director of the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health in Phoenix. Most of these cases are in agriculture and construction industries.

 

He believes there are higher figures for heat-related illnesses, but employers are not required to report those.

Quick effects

 

Some would argue protection from the heat would be common sense in a desert, but Perkins said some people who haven't lived here long enough don't fully appreciate the dangers of the heat or how quickly an employee can become ill when working in the sun.

 

"There are times when we get too involved in our work that we are not cognizant of the danger until it's too late," Perkins said. "We are telling them that they need to be aware of the fact that heat kills and can cause serious illness."

 

Muscle cramps or spasms are an early-warning sign of heat illness. Sweating heavily, headache and vomiting are also signs of heat exhaustion, which can quickly progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke can lead to death or damage to the brain and vital organs.

 

Perkins said his office encourages employers to provide enough water, adequate rest periods and shade for employees exposed to high temperatures.

 

Employers who don't take precautions to protect workers could receive an OSHA citation leading to a fine of up to $70,000. However, in the event of death, Perkins said, the liability could be more serious than an OSHA penalty.

 

Harold Gribow, safety director for the Phoenix-based Arizona Small Business Association, said that when needed, he advises members to start work as early as legally possible and get workers off the job before the hottest times of the day.

 

"The earlier you can work, the better it is for the worker," Gribow said.

 

He also said employers should encourage workers to hydrate even before feeling thirsty.

 

"If you are dying from thirst, you are already dehydrated," he said. "Be aware that if you have gone hours and you have been drinking water, but haven't had to go to the bathroom, you are probably dehydrated and need to drink more."

More awareness

 

Companies such as Cave Creek-based Rubbish Works, which provides waste disposal, junk removal and rubbish-pickup services for residential and commercial clients, are on heat alert.

 

Co-owner Dave Toon says he provides safety training once every month, and on smaller jobs, he provides sun protection and a cooler for workers' water. On bigger jobs, he provides water and Gatorade to restore electrolytes.

 

He requires his employees to take a full 10-minute-break in the truck every hour and a half, with the air-conditioning running.

 

"My boys are the most important thing to me, I want to make sure they are not hurt or injured," Toon said. "No matter what they do, I require that they take that break."

 

Ann Pepper, director of business development at Lyons Roofing, said the company adjusts work hours during the summer to get the job done as early in the day as possible.

 

"We hope to get them on the roof by 6 and off the roof by 12," she said. "That's a healthy approach. The sun is dangerous."

 

The company also provides water, hats and sunscreen for workers.

 

"I tell everybody, 'Wear sunblock and move it down to the chest,' " Pepper said.

 

With about 70 employees who work outdoors, the company has safety meetings twice a month, and has certified a number of workers in first aid. The company also employs a full-time safety officer exclusively to monitor the safety of workers on the jobs.

 

Begay, who has lived in the in Phoenix area all his life, said he was used to the high temperatures, but still takes all the precautions.

 

This is the first heat outreach campaign of its kind undertaken by the Labor Department, and will be an ongoing program, according to Deanne Amaden, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor in San Francisco.

 

The department will reach out to tribal organizations, federal organizations such as the Border Patrol and Forest Service and military bases, Amaden said.

 

Even though the number of occupational heat-related deaths in Arizona is small, Amaden said, one fatality was one too many.

 

"If you think about that one worker who dies, that's a family with no income or no one to take care of the children," she said.

 

References:
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2011/07/06/20110706outdoor-workers-heat.html

   

Interesting Facts About the Sun

Think you know everything there is to know about the Sun? Think again. Here are 10 facts about the Sun, collected in no particular order. Some you might already know, and others will be totally new to you.

 

1. The Sun is the Solar System
We live on the planet, so we think it’s an equal member of the Solar System. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that the mass of the Sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the Solar System. And most of that final 0.2% comes from Jupiter. So the mass of the Earth is a fraction of a fraction of the mass of the Solar System. Really, we barely exist.

2. And the Sun is mostly hydrogen and helium
If you could take apart the Sun and pile up its different elements, you’d find that 74% of its mass comes from hydrogen. with 24% helium. The remaining 2% is includes trace amounts of iron, nickel, oxygen, and all the other elements we have in the Solar System. In other words, the Solar System is mostly made of hydrogen.

Read more at:
http://www.universetoday.com/17982/10-interesting-facts-about-the-sun/
NASA Science
NASA SOHO
NASA Stereo

   

The Solar Plan

Improving the world through passive solar homes, plans, and solar energy

 

www.TheSolarPlan.com

   

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U.S. Sunlight Corp is the leader in design and manufacturing of solar attic fans, solar attic fan, solar powered attic fan, attic fan, attic fans, skylight tubes, tubular skylights, roof vent, roof vents, attic ventilation and solar attic ventilation, solar roof vents, gable fans, solar gable fan, solar gable fans, solar controller, solar attic remote control, attic heat removal, solar attic vent, solar attic ventilation, solar powered attic ventilation, and daylighting products. Remove heat from your attic and maintain a cooler house while removing moisture from your attic space and building materials. All products come with a manufacturer's warranty and have federal and local tax credits available.