Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Home energy efficiency’ tag

Colorado Senate Attempts to Strike Delicate Energy Balance

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Yikes. Once again I’m conflicted between an awareness that we need to move towards domestic, renewable energy, and an understanding that this move is expensive.

I am more than willing, and fortunate to be able, to pay 20% more in my power bill to support these efforts, but there are plenty of people who are not so inclined, and even if they were, cannot afford to do so.

One solution is energy efficiency. Homes and businesses that are properly insulated, have efficient appliances and machinery, and that use energy wisely can reduce their energy costs, thus enabling slightly higher bills per unit of energy used.

Hopefully our state legislature can succeed in striking this delicate balance.

The Associated Press February 10, 2011, 8:32AM ET

Colo. renewable energy rules survive GOP offensive


Colorado Democrats slammed the door Wednesday on Republican plans to undo clean-energy policies adopted in recent years.

A Democrat-controlled Senate committee narrowly rejected three Republican proposals to lower consumer utility bills.

Democrats said they sympathized with residents paying steeper power bills but insisted the proposed changes would be short-sighted.

Read the entire article here.

Natural Gas and Alternative Energy: A Promising Combination

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Washington Free Press

posted Mar. 28, 2010   

Possible benefits include drought-protected electricity for Seattle

by Martin Nix

Natural gas is used to heat homes and to generate much of the nation’s electricity. It’s a very effective fuel, and there’s no shortage of it domestically. It can even be made from urban compost and forest residues.

Another benefit of natural gas is that it is “clean burning,” at least in comparison with most other fuels. The emissions from Natural Gas are basically half water vapor and half CO2, with practically no other pollutants. The CO2 emissions can be greatly reduced by integrating alternative energy technology.


Conserving gas in this way also helps to keep line pressure up in the pipeline. Part of the problem with natural gas distribution is pipe diameter size. Pipes can only haul so much natural gas. In the winter, when the natural gas utility is overloaded, it can cause a drop in line pressure. Solar hot water systems help relieve the overload. This lessens the need for gas infrastructure improvements.


Another way to reduce consumption of gas is to have an aggressive greenhouse and window-replacement program. Some homes now have four panes of glass, instead of just one or two. This reduces the amount of heat escaping. It also has another bonus: the home is quieter from outside noise.


Cogeneration is a system that uses natural gas not only to generate electricity on-site, but also to heat or cool the site. Equipment can be retrofited to existing commercial buildings, like laundrymats, which have a constant high demand for hot water. Grocery stores have a constant energy demand for air conditioning, especially in the summer. The heat from a natural gas electrical generator is recaptured to drive a hot water boiler or an absorption-cycle air conditioner. This makes natural gas more efficient, in that it uses the same amount of energy to make both heat and electricity. Electricity is almost like a free bonus.

Read the entire article here.

Residential Energy Efficiency Market Poised for Strong Growth During the Economic Recovery

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February 2, 2010

As new home sales in the United States declined and the home remodeling market slowed in recent years, many residential product and service categories have experienced a significant drop in business.  However, out of the recession is emerging a positive outlook for growth in energy efficient products and services for homes, according to a new report from Pike Research.  This sector, which comprises energy efficient home improvements, high-efficiency appliances, and home energy auditing services, holds the potential to generate significant new revenue opportunities as well as creating a large number of new green collar jobs.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

February 3rd, 2010 at 8:39 am

Indiana Senate, House panels approve `net metering’ bills

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Measures like these go a long way to decentralizing the energy grid and giving citizens and firms control over energy usage. The first step is to make the homes and businesses as efficient as possible, then install power generation facilities.

The Associated Press
Thursday, January 21, 2010; 6:51 PM

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill aimed at utility customers who install renewable power sources such as wind turbines is seriously flawed and would hurt Indiana’s renewable energy movement, clean energy advocates told a state Senate committee Thursday.

The bill would expand the number of customers who can send excess power from wind, solar and other renewable energy systems back into the electric grid – an option currently limited to schools and homeowners.

But before the Senate Utilities and Technology Committee approved the bill 8-3 and sent it to the full Senate, it endorsed changes that drew strong criticism from supporters of efforts to expand Indiana’s “net metering” rules.

Current rules allow homeowners and schools that generate up to 10 kilowatts per customer to get credit on future bills for excess power they produce. The amended bill sponsored by Sen. James Merritt, R-Indianapolis, would bar customers who generate more than 10 kilowatts from carrying over such credit on future bills.

Read the entire article here.

Energy Efficiency Can Mean Lower Taxes

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From cakes and weekends at the Four Seasons, now to tax breaks, as if we needed more incentive to save energy.

Energy efficiency improvements can also reduce your tax liability

By CAROLE FELDMAN Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON January 19, 2010 (AP)

Making energy efficient improvements to your home will do more than reduce your energy costs — they’ll also reduce your tax bill.

The tax credit for energy-efficient windows or doors, air conditioners or furnaces, or other energy-saving improvements disappeared in 2008, but returned for 2009 and 2010 — at an even higher value. This is one case where procrastination paid off.


Homeowners who choose alternative energy could be in for a bigger tax credit.

There’s a 30 percent tax credit with no maximum for homeowners who install solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps or small wind turbines. The credit also applies to site preparation and installation.

Read the entire article here.

Save Energy, Reap Rewards

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If this business, Earth Aid, is actually making money this way, it is a fantastic model. I’m not sure it’s the first program of its kind, as demand side management (DSM) is pretty common, but the greater the variety of incentives to use energy more efficiently, the better. Simply saving money on a utility bill should be sufficient incentive to reduce energy use. Still, if businesses can generate more sales by providing incentives like these to consumers, it has a synergistic effect. Gotta love those market signals.

Posted on Sun, Jan. 17, 2010

By Diane Mastrull

Inquirer Staff Writer

You manuever the controls on your thermostat, hoping for a few more degrees of warmth.

But wait! What if there were a reward for leaving the setting right where it is – or, better yet, for lowering it?

What if putting up with a little chill got you a price break on a butter pound cake split three ways and filled with lemon curd and blackberry and raspberry puree – the hopelessly tantalizing spring torte from Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill?

Or maybe a $10 coupon for native plants or artisanal goat-milk cheeses at Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs? Or a bed-and-breakfast package at the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City?

Perks like those are part of a growing list from local businesses hoping to improve their bottom lines by promoting a greener lifestyle.

Rewards for households that recycle are well-known through RecycleBank, which got its start here in 2005.

Now comes what is believed to be a first: a rewards program for saving energy.

Earth Aid, a Washington start-up, enables U.S. residents to track their electric, gas, and water usage online and, by cutting back on it, earn points that can be redeemed at local businesses.

Read the entire article here.

You can thank Arthur Rosenfeld for energy savings

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I discussed Dr. Rosenfeld in an earlier post.  Great stuff.

He has been a driving force in making the state a global leader in efficiency. This week, the 83-year-old nuclear physicist will leave his post on the California Energy Commission.

By Marc LifsherJanuary 11, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento – When octogenarian Arthur H. Rosenfeld vacates his utilitarian office at the California Energy Commission this week, one of his final tasks might seem of little consequence: He’ll turn off the lights.

But that simple act — some would say compulsion — has transformed California into a world leader in energy efficiency.

California homes are loaded with personal computers, widescreen TVs, iPods, PlayStations, air conditioners, massive refrigerators, hot tubs and swimming pool pumps. Despite that, Golden State residents today use about the same amount of electricity per capita that they did 30 years ago.

For that, they can largely thank Rosenfeld, a slight, bespectacled nuclear physicist fueled by a passion to wring the most out of every kilowatt. Polite and affable, with a knack for making science understandable to people who couldn’t screw in a lightbulb, Rosenfeld, starting in the 1970s, provided California energy regulators the data they needed to enact some of the toughest efficiency standards in the world.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 11th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

CES features devices to track and save energy at home

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Excellent. Tools like this save money and save energy. Everybody wins.

Jan 07, 2010

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is showcasing  new devices to track and save energy at home, an area of growing interest as President Obama embraces a smart grid for the United States.

Home Energy Manager, which will help consumers track and save energy at home, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. It was deveoped by Direct Energy, Lennox International, Whirlpool Corporation, Best Buy and Open Peak.
Of particular note is the prototype of the Home Energy Manager (HEM), unveiled today in Las Vegas. It tells consumers how much energy they are using, which appliances are consuming the most and how much it is costing.

HEM  features a touch-screen dashboard, with an iPhone-like interface, that allows users to  program their appliances to run at certain times and to avoid energy consumption during peak periods. It also provides access to news, social networking, music and movie applications.

“The Home Energy Manager has the potential to do for home energy management what the iPhone did for communication,” says David Dollihite, vice president of product development at Direct Energy, in an announcement.

Written by Jason

January 7th, 2010 at 9:22 pm