Tag: Energy

Finally Google reveals its energy consumption

Finally Google reveals its energy consumption

Though Google has been tight-lipped about how much power its vast data farms suck up, last week the company gave outsiders a first glimpse into its energy use and emissions.

On Thursday, the internet search and services giant disclosed details of energy consumption by its data centers and offices for the year 2010. Google claims to be carbon neutral. By using renewable energy from large solar panels in Mountain View and two wind farms, along with purchasing carbon offsets, the internet giant has managed to reduce its greenhouse emissions to zero since 2007.

Gary Cook, an IT analyst at Greenpeace stated: “We’ve seen lots of leadership from Google on clean energy investment and climate advocacy, but not in terms of transparency. It’s good to see them finally put their carbon footprint data on the table.”

Google claims to be carbon neutral. By using renewable energy from large solar panels in Mountain View and two wind farms, along with purchasing carbon offsets, the internet giant has managed to reduce its greenhouse emissions to zero since 2007.

In-depth details posted:- According to the figures released on a new webpage called “The Big Picture,” the total energy consumed by the company’s facilities, its 29,000 employees, and its other operations was roughly 260 million watts last year.

The company also emitted 1.46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010, with 1.2 million metric tons coming from data centers and offices. Google’s vehicles added about 11,000 tons of emissions, while traveling, construction, and commuting contributed another 207,000 tons.

Though its power consumption appears large, Google claims it is just about 0.01 percent of the world’s electricity usage.

In a blog post, Urs Hoelzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure stated: “We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of energy our services use. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month – not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer – our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours.”

Efficiency measures:- Google claims to be carbon neutral. By using renewable energy from large solar panels in Mountain View and two wind farms, along with purchasing carbon offsets, the internet giant has managed to reduce its greenhouse emissions to zero since 2007.

Google’s power usage from renewable sources was 25 percent in 2010 which is expected to increase to 35 per cent by 2012. Also, by focusing on issues such as power distribution, cooling, and ensuring hot and cool air don’t intermingle at the company’s facilities, Google has decreased its energy consumption.

Hoelzle stated: “For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centers in the world, using half the electricity of a typical data center.”

“Our newest facility in Hamina, Finland, opening this weekend, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity,” Hoelzle added.

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Solar Energy AZ Architecture Tradition

Solar Energy AZ Architecture Tradition

With the age of renewable resources upon us it seems like everyone is considering adding in ways to use one of them in their architecture- wind energy, hydroelectric energy, Solar Energy AZ has a long history of awareness of their unique blessing of excess sun. Arizonans have adapts throughout history in order to survive in the climatic intensity of the environment.

Solar energy Arizona residents claim that solar energy is the most natural thing in the world for them. The cliff dwelling- Montezuma Castle was designed with solar energy architecture principles in mind. The castle is oriented to the south, features deep eaves and has exceptional thermal mass. While it may seem hard to believe, the caves of Montezuma’s Castle provided shelter from the hot sun, but redirected its potential scalding qualities to benefit the inhabitants in the winter by using the heat storing abilities of the stone building materials.

Today’s Arizona features solar buildings in nearly every city and town. The concern of individuals installing solar panels 20 years ago was longevity of the panels- they still work fine two decades after installation. October has become a unique month for solar energy lovers in Arizona. There are numerous local tours all over the state where homeowners run open houses to help people understand the functionality of solar energy and answer questions they may have. These opportunities are wonderful for individuals who are considering making the switch to solar panels but are concerned or have questions about the process. It’s also a great time for those who have decided they are definitely interested to speak with homeowners who have already had panels installed about their experiences with varying suppliers.
Even the Arizona National Guard has an Eco-building featuring the benefits of using solar energy Phoenix. It houses the Eco-building which is burrowed into the land. The dense walls block out summer heat but utilizing the “Earthship” construction method. There are solar panels for electricity generation and even solar water heaters. Conscious of energy waste the equipment inside is all high efficiency to compliment the self-sufficient building.

While the rest of the country is just beginning to embrace solar panels- Arizona has perfected a culture which readily accepts the benefits of their position in the sun and has evolved their curiosity past directional facing, past solar panels and is looking beyond water heaters even. The architecture of Arizona has always bent to the will of the sun, it’s a tradition which has saved the state’s residents money and helped reduce energy waste in the world.

People really enjoy the benefits of Solar Panels Arizona in their regular activities. There are also many advantages of Solar Energy Phoenix that easily generates renewable energy.

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Do it Yourself Energy Efficiency Projects: Your Home’s Thermal Envelope (Part 4)

Do it Yourself Energy Efficiency Projects: Your Home’s Thermal Envelope (Part 4)

The most expensive part of doing laundry is using hot water. And while you might be able to switch to using warm or cold water for your laundry, having hot water for bathing or cooking or washing dishes is an important convenience. Currently, the most efficient way to heat water for a home is an on-demand water heater. While these are increasing in popularity in the US, most homes still rely on the old tank-style water heater. Basically, its a 40 or so gallon tank of water that is heated either by natural gas or electric heating elements. True, the method works well but most of the energy used by tank water heaters is just for maintaining hot water on stand-by and ready for use. That means, it’s heating water when you are asleep or at work or on vacation. So, a lot of energy is wasted. Water heater tanks are wrapped with insulation but adding more will save energy.

Put a water heater blanket around your water heater. Most water heater blankets at the home center tend to be about an inch thick so that they can be sold in one piece but not be too heavy to be held up with tape. These are made of plastic-covered fiberglass and you wrap them around your water heater. In terms of R factors of insulation (R-value indicates an insulation’s resistance to heat flow), you will adding about 3 R’s worth.

You can make water heater blanket with higher R-values. One method is to use reflective aluminum foil insulation (a.k.a. foil-clad bubble-wrap) and cut enough strips long enough to go around your water heater twice. You could then add the store-bought water heater blanket and have an R-value of more than 7.5. With this amount of insulation, you should be able to turn down your heater’s thermostat and save even more money.

For safety, do not block any of the control panels, block off the bottom, or put any of insulation across the top of your water heater. Never obstruct the pressure release valve.

Keeping your hot water hot doesn’t stop at the water heater. Insulating your hot water pipes will also save energy and cut energy costs. Consider this: each time you turn on the tap for your shower, you let the water run until it gets warm. Let’s say the pipe from you water heater to your shower is 20 feet long. Now, that might only be a quart but that can turn into a couple of hundred gallons for a family of four in the course of a year. Also, consider that after your shower, there is still hot water in the pipe. By adding insulation, that heated water will cool more slowly. If you insulate your pipes efficiently enough, heat from the water heater will be more efficiently contained in your hot water pipes. You won’t need to wait as long for that hot water, you will waste less water, and you will save more money.

Just Venting…

There are several ways you can improve the efficiency of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). If you have an old thermostat that isn’t programmable, turn off your furnace circuit breaker, carefully disconnect the thermostat from your wall, and throw it out.

Programmable thermostats can be found for under $ 25, are commonly found in home centers, and are easy to install. They connect to the same four wire leads that hooked up to your old thermostat. By programming temperature settings in your house to be colder during the winter or warmer during the summer when you are asleep or away, you can save energy and money.

Another easy way of increasing efficiency is to monitor your system’s air filters regularly. Depending on your lifestyle, you should change the filters regularly. If where you live tends to be dusty from busy nearby streets or if you have pets, change the filters every month. In some homes, it can be done every three months.

While disposable filters are cheaper, their expense builds quickly over time. Consider purchasing two washable air filters. Washable air filters usually cost less than $ 20 and can be rinsed out in a bathtub with hot, soapy water (in the summer, I hit mine with a pressure washer). By buying two, you can swap in a clean, dry one right way when its time to change out the other dirty filter.

One way to significantly improve your HVAC is to check your duct work thoroughly to be sure the system is sealed. A home owner can save up to $ 300 from their annual heating and cooling costs by sealing their duct work. Start at your HVAC system and feel for moving air coming from small holes or gaps in the duct work. When you find one, put a piece of aluminum HVAC tape over the hole. Remember: The volume of air leaked adds up; the more leaks you have the less efficient your system is. Check the entire run of your duct work; feel for air leaking from ductwork seams and loose joints. Check at the corners where the metal is folded for leaks, too. Also, make sure that air intake vents are not blocked by furniture or clogged with pet fur.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Saver website, insulating ducts in the typical American home costs about $ 250. Duct insulation will pay for itself in energy savings in about two and a half years, and continue to save energy and money in years to come. Depending on your duct work, there are many ways of doing this. Some 6 inch and 8 inch diameter sheet-metal ductwork can be replaced with insulated flexible ducting that costs less than $ 40 for 25 feet at a home center. If you use this, be sure to attach it so that it is snug with the supply ductwork and use aluminum HVAC tape. Other rectangular metal ductwork can be insulated with reflective aluminum foil insulation (foil-clad bubble-wrap), craft-faced fiberglass insulation, and regular gray duct tape.

Remember: you do not need to insulate the HVAC system intake ductwork, just the output side.

Bounce Energy is a Texas Electric Company based in Houston. Bounce Energy’s goal is provide more than low Texas Electric Rates to our customers. With innovative and flexible plans, excellent customer service, and superior customer rewards, Bounce Energy offers a unique approach to Texas electricity.

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Energy Conservation Tips: Homemade Solar Panels That Make Money

Energy Conservation Tips: Homemade Solar Panels That Make Money

Is an energy-independent home a myth or reality? Many households are looking for opportunities to implement energy conservation tips, which decrease overall dependence on fossil fuels while trying to reduce the monthly cost of electricity. Solar panels can achieve these goals while providing a fun project for the Do-It-Yourselfer.

Our solar panel is really a series of photovoltaic (PV) cells (the fundamental unit of the panel) joined together to produce a voltage, whose output is the sum of the individual cells. Building a panel from scratch is a matter of wiring the cells together, affixing them to a flat surface (such as a piece of plywood) and covering the cells with a layer of glass to protect them from the elements. For those of us that don’t want to pay full price but want to save money, there are kits, which contain all of the components. Joining a sufficient number of panels permits the green household to actually sell power back to the Grid.

There are for fundamental components of a homemade solar panel system: The solar panel; Charge controller/regulator; Battery; and Inverter.

The solar panel: Solar panel When we think of a solar system, we see a solar panel, the total voltage is the sum of the voltage of all the photovoltaic cells in the system. To determine how many panels are needed we need to look at and average out the energy usage that appears on our bills.

The charge controller / regulator: The charge controller helps to maximize the life of the battery by the prevention of overcharging. It also follows the discharge status of the battery day and night.

Battery: Once the electricity is generated, that which is not immediately used must be stored for future use. This is the job of the battery. The deep-cycle marine battery is a better choice than the traditional auto battery because it is capable of storing all of the electricity generated by the solar panels.

The inverter: When we insert a plug into the wall to power our toaster or TV, what comes out is AC or Alternating Current. Unfortunately, the electricity generated by the solar panels and stored in the battery is DC or Direct Current. It is the job of the inverter to convert DC electricity into AC power.

If a solar panel system is designed with the intent of generating enough electricity to “sell back” to the Grid, then the components will include the AC Breaker Panel, and the Kilowatt-per-Hour Indicator are required. The KW per Hour indicator, for example is necessary to track how much current is provided to and from the grid to determine the charge or credit that appears on your monthly electric bill.

As we plan to implement energy conservation tips such as homemade solar panels, we should not forget the less expensive but equally important options such as Energy-saver fluorescent bulbs or things as simple as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms.

Our plan to implement energy conservation tips can include the use of homemade solar panels. Money can be saved through making solar panels from kits or assembling them from individual components.

For great free information on energy conservation check out alternative energy sources . There is a ton of great information about clean energy options .

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How to Choose the Energy Saving Light Bulbs to Stay Energy Efficient?

How to Choose the Energy Saving Light Bulbs to Stay Energy Efficient?

Looking to reduce your energy consumption and cut down on carbon emissions? You can switch to energy efficient light bulbs. They are an effective way to bring down the consumption of energy. You can replace the incandescent bulb with energy saving light bulbs to save up to 80% on the energy costs. This is again a great way to save money. According to The Energy Saving Trust, simply the lighting accounts for around 8% of energy and electricity costs and thus there is huge potential for saving energy and the electricity costs. The task of choosing the bulb can seem straightforward but it is bit intimidating. The market is full of lighting technology and light bulbs and indeed the rapid development in the lighting industry is making buyers even more cautious and choosy about the lights.

Choosing energy efficient light with more brightness

If you are looking for energy efficient light having more brightness, you may compare the value of lumens per watt to find light efficient and bright lights. To find out what kind of lamp is suitable for the application when it comes to energy efficiency, you need to compare various elements like the lamp life, the wattage, lighting output and the cost of the lamp. To find a suitable lamp, you may use energy saving calculator. Just use the calculator by entering certain values to compare the bulbs used currently to that of the bulbs you wish to replace them with. In terms of energy saving forecast, you will be able to make an informed decision.

What is the best energy saving light bulb?

Light Emitting Diodes or LED lights are the best types of energy light bulbs or power saving option. LED lights have advanced dramatically in the recent times much to the delight of the users. The prices have reduced while the lamp life and lumen efficacy has increased. As per the application, CFL or the compact fluorescents, the halogen energy savers are the best ways to save energy consumption. You can also find retrofit replacement lamp and energy saving bulbs in usual cap types including the Edison screw, bayonet and GU10. In most industries, LED is regarded as the best energy saving option. It is found recently that KED bulbs will have the market share of 60% by the year 2020. When compared to the incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs are most energy efficient since the electrical energy moves towards production of lights. If it is incandescent bulb, its filament will be burning white-hot prior to producing any light. Thus, the heat production is the waste of power wasting 80% of electrical energy. In LED, on the other hand, only 10% of electrical power gets wasted on the production of heat.

LED produces illumination with the process of electroluminescence. Thus, the light will be emitted from the material the moment the current is passed through. Since the electrons will flow in only one direction across the junction, power will not be wasted.

The author of this article has an extensive knowledge in the field of Energy Saving Bulb and Candle Bulbs.

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Consulting Energy Consultants Enabling To Save Money

Consulting Energy Consultants Enabling To Save Money

Many domestic people and the commercial owners are paying more for the energy. The present situation permits a person to pay half of the charges what is he paying now. Why the person is paying more for the energy is because he is rather not interested to know about the latest energy saving device, or the value of the above products available now to pay reduced energy bills. The truth is the efficient energy saving products are reducing the bill amount, the owners of the home and commercial establishments need not pay much by utilizing the above advantages available now to reduce the power bills. At the same time, without expert assistance, the energy could not be saved easily; the reason is the expert only understands about the replacement of the power devices from the regularly using power devices.

The New Jersey Energy Consultants, providing good information to their clients. Consulting them will take time as they are busy with many clients, if the person is able to get an appointment to meet on a day, from the next day, the person would be in a position to save power easily. The fact is energy used in a building is sucking more money of the owner, by installing the required changes to the building the owner would be able to save a big money, this money could be used for other improvement in the business. The Energy brokers Tri- state area, is promising to the owners of the homes and commercial companies.

The consultation with the Energy consultants Tri state area, is available for free, subject to conditions, all people are availing the above consultation only for free, and changing their equipments after making the discussion with the above experts. The experts in the energy conservation are doing every day research, they are finally recommending some changes to be made in the building, and it could be domestic, real estate business, Normally in particular area only the experts do their consultation service, when the matter is intensive, then the experts are opening as many branches as possible to help the suffering people by paying extra money for their energy system.

New York energy consultants are doing a great job, because the city as New York is very expensive to reside or do any business. If these people could save money, that money could be spent for the next day, therefore, the people are taking this advantage and changing their present electric system and saving money and they are quite happy now, for paying the reduced power bills. New Jersey Save on electric bill is very effective program; in this program anyone could save the energy bills. The saved bill money could be useful for any new purchases.

The author was residing in New York; he was paying more bills for the energy, he searched for Expert energy consultants New Jersey on the internet, finally he had found the above place, and he is recommending the same to everyone in the world i.e http://unitedenergyconsultants.com/
Sprayable Energy – One best alternative to boost yourself during tired working hours

Sprayable Energy – One best alternative to boost yourself during tired working hours

Sprayable Energy is a new product that’s perfect for your workday when you begin feeling tired and worn out but don’t have time for a coffee break or energy drink. Sprayable Energy is the world’s first caffeine-based topical energy spray that comes in a convenient hand-held bottle, so you can keep it in your briefcase or desk drawer and reach for it whenever you need that extra energy to keep going throughout the day.

Sprayable Energy is a colorless, odorless liquid you spray on your skin to get a steady and constant stream of energy for hours and hours. This unique patent-pending technology delivers the natural active ingredient caffeine, to give you the energy you need without the side effects and safety risks of the mystery ingredients found in today’s energy drinks that can harm your body. Sprayable Energy can be taken in just seconds, doesn’t make you crash, and is lots more affordable than anything else on the market today.

Sprayable Energy gives you a smooth, more natural feeling of energy, as if you just awakened to a fresh new morning. Sprayable Energy enters your system gradually, and gives you a steady amount of energy exactly when you need it.

Whenever you find yourself in need of the benefits of caffeine without the drawbacks, reach for Sprayable Energy instead. Each small black aluminum bottle contains up to 160 sprays of the energy you need, without the side effects of too much coffee, tea or harmful energy drinks. Each Sprayable Energy bottle is small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, or the glove compartment of your car, and lets you take your energy anywhere you go. You can literally energize in seconds and get back to doing what’s important in your life.

Caffeinated energy drink products are filled with calories and questionable ingredients that taste terrible, or the taste is covered up with lots of unhealthy sugars that your body doesn’t want or need. Sprayable Energy is 100% natural and works incredibly well to give you the exact measured dosage that’s right for you.

Sprayable Energy is the world’s first topical energy spray. It’s a product you spray on your skin to get smooth-focused energy without the downside of too many coffee or energy drinks. Sprayable Energy does not contain sugar or added calories, and doesn’t promote heartburn or an upset stomach.

If you want the energy you need, but are constantly on the go and don’t have time to brew that cup of tea or coffee during your hard day at work, reach for a handy pocket-sized bottle of Sprayable Energy and feel refreshed without the drawbacks of coffee, tea or harmful energy drinks.

If you want the energy you need, but are constantly on the go and don’t have time to brew that cup of tea or coffee, take along a handy pocket-sized bottle of Sprayable Energy today.

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Sleeping energy reviews – Leave energy drinks aside; try this magic spray

Sleeping energy reviews – Leave energy drinks aside; try this magic spray

The reviews are in and Sprayable Energy is the leading new product that gives you the energy you want without the harmful effects of energy drinks. Sprayable Energy is a product you spray directly on your skin to get smooth-focused energy, without adding sugar or calories to your diet.

Sprayable Energy is the world’s first caffeine-based topical energy spray that comes in a convenient hand-held bottle. Sprayable Energy is a colorless, odorless liquid you spray on your skin to get a steady and constant stream of energy for hours and hours. Just apply Sprayable Energy to your skin and spray 2-4 times depending on your how much energy you need. The product is clear and unscented – you won’t even notice it’s there after spraying. It’s exactly the same process as if you were spraying a fragrance – just a couple of spritzes every time you need a boost of energy.

Sprayable Energy delivers the natural active ingredient caffeine, giving you the energy you need without the side effects and safety risks of the mystery ingredients found in today’s energy drinks that can harm your body. It’s 100% natural and gives you the exact measured dosage that’s right for you and your body.

Caffeinated energy drink products are filled with calories and questionable ingredients that taste terrible, or the taste is covered up with lots of unhealthy sugars that your body doesn’t want or need. Sprayable Energy gives you a smooth, more natural feeling of energy, as if you just awakened to a fresh new morning. You can spray it on in just seconds, doesn’t make you crash, and it’s lots more affordable than anything else on the market today.

Sprayable Energy enters your system gradually, and gives you a steady amount of energy exactly when you need it.

Each small black aluminum bottle contains up to 160 sprays of new exciting Sprayable Energy. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, or the glove compartment of your car, and lets you take your energy anywhere you go. You can literally energize in seconds and get back to doing what’s important in your life.

Sprayable Energy is your best energy supplement without the harmful side effects of today’s unproven energy drinks. Apply Sprayable Energy directly on your skin today to get smooth-focused energy, without adding sugar or calories to your diet. This amazing new product is convenient and ready at an instant to give you the energy you need when you’re on the go.

If you want the energy you need, but are constantly on the go and don’t have time to brew that cup of tea or coffee, take along a handy pocket-sized bottle of Sprayable Energy today.

Sprayable Energy is the world’s first topical energy spray – which gives users a healthier and more effective alternative to coffee and energy drinks. Sprayable Energy product you spray on your skin to get smooth focused energy without the downsides of energy drinks.
Why Sprayable energy is the best alternative instead having coffee or tea

Why Sprayable energy is the best alternative instead having coffee or tea

Sprayable Energy is the world’s first topical caffeine energy spray. Sprayable Energy gives you a healthier and much more effective alternative to coffee, tea or energy drinks. It’s a product you spray on your skin to get smooth-focused energy without the downside of too many coffee or energy drinks. Sprayable Energy does not contain sugar or added calories, and doesn’t give you heartburn or an upset stomach.
 
Sprayable Energy is a new product that helps you go from feeling tired and worn out to being energized and fresh in minutes. It’s the world’s first caffeine-based topical energy spray that comes in a convenient hand-held bottle. Sprayable Energy is a colorless, odorless liquid you spray on your skin to get a steady and constant stream of energy for hours and hours. This patent-pending technology delivers the natural active ingredient caffeine, giving you the energy you need without the side effects and safety risks of the mystery ingredients found in today’s energy drinks that can harm your body. Sprayable Energy can be taken in just seconds, doesn’t make you crash, and is lots more affordable than anything else on the market today.
 
You wouldn’t skip that bike ride you’ve been looking forward to, or ditching that party you wish you had had the energy to attend. The answer is convenient and affordable Sprayable Energy.
 
Caffeinated energy drink products are filled with calories and questionable ingredients that taste terrible, or the taste is covered up with lots of unhealthy sugars that your body doesn’t want or need. Sprayable Energy is 100% natural and works incredibly well to give you the exact measured dosage that’s right for you.
 
Sprayable Energy gives you a smooth, more natural feeling of energy, as if you just awakened to a fresh new morning. Sprayable Energy enters your system gradually, and gives you a steady amount of energy exactly when you need it. All in all, Sprayable Energy is a new and exciting way to get the benefits of caffeine without the drawbacks.
 
Each small black aluminum bottle contains up to 160 sprays of new exciting Sprayable Energy. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, or the glove compartment of your car, and lets you take your energy anywhere you go. You can literally energize in minutes and get back to doing what’s important in your life.
 
If you want the energy you need, but are constantly on the go and don’t have time to brew that cup of tea or coffee, take along a handy pocket-sized bottle of Sprayable Energy wherever you go.

This amazing new product is convenient and ready at an instant to give you the energy you need without unpleasant after effects. Sprayable Energy – your best energy supplement without the side effects of tea or coffee.
The Energy Efficiency Tax Credit: Is it Worth It? – Part 2

The Energy Efficiency Tax Credit: Is it Worth It? – Part 2

How it Works: Windows & Water

To see how the credit works, let’s look at an example of a modest starter home: a single-story 3-bedroom 1750 sq. foot home built in 2008 on the Gulf Coast.

Replacing old-style single-pane aluminum framed windows with energy efficient windows with good air seals can save money. Upgrading windows on our little starter home to triple-pane insulating low-E, argon gas wood-framed windows can save $ 69 per year (note: windows and skylights installed after June 1 require a U-factor and SHH Coefficient of .30 or less). Factor in the tax credit for $ 1600 and you can deduct $ 480 from your 2009 taxes. Your total cash layout for the windows comes to $ 1120 (excluding installation labor). Even though adding in the energy savings brings the return to $ 549, that might not seem a big return on the first year. But the energy cost savings are immediate. Over the windows’ 30 year lifetime, this becomes an energy savings of $ 2070.

Heating water in your home accounts for 17% of annual energy costs. That’s $ 221 of Energy Star’s annual cost of $ 1,300. Most of the water heater’s time will be spent keeping the water heated for when it is eventually used. Putting a water heater blanket around it will help some, but you are still paying for this “stand-by heat” whether you use the water or not.

In our example home, the 40 gallon electric water heater’s tank is warranted for 6 years. he average lifespan of any electric or gas home water heater tank averages about 8 to 12 years depending on local water quality. The water heater tank will eventually degrade from deposits of calcite and corrosion and then leak; forcing us to purchase and install a new one. So we have several options: install a comparable electric model, install an equal capacity high efficiency Energy Star heater, or install a tank-less water heating system.

Generally speaking, electric models make better use of energy, primarily because gas water heaters lose some of their energy up the exhaust vent. A comparable non-efficient replacement may cost $ 370 (without installation labor). A new Energy Star gas water heater, meanwhile, transfers 98% of the heat to the water, leaving exhaust fumes so cooled that they are vented to the chimney by a fan. Such extra-efficient gas water heaters cost more than a baseline electric heater; or about $ 550 (without installation labor). By installing this kind of water heater, we would save $ 30 annually compared to the baseline electric version and receive a $ 165 tax credit. That’s about $ 195 recouped the first year.

Installing a tank-less water heating system breaks the expensive cycle of replacing leaking water heaters. Both electric and gas-fired tank-less systems do not store water, so they do not need to continually heat the water. They heating water only on-demand; that is, only when the water is running through the pipe. Not only are they over 80% energy efficient, you can achieve even greater energy savings of 27%-50%. Add to this the expected 20-year life-span and the return on investment ranges between 48% and 97%.

However, tank-less systems are by no means cheap; a whole house system runs around $ 1,200. But when you consider our little example house, the annual cost of $ 221 for hot water drops $ 106 to about $ 115. We also get a 2009 tax credit of $ 360. That adds up to $ 466 for a return on the first year. Of course, there’s the amenity of never-ending hot water adding value to the house at sale time.

How it Works: Insulating & Taking the Tax Credit

Heating and air conditioning account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. While air sealing and duct work sealing can improve performance, neither of these is going to compensate for insufficient insulation for the whole house. Throughout most of the country, the US DOE recommends at least R30 (about 1 foot of blown cellulose or fiberglass) for attic insulation and a minimum of a R13 (a bit more than 3 inches of blown cellulose or fiberglass) in the walls. Most new houses are built with R13 in the walls but few have R30 in the attic.

Let’s say that our sample starter home has R13 in the attic of settled blown cellulose insulation. To bring it up to at least R30, we need to add a further 17 R-value’s of insulation to the attic. The easiest way to do this is to either apply another 5 inches of blown cellulose or put down un-faced R19 fiberglass batts (about 6 inches thick).

The cost for blown cellulose to cover the 1750 sq. ft of attic space with 5 inches (or .416 feet) is 46 (16 cu ft) bags @ $ 7.50 each or $ 345. Some home centers may include the free rental of their blowing equipment as an incentive. Others may not and rental fees could be as high as $ 100/day. To make the insulation work effectively, it must be kept out of ventilation soffits and spread evenly throughout the attic at a consistent density so that no thin spots or hollows are formed.

The cost of unfaced fiberglass batts is 15 batts @ $ 50 each is $ 750. (Our sample house insulation is being added on top of other insulation there is no need for paper craft facing.) While more expensive than the blown cellulose, fiberglass batts are convenient sizes that can be positioned tightly in place.

The energy savings are evident right away. Your home will require less energy to maintain at a comfortable temperature. Typical heating and cooling costs are cut by 10% (although as high as 30% when combined with air sealing and duct improvement). Assuming you’ve done a great job as well as air sealed, that first year energy cost savings could be nearly $ 400. Factoring in the tax credit depends on the price of the insulation. Assuming the blower rental is free, the credit from the blown cellulose is $ 103.50. If we go with fiberglass batts, it’s $ 225.

So following an initial outlay of $ 345 to $ 750 (without installation labor), there’s a first year return of $ 500 to $ 625. Adding insulation also evens out the temperature from room to room; your home is more comfortable.

Let’s say now that it’s tax time and we’ve gotten together our receipts, Manufacturer’s Certification Statements, and our 2009 IRS Form 5695. Let’s also say we’ve fixed up our little example home with triple-pane insulating low-E, argon gas wood-framed windows ($ 1600), a tank-less water heater ($ 1200), and added fiberglass insulation to our attic ($ 750). Let’s also figure that we’ve air sealed the house and that we installed the windows and insulation ourselves but left the tank-less water heater to an experienced plumber ($ 1200). This leaves a total expenditure of $ 4750. This means we qualify for a 2009 tax credit of $ 1425. This also leaves us with $ 250 of worth (recall that $ 5000 limit) of Tax Credit improvement purchases to qualify for in 2010.

Meanwhile, we have also recouped $ 575 from our energy costs or a savings of about 56%. Add in the tax credit and that comes to $ 2000 as a return on a $ 4750 investment. That’s nearly a 43% return. Not even a yacht full of Wall Street CEO’s could wrangle a deal like that.

What’s even better is that Energy Star improvements like these will continue to keep energy costs low for years to come and keep money in your pocket, no matter the age of your home or how long you plan to keep it. Your home’s value will improve, too. And while it might not have a precise financial return, your home will be more comfortable.

Conclusion –Becoming Energy Self-Sufficient

There is a higher tier for energy efficiency some homeowners might be interested in. These complex yet more costly improvements will receive a credit of 30% of their total cost but have until 2016 to be placed in service. They lead not only to greater energy efficiency but to significant cost reductions and energy independence:

Geothermal heat pumps are similar to conventional heat-pump systems with the exception that they use the ground instead of outside air to produce heating, air conditioning, and even hot water. By relying on the warmth of the Earth’s stable ground temperature, they are one of the most efficient HVAC technologies available.

Solar water heaters have many different configurations but all involve passing water through a glass-topped heavily-insulated reservoir (either a tank or a tubing) and letting the sun heat it up. Some configurations can heat water on a cloudy day or when temperatures even reach -40° F.

Solar panels or photovoltaics (PV) directly convert sunshine into electricity. These are the same kind of technology that has been around since the Apollo missions to the moon in the early 1970s. Many homes in Europe have solar panels mounted on the southern aspect of their roofs to produce electricity for the home. Some big-box stores in the US have huge roof arrays that power most of the building. Though the components are expensive, the technology is evolving quickly and becoming more affordable.

Residential fuel cells combine hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air in a electrochemical device to produce electricity, heat, and water. Operating without combustion, and therefore virtually pollution free, the fuel is converted to electricity. Fuel cells produce electricity more efficiently from the same amount of fuel than internal combustion-type generators. They have no moving parts to wear out and are quiet. Heat released by the system can be used to make hot water for home use. This gives them an energy efficiency rating of 80%. Propane-fueled versions have been shown to work in cold climates such as Alaska.

Small wind turbines generate electricity by wind power. Available in a range of sizes (“nameplate capacity”) from 1 kilowatt ones mounted on your roof or chimney (about $ 7,000) all the way up to 100 kilowatt turbines mounted on their own tower (about $ 80,000).

There is also an energy tax credit for cars:

Hybrids purchased or placed into service after December 31, 2005 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $ 3,400. There is a 60,000 vehicle limit per manufacturer before a phase-out period begins. Toyota and Honda have already been phased out. Credit is still available for Ford, GM and Nissan.

Effective January 1, 2009. The first 250,000 Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles sold get the full tax credit, $ 2,500-$ 7,500. Like the hybrid vehicle tax credits, there is a 60,000 vehicle limit per manufacturer before a phase-out period begins.

So, to put it bluntly: Yes, the Energy Tax Credit is worth it because an energy efficiency improvement will save energy and money and make your home more comfortable. As you can see there are many, many ways to capitalize on energy efficiency improvements to your home; from the weekend with a caulking gun to a four week wind turbine adventure with a 60 foot crane. However, you know your circumstances and finances best. You’ll need to decide what you can do yourself and what you need a professional to do. So, get informed. The Energy Star website has wealth of information as well as links to other government websites with information about all the improvements mentioned here. Remember: These are all improvements that keep saving you money each year. Some can be improved on further, one step at a time.

You might even become so energy efficient you’ll be energy self-sufficient.

Bounce Energy is a Texas Electric Company based in Houston. Bounce Energy’s goal is provide more than low Texas Electric Rates to our customers. With innovative and flexible plans, excellent customer service, and superior customer rewards, Bounce Energy offers a unique approach to Texas electricity.