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Why Energy Efficiency is Important

The average household spends more than $2,200 each year on energy bills – that’s a big portion of each paycheck. We rely on electricity to power lights, appliances and other electronics every day. As we use more electricity, naturally, our electric bills rise. In turn, fossil-fueled power plants not only generate more electricity, but also create more pollution. The continued reliance on and depletion of fossil-fuel resources threatens the earth’s sustainability, not to mention our wallets’ in these tough economic times. Products such as green lighting, energy saving power strips, energy monitoring devices and programmable thermostats (just to name a few) protect the Earth’s precious resources while saving you money.

Legislation in the US

Legislation that leads to energy efficiency is tricky business. It needs to save energy and preserve or create jobs, all while making economic sense. Since some of these things can often be mutually exclusive, it’s no surprise that the most recent legislation (2009) is the first to hit the Senate in over sixteen years.

How Legislation Affects Energy Efficiency: Rebates and Tax Incentives {The Dirt on Green}

History

  • The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 established programs to promote energy conservation in federal buildings and major U.S. industries.
  • The Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976 went one step further by including incentives for conservation and renewable energy, providing loan guarantees for energy conservation in public and commercial buildings and authorizing a weatherization program for low-income housing.
  • The Warner Amendment of 1983 allocated oil overcharge funds (also known as Petroleum Violation Escrow or PVE funds) to state energy programs, becoming quite substantial  in 1986 when Exxon and Stripper Well settlements added more than $4 billion.
  • The State Energy Efficiency Programs Improvement Act of 1990 encouraged states to undertake activities designed to improve efficiency and stimulate investment in and use of alternative energy technologies.
  • The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 allowed Department of Energy funding to be used to finance revolving funds for energy efficiency improvements in state and local government buildings because of the crucial role they play in regulating energy industries and promoting new energy technologies. The EPAct also expanded the policy development and technology deployment role for the states.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $3.1 billion for State Energy Program formula grants with no matching fund requirements.

How Legislation Affects Energy Efficiency: Rebates and Tax Incentives {The Dirt on Green}

Current

Electric utility energy efficiency programs have grown continuously and rapidly, totaling $4.6 billion in 2010.

Coming Soon

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act is meant to spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors by bringing together many energy efficiency measures, like improving building codes, efficient products incentives and research and development funding for energy efficient technologies.

How Legislation Affects Energy Efficiency: Rebates and Tax Incentives {The Dirt on Green}

Where Do I Find Information About Tax Incentives and Rebates?

Here are a few of our favorite databases for finding tax rebates and incentives:

Or, look for rebates and incentives by state (we’re still compiling this list, so if you don’t see your state or power provider, check the above links):

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Washington

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Do you know of any we missed? Include a link in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/sep_history.html

http://www.meede.org/wp-content/uploads/01.2013_The-History-of-Energy-Efficiency.pdf

http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/2013/1309_An_Energy_Efficiency_Primer_For_Governors_Paper.pdf

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/downloads/2012_ENERGY_STAR_Summary_of_Lighting_Programs.pdf

Why is Recycling CFLs Important?

Recycling compact fluorescent light bulbs prevents the release of mercury into the environment. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs can break when thrown into a dumpster, garbage can or landfill.

On top of that, almost all of the materials in CFLs can be reused, including the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.

How Do I Recycle My Old CFL Bulbs? {The Dirt on Green}

Recycling CFLs is not only better for the environment, some state and local jurisdictions require it. Simply contact your local waste collection agency to find out if you live in a city, county or state that requires you to recycle fluorescent bulbs. While we don’t have an exhaustive list, we do know that the following states prohibit mercury-containing light bulbs from being thrown in the trash:

Where and How Can I Recycle CFLs?

How Do I Recycle My Old CFL Bulbs? {The Dirt on Green}

Make an Informed Decision.

Mail-back services are the easiest choice to make when recycling CFLs. Prepaid boxes from Veolia work all of the time, every time and can be mailed back any time, whenever you’re ready.

Visit Earth911 to find collection schedules or drop-off locations in your area. When making your decision about what choice is best for you, note that waste collection agencies:

  • Are usually free, while some charge a fee to handle hazardous materials
  • Sometimes collect household hazardous materials only once or twice a year
  • May also collect paints, pesticides, cleaning supplies or batteries
  • Usually accept waste from residents only – not small businesses

Many hardware supply stores and other retailers offer in-store recycling. Make sure you check directly with the store before you go; not all stores in regional or nationwide chains may be equipped to recycle.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out#important

http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out#whererecycle

Electricity is needlessly trickling from dozens of devices in each of our homes, costing Americans $3 billion in energy costs each year.1  Vampire power, also called phantom power, ghost load or idle current, is a slow but constant flow of electricity that occurs even when devices appear to be off.  Although vampire power is sneaky and probably lurking in your home at this very moment, a little knowledge and a few great products will turn you into a vampire slayer – no garlic required.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

Let’s face it, we all use electricity and we don’t like feeling guilty about it.  In response to the 1973 oil crisis, President Nixon asked Americans to “accept some sacrifices in comfort and convenience so that no American would have to suffer real hardship.”2 Today, if we eliminate just the electricity we waste in standby mode, we would meet 10% of Nixon’s reduction goals with absolutely no sacrifice in comfort or convenience. In fact, you won’t even notice until you get a lower electricity bill.

Many of our previous blogs have highlighted easy ways to save a lot of money by using electricity more efficiently (with CFLs, LEDs and other ENERGY STAR qualified products, just to name a few), but stopping vampire power is about conservation.  So what’s the difference?  Energy efficiency depends on technology to get the most out of each kilowatt of energy you buy. Conservation, on the other hand, is just plain using less electricity, regardless of the method. Eliminating vampire power is conservation without the sacrifice.

Vampire Hunting: How do you identify the extent of vampire power that is drawn in your home? Basically every device that rests in standby mode or has an indicator light is drawing power – and we have a lot of these. I found out how much electricity I was wasting a while ago when I stumbled to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water.  I was shuffling my feet across the floor, sure that my dog was laying in my path, when I realized that I could actually see. My fire alarm indicator, VCR (yeah, I have one of those), DVD player, TV, speaker, laptop charger and microwave clock provided just enough light for me to see the heap of fur in the hallway and the water glass in the kitchen. Groggy, I returned to bed thinking about those twinkling eyes staring at me in the darkness.  These were the eyes of vampires that were sucking my electricity – and money!

How to Identify Vampire Power:

Look for:

        • External power supplies
        • Large plugs (some cell phones)
        • Chargers with brick batteries (laptops)
        • Indicator lights and continuous display (clocks)
        • Devices with remote controls

Listen for a hum indicating an active drive or a fan

Feel for warmth indicating the flow of electricity

Measure the draw of electricity using a monitoring device

Sometimes that small draw of electricity is necessary. Devices with internal clocks, cable modems or routers, and appliances with temperature monitoring functions (such as refrigerators and HVACs) actually need to be on all the time. For most people, the biggest unnecessary drain of electricity comes from AV and office equipment with lots of peripherals, or accessory electronics. For instance, in my home office I have a desktop computer, laptop, printer, scanner, internet router and computer speakers. Even when I did remember to turn all of these devices off at night, they were still drawing electricity in standby mode.  I will admit that I never – and I mean never – bothered to unplug them all.  The same goes for my TV and its peripherals. There is no way I would tackle that mess of wires just to prevent what seemed like a mere few watts of electricity sacrificed to the vampires. When I learned from energystar.gov that an average US household wastes over to $100 annually on standby power, I realized it was worth taking action.

The Worst Offenders*

  • Desktop computer: $7/month
  • Game consoles: $6/month
  • Plasma or LCD TV: $5/month
  • Cable box with HD DVR: $3/month
  • Laptop with screensaver images: $1.50/month
  • DVD player: $1/month

*Data from: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Weapons for Slaying Vampire Power: Of course, the quickest fix is to unplug all of the devices that you are not using. This may be reasonable for the television in the guest bedroom, but are we really going to unplug all of these things every night and each time we leave the house for work or vacation? Probably not. Even if you’ve purchased ENERGY STAR qualified devices with the lowest power consumption in standby mode, you can take it one step further.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

Smart power strips are the most powerful tool in your vampire slaying arsenal. I bought this BITS Smart Strip Power Strip and now I need to turn the lights on when I get up during the night! I plugged my television into the blue Control outlet, my cable modem and phone into the red Always On outlets, and the peripherals like my DVD player in the green Energy Saving outlets. It’s pretty remarkable how my peripherals power up automatically when I turn on my TV. Once the TV is switched off, the power strip stops the flow of electricity to all outlets except those designated to stay on all the time. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

A host of other devices will accomplish the same result. The Save A Watt TV Standby Killer ensures your TV is actually off, not just in standby.  Chargers like the Belkin Conserve Valet draw no current once your phone is fully charged. Better yet, if you want to make an informed decision about where to start conserving, you can always use an energy monitor like the Kill A Watt to measure the amount of electricity used and cost of operating your devices even when they appear to be off.

How to Slay Vampire Power:

  • Unplug devices that aren’t in use
  • Use smart power strips
  • Switch to ENERGY STAR qualified devices with low standby power use
  • Use chargers that power down once  the device is fully charged

Forewarned is Forearmed:  Now that you know how much you stand to save and how easy it is, get out there and do something about it! Without sacrificing your way of living, you’ll begin to notice your electricity bill creep downward. Once you’ve been bitten by the energy savings bug, you’ll thirst for more. Check back often for more energy saving tips and product information.

— Dawn Richards of EnergyEarth

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

  1. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.vampires

  2. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4208#ixzz2hERYMG93

  3. http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/aer.pdf

  4. http://standby.lbl.gov/faq.html

vampire power infographic: http://www.radiant.co.za/blog/index.php/about-standby-vampire-power/

vampire tools image: http://www.savvyhousekeeping.com/antique-vampire-killing-kits/

 

So you’ve decided to make the switch to energy efficient lighting? Don’t stress – the EnergyEarth Bulb Selector is here to help.

There are several things to consider once you’ve decided to switch to more energy efficient light bulbs. The EnergyEarth Bulb Selector is a great way to learn about lighting and decide which bulb is right for you.

Bulb Type

The first question many people ask is “Which type of bulb should I buy?” The good news is that if you’re switching from incandescent bulbs, you’ll notice significant savings by switching to either CFLs or LEDs.

While LEDs are the best long term investment, you may decide to take the intermediate step to a CFL. There are CFL and LED bulbs for every light fixture and preference, but if your budget allows, LEDs will save you the most money over the life of the bulb. This is in part because they will last so much longer than CFLs and incandescent bulbs. You don’t need to worry about trusting the manufacturer’s claims since at EnergyEarth you’ll get our 4everLED Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Brightness

CFLs convert energy to light about 75% more efficiently than incandescents – that’s why they don’t get scorching hot like the old type of light bulb. LEDs are even more efficient and stay cool during operation. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about the brightness of your light in terms of lumens, not watts. Since a 60 watt incandescent produces about 800 lumens of light, you want to replace it with a CFL or LED that produces 800 lumens. They only use 14 watts and 12 watts of electricity respectively!

Which Light Bulb is the Right One for Me? - The EnergyEarth Bulb Selector

Color

Once you decide the type of bulb and the brightness (lumens) you want, you’ll need to figure out which bulb will best mimic the light from your incandescent.

Incandescent bulbs emit a yellowish or warm light.  This description refers to the color of the light.  Unfortunately, the convention for measuring the color can be unfamiliar to many of us.  The good news is that even if you don’t want to bother understanding this part, you can go to the Bulb Selector straight away and we’ll help you narrow down your choices.  Here are the basics:

  • Light color is measured using a unit called Kelvin (K) and is also called “color temperature”.
  • Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light will be more yellow; as the Kelvin numbers get higher, the light will appear whiter, then indicating a blue appearance.
  • The color temperature of incandescent bulbs is within 2700-3000 Kelvin
  • The color temperature of daylight is near the highest end of the scale (6500K)

Which Light Bulb is the Right One for Me? - The EnergyEarth Bulb Selector

What about my fixtures?

Do you have a decorative fixture, recessed can, ceiling fan or something else? It doesn’t get easier than the Bulb Selector.  You can browse through the fixture type and see the color temperatures available for each type of light fixture at a glance. Once you narrow your search by fixture type and color, you can easily find an efficient bulb with the equivalent brightness.

Which Light Bulb is the Right One for Me? - The EnergyEarth Bulb Selector

Making the switch shouldn’t be hard. We’re here to help you save money and energy every step of the way.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s fall and cooler temperatures are just around the corner, if they haven’t already settled in your area.  So what can you do to prepare for the winter so the cold temperatures don’t take a bite out of your budget?

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

Keep the Cold Out

Did your energy audit reveal that you need better insulation? If so, prepare early so you aren’t caught off guard by the cool weather.

1. Sealing and insulating the exterior of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors — is one of the most cost effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% of your energy bill) just by sealing and insulating. Here are a few easy ways you can save:

  • Caulking drafty windows and door frames is a great way to eliminate the energy lost through these spaces. For hints on using rope caulk, check out our post all about what it does and how to use it. Keep in mind that rope caulk is most easily applied before it gets too cold, so you’ll want to do this right away!
  • Check under your sinks, in your bathrooms, in basements and other areas for places where pipes and vents go through the floor, wall or ceiling. If you need additional help, consider purchasing a handheld leak detector. You may have gaps that could be letting cold air in and your warm air out that you don’t even know about! These gaps are easily sealed with rope or traditional caulk.
  • Easy-to-apply weather stripping can keep drafts from coming through door jambs and window sashes.
  • Foam switch and outlet gaskets are easy to install (requiring just a screw driver!) and can eliminate leaky outlets and switches, especially on exterior walls.

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

2. Seal ducts. Sealing air ducts can dramatically improve the efficiency of a heating and cooling system. Unsealed ducts typically leak about 10-15% of the conditioned air flowing through the ducts while pulling unwanted air into the conditioned parts of your house. This creates pressure differentials, exacerbating air leak problems.

    • Adhesive sealant: Mastic fibrous sealant is used for coating thermal insulation on pipes and ducts and sealing uninsulated ducts.
    • Aluminum tape: Aluminum tape is a much more effective and long-lasting way to seal sheet metal heating ducts than duct tape. And, if you forget to seal drafts until it gets cold, aluminum tape can be applied in cold temperatures and is very tolerant of temperature extremes.
    • Duct shields: Central air conditioner draft shields and covers are an effective means of keep cold air from entering your home through air conditioning ducts during the winter than covering them with tape, blankets or cardboard or closing the louvers.

3. Prevent chimney drafts. Chimney balloons are inflatable, tight-sealing chimney dampers made of 3-ply poly plastic that stops uncontrolled air leaks.

4. Make the switch to a programmable thermostat. Never forget to adjust the thermostat while you’re away and save around the clock with these a few simple setting. For more information, check out our previous post on how to set your programmable thermostat to save the most money while staying comfortable.

5. If you need to heat a single room, consider using a space heater. A portable space heater can comfortably heat a single room quickly and without using energy to heat your entire home.

6. Clean your filters. Dirty air filters force your heating system to work harder than necessary, wasting electricity and taking longer to reach a comfortable temperature.   This is because the airflow is restricted by dust and debris caught by the filter. Can’t remember to change your filters? Install an air filter whistle to remind you that the filter is dirty and needs to be changed.

If you’re in the market for a new heating system, be sure to consider an energy efficient furnace that is ENERGY STAR qualified. Be sure to check out information on rebates available in your area, too!

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

Change Your Habits

7. Wear a sweater. For every degree you turn down your thermostat, you can save 3-5% on heating costs.

8. Turn down the thermostat when you are away. The best approach is to use a programmable thermostat.  You’ll never forget!

9. Let the sun heat your home during the day.  Open your blinds and curtains during the day and close them at sundown for insulation.

10. Is your desk or couch next to a drafty window?  First try sealing your window (see above).  If you’re still not warm enough, rearrange the room so you’re not sitting in a drafty area.

So there you have it. Weatherize your home before the cold weather moves in and save all year round!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

CFLs: Savings in a Twist!

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Ask the Expert - (1 Comments)

Compact fluorescent light bulbs – to switch or not to switch?

You’ve heard that CFL bulbs can save you money, provide the same light as incandescent bulbs and need to be disposed of properly. But do you know how? Let’s find out!

CFLs: Savings in a Twist! {The Dirt on Green}

How do they work?

CFLs use a completely different technology than traditional incandescent bulbs. Instead of an electric current running through a metal wire, an electric current is transmitted through an internal ballast and into a tube containing argon and trace amounts of mercury vapor. These elements then emit UV rays, which energize the fluorescent (phosphor) coating on the inside of the tube, releasing visible light. The initial illumination uses slightly more energy than an incandescent bulb so a slight flicker can sometimes be seen as the bulb warms up (this typically takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete, depending on the bulb); however, the energy needed for continued operation is significantly lower.

CFLs with decorative covers like globe or reflector shapes have a unique design challenge and often have a slightly slower warm up time, meaning that they take longer than bare spirals to reach full brightness.

Older CFLs used large and heavy magnetic ballasts that caused a buzzing noise in some bulbs. Most CFLs today — and all ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs — use electronic ballasts, which do not buzz or hum.

How do they save me money and how much?

Since CFLs use about 75% less energy to produce the same amount of light as the equivalent incandescent, your savings on just one light fixture can amount to as much as $58 or more over the life of the bulb.

Furthermore, since CFL bulbs last about 10,000 hours, 10 times as long as an incandescent bulb, you won’t need to replace it as often – saving you money and the hassle of replacing light bulbs frequently.

Do they really provide the same amount of light?

Yes, if you choose the right bulb. The old way of buying bulbs – watts – simply lets you know how much electricity a bulb uses. Instead, shop for the amount of light output, also known as lumens.  A quick look at our Bulb Selector will provide you with all the information you need!

CFLs: Savings in a Twist! {The Dirt on Green}

Have incandescent bulbs really been banned?

No, but new standards are phasing out inefficient light bulbs over an eight year period ending in 2020.

How do I dispose of CFL bulbs?

Safe disposal of CFLs is actually quite easy. CFLs do contain trace amounts of mercury (about 4 milligrams, or less than 100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer), so they should not be thrown in the trash where they can be broken. Instead, many areas provide curbside collection of CFLs or central recycling locations. If this is not available in your area, we offer several mail-back CFL recycling boxes.

To put this in perspective, check out these other products you probably have around your home that also contain mercury:

 – Watch battery – up to 25 milligrams

 – Thermometer – up to 2 grams

 – Tilt thermostat – up to 3 grams

If a CFL is accidentally broken in your home, you should immediately pick up every visible piece of glass, carefully wrap it in paper and stow it in an airtight plastic bag or sealed glass jar until you can take it to a suitable drop off location (as listed above). Additionally, you should vacuum area carpeting or rugs to pick up glass pieces too small to see and discard the vacuum’s bag. To really play it safe, ventilate the room so that any residual gas from missed shards of glass won’t accumulate in the room.

A little wary of CFLs? Want to save more?

LED lights are the next step in savings. LEDs are even more efficient at converting electricity to light than CFLs and they don’t contain any mercury or need special disposal. On top of that, LEDs have gotten significantly cheaper in recent years – some as low as $10! For more information on LED lighting, check out our previous blog posts on LED bulbs.

—The EnergyEarth Team

©2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

Yadong Li and Li Jin. Environmental Engineering Science. October 2011, 28(10): 687-691. doi:10.1089/ees.2011.0027.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_about#how_work

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/cfl-mercury2.htm

Should I Use Rechargeable Batteries?

September 19th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

We’ve all asked ourselves this question at one time or another. But do you know the answer? Let’s take a closer look at rechargeable batteries versus standard alkaline batteries to see just how they measure up.

How are they different from regular alkaline batteries? How do they work?

A rechargeable battery is a battery that can be recharged and used many times. It is also known as a storage battery, as it has the ability to accumulate and store energy. Rechargeable batteries come in many sizes and types. NiMH is a common type, so we’ll take a look at how they work specifically.

Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries, or NiMH batteries, work in very much the same way its more common disposable counterpart does. However, NiMH batteries use a combination of nickel oxyhydroxide positive electrodes (NiOOH) and hydrogen-absorbing negative electrodes instead of cadmium or other, more harmful materials. A NiMH battery can have 2-3 times the capacity of cheaper batteries of the same capacity.

Should I Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

Where do my disposable batteries go and are they harmful to the environment?

Unfortunately, the jury is out on this one. Unless you live in California (where recycling of all types of batteries is required due to the potential toxicity of their components), they probably end up in the landfill. If they do get recycled, they will, in all likelihood, get turned into rebar or angle iron.

Are rechargeable batteries really cost effective?

According to one journalist, after just a few charges the rechargeable batteries will pay for themselves! That’s quite a bit of savings – as much as $100 or more each year depending on how many batteries you typically use. If you’ve got kids, digital cameras or a myriad of other things – you probably use a lot.

So where do I get good quality rechargeable batteries?

At EnergyEarth, we have your rechargeable battery needs covered. Just a few clicks and you’ll be well on your way to saving money and energy for years to come.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://humantouchofchemistry.com/how-do-rechargeable-batteries-work.htm

http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/what-happens-to-recycled-batteries/

If you’ve been thinking about going green, you’ve probably heard about home energy audits. Taking off work for an afternoon, paying someone to come out to look at your home, then waiting weeks for the results can be simply too much of a hassle and end up living at the bottom of your to do list.

Now is the time to move that energy audit to the top of your to do list! We offer an easy, do-it-yourself online home energy audit that you can do from the comfort of your own home. You can even audit your home in your PJs!

How to Get an Energy Audit from the Comfort of Your Own Home {The Dirt on Green}

When you’re ready to start, head on over to our free home energy audit and take a few minutes to tell us about your home. From the kitchen to the attic, the living room to the yard, we want to help you save the most in every area. The more we know, the more we can help you save! Once you’re done, we’ll supply you with fully customized product suggestions complete with your estimated savings for each product. Then, simply add the energy saving products you want to buy to your cart and we’ll estimate the total savings for your purchase. It’s that easy!

We offer a wide selection of energy saving products, including green lighting, weatherization products, water saving devices, green outdoor products and energy efficient products. If you need anything from a low flow shower head to LED lights, look no further. We’ve even put together five different energy conservation kits to help you save up to $13,447 on your utility bills! Those are savings that just can’t be beaten.

How to Get an Energy Audit from the Comfort of Your Own Home {The Dirt on Green}

We want to help you save money while making your home comfortable and energy efficient. Visit us today and explore all the ways we can help you save money and energy every day.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work?

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

Good lighting in your home is one of the most important customizations you can make. The light levels in your home have a huge effect on how you and your family feel and what tasks you can and cannot do. Every room in your home has multiple purposes and these different functions need various amounts of light. You can’t read very easily by a 15 watt incandescent and a romantic dinner isn’t so romantic by the light of a bright spotlight. You can save power by simply using the proper amount of light for the activity!

Enter: the dimmer switch. These money and energy saving accessories enable you to adjust light levels from nearly dark to full brightness with a simple slider or a knob.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work? {The Dirt on Green}

So how do they work?

Instead of diverting energy from the light bulb into a resistor, modern resistors rapidly shut the light circuit off and on to reduce the total amount of energy flowing through the circuit.

Here’s what your traditional light switch is doing right now: the switching cycle is built around the fluctuation of household alternating current, generally known as AC current. This type of current has a varying voltage polarity — in an undulating sine wave, it fluctuates from a positive voltage to a negative voltage. In other words, the moving charge that makes up AC current is constantly changing direction (60 times a second in the US!).

A modern light dimmer switch breaks up this wave by automatically shutting the circuit off every time the current reverses direction – that is, whenever there is zero voltage running through the circuit. This happens twice per cycle (that’s 120 times a second!). It turns the light circuit back on when the voltage climbs back up to a certain level.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work? {The Dirt on Green}

If the dimmer is turned to a brighter setting, it will switch on very quickly after cutting off. The circuit is turned on for most of the cycle, so it supplies more energy per second to the light bulb. If the dimmer is set for lower light, it will wait until later in the cycle to turn back on, using less energy and saving your money.

We offer a wide selection of dimmer light switches. Simply find the right dimmer control and the perfect dimmable energy saving bulbs for every room of your home that you want to reduce your energy usage and start saving today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/dimmer-switch.htm

How do solar lights work? They convert sunlight to energy, store it in a battery and release it at night.

More specifically, outdoor solar lights use standard solar cells in a very straightforward application: solar cell produces varying voltage and current depending on the size of the cell and the amount of light striking the surface. The solar cells are wired directly to the battery through a diode (which prevents the battery’s current from flowing back through the solar cell at night). During the day, the battery charges, reaching maximum charge except on heavily overcast or shorter winter days, and at night the solar cells stop producing power and the photo resistor turns on the LED. Simple as that!

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Gama Sonic Solar Spot Light

Why go solar? It’s free light when and where you need it!

Power outages: Storms like Hurricane Sandy can unexpectedly leave you without power. One great way to shed some light is to bring your outdoor lights inside when the power is out!

Security lights may be even more critical during extended periods of power failure. Even if you have evacuated because your power is out, your solar security lights will still illuminate your home and help to keep it safe.

Hands-off: Long lasting solar lights use LED bulbs that last up to 50,000 hours or longer, meaning you won’t need to worry about replacing the bulb. Since it’s not using electricity that you’re paying for, you don’t need to worry about turning off the lights either.

No wires: More options for placement and much easier to install.

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Heath/Zenith Solar Security Light

What type is best for you?

–          Ambient — Solar powered lights placed around gardens provide the type of illumination that tastefully emphasizes the presence of flowerbeds and garden paths.

–          Spotlighting —Solar spotlights directs the eye’s attention to a highlight in the garden or the front door. Numerous focal points can create a well-lit and attractive backdrop for parties and entertaining.

–          Functional lighting — Steps, walkways and driveways need to be illuminated for safety after dark. Choose light fixtures that cast their glow downward so that the majority of the light falls on the walkway.

Can these lights last all night?

Yes! The solar lights we offer can illuminate your yard from sunset to sunrise, if needed. Lights have continuous illumination power 2-10 hours and have varying on/off switching methods. Choose lighting with photo sensors or motion sensors for highest level of efficiency!

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Brinkmann Sierra Solar Light

5 Tips for Smart and Easy Installation

  1. Decide on the area of your home or yard that receives plenty of sunlight.
  2. Decide on the style of fixture you want to use.
  3. If you need solar lights for a shaded or indoor area, some lights operate on a small system allowing you to install a solar panel on your roof or other sunny area.
  4. For ground lighting, position lights in a line or circle by placing them closer together instead of further apart to create a more effective lighting system.
  5. All of the solar lighting options we offer are easy to install. Simply push them into the ground or attach them to your patio or wall and you’re done!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/solar-light.htm

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago141.html

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/summer-loving-energy-efficient-outdoor-lighting

http://voices.yahoo.com/basic-solar-landscape-lightingsecrets-professionals-11979997.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Landscape-With-Solar-Lighting  

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