Earlier this year Portugal reached a major energy efficiency milestone. As reported on by The Gaurdian, the country was entirely powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro power for four days in a row or about 107 hours. And in 2015, 48% of Portugal’s energy came from renewable sources.
Looks like we’ve got some efficiency strides to make if we want to keep up with the Iberian Peninsula!
Choosing efficient products is a great way to reduce your energy consumption, but it’s also important to be aware of your usage and how that contributes to your utility bill. Have you ever wondered how much watching TV actually costs you? How about powering your aquarium?
Check out this tool from the Department of Energy to calculate your costs!
Lucid Energy, a Portland based start-up has set out to tap the energy in Portland’s drinking water. They have created a system built in to city water pipes that functions as hydropower plants do but without the environmental pitfalls like disrupting wildlife and emitting greenhouse gases. Their system relies on the already flowing water in pipelines to move turbines within the pipe which are connected to generators. Currently portland has this system installed in 50 feet of pipe which is generating 1,100 megawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 150 homes!
This project cost $1.7 million dollars and was paid for by private investors, it is expected to generate $2 million dollars worth of electricity over the next 20 years. Portland has agreed to buy back the electricity for at least the next 20 years. This technology is a huge deal because many cities have aging infrastructure requiring them to make improvements in the upcoming years and this option would allow them to have a dual purpose replacing their pipes!
Having zone controlled heat is one of the most energy efficient and affective ways to save money on your heating bill without sacrificing comfort in your home.
Many forced air systems claim to have zone control capabilities but in reality the furnace has to work even harder to heat other rooms when the registers or vents are closed in some rooms. When the registers are closed the air still travels down the ducts until it hits the closed register and then bounces back (cooling in the process) as it joins the air in the main duct. This cooler air is then blown into rooms further down the line. This forces the furnace to work extra hard to heat the spaces receiving the cooler air.
With radiant heat panels you can choose to evenly heat your whole house room by room or choose to purposely set some rooms at a cooler/warmer temperatures than others. Unlike a furnace which kicks on when a room drops below the set temperature of your thermostat, heat panels only turn on in the specific room they are needed. You can even set the panels to different temperatures within the same room. For example, if you have a room with a sitting area and an exercise area you can have the panels over the couches set to 68 and the panels over your exercise equipment set to 63 so that if both areas of the room are being occupied then all can be comfortable in it. Likewise, if you have a room with a lot of solar gain on one side and cooler on the other, you can have the panels on two thermostats so that the entire space is comfortable.
go from this…
to this! With Radiant Heat!