Tag Archives: energy conservation

Earth Day with a Environmental View from the Pool

Across the globe, April 22 is celebrated as a day of support for environmental protection, but at Wells Fargo, every day is Earth Day. This commitment is illustrated through partnerships with businesses that are working to create a lower-carbon economy and reduce the impacts of climate change, like Alan Smith Pools in Orange Country, California believes in  water conservation and sustainability.
With almost 4 decades of experience, this company takes a long-term view toward the Earth Day mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle — using efficient and eco-friendly construction practices. With 29,000 projects completed, it is great environmental news that THIS  company has proven to be a pioneer in pools / spas.

  • innovative materials and repairs when possible
  • repairing pools with a view towards reuse, reduction of waste
  • saving millions of gallons of pool water
  • purifying water through osmosis
  • company-owned electric vehicles
  • implementing a waste management system for demolition debris
  • recycles 100% of demolition materials

“We know water is a precious commodity, especially in California, so we are continuously looking at ways to conserve the water that sustains our industry and manage our waste materials while constructing pools to be more sustainable. When the drought hit hard, we knew we had to help make our industry be more efficient and cut down on water waste to survive. This is why we began educating communities and regulators on the benefits of water recycling and purifying technology.”  — Alan Smith

Working with operators of large-scale pools such as YMCAs, & resorts, water waste is 3X – 4X  their annual water volume. Higher traffic means high levels of cleaning chemicals and the need to be completely drained and refilled with clean water every year. EACH 700,000 gallon pool that adds up to 2.8 million gallons of precious water drained into the sewers. The water purification technology that Alan proposed would recycle the existing water through reverse osmosis, removing impurities down to the level of drinking water–all within two to three days.

Smith recently acquired two water purification trailers to work with more customers; which makes $$ sense for CA homeowners as water districts move toward a tiered pricing system.

Kent Westfall
Commercial Division Manager
(760) 399-6428

BRR! Staying Warm Tips & Green Friendly Apartments

February is traditionally one of the coldest months of the year, which translates to increased utility expenses and energy consumption for renters across the nation. Winterizing your apartment to be more green-friendly will not only help the environment, but it will also save your wallet.

According to Multi-Housing News, 71 percent of residents are interested in learning more about best green principles and practices, so to help you and your readers, Apartment Guidethe trusted guide for finding your ideal place to live, is providing the below Winterizing Guide including tips for cutting costs and becoming more energy-efficient to save on renters’ budgets and the environment.

In addition, to help those who may be searching for a more eco-friendly apartment during ”frigid February,” Apartment Guide took a look at their listing data and put together a list of Top Metros for Green-Friendly Apartments.

Top Ten Metros for Green-Friendly Apartments*

1.       Seattle

2.       San Antonio

3.       Austin

4.       Phoenix

5.       Omaha

6.       Dallas

7.       Tucson

8.       Raleigh

9.       Denver

10.   San Francisco — We can do better than this!! Come on SF!!

Apartment Guide Tips – Winterizing Guide

When prepping your apartment for the freezing outdoor temperatures, being both cost and energy-efficient can make a big impact. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you live more sustainably and save money!

  • Lower it!

Don’t forget to turn down the heat on your thermostat when you leave your apartment! By doing so, you will save money and energy, and who wants to pay money for something you aren’t using? According to Energy.gov – you can save up to 15% by simply turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours (that’s almost 1% for each degree!). Investigate this:  Switching out an OLD thermostat is so easy – and to your advantage – yes you can do it!  You can program your heating range with the new models.

  • Check it!

Check the weather stripping around the doors and windows in your apartment. If it looks worn, contact your property manager or superintendent.  Also consider buying or making draft stoppers. If you have broken windows or drafty windows, talk to the landlord / maintenance team, sometimes they can do something, and they may not know about breaks or drafts. Speak up! 

  • Insulate it!

To minimize heat loss, try using insulated curtains and heavy area rugs to keep heat in your apartment. A quick fix:  Making draft busters from long socks to so under the doors can help. Not so pretty, but it works. Close the doors on rooms you don’t use. Heat the part of the home or apartment you live in!

  • Caulk it!

Often plumbing areas leave gaping holes between the pipes and the wall leaking heat and wasting energy. Caulk and seal these or use pipe insulation.

  • Clean it!

Every winter, you should have your furnaces cleaned in addition to regularly changing your filters (this is very easy!! Really!) maximize efficiency and even reduce the potential risk of fire!

  •  Defrost it!

Prevent frost from forming on your windows by running a dehumidifier at night. Air will become less moist, which will keep the frost from forming on your windows. For a cheaper cleaning alternative for your windows, try using rubbing alcohol. You can also check out these Apartment Guide tips for ways to help your heater run efficiently.

  •  Download it!

Download these apps on your phone to help you live a more “green” lifestyle! Whether you’re on the go or just relaxing in your home, these apps will serve as great resources:

o   iRecycle – provides access to more than 1.5 million ways to recycle plus the latest in green news and ideas to match your lifestyle

o   Goodguide – makes it fast and easy to find safe, healthy and green products both in a store or on the go

o   FindGreen – helps you find local businesses and resources to live a sustainable lifestyle

*Methodology: Apartment Guide looked at their data for the top cities with the most properties noted with green communities. Properties listed on Apartment Guide as green communities provide offerings/certifications such as LEED certification, energy-efficient windows, lighting and plumbing and drought-resistant landscaping to reduce water waste. 

Using Cell Phones for Green Good

…applications of smartphone technology…

They can help us pass the time, socialise and yes, even work, but can smartphones also help us save the planet? A paper recently published in the International Journal of Sustainable Energy suggests they can.

Four researchers from Canada, Patrick Leslie, Joshua M. Pearce, Rob Harrap and Sylvie Daniel, investigated how smartphones could be used in energy ‘audits’, designed to help householders adopt energy conservation measures (ECMs) to reduce emissions, conserve resources and reduce operating costs.

Traditionally, energy audits are undertaken by trained staff who travel from house to house, burning lots of petrol on the way. Their audits tend to focus on heating and cooling, and ignore other energy-thirsty devices, such as appliances. As the authors note, householders don’t often lack the ability to make the energy-saving changes the auditors suggest, ‘but the ability to recognize which changes are possible and which have the largest potential to reduce energy use’. The vast majority of homes will also never have such an audit. Enter the smartphone.

Rather than waiting for an audit, the authors suggest that if suitable software could be created, householders could perform their own with their smartphones. Much of the technology needed already exists: phone sensors can take pictures for reports, act as crude light meters or confirm a variety of measurements; GPS data is already available for a wide range of applications. Even existing technology could analyse users’ appliances, provide the energy-efficiency rankings of similar homes, and give breakdowns of current energy use.

The authors envisage an intuitive tool with which an untrained user would be able to choose their house type, energy source and payment method, choose an ECM and input data as instructed. For example, a user might provide the type and number of light fittings in their home, then receive suggestions for energy-saving replacements in real time; as technology developed, the range of tasks that could be performed by smartphone would grow.

A smartphone could also ‘push’ users to make changes when conditions are right, for example, when a federal rebate or cheaper tariff was available. Unlike the traditional ‘one-off’ audit, this system ‘has the potential to keep users actively involved and constantly engaged with the energy efficiency of their homes’.

Smartphone audits aren’t perfect, the authors admit, crucially lacking a ‘blower door test’ to measure how well a home is sealed, so some alternatives would need to be found. A smartphone-based system would also require changes to subsidy programmes in many jurisdictions.

But by far the biggest advantage of the smartphone-based energy auditing system is the high potential for accelerated energy and emissions savings. In their Southern Ontario case-study area alone, the researchers estimated that it would take auditors 55 years to cover all 157,000 dwellings in the current fashion. With smartphone technology, all the homes could, in theory, be audited simultaneously, allowing homeowners to make ECMs much sooner; cumulative carbon-dioxide savings from smartphones would surpass those from traditional audits in 13 to 17 years, even with conservative assumptions. In Canada, residential buildings account for 16.3% of total energy use, so the implications for vast energy savings throughout the smartphone-using world, as outlined in this innovative article, are immense.

You are welcome to Read or share this article, find it at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1478646X.2011.578746

cell phones discarded

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Positive Energy!

Take a look at this!! Energy information that is so “digestible” that you’ll understand your energy usage and …. possibly be able to improve on energy conservation. This company, Positive Energy, is thinking about HOW to get people engaged in what they do and how to do it better.

located in Washington DC…. they are hiring too.

Started by CAL Alumnus…. yes, go bears!

Positive Energy employs a unique mix of expertise in technology, direct marketing and behavioral science to dramatically drive up customer engagement. Positive Energy was founded on a simple premise: it’s time to engage the 300 million Americans who are in the dark about their energy use.
All positions are in the Washington DC Metro area. Please send inquiries to jobs@ positiveenergyusa.com .

*** Reminds me of the Edward Tufte book, Envisioning Information and the regard he has for HOW information is presented and that this changes decisions. http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_ei