Browsing the blog archives for November, 2008.


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    Alternative Energy Plan

    alternative, energy, Uncategorized

    During the recent Presidential Election many of us were bombarded with political ads in every conceivable market place. But thrown in among those ads was an ad for a plan, not a candidate. That ad was placed by the legendary T.Boone Pickens and the plan is to get us off foreign oil dependency. His plan is better described by him in his new book The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future or on The Pickens Plan web site .

    The bottom line is we need to get away from foreign oil as soon as possible. We are sending approximately $700 billion dollars overseas every year for our oil habit. That is $700 billion dollars out of our economy and into the economy of countries that don’t even like the United States. Even If we drilled offshore and hit paydirt, it would not be enough to break our dependency on foreign oil and it would take at least a decade to come to fruition. The Pickens Plan calls for changing the transportation sector over to natural gas, immediately. This would mean trucks, busses and eventually cars. There are enough natural gas reserves in the United States to last far into the future. Gas is cheaper and cleaner than oil. Gas is an American commodity; it does not rely on foreign interest to obtain it. The technology already exists for the conversion.

    Wind power is another all American fuel source. According to Mr. Pickens the United States is the Saudi Arabia of wind power. Building wind farms all over the Great Plains would create energy, create jobs and leave the land still available for agriculture. What is missing is the infrastructure, and for that we need a national energy plan. This is Mr. Pickens battle. A courageous battle for somebody in their eighties who will probably not live long enough to see the fruits of his labor (although I would never count him out).

    I am not saying this plan is perfect, but it is a start. As Mr. Pickens says it is a bridge until alternative energy sources are widely available. We need time to take solar, wind and hydrogen energy from the blackboard into each household in this country. It is not a matter of if, but when. The industry needs time to make these alternative energy products cost effective. Remember when a hand held calculator sold for $500? Remember when a computer took up a whole building? Alternative energy is here to stay and it is just in its infancy.

    In the mean time it is our duty to try as many alternative energy products as possible to get off the grid and find what works and what doesn’t. The use and feed back of the product available now is what is going to drive the industry forward. We will be independent of foreign oil someday; lets all do our part for alternative energy sooner than later.

     

     

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    Energy Efficient Light Bulbs…who knew!

    energy, light bulbs, Uncategorized

    CFL Light Bulbs

    I have never really been a fan of the new energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). I am extremely sensitive to mercury and have had several medical emergencies due to mercury exposure used in medical procedures. So I guess I am biased, even if the mercury used in CFL light bulbs has nothing to do with my allergies. The fact remains I am not the only one with this concern. Mercury, even in minute amounts can be profoundly dangerous. If you have the time, the following video can shed some “light” on this issue.

     

     

    This does not mean I do not use CFL light bulbs, I do. CFL light bulbs use only ¼ the amount of energy of incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. I do not put them in any lamp that my dog or four year old nieces can even remotely get near. This limits these bulbs to overhead lighting. Most of my over head lighting is on dimmer switches so I am paying $12 a bulb and taking my time replacing the incandescent bulbs one at a time. My two biggest complaints about the energy saving bulbs are they have a tendency to hum and they take forever to “warm” up to their full lighting capacity.

    I have found a new CFL light bulb made by ionlite, at this time it is only available on the internet. This is not your typical energy saving CFL light bulb. Each bulb is also an ionic air purifier. The benefits of ionic air purifiers are enormous; they do everything from killing bacteria and viruses to improving your mood. The bulbs are a little bit pricier than regular CFL light bulbs but more than worth the price. Watch this quick 40 second video.

     

     LED Light Bulbs

    Now let’s talk about light-emitting diodes (LED). I don’t pretend to understand how they work, but they use even less energy than a CFL light bulb. LED lights have been used for a while in things like car lights and traffic lights. LED lights are widely used in solar landscape lighting because of the low voltage needed to operate. Now they have now come out with LED lights that can be used in regular household fixtures. They cost a little more that CFL light bulbs but have no mercury, do not get hot, and do not have the “warm” up time to get bright. I went to Wal-Mart (Home Depot did not have LED light bulbs) and for $5.87 I purchased a LED globe light bulb to replace a burnt out incandescent bulb on my vanity. It looks different from the other bulbs but will be fine when the other two bulbs are replaced. The light is bright immediately and was cool to the touch after 30 minutes of use, meaning no waste of energy. According to the package this light will cost approximately 16¢ to operate for the whole year and will last 30,000 hours, that is a huge energy savings. These bulbs are becoming more cost effective over time as the technology improves. A quick internet search proved that for a dimmable bulb I would be paying almost $90, still a little steep but LED technology is still evolving. LED lights are now available in all types of bulbs from chandelier shapes to Christmas lights at an affordable price.

    My family is so impressed with our new LED light that we have decided to remove the dimmer switch from our living room and put LED lights in the recessed lighting fixtures. Because this will virtually eliminate the heat in the light canisters and we will be able to insulate around the light canisters in the attic. This will save us even more energy.

    As this technology advances and the price goes down, I think we will see LED lighting as the energy saving standard light bulb of the future.

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