October 13 2014
It’s not a hidden fact that electricity prices have been on the rise over the last few years and people have been looking for ways to bring down their electricity bills. In order to be able to effectively control the electricity that you use in your home or office, you need to first understand where that electricity is being used.
There are certain appliances that are famous for guzzling up electricity – once you get to know which ones, you’ll be able to better control your soaring electricity bills.
A home’s heating system is the worst in terms of consuming electricity. This is particularly true during winters. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to minimise your heating bill by insulating and sealing all ducts as well as plugging any leaks.
Double-glazed windows can prevent heat loss; thereby helping to bring down the electricity bill significantly.
The same applies for your cooling system. You should ensure that your house is properly insulated and all ducts and cracks are sealed properly. A programmable thermostat can be installed to increase the efficiency of the cooling system.
Yet again, windows play a crucial role here; if you are planning to replace windows, make sure you get Energy Star approved models which can shave off quite a bit from your electricity bills.
Nothing is better than a warm bath after a long, tiring day. However, this comfort comes at a cost. An average water heater accounts for 14 percent of a home’s total electricity consumption. By using an energy efficient heater, you can cut your water heating bill in half.
Lighting accounts for almost 12 percent of the energy bill. Standard incandescent light bulbs are a big culprit; you can save a significant amount on your bill by opting for compact fluorescent light bulbs instead. Not only do they consume less electricity, but they also last up to ten times longer!
Clothes Washer and Dryer
Large appliances such as clothes washer and dryers account for a major chunk of your overall electricity consumption. It’s obvious that you cannot simply do away with your washer – can you?
What you can do is to use cold water when washing a full load of laundry as this will save you some energy which would otherwise be used in heating up the water.
As for the dryer, it uses more energy than a washer; the less you use it, the more you can save.
At 4 percent of your household’s annual energy expenses, it may not sound much, but the money is leaving your bank account and there are ways to reduce the energy consumption here. Due to the fact that refrigerators operate round the clock – what you CAN do is choose an energy efficient model that can save you quite a lot over time.
Also, keep the thermostat at around 1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius while allowing sufficient circulation of air behind the refrigerator to keep it functioning efficiently.
If you use your electric oven on a regular basis, you will surely be getting a higher bill than usual. If possible, choose a gas oven instead and you’ll save a decent amount of electricity, as well as keeping your wallet from drying up.
You can cut down the number of cycles your dishwasher goes through by ensuring that you load it up to the maximum each and every time, rather than using it to wash only a few dishes at a time.
No matter how many dishes are present, the dishwasher will use the same amount of energy.
By understanding which appliances consume the most energy in your household, you can take action to save energy and money.
October 06 2014
Electricity is one of the greatest inventions of modern society. It helps us extend our days, and makes our lives so much easier.
But as with all modern conveniences, we have to pay for our power
use. So how do we save money on our electricity bill without losing the benefits of power? Here are a few simple tips for cutting back onyour costs.
1. Wash Clothes in Cold Water Instead of Hot
By using cold water instead of hot, you don’t need to use power to heat the water. Most energy used during a washing cycle is for heating the water.
It is often better for your clothes, too. Most of the time, a cold water wash is more than sufficient for clothes, can help to maintain colours, is better for removing some types of stains, and can prevent shrinking of some types of materials. If you have any particularly dirty or odorous laundry, that’s when you should do a hot water wash.
2. Install a Solar Hot Water System
While washing your clothes in cold water is easy, it’s not so easy to avoid using hot water for showering, or washing dishes, among other things. Save money in these areas by heating your water with a solar power system, which once installed, is free to use.
3. Use a Clothesline Instead of an Electric Dryer
Simply line drying rather than tumble drying just once a week can make for substantial savings. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard and a clothesline, take advantage of it! If the weather is bad, set up a clotheshorse inside.
If you do use your dryer, cleaning out the lint will make it work more efficiently and can save you $25 a year.
4. Switch Appliances Off at the Wall
It’s such a simple trick to save yourself a fair amount of money. It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of switching off your power points when you’re not using appliances. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the fridge, but things like the kettle, TV, and computers can easily be switched off at the wall. You’ll find that all these little things have been adding us to cost you quite a bit!
5. Insulate Your House
If you own your own home or building, seriously consider getting insulation if you don’t already have it. It helps to keep the house warm during winter, and cool during summer, which will help to reduce your heating and cooling costs year round.
6. Use a Fan Instead of an Air Conditioner
A fan uses substantially less power than an air conditioning unit. If your house isn’t over-heated, a fan may be enough to keep you cool. If you have insulation, you’ll probably only need a fan to give you a cool breeze in summer, rather than air conditioning.
7. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
This is an easy way to save money! Energy efficient bulbs use less energy, therefore reducing your electricity usage. Simply change your light bulbs to energy efficient ones, and you’ll see a decrease in your bill.
8. Use a Microwave Instead of an Oven
An oven requires a lot of extra heating, and consequently power, to heat up the entire space. If you can use your microwave instead, you’ll save money and energy.
When you do use your oven, only open the door when necessary. Every time you open up the oven door while cooking, the temperature drops 14-20 degrees. If you cook regularly, cutting the habit will save you money.
9. Switch to Solar Panels
You’ll reduce bills significantly by creating your own energy. Once the panels are installed, the power is free.
10. Turn Off the Heating While You Sleep
It is almost unnecessary to have heating on at night when you already have blankets and doonas. No one wants to be cold, but once you’re snug in bed, you won’t need to have the heater on. In fact, it’ll probably cause you to be uncomfortably hot.
11. Only Run Your Dryer, Washing Machine and Dishwasher When They’re Full
Use these appliances more efficiently and save money on the loads you don’t run. You’ll use less electricity, less water, and less energy to heat up the water. The more loads you run, the more power you use. So simply wait until the machine is full before starting a wash or dry cycle.
12. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
By choosing efficient appliances, you’ll limit the amount of electricity used that eventually goes on the electricity bill. This way, you don’t even have to think about saving money, your appliances are doing it for you already.
These are easy ways to save money on your electricity bill that you can start implementing straight away. Imagine what you could do with the money you’ll save!
September 29 2014
Solar energy is fast becoming popular all around the world as a growing number of people turn towards renewable energy generation to combat carbon emission problems.
Burning fossil fuels takes a toll on the environment, leading to an increased use of power generated from renewable sources. Among the many renewable sources of energy in Australia, solar power has established itself as a preferred choice of consumers due to a number of advantages.
So what’s all the solar fuss about? Let’s have a look.
No Greenhouse Gases
The foremost advantage of switching to solar power is that it does not produce any greenhouse gases at all, apart from the stage of solar panel production itself, and even then it is minimal.
Solar power is produced when the sun’s radiation hits the solar panels, and heat is transmitted through conduction – a process that does not involve any gas, smoke, or any type of chemical by-products.
This is without doubt the most powerful driving force behind green energy technology, as Australia attempts to meet it’s climate change responsibilities in order to curb carbon emissions.
Never-ending Free Energy
Beyond the initial expenses incurred during installation and maintenance, solar power is completely free. It is not dependent on raw materials such as oil or coal, and it requires considerably less labour as compared to fossil fuel power plants. The majority of solar panels constructed today have a life expectancy of around 40 years.
Decentralisation of Water
Solar power offers decentralisation of water at sunny locations. Instead of relying on clean water to be supplied by a large company, local water can be treated and made drinkable using a solar powered treatment unit.
This results in self-reliant societies, particularly where transportation of water across the country adds to the costs, including pollution costs of transporting, monetary costs, and costs incurred as a result of the wear and tear of roads. All of these additional expenses can be avoided through installation and use of solar power systems.
Solar energy can be easily produced both on and off the power grid. On grid means when a particular house remains connected to the state’s electricity grid. Off-grid, on the other hand, means that it has no connection whatsoever to the state electricity grid and is self-sustaining.
For those people who live in isolated and rural areas, producing energy off grid is a major plus point. Quite often, installation of power lines is extremely expensive in these areas, while some others have frequent power outages.
Today, even some city dwellers are opting to go off the grid in an attempt to lead a self-reliant lifestyle.
One excellent advantage of solar energy production is that it creates lots of jobs. These jobs come in a number of forms, including manufacturing; monitoring, installing and maintaining solar power systems; while research, development, cultural integration and policy jobs are also created.
Solar Power Avoids Price Volatility and Politics
Solar energy is able to avoid price volatility and politics that usually daunt the fossil fuel market. Due to the fact that the sun is an unlimited commodity, and that sunlight can be sourced from a number of locations, solar energy is far less vulnerable to the manipulation of price and politics.
A glance at the numbers shows that the price of fossil fuels has increased over the past few years, while per watt price of solar power has almost halved over the past ten years.
There’s no denying the fact that solar energy technology is being improved in leaps and bounds. These developments have led to a significant drop in the prices of solar panels, and have made it affordable for the masses. A technology that was expensive and bulky yester-year, has become extremely efficient and more accessible, and continues to do so.
September 19 2014
We have the ability to harness solar power and convert it directly into electricity. However, the process that takes place in order to generate electricity using sunlight is not known by many people. Solar panels – devices that carry out this task – are the main component of any solar energy system. A brief understanding of what these solar panels do is a prerequisite to understanding how electricity is generated through sunlight.
Let’s talk about how a typical solar energy system for a home works. The working principle of the solar panels is the same for commercially generated electricity; the only difference is that once a solar power plant generates electricity, it feeds it to the power transmission grid.
Solar cells are typically small, square panels that are constructed using silicon or other materials that can conduct heat. Whenever sunlight hits a solar panel, chemical reactions take place that release electrons, thus generating electricity.
A number of solar cells combine to make a solar panel, and these solar cells are often referred to as photovoltaic cells (PV cells). PV cells can power something as small as a handheld calculator, or can be large enough to provide energy for a house or a business.
Components of a Photovoltaic (PV) System
A PV system has several components, including:
• PV Modules (solar panels)
• Batteries (one or more, depending on the requirement)
• A Charge Controller
• An Inverter (to convert DC to AC)
• Mounting Hardware
The solar panels are arranged on a rooftop in a way that they get sunlight for as long as possible throughout the course of the day.
How a Solar Energy System Works
- The process of electricity generation starts when solar energy hits the solar cells (on the solar panels) and is absorbed into the cell. Once these photons (from the sunlight) enter the cells, they activate electrons in the silicon layers.
- Once these electrons get into motion, electricity is generated and it starts to flow into the circuit consisting of other PV system components.
- Due to the fact that solar panels create DC (direct-current), and home appliances operate on AC (alternating current), an inverter is required to convert DC into AC.
- After the electricity has been converted into AC, it feeds the household circuitry, allowing you use your appliances.
Off Grid and On Grid
Off grid power systems are self-reliant and have no connection to your local utility company’s power grid. These systems rely on batteries to store energy for the night when there is no sunlight, during which time no electricity can be produced.
On grid systems, however, generally do not require batteries as they are connected to the utility company’s power grid. During the daytime, you can use the electricity generated by your solar power systems; at night, you can switch over to the utility grid with no problems whatsoever. Many power companies offer a rebate to those people whose solar systems feed excess power to the power grid.
The size of your solar power system generally depends on a number of factors, including:
- How much electricity is required
- How much hot water is used
- The size of your roof
- How much you can invest
The above factors will determine how large or small a solar energy system you need for your house or business.
A solar power system is neat and produces electricity without any emissions at all. It’s a great way to contribute towards a sustainable environment that is free from pollution caused by burning fossil fuels. With passing time, the cost per watt of electricity from solar systems is going down significantly, making it a more affordable choice for homeowners.
September 16 2014
Whether your solar is a transparent part of your life or a key strategic asset, you’re always on the lookout for tips to maxmise your solar savings…RIGHT?
Solar Savings Tip 1: Energy efficient appliances – Unplug your appliances when they’re not in use – your TV, computer, microwave and even some washing machines have a ‘standby’ mode which means they’re still using energy even when they’re not in use.
Solar Savings Tip 2: When you are generating solar, use it! Unless you are on an attractive PFIT or TFIT you should consider running your appliances in the day, harnessing the suns free energy then whatever is left, you can feed it back into the grid.
Solar Savings Tip 3: Modern lighting solutions – Purchase LED lights now. They can make savings of up to 82% on regular lighting bills compared to 50w Halogens. Plus they have up to a 25 year lifespan meaning. No brainer.
|Are you a TVS customer? WE MAY HAVE…|
Solar Savings Tip 4: Efficient heating and cooling – Insulating your roof or ceiling will help keep your home a pleasant temperature in summer and winter. It saves you money on energy bills, and pays for itself over a relatively short time.
Solar Savings Tip 5: Keep an eye on the thermostat – It doesn’t always have to feel like the Arctic one minute, the Sahara Desert the next. Reduce the temperature setting on all your heating and air-conditioning units, plus your hot-water system by two to three degrees. It will make a difference.
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