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Just one more reason to buy an iPad

The annual cost to charge an iPad is $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit research and development group funded by electric utilities.

By comparison, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72.

These cost were calculated using the U.S. average residential price of 11.49 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In case you were wondering if you were a customer of Realgy Energy Services, charging your iPod would only cost you about $.96 annually at a rate of 8.1 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Check out the rest of the article to find out more Energy Costs of Ordinary Items

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Inefficient Commercial Lighting Fixes

Lighting accounts for roughly 40 percent of energy consumption in many commercial buildings. Switching to energy-efficient lights can reduce lighting costs by as much as 75% each year. That is money back in YOUR pocket.

Fluorescent tube lights are more energy efficient that the popular A-type standard incandescent lamps, and will reduce energy consumption up to 40%. Fluorescent lights create less direct glare than incandescent lights have a cooler and quieter operation. Just as important, modern fluorescent bulbs do not flicker during start-up, making them perfect for commercial buildings.

T8 and T5 fluorescent tube lights

When purchasing fluorescent lights, look for T8 high-efficiency one inch lamps, which have a low life-cycle cost and illumination that more closely resembles natural light. The T8 lights are smaller in diameter than the older T12 lights, which enable the gases and rare earth phosphors inside to function more efficiently.

LED lighting uses 75% less energy and will last 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescent lighting. They produce very little heat and will not break like traditional bulbs. LED lights that are Energy Star qualified even come with a minimum three year warranty, though in many instances they can last a decade or more. In terms of return on your investment, LED bulbs can represent huge savings despite their high up-front costs.

Don’t let the high prices of efficient bulbs scare you away though. You can reduce your upfront costs  by switching out your old lights with one of these new types of energy efficient lighting as the old bulbs burn out. Eventually, you’ll have replaced every single bulb, and the savings will really start piling up.

Sources:

Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Commercial Lighting
Department of Energy, Energy Savers, Fluorescent Tube and Circline Lamps
Energy Star, Lighting, What Choose Energy Star Qualified LED Lighting?

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Watt vs Lumens: How bright is that light?

With the introduction of CFLs and LEDs, the way light bulbs are rated has evolved along with the bulbs.

Relying on the traditional Watt, which is a measurement of energy, can make it difficult to compare incandescent bulbs to the more energy efficient bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs, which can use up to 80% less energy, or watts. But now there is now a standardized measurement for the total emission of light or brightness, and it is called Lumens.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, upgrading 15 inefficient incandescent light bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs could save about $50 per year. Ninety percent of the energy used by a traditional incandescent bulb is given off as heat. That is a lot of wasted energy!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and lighting manufacturers are placing more information on light bulb packaging to make purchasing easier. The new light bulb labels include brightness measured in lumens, the estimated yearly energy cost in dollars, the life expectancy of the bulb, the light appearance from warm to cool and the energy used measured in watts. This information can help consumers make a more-informed decision when it comes to purchasing light bulbs.

These new labels will help consumers make purchasing decisions as they transition to more energy-efficient types of bulbs.

Sources:

Alliance to Save Energy, Energy-Efficient Lighting: Lumens vs. Watts
National Geographic, Green Living, Lumens vs. Watts for LED Bulbs

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Have you ever wondered just how that electricity got to your light bulb or microwave?

The electricity powering your light bulb is produced in a power plant by generators. Energy cannot be created or destroyed just changed from one form to another. Newly generated electricity is then transported over the power grid to your electrical outlet.

The United States has three power grids that keep the lower 48 states powered:

  • The Eastern Interconnected System east of the Rocky Mountains
  • The Western Interconnected System from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains
  • Texas Interconnected System

These three separate systems are interconnected and require constant oversight to ensure that all the components are linked together. Since large quantities of electricity cannot be stored effectively or efficiently, electricity must be produced as it is used, this increases the need to watch over the grid. Control centers are utilized to monitor the supply and demand to safeguard against blackouts. To avoid blackouts there must always be a perfect balance between supply and demand.

From the control centers electricity is constantly monitored as it travels from the power plants to high-voltage power lines that transport electricity throughout the three grids. The higher the voltage the more efficiently they transport electricity. In other words the higher the voltage the more electricity will get to the end point. However, there will always be losses as electricity flows through the power grid.

From the high voltage power lines the electricity is “stepped-down” to lower voltage power lines, utility poles and wires before it can be safely used in your home or office.

Do you know how much you are paying for the electricity you use?

Why not reduce your electricity rate with Realgy Energy Services. Give one of our Energy Brokers a call (877) 300-6747 or check out our website for more info www.realgyenergyservices.com

Source:

BoingBoing, Where electricity comes from

US Energy Information Administration, Energy In Brief, What is the electrical power grid, and what are some challenges it faces?

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Are vampires sucking your electricity?

Standby or vampire power as it is most commonly referred to, wastes $10 Billion of Electricity Annually in the United States alone. The average US household has about 40 electronic devices that constantly draw small amounts of power.

Top 10 Energy Vampires in Your home

  1. Laptop computer chargers
  2. answering and machines
  3. Computer  printer
  4. TVs and cable boxes,
  5. VCRs, DVD players, DVD recorders, digital video recorders,
  6. phone and iPod chargers
  7. hubs and routers,
  8. video camera battery charger
  9. plugged-in electric toys
  10. night lights

Check out the Vampire Power Sucks website for tip on how to reduce vampire power. 

Edit: January 2013 this website is no longer available. If you would like to learn more about Vampire Energy check out the Energy Star site:

Energy Star, Standby Power and Energy Vampires

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Researchers are generating power using viruses

This might sound weird but researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a method to generate power using a virus.

The harmless M13 bacteriophage virus converts mechanical energy into electricity, and is the first generator to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material.

Testing the generator produced enough current to run a small liquid-crystal display. Image courtesy of Berkley Lab

This new technology will one day make it possible to charge your smartphone as you walk, thanks to a paper-thin generator on the sole of your shoe. Can you imagine all the other great uses for this type of generator.

Learn more about this amazing technology and even watch a video on how it works at the Berkeley Labs website

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ComEd Outage Alert Map and Mobile App

ComEd has announced two new ways it is utilizing technology to improve communication with their customers. The first is an interactive online outage map and the second is a mobile application for smartphones.

“These new features are just two of many improvements ComEd has made in recent months as part of our focus on delivering greater value to our customers through enhanced customer service,” said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operations officer of ComEd.

ComEd’s interactive outage map allows customers to report and view current outages. The color-coded triangle icons illustrate how many customers are affected by each incident, as well as pinpointing the outage location.

Zooming in on a specific area gives more details such as Customers Affected, Estimated Restoration and Crew Status. The map is updated every half hour, and a mobile version is in the works as well.

When you zoom in on the ComEd Outage map more details are shown

The interactive outage map can be found on the ComEd website www.comed.com under the Customer Service tab, along with other useful outage information or by clicking here www.comed.com/map.

The new ComEd Mobile App like the outage map will allow customers to report power outages and check restoration status. ComEd residential customers will also be able to use the app to view account information such as:

  • Account balance
  • Account history
  • Manage payments, including budget billing, automatic and one-time payments
  • Report meter readings

The ComEd mobile app is free and available for download on iPhone and Android devices on the ComEd website www.comed.com/app or by searching for “COMED” in the application store on your smartphone.

Have you tried the ComEd Outage Map or Mobile App let us know what you think?

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Outdoor Electrical Safety

Did you know that May is National Electrical Safety month? To celebrate Realgy Energy Services has compiled a list of the top 10 tips to keep you safe while outdoors.

Electricity can be very dangerous if not used correctly, but sound safety practices can help minimize electrical hazards and cut down the risk of accidents.The more you know about electricity, the safer you will be both at work and home.

10 outdoor electrical safety tips

1. Never use electrical equipment or tools near pools or other wet areas, such as wet grass. Always use extension cords rated for outdoor use.

2. Be aware of and stay at least 10 feet from overhead power lines when carrying and setting up ladders or when using long-handled tools.

3. Call before digging. Call 811 to locate any underground power lines before digging. For more information check out the call 811 website

4. Get help installing antennas if needed. Remember to keep yourself, tools, materials or equipment at least 10 feet away from any overhead power lines.

5. Fly kites and model airplanes in open areas well away from trees and power lines.

6. Inspect all outdoor power tools and electric lawn mowers for frayed power cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings. If the cord is damaged, stop using it.

7. Never climb or play in trees that are near or touching power lines.

8. Do not play on or with utility poles, this includes throwing objects, such as sneakers, at or onto electric power lines.

9. Use caution when trimming trees. Before attempting any tree pruning, look for overhead power lines that may be near and/or hidden by the tree foliage. If in doubt hire a professional qualified contractor.

10. Always assume electric lines are live and treat them with caution and respect. Even low-voltage electric lines and cords can be hazardous if damaged or improperly handled.

If you are ever unsure about the safety of electrical wires or another form of electricity either at home or at work contact your local utility. You can find an emergency hotline on most utility invoices if there is not emergency number call the customer service number.

Sources:

Love to know Safety, Electrical Safety Tips for children
ComEd, Be aware of the power lines where you live and work
National Safety Council, Practice Safety around Electricity

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