Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:20:00 PM
The New Year is a time for resolutions. Have you thought about the things you could do to make your home more energy efficient? How about changes that you will ACTUALLY DO?
It isn’t necessary to invest a lot of time and money to make a difference. Little changes such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs add up. Here are some simple, inexpensive measures that you can do to ensure you homes remain energy efficient, warm and comfortable.
Install programmable thermostats
Investing in a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to monitor the indoor temperature of their home remotely via a smart phone or online. By keeping the temperature low when no one is home and programming the thermostat to increase the temperature when everyone is home, annual heating costs can be reduced anywhere between 5 and 15 percent, according to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). The same principle can be applied during summer months to help save on cooling costs.
Replace air filters
Replacing the furnace’s air filter every three months can also help create a more comfortable environment; a clogged filter can reduce the unit’s overall efficiency and lifespan.
Weather strip and caulk doors and windows
For less than $100, weather-stripping for windows, a door sweep strip and some caulking can help fill any air leaks to limit energy loss.
Install low flow shower heads
For maximum water efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. Choose from two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water.
Use auto turn-off power strips
Smart power strips automatically turn off electricity to all the things you don’t need. The new generation of power strips has quietly evolved to confront the energy usage problem head-on, without losing any of those old winning personality traits like lots of outlets and surge protection.
Install CFL or LED lights
An average American household can save over $200 per year by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 6:30:00 AM
While hybrid electric vehicle sales make up a small percentage of total vehicle sales in Canada, big incentives and increased competition within this segment have increased sales over the past several years. There are a number of financial and environmental reasons to consider making your next vehicle purchase a hybrid one. To assist you in making this decision we’ve compiled some essential questions you might want answered before buying a hybrid.
- How does a Hybrid Vehicle Work?
A Hybrid electric vehicle (or HEV) combines the benefits of a conventional internal combustion engine with those of an electric motor. Hybrid vehicles have on-board computers that constantly calculate when to make use of the electric motor, the gas motor, or a combination of the two to achieve maximal fuel efficiency. Most HEVs use the electric motor at low speeds and revert to the gasoline engine at speeds above 30 km/h, or when the electric battery runs low. The gasoline engine is also used in combination with the braking action of the vehicle to recharge the hybrid’s batteries as you drive.
- What about Plug-in Hybrids?
A plug-in hybrid differs from a traditional HEV in that it makes exclusive use of the electric motor in normal driving scenarios and makes use of the gasoline engine only to extend vehicle range by recharging the battery when it runs low. As the name suggests, the electric battery is also recharged by connecting it to an external power supply. Plug-in hybrids can achieve even better fuel economy than traditional hybrids, especially in city driving scenarios where the electric motor is the sole power supply. Statistics show that plug-in hybrid vehicles use between 40 to 60 percent less fuel than a conventional gasoline vehicle of the same type.
- Why do Hybrids cost more?
In a word: batteries. The material cost of state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries and engineering costs associated to developing hybrid systems significantly increase the cost of producing a hybrid vehicle. These costs are passed on to the consumer and result in a price up to 20% higher than a comparable gasoline model. The good news, however, is that these extra costs are steadily decreasing, and most experts believe that the price of a hybrid or electric vehicle will match that of a gasoline model within the next 10 years. Some manufacturers even offer cash incentives on their hybrid models.
- Will buying a Hybrid car pay for itself in savings?
The financial payoff of owning a hybrid will depend largely the vehicle, your driving habits, and the price of fuel. The savings achieved by driving a fuel efficient hybrid will increase as the price of gas increases. Additionally, driving a hybrid will yield better efficiency for city drivers, where the electric motor is used most frequently. This benefit is even more apparent with a plug-in hybrid, as a city driver may often use no gas at all. We recommended that you research the environmental policies of your local, provincial and national government, as there are often cash and tax incentives available to hybrid vehicle owners.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 2:35:00 PM