Americans are becoming more concerned about green living than ever before. However, many of them have a hard time taking the plunge, particularly when it comes to using green watering solutions. If you are on the fence, you should know that you can save a lot of money by finding a greener way to provide water to your home.
Green Watering Devices Are a Massive Money Saver
Do you know how much money you spend on water every year? According to the EPA, the average family spends $1,000. That is a noticeable chunk of your budget.
The EPA also estimates that some green watering devices can save you $380 a year. That is a lot of money to the average homeowner.
Green Watering is the Latest Way for People to Go Green, but Other Ideas Are in the Pipeline
A great number of us make conscious efforts to conserve the resources of our planet. We recycle our paper, plastic, and aluminum products; shut off lights when we leave a room; switch to compact fluorescent bulbs; take our own bags to the grocery store; carpool to work or walk instead of drive.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with “green” information, but reducing our ecological footprint on earth is not as difficult as you may think. Going green simply means using what is necessary and no more. Small steps can produce big changes when it comes to the environment.
Creating a healthier, more planet-friendly home isn’t just a good deed, it’s an opportunity. Choosing energy-efficient appliances benefits more than just the environment; it can improve your quality of life and save you money.
If the goal is to use less energy, less electricity, and less water, what options do we have when it comes to our home’s appliances? We all use a great deal of water and energy in our daily lives. To reduce the environmental impact of your energy use, the best place to start is in examining how your appliances operate.
As our reliance on machines increases, choosing energy-efficient systems has become particularly important. Updated technology, along with national standards, have contributed to vast improvements in appliance performance. Purchasing the right products, in addition to using appliances in an eco-wise manner, will save energy and money.
Many of these products will be more energy efficient. The average household appliance consumes about 1,000 watts, so energy conscious homeowners will be under pressure to find more energy efficient versions to minimize their carbon footprint.
There are dozens of types of energy-efficient appliances offering green solutions to reduce household consumption. A high-efficiency softener, for example, is a green water system. Given that hard water is a major concern in nearly 85% of homes throughout the U.S., many families turn to water softeners to supply cleaner, healthier water throughout their homes.
While all softening systems need water and salt to operate, not all are created equal when it comes to waste production and energy conservation. If a softening system is always using salt and water, how is it possible that water softeners are green water systems?
First, when you remove the hardness minerals from your water supply, your appliances can operate more efficiently. This saves water and energy. Also, when you eliminate hard water, you’re removing the build-up of scale which prolongs the life of your appliances and keeps them out of our country’s landfills.
Consequently, although softeners use salt and water to regenerate, a high-efficiency upflow system like the Genesis On Demand uses precisely the amount of salt and water necessary; it always runs as efficiently as possible, without waste.
Upflow Technology for High-Efficiency Usage
The capacity of your water softener, how you maintain it, and how it operates, all affect how much energy is used. For example, a water softening system using older downflow technology may use more than double the amount of salt and water than leading brands like the Genesis water softener using modern upflow technology.
A water softener uses resin beads charged with salt in a tank. As water passes through the resin, the hard minerals are removed and exchanged with sodium. After the resin loses its ability to dispose of the minerals, it must be “recharged” with more salt during a regeneration cycle. This cycle, when combined with a backwash cycle, can use a significant amount of water.
Systems using older downflow brining requires hard water to enter from above the resin bed and flow throughout the resin to complete the ion-exchange process for softening. This presents a problem, as the direction of the incoming water compacts the media and prevents full softening capacity. It also causes more frequent regeneration, creating far greater waste than necessary.
Green water systems, such as the Genesis water softener line, uses new upflow technology in which water is directed in an up-flow direction, entering the system tank and moving through the upper basket before traveling down again through a tube in the center of the tank.
The water then gets distributed throughout the lower basket providing a better discharge of impurities and eliminating the need for backwashing every regeneration on municipal water. That is a 90% reduction in backwash cycle water use. Upflow softeners reduce salt and water usage by regenerating the precise amount needed and producing significantly less waste.
On-Demand vs. Timered Softeners
The key to a greener water softener is in on-demand, up-flow technology. If you have an older, timered softener, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency on-demand softener will provide your family with a cost-effective answer to hard water troubles.
A Genesis Premier Upflow On Demand system works on an as-needed basis, calculating the regeneration amount just before exhausting capacity, guaranteeing an uninterrupted flow of softer, cleaner water for a fraction of the cost.
Timered softeners regenerate at predetermined schedules regardless of water usage. Since we don’t use the same amount of water each day, it’s nearly impossible to program timed regeneration settings correctly, leaving homeowners with no choice but to either use hard water, or regenerate unnecessarily, wasting a great deal of water, salt, and energy.
When on-demand softening systems regenerate, it’s based on need instead of a preset schedule. Using innovative upflow technology in an on-demand system reduces salt usage by as much as 75% and water usage by 65% over standard downflow meter regeneration type models. It also requires less maintenance and fewer repairs. This superb energy efficiency goes a long way in saving money and the environment.
The savings in soap and cleaning products are also factors to consider. An added benefit is fewer chemicals into the environment. Using far less product to achieve cleanliness means less cost and less soap down the drain.
Most people choose eco-friendly products but that is not always an option, especially when trying to remove scale build-up. Calcium and lime removal can only be effectively done through harsh chemicals which are acid based. Installing a water softener eliminates the need for those products.
If you’re ready to make changes in your home to promote a greener lifestyle, and you’re in the market for an energy-efficient softener, you may be wondering: How much does a water softener cost and what size water softener do I need? Determining water quality and usage will help define the correct system for any home or business. A water quality expert can help guide you through the process.
Green Choices are Good Choices
Living green doesn’t just positively impact our planet, it also protects you and your family. Eco-friendly products like high-efficiency salt and water saving softeners deliver soft water to your home and prevent wasteful consequences.
Green systems lower energy bills, extend the life of your appliances, and preserve our natural resources. Environmentally conscious decisions add up. When we make responsible choices for our planet, we’re also reaping the long-term benefits for ourselves. The greener your appliances, the greener your wallet.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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