energyOrbit Partners with the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility to Track and Monitor Statewide Energy Efficiency Improvements

States like California can really learn a lot from Delaware’s simple but effective energy efficiency move this week. It just became the first state to take advantage of up to 70% productivity savings to better utilize taxpayer money on energy efficiency programs and Demand Side Management operations.

With plans in California to consolidate various utility DSM programs, a lot can be learned from Delaware utilizing energyOrbit to move out of “spreadsheet hell” and into a cloud-connected solution for the management of its statewide programs on things like energy efficiency rebates and energy audits.ACEEE estimates that these DSM programs saved about 200 billion kWh, more than 5% of retail electric sales in the United States that year, with some states exceeding 10% of retail electric sales already and could reach more than 20% by 2020.

The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will be utilizing the energyOrbit cloud platform.
San Francisco, Calif., February 14, 2017 — In an industry first, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (DESEU) is implementing a statewide, unified method for tracking and reporting on its energy efficiency, conservation and renewable initiatives. energyOrbit has been selected to deliver a Statewide Energy Savings Database platform for the DESEU’s Energize Delaware programs, as well as select programs at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). These groups will utilize energyOrbit’s cloud-based platform to standardize and streamline data tracking and reporting for a multitude of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs operating around the state, from low-interest revolving loans for energy efficiency and customer-sited renewables, to solar renewable energy credits procurement and home performance audits. By engaging energyOrbit, the DESEU and DNREC will have the ability to seamlessly send reports, as well as effectively share data and communicate with their industry partners.
The DESEU is a unique non-profit offering a one-stop resource to help residents and businesses save money through clean energy and efficiency. The SEU was created in 2007 by the State of Delaware to foster a sustainable energy future for the State. Its Energize Delaware energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are focused on helping Delawareans save money, creating jobs and improving the environment. The DESEU collaborates with a variety of industry partners such as the University of Delaware and the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate.

By utilizing the energyOrbit platform, the DESEU will be able to capture and organize data and results from various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for simplified sharing, collaboration and consistency. energyOrbit also allows Energize Delaware program implementers to manage and submit their program performance data through a simple to use, web-based interface.

“While achieving our mission of bringing the most cost effective opportunities for energy savings, it only makes sense that we would employ the most efficient, cost-effective method for implementing, tracking and reporting Delaware’s energy efficiency initiatives,” says Tony DePrima, Executive Director of the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility. “By engaging the energyOrbit platform, we are able to better organize, act on and report data, allowing us to continually improve our residents’ quality of life through saving money, creating jobs and improving the environment.”

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will also be using the energyOrbit platform to manage their energy efficiency programs and determine emission reduction results. Much like Energize Delaware, they also rely on outside reporting, something energyOrbit will assist in streamlining.

“One of our core missions is to get our clients out of spreadsheet hell and other non-collaborative, static business solutions,” says Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit. “The DESEU and DNREC are working to better improve the lives of Delaware residents, but spending time formatting and organizing data and spreadsheets distracts from that goal.” “We are glad to know that through using energyOrbit, the DESEU and State of Delaware will be able to more efficiently report on data as well as, monitor sustainability and savings goals all at a lower cost per unit of energy saved.”

Source: energyOrbit www.energyorbit.com

Five Ways Your Roof Can Save the Earth

Searching for ideas to make your home a greener place to live? Consider the roof over your head- the material you choose to protect you from the elements can make a big difference to the environment.

A metal roof is a perfect choice for homeowners looking for a sustainable roof. Home improvement expert Bill Hippard, president of the not-for-profit Metal Roofing Alliance (www.metalroofing.com) outlines five reasons why a metal roof is the best roofing material for your home and for the environment:

Eco-friendly products, including metal roofs, are rapidly replacing petroleum-based asphalt shingles. Approximately 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated and disposed of in U.S. landfills every year.

The average metal roof contains a minimum of 25 percent recycled content. Some contain a much higher percentage. Although durable metal roofs will likely outlast your home, if you ever do re-roof, the material is 100% recyclable.

Because of its ability to reduce both cooling and heating energy usage, cool metal roofing, is considered by many to be the perfect sustainable product to put on your home. Homeowners who install a metal roof immediately see a change in their energy bills. In addition, this durable alternative can serve as an excellent platform for photovoltaic systems or to capture rainwater for irrigation.

Eco-friendly metal roofing products are now the #2 roofing product on the market. There are tons of choices, including unpainted or natural metal, pre-painted metal, and granular-coated metal. The wide variety of finishes, colors, textures and profiles give homeowners an opportunity to fit into any neighborhood, or stand out from the crowd.

When combined with other energy-saving components of a roof assembly and attic system, heat gain into the attic can be reduced by over 90 percent.

As a bonus, U.S. homeowners who install an Energy Star rated metal roofing system before the end of the year, will be eligible for up to $500 in tax credits.

For more information and a photo gallery of roofing options, homeowners can visit http://www.metalroofing.com

A metal roof is a perfect choice for homeowners looking for a sustainable roof. Home improvement expert Bill Hippard, president of the not-for-profit Metal Roofing Alliance (www.metalroofing.com) outlines five reasons why a metal roof is the best roofing material for your home and for the environment: Eco-friendly products, including metal roofs, are rapidly replacing petroleum-based asphalt shingles. Approximately 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated and disposed of in U.S. landfills every year.

3 Eco-Friendly Household Cleaning Solutions

Everyone wants a clean home, but there shouldn’t have to be a environmental cost to live in comfort. Traditional products used to keep bathrooms and kitchens spotless are effective, but they also feature a litany of chemicals and materials that are harmful to the environment and sometimes even your health.

Today’s green-living enthusiasts are unwilling to put up with such tradeoffs — and nowadays nobody has to. Even mass-market companies are offering eco-friendly products. Combined with smaller niche producers and do-it-yourself options, we now live in a world where environmentalists can stay clean without sacrificing anything. The following list includes some of the best and most trustworthy ways to keep your household spic and span without harming Mother Nature in the process.

The method Revolution

One company, method, got out in front of this trend and managed to make a name for itself early on. It has done well to brand itself first and foremost as a cleaning product firm that destroys dirt and germs — with the tagline “People Against Dirty” — while championing its innovative ways of doing the job in an eco-friendly way. And by getting into some big box stores, namely Whole Foods, it has gotten its dish soaps, laundry detergent, floor cleaner and other products in front of consumers.

By beginning to use 100 percent recycled plastic packaging in 2006 — and recovering plastic from the ocean — it further cemented itself as the brand in eco-clean. “We realize that only a small amount of plastic will be taken out of the ocean to make these bottles,” method co-founder Adam Lowry told Whole Foods. “But we can have a big impact if we change people’s minds about their role in protecting our oceans.”

Eco-Friendly Products

While method dates back to 2000, plenty of other companies are also making waves in this market, and discerning consumers all have their individual favorites. Seventh Generation, which also uses plant-based cleaners, is preferred by many and is often even a bit cheaper. Others swear by, and only use, Dr. Bronner’s for both home and body care. While it made its name in body soap, shampoo and toothpaste, its concentrated Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner has become a big hit.

These are merely a few of the top, trendiest brands of today. Many others can be found in stores across the country, and Amway is one company with a long legacy of supplying homes with cleaning products. They offer an array of environmentally conscious options through their Instagram page.

DIY Solutions

Although eco-focused companies have devised proprietary plant-based cleaning products, there are historically-proven ways to do the job with items you probably already have around the home. And these chemical-free solutions not only work well, but they are generally a lot cheaper if you’re willing to put in a little time to mix the formula.

Baking soda and vinegar are two of the superstar ingredients in many DIY cleaners — although be careful how you mix them together to avoid a science fair volcano. The reason they are so widely used is that baking soda is an available, safe alkaline, while vinegar is acidic. Depending upon the task, either can work to break down grime, disinfect and destroy grease. Lemon juice, castile soap and various essential oils are also popular and can be used together for different purposes.

An easy and effective all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen can be made by mixing together equal parts water and vinegar and putting it in a convenient-to-use a spray bottle. Dish-washing detergent can be made from equal parts water and liquid castile soap, along with two teaspoons of lemon juice. For hard-to-clean showers and other gunky bathroom tiles, don’t bother with the dilution. Spray pure white vinegar on that mildew and leave it alone to work its magic for about a half hour. Then rub it down with a sponge and watch the wall look like new before rinsing away everything with water. Try these and other simple cleaner recipes to help save money — and the environment.

Energy Conservation in the Home! How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

I’ve written before that:

When you think of green energy technology, you might think of things like wind mills, solar panels, or biofuels. While these advancements are certainly at the forefront of green energy, technology like computers, processing chips and electronic safety systems are also doing important work in maintaining the efficiency of such systems.

Bottom line, energy efficient actions is a renewable energy.  For example:

•  Making the switch to LEDs, or movement sensors, could save up to 80% of the energy used per bulb, compared to a standard lightbulb.

• Invest in a high-capacity solar battery which is an ideal backup electricity supply solution. It allows you to go ‘off grid’ if needed.

• Appliances and equipment that carry the Energy Star mark fall within the top 25% of the most energy efficient products, on average.

This great infographic has more ideas too. Enjoy!

Source: http://www.njpelectrical.com.au/


What’s the Average Cost of Solar Across the US, With a Focus on New York and California? The Green Living Guy Investigates.

A solar installation crew hard at work in New York – photo courtesy of Kasselman Solar
A solar installation crew hard at work in New York – photo courtesy of Kasselman Solar

Solar has gone from being an expensive rarity to a common sight on rooftops in many places across the country. As a result, homeowners have switched from asking if solar is actually worth it to how much it costs. 

Unfortunately, determining how much solar would actually cost for your home isn’t simple. To give homeowners a better idea of true prices out there, Green Living Guy decided to do some research! 
First off, why is determining the cost of solar so difficult? There are several reasons for this:

1) Not all homes use the same amount of energy – this can even be true of homes that are right next to each other.

2) Different homes have different roof angles and receive different amounts of sun.

3) Rebates and incentives change from state to state, and even utility to utility.

4) Installers don’t tend to publish their prices, and pricing can vary widely from one installer to another for the same panels.

5) Prices have been dropping rapidly for the past ten years, making price studies from only a few years back completely inaccurate.

So how are homeowners supposed to know even a general ballpark for prices when considering purchasing solar? Well, we went looking better information, and we found several recent studies that help shed light on the actual cost of installing solar.

We looked at studies from both Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a federally-funded laboratory which does a large amount of research on all kinds of energy, and Solar to the People, an independent marketplace site that evaluates solar installers and publishes educational studies for homeowners.

The Lawrence Berkeley study looks at solar costs across the entire US, and is quite an in-depth study – 

Here are our takeaways from the Lawrence Berkeley study:

1) Residential solar prices have dropped enormously across the country in the past decade

– Home solar prices have dropped roughly 55% from 2005 to 2015. The average price of an installed watt of home solar in 2005 was $9.04. In 2015 installing that same watt cost $4.05.

Image and data source: Tracking the Sun report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2016
Image and data source: Tracking the Sun report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2016

2) The prices that homeowners pay per installed watt of installed solar within states varies– as you can see in the graph below, people pay a wide range of prices for each installed watt. So prices vary not only ACROSS states (you can see that California prices in 2015 are almost 20% HIGHER than New Jersey prices), but WITHIN states – we were surprised to the extent that homeowners within a state paid such different amounts per watt of installed solar. 

Image and data source: Tracking the Sun report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2016
Image and data source: Tracking the Sun report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2016

All this variation between states got us thinking – how much do installations cost overall versus just on a per-watt basis, and are there differences across regions WITHIN states?

For this part of our research, we turned to several studies that looked at two of the most popular places to install solar nationwide – California and New York. Lo and behold, it turns out that there are large variations within states, and you could be paying significantly more or less for solar than the state average depending on the region you live in.

We dug into Solar to the People’s study on the cost of solar panels in New York to understand how prices for home solar varied across the Empire State in the first six months of 2016. We were shocked to see the large variations you can see in the infographic below.

Image and data source – Solar to the People, 2016
Image and data source – Solar to the People, 2016

According to the data collected by Solar to the People, the average price for a home solar installation in New York state in the first half of 2016 was $16,426. Regional prices varied heavily for a full installation of home solar panels from a low of $12,361 in the Ithaca area to a high of $21,104 for solar on Long Island. The reasons for these price differences were primarily due the differences in state incentives. This incentive program is called the NY-Sun residential rebate program and is still available and going strong for upstate New York (where Ithaca is located), but is no longer available in Long Island. Long Island homeowners continue to go solar regardless, as they live in one of the highest cost areas for electricity in the country. 
Of course, there’s no way we can discuss regional solar costs without looking at the reigning king of home solar installations, California. We looked at Solar to the People’s California study to get some insight into if there are regional differences in the cost of installing solar in California. According to the study, the average cost of a home solar installation in California in 2015 was $18,675. 

Yet again, we saw there were sizable difference between the least and most expensive regions, though not nearly as large as New York. On average the highest-cost area for Solar in California was the Redding and Shasta / Cascades area at $20,698, and the least expensive was the Central Coast at $16,212. The differences in these prices seemed to be almost exclusively due to the size differences between installations in those two areas. The prices for home solar in the majority of the regions in the Golden State seemed to hover around the statewide average, like San Diego at $18,540 and Orange County at $18,866.

 

Image and data source – Solar to the People, 2016
Image and data source – Solar to the People, 2016

Hopefully our research has helped you understand a bit more about the national and regional costs of home solar installations! We think that knowledge is power that giving homeowners accurate information on solar is essential to help the renewable energy revolution keep on steaming ahead!