Photo courtesy of Spectrolab.
Yesterday, Spectrolab announced that its newest triple-junction solar cells had achieved the world record in efficiency, converting 41.6 percent of specially concentrated sunlight into electricity. All told, a tiny cell just 0.3174 square centimeters turned the sunlight equivalent of nearly 364 suns into 4.805 watts. That kind of efficiency is why 60 percent of satellites in orbit today bear earlier iterations of the technology; that’s a total of roughly 640 kilowatts of Spectrolab cells circling Earth.
Those cells cost 40 cents per watt, according to the manufacturer—if you happen to have the sunlight equivalent of 500 suns streaming down while enjoying a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. In reality, Read more »
Improve Furnace Efficiency
If you are upgrading your furnace, install an energy-efficient furnace. It can save you up to 25% of your home heating costs and depending on your existing furnace, could pay for the higher initial cost in about seven years.
For every 2 degrees F (1 Celsius) you lower your thermostat, you save 2% of heat energy used. Reducing the room temperature in the evening and when the building is vacant can have a large impact on your heating costs.
A programmable thermostat allows you to dictate when your heating system will automatically reduce the temperature. There are many options available; some include several time periods per day, for each day of the week. There are also a few electricity utilities will even give you a free programmable thermostat if you sign up for an energy demand program. Check with your local utility.
The refrigerator is likely to be the largest single power-user in your home aside from air conditioning and water heating.
Refrigerator efficiency has made enormous strides in the past few years, largely due to insistent prodding from the federal government with tightening energy standards.
An average new fridge with top-mounted freezer sold today uses under 700 kilowatt-hours per year, while the average model sold in 1973 used nearly 2,000 kilowatt-hours per year. These are national average figures.
Here is a checklist of things that will help any fridge do its job more easily, and more efficiently.
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by Dave Allan
We often think Green at home or work, but often become lax when away on vacation and staying at a hotel, motel or B&B. Here are some tips to take with you next time you’ re on vacation to educate your host.
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