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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogAs winter rolls in, many people find their energy bills rising quickly. While it may be difficult to warm your home throughout the winter without seeing some increase in your energy bill, there are several things you can do to conserve energy throughout the winter. Remove Phantom Power Users Phantom power users are devices and appliances that use small amounts of power whenever they’re plugged in, even when they’re not in use. To prevent this, attach your gaming systems, televisions, and other similar items to power strips and turn the strip off when they aren’t in use. Get used to shutting your computer down completely when you aren’t using it. Turn off appliances that aren’t being used. Phantom power can add a significant amount to your energy bill each month and is particularly wasteful because the power is being wasted without any of the benefits of using the device. Have Maintenance Done Even if you don’t do it every year, which is advisable, you should still call out professionals like Classic Air and Heating to inspect and maintain your air system. During the maintenance process, your system will be cleaned and examined to ensure that it’s performing at its optimal level. As a result, your unit won’t have to work too hard to warm your home. Drop the Temperature Every degree that you drop the temperature in your home throughout the winter could save as much as 3% on your energy bill. Even reducing the temperature overnight, when you’re wrapped up in bed anyway, can make a substantial difference in your energy costs. You don’t have to freeze yourself out, but if you keep the temperature a few degrees lower and bundle up a bit, you’ll save money and energy all winter long. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat A programmable thermostat will allow you to reduce the temperature in your home when you aren’t there, saving on your energy costs while still keeping your home comfortable when you’re at home. Many models can even be controlled by your phone. It’s not hard to see that you can save money and energy by only running the heater in preparation for being home and not when you know you’ll be gone. Many smart thermostats also integrate into smart home systems that allow you to turn on and off different lights and fixtures to save even more energy. Block Unused Rooms If there are rooms in your home that you don’t use on a regular basis, close the door and block the bottom of the door with a towel or blanket. This will stop heat and cold from that room interfering with the thermostat readings. The more space you have in your home, the quicker the heat can dissipate. Closing off rooms allows your thermostat to take its readings based on the temperature of the main spaces of your home. Additionally, you’ll want to keep doors to high traffic areas open so air can circulate easier. Seal Doors and Windows Small leaks and drafts can add up quickly as the warm air inside your home is replaced with cold outdoor air. Take the time to caulk around drafts in your windows and, if necessary, purchase a seal to place against your doors. This especially important at night, when temperatures drop. Controlling your energy costs throughout the winter doesn’t have to be your biggest challenge of the year. By implementing these simple tricks, you can watch your energy usage decrease and your energy bills become easier to handle.
RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeMost manufacturers understandably focus on essential business systems like Kanban, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. However, green manufacturing processes will also lower costs and increase revenues. Here are three major benefits of implementing green manufacturing into your business. Reduce Energy Costs Energy and water bills are very high for most manufacturing companies. A large portion of these expenses are actually caused by long periods of equipment standby and downtime. Strategic production planning and tighter schedules will reduce waste. Regular equipment inspections help through identifying problems, such as air compressor leaks. Changing product processing and packing can also save time and costs. Consider switching to energy-efficient lights and upgrading equipment to energy-saving models. There are many government reimbursements available for companies that buy efficient machinery and install solar or wind energy equipment. Manufacturers must also research how to sell production waste. For example, lumber manufacturing facilities often sell bark and sawdust. Sustainable Maintenance A green maintenance approach proactively evaluates the impact of machine failures on both employee performance and environmental conditions. The goal is to monitor equipment functioning and implement preventive maintenance actions. For example, dynamometers are used to monitor heavy equipment testing systems. Some companies, like Power Test Inc., have dynamometers that test electric engines. Performing such tests makes production easier to manage. Sustainable maintenance will accurately predict when energy consumption levels peak and when material degradation threatens the environment. As a result, maintenance managers can effectively mitigating risks and avoid operational repair costs. One of the best ways to implement an eco-friendly preventative maintenance program is through regular equipment maintenance check sheets that are performed by operators and turned into maintenance. Designing for Sustainability When new manufacturing systems are proposed, life cycle cost analyses should be performed during the conceptual design stage to evaluate the best engineering solutions that offer the highest levels of reliability and maintainability. This will help key decision makers identify potential financial gains or losses from poor operational and maintenance practices. During the planning stage, management can evaluate and compare the maintenance needs and energy consumption levels of proposed equipment. Management can thus select higher efficiency motors, alternative fuels or more eco-friendly energy sources. An additional benefit of sustainability planning during the life cycle cost analysis is that it will be easier to smaller, energy-efficient alternatives and avoid oversized equipment. Complex production systems will most likely require an outside consultant to perform an environmental impact and risk analysis. Sustainable businesses practices will control costs and curb environmental impacts through efficient asset and maintenance management. Keep in mind that these benefits and improvements are often realized as annual savings instead of quick, short-term savings.