Category Archives: Technology

Bright Outlook for Texas Solar

Experts are anticipating that the solar energy market in the state of Texas to achieve significant growth over the next several years.  According to to the Solar Energy Industry Association:

  • Texas ranks 13th in the country in installed solar capacity, with enough solar energy installations to power 12,300 homes.
  • Residential and commercial photovoltaic systems prices fell by 22 percent over the last year.
  • More than 280 solar companies are actively working in the state of Texas, employing more than 3,000 Texans.

 

 

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Energy Efficient Roofing

Hot roofs absorb heat, causing air conditioner systems to work harder to cool during the warmer months of the year.

A cool roof uses material that is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Cool Roofs can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees, which will reduce cooling costs.

 

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Reasons to Switch to LED Christmas Lights

This holiday season nearly everyone is looking for ways to save money, by shopping wisely and making gifts and wrappings. One are that should be considered is to switch from incandescent lighting to LED Christmas lights. LED will save you money and give you a peace of mind as this technology offers improved savings and safety.

If all decorative light strings that are sold in the US this holiday season are Energy Star qualified, over 700 million kilowatt hours would be saved and the equivalent of 100,000 emissions from cars would be reduced in greenhouse gases in one year. Here are some additional reasons to switch to LED holiday lighting:

led lights1. Energy efficiency. LED uses over 70% less energy and on average lasts 10 times longer.

2. Improved safety. LED lights remain cool to the touch. Reduces fire risk of lighting on the evergreen decorations and contact burns.

3. Solid-state reliability. Technology does not require each light on string to be in operation for the light string to operate.

4. Durability. LED lights are enclosed in an epoxy casing, versus the fragile glass bulbs of incandescent bulbs.

5. Improved lifespan. Incandescent lights typically only provide 2,000, while LED lamps are rated for at least 50,000 hours of service.

6. No filaments to burn out. LED lighting does not require filaments, which burnout and can be easily damaged.

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Why Teach Fuel Cells?

Renewable technology now plays an important role in the modern science classroom, introducing children to the astonishing potential of alternative sources of energy. However, while most children have heard of solar panels or wind turbines, fuel cell technology still remains a mystery to many. Yet this is a crucial time, with the mass production of hybrid fuel cell vehicles, the construction of hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the EU and America and international telecom companies increasingly turning to fuel cells for their energy needs. Fuel cells have an enormous amount to teach, both in terms of key scientific principals and their relevance to the greentech innovations happening all around us.

Hydrogen fuel cells

Fuel cells are bursting with fascinating science! The key process of a hydrogen fuel cell is the conversion of hydrogen atoms into electrical energy by separating the nucleus from the electron. The electrons are then diverted around an electric circuit while the positively charged hydrogen ions travel through the proton exchange membrane. Then there’s the generation of hydrogen itself—the separation of hydrogen from oxygen through water electrolysis, the hydrogen molecules with a slight positive charge travelling to the cathode while the slightly negatively charge oxygen is attracted to the anode. Molecular bonding, valancy, ions, electrolytes and so much more, just from one alternative technology.

Other types of cell

While hydrogen dominates the headlines at the moment, other fuel cells have enormous educational potential. Direct ethanol fuel cells are in many ways the most efficient power generators of the Horizon education range. The process lasts for hours, does not require combustion, and is completely silent. Saltwater fuel cells operate a little differently, generating electricity through a saltwater electrolyte with magnesium plates around the anode.  Thermal cells convert the temperature difference between hot and cold water into electrical energy. One of the key lessons of these alternative fuel cells is just how vast and varied the science is—and how many options we would have if we truly embraced a fuel cell economy.

Sustainability

With most of our education kits we try to integrate more varieties of alternative technology to enable students to build self-sustaining renewable energy systems. Wind turbines or photo voltaic panels power the electrolyzer to separate out hydrogen from water. The fuel cell converts hydrogen to electrical energy which then powers a propeller or LED— a great way to demonstrate the principles of energy conservation and conversion. Also, students also get to study things like the effect of shade on solar panels, wind resistance, the optimum number of blades for effective wind energy generation and many other tests and experiments.

Universal Ideas

The addition of fuel cell and renewable technology to the science curriculum doesn’t mean that the basics principles of physics and chemistry are somehow overlooked. In fact our fuel cell education sets reveal the workings of water electrolysis, the electrical circuit, resistance, voltage, current, RPM and everything else a conventional lithium battery electrochemistry svet can supply. Plus, extra features such as the Renewable Energy Monitor allow teachers and students to not only measure energy, but also take this data and view it graphically in real time on a computer screen.

Fuel cells are the future of emergency backup power, transportation, aerospace, telecommunication support and so much more. With a carbon-neutral world fast approaching, it’s time we introduced students to this crucial technology and started inspiring the next generation of scientists to push the boundaries of renewable science.

http://www.horizonfuelcell.com

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Benefits of Solar Power for Outdoor Lighting

Harness the power of the sun with solar powered lighting. There is free electricity readily available in your own backyard. Outdoor solar lights are easy to install and are virtually maintenance free. Solar lighting makes the perfect complement to your energy-efficient landscape.

Solar Lighting Benefits:

• Low energy costs. After equipment purchase, the sun provides all of the necessary power.

solar security light

• Minimal maintenance. Solar products typically have a limited number of moving parts, which eliminates the need to replace parts due to breakage and wear.

• Zero emissions. Solar products use the power resource without any resulting waste material.

• Off grid power needs. Solar lights continue working even if there has been a power outage. Because the energy isn’t coming off of an electrical grid, power outages make no difference.

• Portability. You can use solar lighting to light homes, cabins, campsites, backyards or RVs in remote locations. With no power lines to run, using solar power may be a cheaper.

• Easy installation. The majority of outdoor solar lighting has no confusing wires that must be connected to your main electrical system. Setting up your lights can be as simple as hanging them on a tree or staking them into the ground.

These advantages extend to both the wallet and the environment. In addition to all of this, the benefits of solar lighting are only destined to increase as solar technology advances.

Solar Lighting Placement

•  Place lights in areas that will receive direct sunlight. Placement in shaded areas will result in poor lighting performance.

•  Consider installing  a variety of products for the various applications, including walkway, festive, security and standard lighting applications.

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Eco Tip: Reduce Vampire Power

On average, US homes waste $100 a year on vampire power losses. These losses occur when many rechargeable products, such as cell phone, camera, mp3 and navigation device chargers and other home electronics continue to draw electric power after fully charging.  You can take the following steps to reduce the cost of vampire energy loss:

  • Unplug devices when not in use
  • Unplug video game consoles
  • Power off your monitor when you are not using it instead of using screen savers
  • Turn off all printers and peripherals unless you are using them consider using an ink-jet printer
  • Use Smart Surge Protectors

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Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The environmental impact of installing solar panels are evident. The installation of residential solar panels will reduce the size of your carbon footprint and your share of greenhouse gases that are produced annually. As you go through the decision-making process of determining the feasibility of installing residential solar panels, here are a few key points to consider:
  • Start-up Costs - You can reduce the substantial initial outlay by taking advantage of incentives and tax rebates.
  • Self sufficiency and independence -The ability to get of the grid can be liberating. You can also remove a bit of market volatility that can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters and market forces.
  • Return on Investment - The initial purchase of solar panels is obviously a substantial investment, but energy genera
  • solar panelstion starts immediately, resulting in immediate savings on electrical costs. After the initial outlay is covered, in 10 – 15 years, the system will provide pure profit.
  • Remote Installation - Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are great places to see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power infrastructure.
  • Environmental Impact - The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise pollution.
  • Home equity - Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.
  • System Longevity - Solar panels have the capability of collecting energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers typically warranty the systems for 20 to 25 years.

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