Thursday, September 29, 2016

50 More Ways to Save Energy - Guest Blog Post by Uma Campbell, Writer

50 More Ways to Save Energy
go greenBy now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “going green” being tossed around by family members, friends and politicians, but you may not be sure how you can start living a greener lifestyle. One of the best and easiest ways to go green is to cut back on your home’s energy use, but why should you feel motivated to become more energy efficient?

For starters, being mindful of how much energy you use at home can help you lower your gas, water and electric bills. How? It’s simple: the less energy you use, the less your electric, water or gas company will charge you for their services. Therefore, every energy efficient upgrade or home improvement project you tackle will help put money back in your pocket.

But besides the financial benefits, an energy efficient home can also help the environment. The less energy you use at home, the less of a demand there is for energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal. The drop in demand prevents these resources from quickly depleting from our planet. When you’re energy efficient at home, you are also doing your part to reduce the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere by power plants, cars, and the handling of waste.

You may think making changes around the home to be more energy efficient is a hassle, but the truth is, you’ll be more comfortable after the improvements are complete. For example, a programmable thermostat that allows you to preset temperatures will help keep your home at a comfortable temperature at all times without wasting energy. It only takes a few minutes to install, but you can enjoy the benefits of it every minute you’re inside your home.

Ready to be more energy efficient but not sure where to start? Luckily, there are dozens of changes you can make—both big and small—to help you cut back on your home’s energy usage. Here are 50 ways you can save energy around your home:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reflections on Receiving the 2016 FEMA Individual & Community Preparedness Award for Technological Innovation

Having just returned from being honored at a jam-packed, two-day awards ceremony at the White House Executive Office Building and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters, including roundtable and breakout discussions, and after five security checks, eleven highly-exciting Uber rides, hearing the word “preparedness” at least 3000 times, and great discussions with the high-level officials and the other 10 Individual and Community Preparedness (ICP) Awardees from the 160-applicant pool, FEMA’s annual event might be summarized with one basic question:

Why are so many Americans still so complacent in doing even the minimal effort required to lead to a better outcome in case of an emergency?

disaster communicationsBut that one question has many complex answers and FEMA is striving for two-way communication between itself, as a large government agency with resources, and the people it serves.  They recognized the achievements of SUNRNR and so many others, while wanting to learn from our successes and our barriers therein.  FEMA, the American Red Cross, Emergency Management Services, et al will be there to help, but there’s so much we can do to help ourselves before, during, or after a disaster, to save a life or lessen the damage or bounce back. 

Just as the threats can take many forms, from natural to man-made, so can preparedness … from the simple plan and kit to the one-year bunker.  Then there is also “resilience”, the second-most spoken word during those two days.  I went in thinking it just meant how fast a community could rebuild to business as usual.  I learned it went much deeper.  Resilience involves physical and emotional readiness to get through a bad situation.  It is greatly geared to the front-end and during although it also tends to indirectly, and positively, impact the speed of recovery.  Basically, be ready to take care of yourself and others until things return to some sense of normalcy.

In retrospect, six points stand out from the days in DC:
1)      Not only did they honor our small business’ technological innovation, they also wanted to learn from the stories and experiences of those being honored because they knew we were each “ambassadors” for their message and we were out there finding creative ways to get people to listen to it.  Zombies, horses, sporting events, teens, snowmobiles, hospice and much more were involved.
2)      Just writing our application helped us understand our own mission and potential more clearly and we have much to offer within our area of expertise.
3)      The messenger must walk and talk like the message in order to be seen and heard, e.g. a rancher will likely pay more attention to a boots-on-the-ground person over a “suit”.
4)      The time and money expended up front is usually a better investment than the time and money required to compensate for non-preparedness or great loss.
5)      The threat menu is growing and it is unrealistic to prep for every scenario.  We at SUNRNR get so deep in our world of backup power, it was refreshing to be reminded via the other awardees that preparedness is much bigger than electricity, although losing electricity does seem to be a common, and important, theme.
6)      As an optimist, I hope people choose to choose self- and social-responsibility.  We may, however, need to monetize, incentive, or gamify the objective, making the message more fun or more valuable – tax credits or point systems for Scouting, faith groups, seniors, college credit, etc.

Let’s make America’sPreparathon!Day every day.  Get to know your neighbors even more deeply than a nod and a wave.  Know their name, age, and background.  Maybe there’s a nurse next door or a guy with good tools across the street that you could call on during an emergency.

In conclusion, our customers-owners and their testimonials deserve credit for SUNRNR receiving this award.  You showed us your resilience and let us know how you persevered after hurricanes and derechos and how you use your systems sustainably during the months or years in between power outages.  The best part of this job is the people we meet!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Solar Generator Was The Key To Emergency Preparedness - A Blog by Top SunRunr Dealer, Alternative Energy, Inc

Superstorm Sandy 2012
As Superstorm Sandy closed in on the Eastern Seaboard, an area not accustomed to frequent major hurricanes, many people found themselves unprepared for the aftermath. New Jersey farmer and electrician David Morrison was not one of them. As soon as the storm hit and for 28 days in the aftermath, the grid in his area was down, but for he and his neighbors, that was not a problem. 

David was prepared with a solar generator setup that rivals almost any one that we've seen. He runs his entire house on solar energy, 18 kilowatts worth. The grid in his area was down for a month, and during that time, he hosted over 35 house guests who stopped by for some hot food, a shower, and good company. They even enjoyed a movie night! He also ended up feeding local crews working on cleanup. 

"I'm a big fan of solar and a bigger fan of self-reliance," he tells us. 

David has good reason. He says that where he lives, the grid goes down more than a half-dozen times per year for over 48 hours; he needed a solution to eliminate dependence on the unreliable grid, and solar power generation was the answer. 

David mentioned that even after the storm moved through, it was days until gas stations reopened, and even once they had, people waited for hours and could only get a couple of gallons. Because he had reliable, off-grid solar power, he never had to worry about that. After the damage had been repaired, David says about half of his neighbors bought solar generators for off-grid backup power, and everyone began to keep extra food at the house and gas in the car having learned a valuable lesson in emergency preparedness. 

Even if you don't invest in a setup as extensive as David's, taking advantage of Alternative Energy's September special of $150 off a second set of solar panels when you purchase a SUNRNR power generator is a smart move to help you be prepared when severe weather or other natural disasters strike. This September, as FEMA holds its National Emergency Preparedness Campaign, you can participate by making a smart investment for you and your family's future. 

Alternative Energy, Inc. is a trusted name in the solar industry, and we are proud to work with our partners at SUNRNR to provide solar solutions to our customers. To learn more about our company or about solar power, contact us or feel free to give us a call at 484-593-4262. We look forward to talking with you! 

And we also want to take a moment to thank David for sharing his story with us.