How to Reduce Energy Costs This Summer

by Standard Solar on May.16, 2014, under Standard Solar

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos

Summer is all about spending time with family and friends, and in doing so you probably spend more money eating out, doing family activities, and just having fun!  So this summer while you are having the time of your lives, there are easy ways for you to save some money and energy in your home.  Here is a short list of little things you can do to make a big difference, so you can spend more time with the people you love!

First take shorter showers, seems simple, but maybe it’s not.  You’re a creature of habit, you have a set list of everything you need to get done, and if you’re not sure how you can cut down on time, and not really sure you want to there’s another way.  Thank goodness! You can lower the temperature of your water heater, so instead of taking steaming hot showers you can take luke-warm showers, which saves energy!  According to an article on energy.gov for every 10 degree F reduction you can save anywhere from $12-$30 annually.

Added Bonus: Hot water dries out your skin, and no one wants that.

Next, raise your thermostat.  We, at Standard Solar, offer programmable thermostats with our smart home solution. You can also use a ceiling fan which will move the air around, thus cooling the room.  You can also place fans around your house.  A well placed fan can do wonders for the home!  But, if fans aren’t for you we get it.  In the Maryland/DC area summers can get pretty hot; and we crave air conditioning constantly.  So instead make sure you check your air filters, if they are clogged or dirty they’ll raise your energy consumption because dirt and dust hinder the flow of the air and reduce efficiency.

Appliance use can be very instrumental in saving energy this summer as well.  Did you know that you should only run your appliances that give off heat at night, when it’s cool outside?  So plan accordingly.  Also, you should have a lot of food in your fridge.  The more food you have the less your fridge has to work to remain cool when it is opened.  According to NBC cold things keep other things cold, and a well-stocked fridge can regulate temperature.  That one I really didn’t know! 

Photo courtesy of Standard Energy Solutions

And finally, energy efficient window treatments are a good way to save energy; these include things like awnings, blinds, drapes, etc.  These “window treatments” can be adjusted to control the amount of light that is let in and they can also help with ventilation.  With regards to draperies, you should opt for medium colors and a white backing.  So for summer skip the pastels and the darker colors.  Think about your home for a second, when was the last time you completed an energy audit?  It may be a good idea to do that now.  

We hope these tips helps you save some energy and money this summer.  Let’s make this summer the best summer!

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Standard Solar is proud to be a Certified Green Business!

by Standard Solar on Mar.28, 2014, under Standard Solar

Check out how much carbon emissions electronics!

 

One of our posters hung in our conference rooms and lunch room.

 

Did you know that by opting for reusable bottles instead of purchasing bottled water, you can save up to $81,678.24 a year?

We are proud to announce that Standard Solar is now a Montgomery County Certified Green Business! As a service provider of green energy solutions, it was important for us to implement sustainability practices throughout all areas of our business so that we were operating in a manner that demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Our team is so excited about this accomplishment and we wanted to pass along a few of the practices that we have implemented within our office that you can also consider
for your business:

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Much of what is thrown away in an office can be recycled including:

  • Paper
  • Toner
  • Co-mingled plastic and metals
  • Electronics

Energy Management

  • Turn off lights and projectors in rooms not in use and use sleep modes on
    computers

Environmentally Responsible Purchasing

  • Support other green vendors Take steps to support your community
    –we adopted a section of Gaither Road! This helps keep our community
    clean and helps the Chesapeake Bay watershed
  • Offer Commuter Options and transit incentives to employees
  • Use water coolers rather than bottles of water, give employees
    reusable bottles to encourage use in the work

These are just a few areas in which we have improved our sustainability in the
office. Our Sustainability committee meets monthly to discuss and review our
ongoing efforts and brainstorm other projects and areas of improvement. We
would like to encourage other businesses to follow in our footsteps and work to
become green certified themselves.
These small steps we took serve as a good example of how easy it is to get started!

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SOLAR 101 Series: What Are the Key Steps in Developing a Successful Solar Project?

by Standard Solar on Jan.15, 2014, under Standard Solar

Decision makers in various industries throughout the country are now considering renewable energy as an option in their organization’s strategic plan. US businesses are now making significant investments in solar to cut energy costs. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of mid-2013, there is a cumulative commercial distribution of 3,380 MW at over 32, 8000 facilities throughout the country.

 At Standard Solar (SSI), our staff is regularly asked: ‘What do I need to know if my organization is considering solar? ’ So to really answer the question, we’ve asked our staff to weigh in on this question.  We had so much advise that we decided to the answer to this question into a mini blog series we’re calling ‘Solar 101’ to explore the key steps that a business should consider when interested in developing a solar project.

Step I When Developing a Successful Solar Project:
Determine the importance of renewable energy in your company’s strategic plan.

Consider what your company’s overall goals and strategic plans are for the upcoming year(s) and identify what role solar energy may play in those plans. Whether you are seeking LEED Platinum building certification or increasing your overall environmental commitments, deciding to go solar has exceptional benefits and can promote your organization’s image as leaders in environmental stewardship. One of SSI’s previous customers, Knorr Brake Corporation (KBC), actually built their new corporate headquarters with solar in mind!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering adding renewable energy to your company’s strategic plan:

  1. How important is renewable energy to your organization?  

Solar installations among businesses in the US has grown tremendously in the past few years. More companies are making the conscious      decision to reduce their business’ overall carbon footprint. Companies without existing renewable energy measures in place may want to review their vision and mission statements and establish a renewable energy target that falls in line with those goals.  A good way for a company to set renewable energy goals is by first determining their carbon footprint – you can get a rough estimate by using a carbon calculator.

     2.   How can investing in a solar system be beneficial?

If you own the building in which your company resides– adding solar energy can be extremely beneficial. Solar energy not only offsets your organization’s energy usage but it also can reduce utility costs. For example, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) will be offsetting almost 30% of the energy produced at their two plants. System owners can also benefit from the tax credits and state incentives that are associated with owning a solar system. Solar energy offers energy security off the grid, it can provide stabilized utility costs for the next 20 years. As one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources, solar energy not only is good for the environment but is also beneficial to your businesses’ bottom line. 

     3.   How does executing and communicating your energy commitment work with your current and future outreach?

Determining your renewable energy investments is the first step to consider. Working with partners that are knowledgeable and experienced in solar will also positively support your company’s efforts in becoming a sustainable and eco-friendly business. Google is a great example of a top company that has made great strides in their environmental efforts.  There are a variety of ways that companies can promote their environmental stewardship, through marketing, social media, award recognition and most importantly through their clients. Implementing eco-friendly initiatives throughout the workplace helps to get the employees involved and they too will share with their friends and family. Establishing your business as leaders in environmental stewardship gives a company a competitive advantage. Once renewable energy is implemented into a company’s overall strategic plan, the next step is to consider the financial options available for investing in a solar system.

Check back with us in February to read about Step 2 of our The Key Steps in Developing a Successful Solar Project- Establishing Trusted Partnerships.

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