Feb 7, 2014 Lighting Design & Controls
I ran across a company last week called MaxLite. They had some extremely cool new lighting products that could be very applicable to the industrial and commercial electrical supplies market. I want to say upfront that I have not seen any of these products in a working environment, but I have seen the products work in a demo situation.
First, Maxlite has a high lumen CFL (compact fluorescent) for use as a field replacement for metal halide lamps all the way up to 400w (yes, 400w!). How it works is you replace the 175, 250, or 400w HID lamp with the high lumen CFL. The CFL typically seems to run about half the watts as the HID lamp. You bypass the HID ballast inside the ballast housing and, BAM, you have cut your watts in half without replacing the fixture.
Seems to good to be true huh? It seems very intriguing but there are a few things to consider. First, the lamp life is rated around 10,000 hrs. This is pretty low compared to HID or the other option of replacing the entire fixture with 46,000hr T8’s. Also the temperature rating is around 100 or 120 deg F which will be an issue in some areas and applications.
They did a very nice design with an integral heatsink and cooling fan, but be sure to consider the worst case temperature when looking at this. I think this could be a viable option for some circumstances, just be sure to look at all the application angles. T8 and T5 linear high bays or even 320w metal halide with pulse start will probably be a better choice for most applications, but this could be a fit for some.
They also have some other neat products, LED PAR replacements, LED light bars and my favorite…… a 2×4 LED lay-in fixture. This is the first LED 2×4 I have personally seen that works. It is not a bunch of LED’s formed to fit in T8 lamp sockets like some others have tried, it is an actual flat array of LED’s. Also, the profile is very, very slim, which is great for retrofit applications. The light output seemed adequate and the color seemed fine too.
The price is up there for the 2×4 and also the 2×2 (yes, they have a 2×2). They are probably selling in the field for around $600 for a 2×4. I’m not sure how many will be sold at that price, but it is an interesting option for those that are hooked on LED’s. Be sure to check them out or call your local lighting distributor for info. Maxlite.com
Here is the original post: Industrial Electrical Productions
Feb 5, 2014 Energy Talks
The fall in oil consumption was most dramatic following the escalating price of crude oil to $145.16 per barrel on July 14, 2008 then at any other point over the last several years. Price elasticity, a key concept in Economics 101, which measures the impact of price change to changes in unit volume sold, is helpful in determining which products have readily available substitutes or which, like oil are inelastic with no real substitutes.
As illustrated by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd in their book Security Analysis, 1940 edition, during the 1930’s the economy had a dramatic impact on spending and consumption particularly on discretionary items such as travel. In one illustration, the change in demand was most pronounced in railroad revenues where tickets purchased for railroad travel, declined 51% from 1929 to 1993 as measured by gross receipts for the railroad industry. Over this same period, spending on the consumer staples (inelastic demand), such as electricity encountered a decline of only 9%.
While almost everyone would agree that the current economic climate is one of the most challenging since the 1930’s, a quick review of oil consumption over the last several years illustrates that demand has not significantly contracted, suggesting driving habits only changed when prices escalated to over $100 per barrel. Oil consumption dropped only 4.9% from January 2008 through January 2009.
Figure 1 Oil Consumption
As seen from Figure 1, the sharp drop in oil consumption in September 2008 of 8.3% appears as an aberration when measured over the whole year. The fact there are no real substitutes for oil in the transportation industry illustrates two important points: 1) structural changes to driving patterns are required to see appreciable changes to oil consumption and 2) how vulnerable we are as a nation with no readily available substitutes for oil in the transportation systems.
Figure 2 Oil Demand in China and India
With China and India undergoing significant structural changes as they rapidly migrate towards motor vehicles for transportation suggests the demand for oil should continue to grow relatively unabated. Until the price of oil climbs back over $100 per barrel, we will not see the structural changes necessary to develop alternatives to oil in the transportation market.
The bottom line: energy and in particular, oil has not experienced a dramatic drop in demand during 2008 suggesting driving patterns were influenced more by the price of oil then the struggling economy. We must begin to shift emphasis to alternative energies such as solar as well as hybrids and electric vehicles.
Here is the original: Green Econometrics
Feb 1, 2014 Home Improvement
We are urged to rebuild what damage we have done to the environment before it’s too late. We only have one planet we call Mother Earth anyway, so it’s not like the human race can evacuate and head out to Mars when Earth’s deterioration has become a hopeless case for humans and other living things to live in. That notion about the possibility of living existence in Mars is still a possibility. No conclusive findings yet. Until scientists have proven that it is indeed true, let’s not expect a bunch of us purchasing a property to build new homes in that side of the universe.
Caring for the environment as much as we can is a responsible act, one that carries much gravity considering the current state of our environment. Therefore, in our own ways, we must do our share to lighten the burden of the environment and eventually prevent further damage. Even beautiful things like home decors are hazardous to the environment and to our health too, such as paints and carpets. In opting for eco-friendly materials, we are all doing ourselves a favor.
If you’re planning to go vegetarian, do you suddenly eliminate meat from your life all in one day? Of course not, that’s heading straight to rebound. You do it slowly, excluding meat from your diet one small step at a time, allowing your body and mind to get used to the idea. It’s a new lifestyle, one that you are not used to. Same is true with going green. You just don’t do a complete overhaul and buy every eco-friendly item out there. You need information and the right mindset to stay disciplined. The easiest way to start is to use recycled and re-used products. Even if you don’t purchase, you can recycle and re-use your own stuff.
Use reuse or recycled products as much as possible and you are doing a simple yet effective way of protecting the environmentand your savings. These products are as eye candies as the conventional ones, sturdy and long lasting. Natural made products are the same. Not because an area rug is made of bamboo that it looks primitive or a rug made of wool looks like a sheep. A wide selection of natural products have aesthetic quality that will make your home look much better.
Carpets and rugs should be made from natural fibers, and it is now possible to find recycled fiber floor coverings too. Rugs are available in a particularly wide range of natural fibers, including wool, cotton, jute, hemp, bamboo, seagrass and silk. All of these now come in a wide range of styles and colors, so that you should be able to find rugs to suit the size and decor of any room in your home, and especially to suit your earth friendly theme. Remember that the backing material of your rugs or carpets should also be made of natural fibers.
Decorative items such as lamps, vases, throw pillows and other accents that are considered eco-friendly are also accessible.
Smaller items like home accessories are widely available in an eco-friendly variety. Many of them are made with natural materials. Another way is to go to thrift and yard sales and purchase used items. You’ll definitely find a good bargain. This is way better than going to a department store and buying a brand new lamp and vases for instance, which will lead then to the production of more to restock your purchase, resulting to more waste, chemicals and synthetic materials added to the already mountainous pile of mostly non-biodegradable waste.
Small things count and they make a big difference. A single purchase of a recycled area rug is a weight shifted towards the environment and not against it. The more people support eco-friendly products, the higher the demand thus, more production. It’s nice to think that sometime in the future before it’s too late for us, we will all be using environment-friendly products and living an environment-conscious lifestyle.
Jan 30, 2014 Home Improvement
The trend is clear-more and more homeowners are transitioning to a greener, more eco-friendly way of creating and maintaining beautiful landscapes. The benefits of making your landscape greener than ever this spring reach far beyond the positive environmental impact alone. In fact, going organic in your landscaping and lawn can even save money while providing a better looking outdoor space than ever before. Here are 10 remarkably easy and effective ways to make your landscape greener than ever this spring.
One: Make sure your soil is perfectly balanced.
Having your yard’s soil tested for its organic composition-both positives and negatives-is a fantastic way to start with a healthy and supportive palette. Simply take a representative sample of your soil, send it for analysis, and follow the recommended steps to bringing the soil back to it’s maximum organic potential. Here’s a helpful article explaining exactly how to have your soil analyzed. The ultimate benefit? Landscapes with the right blend of rich soil to support growth and water absorption means that the use of additional chemicals and water to keep the vegetation healthy will be reduced by a remarkable amount.
Two: Scale back too much lawn.
By its very nature, grass lawns are very durable and easy to maintain. But with the perfecting standards we’ve come to expect today, lawn care perfection has practically become an intramural neighborhood competition. Having a green and luscious lawn is certainly desirable, but why not scale the proportions back a bit to reduce the need for all of that extra fertilizer, pesticide, and water use?
Three: Eliminate strong chemical products.
Believe it or not, one of the best possible ways to achieve a healthy, thick lawn is to wean it off of all of the complex and harsh non-organic fertilizers and pesticides. Traditional organic substances like manure and lime can help your yard find a perfect balance-effectively creating a stronger root system and a significantly higher resistance to weeds and other common turf problems than a chemically-supported “surface only” lawn will ever develop. Plus, with an all organic lawn, there’s no need to worry about letting the little tikes play in the grass to their hearts’ content!
Four: Manage your landscape’s watershed.
Landscaping designs with lots of concrete and other unnatural “hardscapes” all to often have the unfortunate effect of directing a great deal of rainwater into the storm sewer system-along with all of the chemicals and non-organic materials it mixes with along the way. Eventually, all of these non-organic substances end up polluting the clean water sources we rely on. By allowing much of the runoff water to be naturally absorbed by the organic landscape, you’re home’s landscaping will actively be taking a load off of an already over-stressed water system.
Five: Landscape greener by planning more sustainable plantings.
Are you familiar with the concept of xeriscaping? If not, this spring is the perfect time to learn more about how to plan a xeriscape. Basically, the concept involves designing and maintaining a landscape plan that requires minimal irrigation-reducing the usage and pollution of our precious resources. Learn more with this quick and easy guide to xeriscaping.
Six: Add a solar powered water feature.
Water, the refreshing and renewing resource that we all so vitally depend on, is naturally the perfect way to create a soothing and reflective landscape centerpiece. What’s the perfect green solution? It’s simple-creating a lovely fountain or waterfall powered by the abundant energy of the sun itself. Creating a solar powered water feature will be a true highlight in any backyard paradise!
Seven: Remember that compost is your landscape’s best organic friend.
The rich and natural nutrients provided by compost should be a part of every organic gardener’s portfolio of gardening and landscaping essentials. Creating a composting system is easy enough to do for just about any home. And, the wonderful “black gold” fertilizer that composting provides would only end up in the trash bin if it wasn’t used to create the most effective organic fertilizer that money just cannot buy!
Eight: Eliminate weeds by growing healthier lawns.
Again, achieving the right balance in your outdoor landscaping design is always essential, but one thing is certain for those looking to reduce the growth of weeds in a grass lawn organically. By making sure the soil is full of the right nutrients and ensuring that the lawn is properly watered (but not over-watered), the resulting deep-rooted lawn means that less weeds will be able to penetrate the grass. Another reliable organic method of encouraging a strong root system is having periodic aeration done as necessary.
Nine: Set up a rainwater collection system.
What better way to provide plenty of water to your landscape’s ever-thirsty vegetation than to collect, store, and distribute plenty of clean water right from the clouds for free? Harvesting rainwater to provide or supplement your landscape’s watering needs is easier than you might imagine. Plus, using this water has a double benefit effect-not only does it reduce your consumption of processed water, but it also helps reduce some of the pollutant laden runoff water that clean rain water so often turns into as it works its way through the chemical rich landscapes and dirty streets back to its source.
Ten: Use internal combustion fueled power tools less.
Agreed, the gasoline powered lawn and garden tools we’ve become accustomed to over the years sure do make caring for landscaping a breeze. But the thing is, they also pump great quantities of harmful pollutants into the air we breathe. Many folks are finding that going back to manual or electric lawn and garden tools is a refreshing change of pace from all of the noise, racket, and smelly exhaust that emanates from gasoline powered tools. Plus, in addition to the green factor, using simple manual tools is also a great way to work in a little bit extra exercise-something we can all use indeed.
Hopefully, these ten tips will help you make your landscaping greener than ever. Just one more thing-once your organic landscape beings to really shine, don’t forget to take plenty of time to be outside and enjoy it!
Author: Home Improvement Advisors