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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Renewable Vehicle Energy for a Healthier World

Posted by SEPCO

3/29/12 9:30 AM

Vehicle PollutionPollution. It’s in the water. It’s in the air. It is a subject of great concern all over the world and for good reason. The energy economy of today functions primarily off the burning of fossil fuels, namely oil, coal, and natural gas. Fossil fuel is essentially carbon from plants stored in the earth from many tens of thousands of years ago. When we burn these fuels we release that carbon back into the atmosphere as carbon-dioxide.

A multitude of other, more harmful chemicals are released, especially by dirtier fuels like coal. This includes carbon-monoxide (a lethal poison when inhaled) and sulfur (a key contributor to destructive acid rain). These health hazards are considerably greater for people living near concentrated sources of pollution like factories, power plants, or airports.

Renewable energy simply means making use of energy sources that are easy to convert and are very clean, meaning they don’t release carbon dioxide, sulfur, or nitrogen compounds. Fuel cells are an excellent way of producing power in smaller quantities like that needed for electronics and vehicles. A fuel cell simply reacts hydrogen and oxygen into pure water. Wide use of fuel cells would mean the near elimination of pollution from cars, planes, and trains. Vehicle pollution is the most widespread and difficult to contain source of pollution, so it is a great place to start.

Hybrid CarFinding and storing hydrogen as a fuel source is one of the major stumbling blocks in fuel cell technology. What if we could produce hydrogen from one of the most abundant metal elements on earth—aluminum? A specially treated aluminum powder has been found to produce hydrogen when reacted with water. This creates a nice energy circle. The fuel cell produces water which is then reintroduced to the aluminum powder which produces more hydrogen to react into more water and produce more energy.

Renewable energy doesn't have to be a chemical process at all. Many vehicles are tremendously wasteful of their energy. Every time you put on your car breaks you are converting your fuel energy into useless heat. What if that energy could be recycled back into your car battery as electricity? That is exactly how most hybrid cars work, and the technology can be applied to any vehicle.

It could be especially cost-effective with airplanes. Plane landing gears release an incredible amount of wasted heat energy during landing. It is possible to convert this energy into electrical energy to power the jet’s taxiing around the airport. This would allow jets to keep their jet engines turned off until just before they are ready to fly. This would reduce both noise and air pollution around airports and cut fuel waste.

Author Bio: My name is Allison and I am a fun-loving, adventurous being. I am a recent biomedical anthropologist with a keen interest in the environment and renewable energy research. Between my travels, I like to guest blog about recent events and post on my blog, Musings of a Curious Mind.

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas

Join In on Earth Hour 2012 and Help the Earth

Posted by SEPCO

3/27/12 9:30 AM

Earth Hour 2012 is coming up this Saturday, March 31st at 8:30pm your local time. Are you planning on joining in?

Every year the world goes dark for one hour to take a stand against climate change. This movement was founded by the WWF - Austrailia in 2006 and the movement has been on the rise since. This year over 130 countries have signed up to participate.

Here is the official video for Earth Hour 2012

Even if your community isn't planning on being involved in the event there are still many things you can do to be active and play your part.

  1. Get your family and friends involved - last year I hit the breakers in my apartment even though I had guests over. We all sat around hanging out by candle light and enjoyed the time together with no distractions.
  2. Sign up to become and organizer of Earth Hour 2012 - contact the Earth Hour Global Team and they will help you organize an event.
  3. Organize a meetup - if you can't organize the entire community to join in, why not a group of people that share the same purpose.
  4. Spread the word - you have a lot more influence then you may think. Share your ideas and experiences with others on whatever social media platform you are on and join in the ongoing conversation.
  5. See the Earth Hour website for more information and ideas.
Earth Hour
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Topics: Green Ideas

Guide to Security Lighting: Where to Implement

Posted by SEPCO

3/22/12 7:30 AM

Parking Lot Solar Light SecurityIn the previous post on why to implement security lighting we discussed the need for security lighting. This time we will focus on where security lighting needs to be installed. Each type of application has different lighting requirements to keep people and property safe, and the types of fixture vary for each application.

Residential Security Lighting

Residential areas and homes should implement security lighting to deter intrusions and help keep families safe from harm. Landscape lighting is a great way to illuminate various areas outside a home and show boundaries more easily. Flood lights that are activated by motion detectors are another way to have the element of surprise while illuminating the area with a bright light for good visibility. Streetlights along residential streets help make sure people that are out after dark walking are safe.

Unoccupied Area Security Lighting

Storage yards and industrial areas typically employ perimeter lighting to provide added security around the boundaries to prevent trespasses. Container and rail yards have additional lighting between the containers to prevent tampering with the shipments.

Office and Commercial Building Security Lighting

Entrances are one of the most important locations for implementing security lighting for business owners. They are key points that, in the case of robberies, having them well lit will be instrumental in a successful identification. Also having well lit entrances and surrounding landscapes makes the business much more respectable looking to perspective clients. Parking lots for employees and customers also need to be well lit for the safety of people traveling to and from the building at night.

These are just some of the ways that different people implement security lighting dependent on their particular needs. The location of where you chose to place security lighting is very important and should be thought over carefully so when you chose to place the lighting it works exactly as it needs to so your needs are fully fulfilled. I hope the information in this post helps you on your way to successful security lighting.

Blog Parking Lot Lighting CTA

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Topics: Solar Lighting, General Lighting, Security Lighting

What is Solar Lighting?

Posted by SEPCO

3/20/12 9:30 AM

Solar Light


Sometimes we get caught up in our daily grind that we forget to go back and mention the fundamental basics of what the technology is.  In a simple sense solar lighting can be thought of as solar- meaning the sun; and lighting -meaning provides light.  So let’s now discuss the different technologies that are all referred to as solar lighting but actually have different ways of using solar and lighting. 


Solar Sky Lights

There are solar sky lights which interact with the sun and clouds to dim and brighten indoor lighting.  This is to conserve energy and a building’s interior lighting controls actually sense when the sun is available as natural day lighting and when it is not available or cloud cover has formed dimming the day light.  The solar panels are much smaller and set on the roof and detect when the sun goes away by a drop in voltage on the energy in the solar module.  The lighting levels slowly fluctuate depending on the natural available sunlight that is available. 

Photovoltaic Lights

The second and most common way we at SEPCO refer to solar lighting is again a photovoltaic (PV) module that collects energy from the sun and stores it in batteries to operate the required wattage of light at night.  This is generally used for energy savings, cost savings, and environmental reasons.  These systems are called grid free or stand-alone meaning that they generate their own electricity at that specific site.  This cuts down on constructions costs of underground wiring.  This is also common in countries where the grid is not available or is unreliable.  These types of systems are also used for security purposes as if the gird fails at specific locations the lighting will still be available. 

Hybrid Solar Lights

The Third technology which is gaining momentum in solar lighting is the grid interactive solar lighting systems or sometimes referred to as hybrid systems.  These systems actually have three meaning within their own meaning.  One type of hybrid system is a system that generally only has solar modules and no battery.  This system usually has a meter and what is generates while the sun is out goes directly into the grid.  These are common among areas that utilities provide incentives for power generation these are usually on a light pole but actually do not provide any power to operate the light.  These systems are also sometimes referred to as peak reduction units. 

The second hybrid system has a solar module and a battery with the lighting system.  The solar generates the power and provides the energy collected into the battery and operates the light for specific hours then the system switches back to grid power.  This type of system is common where electricity is available at the pole but the customer would like to offset the costs of the electricity.  Either the light fixture needs to be bright and the solar would have to be too large to operate it in a stand-alone fashion or the pole is existing and is limited on the amount of batteries and solar that can mount to it.  The third hybrid solar lighting system is where 100% of the power generated is capable of operating the light fixture, but for additional security would like the grid available so it can switch on in case the weather does not keep up with the system.  

So now you know the main differences between the three main types of solar lighting. What type of solar lighting do you notice installed where you live and work?

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Topics: Solar Lighting

Guide to Security Lighting: Why to Implement

Posted by SEPCO

3/13/12 7:30 AM

Security Solar LightingSecurity lighting has been instrumental to deterring crime and improving security to public, business, and residential spaces. The lighting reduces crime by facilitating surveillance by authorities and communities after dark and enhances community confidence and increases informal social control. The objectives of installing security lighting include:

  1. Provide clear visibility of areas from a distance to see anyone moving in or around the area
  2. Remove potential hiding places around routes that are traveled by pedestrians
  3. Provide facial recognition at a distance of about 30 feet
  4. Assist the use of other safety devices such as cameras in the area
  5. Deter crime against property and people
  6. Increase nighttime pedestrian traffic and feeling of security

The responsibility of providing the security lighting falls on the property owner, business operator, or resident as it is not only assisting the surrounding area but also their own sense of self security. What is also beneficial in this aspect is that they know the surrounding area and the flow of traffic better than a stranger to the area.

Installing security lighting is beneficial to both personal home owners and business owners in different ways. To a personal home owner the why is simple, not only does it drastically lower the chance of a break in or theft of outside property it also, in the case of theft or trespassing, gives a much better chance at being able to identify the perpetrator or catching them on camera. This gives the homeowner a greater sense of control and safety should such a thing occur.

For the business owner the same sense of safety and control would apply but for them it also brings a sense of safety and security to the surrounding area and the people and employees who frequent the business. Night employees would undoubtedly feel much better about leaving their work if there were safety lights to light up their parked car. Customers who shop at night are also much more likely to shop at a business who has taken the time and care to set up security lights to brighten up their area rather than a dimly lit, shady looking store. As you can see the benefit of security lighting for businesses is not only for the safety of the business's property but also the people who use it.

As you can see the benefit of security lighting far outweighs the initial cost or hesitation of buying the lights. Nothing is worth more than the peace of mind and sense of safety that such a simple thing as lighting can bring to both the property owner and the business operator.

Blog Parking Lot Lighting CTA

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Topics: Solar Lighting, General Lighting, Security Lighting

Eco Benefits of Green Gadgets (Infographic) from Earth911

Posted by SEPCO

3/8/12 9:30 AM

Thanks to my friends @Bennu I found this great infographic by EPEAT® that Earth911 published. The infographic shows the benefits to choosing green products. 

Over the last five years, the typical consumer has been looking for an alternative to standard electronic devices and manufacturers have been stepping up to that plate. The reduction in energy usage has been drastically reduced while also lowering the greenhouse gases released and toxic materials used to produce the electronics.

Not only are the electronics becoming greener, but the number of countries and manufacturers participating in this movement have skyrocketed. If we stay on this same trend, we will be able to eliminate the toxic, non-recyclable, and outdated electronics replacing them all with a green option.

What green products have you replaced your old electronics with?

EPEAT Infographic

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Topics: Green Ideas, Infographics

Solar Power Lighting Going Forward

Posted by SEPCO

3/6/12 9:30 AM

Solar Power Lighting

In just the past couple of years, we’ve seen the LED lighting industry coupled with solar power off grid applications change in design for the better. The LED light fixture as it is today is outgrowing its HID/HPS counterpart as a lighting source. Integral use of LEDs with acrylic lenses for directional light and magnifiers have hugely increased the output per Watt and performance of the LED, not to mention life expectancy, thus making it a perfect partner with solar power in that it reduces the cost and the size of the solar power assembly (battery and solar array) that it would take to power them. With that being said, a solar power lighting application becomes much more competitive in the outdoor lighting world.

What does that mean for the future of outdoor lighting? It means that one day not too far away solar power lighting may be the standard to outdoor lighting applications. Instead of seeing energy hungry HID/HPS lights there will be a solar panel on the pole to feed power to a battery that allows the light to run at night. The lower cost and greener alternative will provide better ROI while lowering carbon emissions and providing an environmentally sound solutions.

Solar for thought.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, General Lighting

Vacation in Green Style

Posted by SEPCO

3/1/12 9:30 AM

Green Vacation

Of late, you can see people considering the green agenda seriously. Thanks to the ongoing and growing concerns for the environment and its awareness in the masses. The term green has now become a major buzzword for environmentalists and activists working for this issue. The green revolution has therefore embarked a new lifestyle by making everything green.

You can therefore see people choosing recycling products, saying no to plastics, preferring carpool ideas for commuting at workplace and many more such measures under the tag of green. So you will see people protecting their planet in various ways, this certainly includes going for a green holiday. They have started visiting the environment friendly places for the excursions and holidays. If you are planning for any holiday, try having a green holiday by these tips and ideas as discussed below:

At your destination: When you stay at a hotel, make sure you only use required things. You can reuse your towels rather than asking for a new one several times a day. You can have the privilege of getting endless of bath towels and other amenities; however, you should try to alleviate this temptation. Similarly, you should go for shorter showers and at the same time avoid wasting water. You can also think of carrying soaps from your home and think of refilling the shampoo bottles. Further, avoid using the disposable cameras; instead use rechargeable batteries.

During your travel: When you are flying, go for e-ticketing options. In this way, you will not only save paper but also you will find this pretty convenient. Make sure to walk as much as you can rather than always going to search on any vehicle. This is not only eco friendly but also is good for health. If you can manage to use bicycle for sightseeing, try using it. Also move with your own water bottle so that you can refill during your travel as and when required.

The souvenirs: Make sure you do not damage the trees or plants or pluck any flower or simply picking up pretty stones. Plus think of supporting the local communities by procuring some handmade souvenirs made by the local people. In this way you will be supporting the farmer’s market created by the community artisans or the craftspeople.

Large SuitecaseThe packing: Make sure your luggage or bag is light weight. The lighter your pack, the less would be the fuel required to move your luggage. Keeping this in mind, come up with things of bare necessities. Also, bring your own bags like the duffel bags totes or Ziploc bags, in this way you alleviate the use of plastic bags from any store. Think on reducing your laundry use as well by wearing one dress for at least two days until and unless the weather demands. In this way you can reduce the water and energy required to clean the clothes.

Eating: When you travel, make sure you avoid eating at the fast food restaurants. Make sure you eat less meat especially the cow meat since it is responsible for the methane pollution. Plus try eating vegetarian food few times a week in your holiday, by doing so you can slash down the air pollution. Rather eat at the local restaurants and prefer eating organic food which is grown locally. In this way you will reduce pollution owing to the food transportation.

By having a green holiday, it doesn’t mean that you do not enjoy your vacation. These are just simple tweaks to be carried out in simple and easy ways. So relying on the tips and ideas as discussed in the above article can give you a fulfilling and unique experience. And above all by having such holidays you will be contributing something to save environment.

About the author: Rubela Jhonnie is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on Wireless Media Player attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on luxury yachts.

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas

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