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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Use Solar Outdoor Lighting for Energy Efficiency

Posted by SEPCO

11/29/12 9:30 AM

Commercial Solar Outdoor LightingLighting up any space, be it residential or commercial, can be an expensive endeavor. Between the cost of trenching, wiring and installation can make the lighting expensive to implement. And then after that you have the electrical costs every month to pay. Depending on the type and intensity of the light this can eat up a budget quickly.

Using solar outdoor lighting systems to provide the lighting can greatly reduce costs, help improve the environment and keep the electrical costs back in the bank where it belongs. Outdoor solar lights do not require any additional trenching or wiring since each unit provides its own power to the fixture. Installation is simple since all you have to do is set the pole and go. The light works on its own.

Small outdoor solar lights for homeowners are simple to install. Most come mounted on a stake that gets installed just about anywhere the light is required. There are even roof mounted solar flood lights that are motion activated and are used for security of the home and property. These lights can be found just about anywhere and provide the perfect solution for most homeowner applications.

Solar Outdoor LightingLarge solar lights for outdoors such as parking lot lighting, street lighting, security lighting, etc. require much more powerful lights that only a commercial solar light manufacturer can provide. These lights need to provide more foot-candles for people to be able to see properly. Electrical engineers can provide the requirements depending on the installation and the commercial solar lighting manufacturer can provide a lighting layout showing the requirements are able to be met.

Large scale solar light projects have a higher upfront cost; however, they provide a quick return on investment, especially if providing lighting to an area with no existing electrical infrastructure. Most commercial solar lights have a single power assembly for each light, typically installed on the top of the pole, and provides power to the light fixture all night. Other run profiles can be set up during the initial specification process. Other configurations include a large power system providing power to multiple fixtures. This is the only time additional wiring is required.

The energy benefits to each type of solar outdoor lighting is great since there is not additional costs after installation and they do not require the electrical grid to operate. With the number of power outages that happen all over, this will increase security. Best of all, they provide environmental benefits such as they do not use any fossil fuels or non-renewable energy resource. They get all the power they require from the sun, something that will be around for quite some time and is so far free for us to use.

Check out a great comparison of standard electrical lights versus solar lighting. You may be surprised to see the difference.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, General Lighting

Fort McHenry Solar Powered Lighting: Blast from the Past

Posted by SEPCO

11/27/12 9:30 AM

Solar Powered Light at Fort McHenry Front GateIn 2001, Fort McHenry installed solar powered street and parking lot lighting for their visitor center in Baltimore, MD. These lights have provided lighting and added security for workers and visitors to the fort. They have also provided cost savings and reduced energy consumption while also allowing for conservation of this historic site.

When you go through the front entrance gate to Fort McHenry, there is a solar light just and the entrance. The small parking lot just inside to the right has a couple solar parking lot lights installed and the road straight ahead is lit by solar powered street lights. Each light works independently from one another and provides a self-sustaining source of power. At the visitor center you will find additional solar powered parking lot lights.

Solar Flag Light for Fort McHenryIn 2009, SEPCO was honored to be chosen to light the Star Spangled Banner with our solar powered led flag lighting system. These lights also run from dusk to dawn and provide high powered lighting to this iconic piece of history. The solar panels, battery assembly, and flood fixtures are all mounted on the roof of the fort.

Solar lights aren’t the only thing that Fort McHenry uses to become more sustainable. They also use geothermal heating and cooling, solar control and materials with high recycled content in their structures. They have received LEED Silver certification and are registered with the Green Building Certification Institute. Fort McHenry has definitely moved in the right direction to become more efficient and environmentally friendly.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Street Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting

Green Energy Jobs - The New Revolution in Energy Jobs

Posted by SEPCO

11/21/12 9:25 AM

LightBulbSunRiseYears ago, no one thought in terms of ecological home and building designs. Today it's the norm, as the world turns toward sustainable energy. As this revolution expands, it will prove to be the catalyst for new jobs, in an industry sector that will have a wide range of different opportunities. The building designs of today, will give way to future designs that will include:

  • energy efficient ratings
  • construction materials, that reduce carbon footprints
  • micro-renewable, and
  • recyclability

These are a just a few of the changes that will be part of the building designs of tomorrow. Before buying a home, people will ask for energy audits, and use these as a part of their decision making process. Business startups now include those that will help homeowners to reduce energy, and make homes more saleable, by increasing its energy efficiency. It will also include large industrial buildings that need to save money by employing energy saving techniques and green resources.

Green energy will lead to a host of new job classifications across the world. These jobs are available today for those qualified, and will expand rapidly in the future as new technologies come online. The pace of technology is picking up almost on a monthly basis, and future job seekers will need to stay educated on all the new techniques that industries will employ. Companies will be looking for workers that are certified by national organizations, and for workers that maintain their qualifications by upgrading their knowledge base, as technology innovation expands.  

Energy renewable resources and energy efficiency will dominate the next decade as companies expand into areas of:

  • solar
  • wind
  • geothermal technology
  • oceans
  • hydropower
  • gas from landfill sites
  • municipal solid waste

Energy efficiency areas that will produce new jobs include:

  • maintaining appliances with energy star ratings
  • lighting in homes and offices that are energy efficient
  • thermostats that are programmable
  • combing power and heat for cogeneration
  • manufacturing equipment that is energy efficient, and
  • buildings that are LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

People who are educated in these disciplines will be able to find employment in a number of areas. Currently state and the federal governments are offering grants and scholarships to people wishing to study in these areas. Most studies can be done through online education sites that are part of recognized institutions, and can be schedules around times that are suitable to those studying.

New job opportunities are opening up today and more are expected in the future. Currently universities are already training people to fill these openings, and the more education people have in this area, the more choices will be available to them. Online websites are being developed to help companies fill their current searches for green energy employees.

Now is the perfect time for people who want to change careers, soldiers returning home, and those facing long-term unemployment, to start studying to fill these positions. Green energy jobs will continue to evolve in different areas over the next ten to twenty years, and education especially in the field of Solar Training & Certification, will be the main qualification and driver of who is chosen to fill a position.

The "Green Revolution" is expected to provide millions of jobs worldwide and those educated in these areas will have the security of long-term job security.

Everblue’s mission of "TRAINING EARTH’S SUSTAINABLE WORKFORCE", addresses the environmental and climate challenges facing the global community, through exceptional hands-on training and education. We specialize in providing intense green jobs training for government employees, architects, engineers, property managers, facility managers, and general contractors.

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Topics: Guest Post, Renewable Energy

How to Motivate Employees to Be Greener in the Office

Posted by SEPCO

11/20/12 9:30 AM

Green EmployeeIt is essential that you are always doing everything you possibly can to be as environmentally friendly as possible. With the environment being damaged more and more each day, we should be doing our best to try and avoid doing any more damage. Many people are already implementing eco-friendly techniques in their homes, however most people are failing to carry this on in the workplace. There are many things which you can be doing to make your office more eco-friendly and to make your employees to help you doing this.

Think of Green Ideas

To begin to make you workplace a more eco-friendly place, you should start by thinking of some ways you can make your office a greener place. Some ideas are to ensure that all electrical devices are turned off by the switch overnight, you should also ensure that all lights are turned off when they are not being used (such as in toilets, corridors and meeting rooms). Many people will leave their computers on overnight or corridor lights on for convenience, however you are doing a lot of damage to environment doing this. Other ways you can try and make your workplace greener is by providing recycling bins around the office and in the staff room which will encourage your employees to use rather just throwing their rubbish in the waste bin.

Encourage My Employees to Contribute

Having ways to make your workplace greener is easy enough, however the difficult part is getting your employees to contribute to helping your workplace become greener. You should begin encouraging them by explaining why you are trying to make your workplace a more eco-friendly place. You should explain that it is not just to help the environment why you are implementing all these green techniques but it is also now asked by law to reduce the waste which you produce and reduce the energy which you use.

You should provide updates to your employees to how well you are currently doing with reducing the amount of waste and energy you use, this will allow your staff to feel valued and that the extra stuff they are doing is making a difference.

You should also increase the staff’s involvement by encouraging them to think of ways which you can make the workplace greener. You should turn this into a little competition and the person or the department which comes up with the best ideas interior space planning environmentally friendly ideas, can have an early finish one day or provide them with a voucher for their hard work contributing.

About Author: Jake works on behalf of Mission Workplace who come up with great office fit outs which are environmentally friendly. For more information go to www.missionworkplace.co.uk

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas

Saving Your Energy Bills with Solid Wall Insulation at Home

Posted by SEPCO

11/15/12 9:30 AM

Now that you are aware of the energy and environmental situation, you no doubt, want to do your bit in conserving both, if you’re a responsible consumer. Sure, you would like to protect the environment but what if you could save mega bucks in the process. This is possible if you use this amazing energy saving tip – utilizing solid wall insulation.

Solid Wall InsulationWhat is Solid Wall Insulation?

This is a process by which insulation is applied on either inside or the outside of wall surface so that the heat is trapped inside in the winters and kept outside during summers. This process is unlike cavity wall insulation, where the cavity between the walls is filled. It is much better since the latter can let in double the heat if the insulation is not done properly. As solid wall insulation is more effective, it is more expensive than cavity wall insulation and is also more cost-saving.

The two kinds of wall insulation are described below so as to help you decide the better option for you:

1. Internal Wall Insulation – When you are insulating the inner walls, then the insulation boards will be fitted on the internal surface or an extra layer of insulation material will be built. There are both advantages and disadvantages of this method.

Advantages of Internal Wall Insulation

  1. It is a cheaper option than external wall insulation.

Disadvantages of Internal Wall Insulation

  1. This type of insulation decreases the internal floor area as the thickness is approximately 10 cm.
  2. Since internal insulation is generally soft, you may have some problem when you want to fix some heavy items on the walls.
  3. When you apply insulation internally, your walls will not charge. Therefore, when the heater is away from the walls, they will not have extra charge.

2. External Wall Insulation – The outer surface of the wall is insulated in this method. As the insulation is outside, it is exposed to heat, rain, wind and other external environmental factors. And thus, special materials are added to the plasterwork to improve its quality.

Advantages of External Wall Insulation

  1. It is easier to apply external wall insulation without spoiling the interior or your house.
  2. It improves the exterior look and condition of the house.
  3. It weatherproofs the house against, moisture, noise, rain, humidity and others.
  4. It protects the interior of the house from dampness and condensation of inner wall by keeping the moisture out.

Disadvantages of External Wall Insulation

  1. You may have some trouble getting planning permission when you are using external wall insulation and so, before you apply it, consult the local authorities for planning.

Before you opt for any of the above solutions for your house, it is advisable to understand the working and materials to be used. Also, know about building and energy efficiency regulations so that you do not have any trouble later on. Insulating the house enhances the energy performance and reduces thermal waste, thereby helping you save money on energy.

B. Lyttle is a keen gardener and an enthusiastic believer of frugal living ways. She loves the idea of using solid wall insulation for saving money and has been using it since the past 2 years now.

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas

Portable Solar Street Lights for Industrial Mining Facility

Posted by SEPCO

11/13/12 9:37 AM

Solar Street Lighting SystemWhen a large industrial mining company had a need to provide lighting for key areas within their massive, constantly changing land mine facility, they turned to SEPCO to help design fully portable, off-grid solar power lighting solution. The street light systems needed to be moved as the terrain changed as well as provide efficient lighting for safety and security of workers of the mine. Since this cannot be done with traditional electric lights, solar street lighting systems were the best option for the mining company.

After gathering all pertinent information pertaining to the mining company’s lighting needs and requirements, SEPCO designed a system that combines our ultra-reliable off-grid, pole mounted solar power system with a very durable, high performance Genesis LED light fixture. These systems operate for a few hours after dusk during peak mine operation hours before automatically switching over to energy and cost efficient motion-activated lighting for the rest of the night. This lowered the overall cost of the project by having the lights only run when needed.

As indicated in the project photos, the mining company embedded our pole mounted solar street lighting systems inside a giant tire filled with concrete as the means to create a free-standing, completely portable industrial lighting system that can be quickly/easily moved with a forklift anywhere throughout the entire mining facility.  A very creative application of off-grid solar lighting to be sure! 

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Topics: SEPCO News & Information, LED Lighting, Street Lighting

Lighting a Commercial Space Needs to Be Energy Efficient

Posted by SEPCO

11/6/12 9:30 AM

Commercial LightingCommercial lighting is used in offices, shops and other organizations. It needs to be functional, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly, but also inexpensive to install and run. There are many different options that can match these lighting needs that can be found both on and off line.

Commercial lighting is manufactured by a variety of specialists who work with other experts such as engineers and architects to provide the optimum lighting levels with functionality. Such lighting is supplied and installed on a large scale and has different standards and requirements from the types of lighting we use in our homes.

Commercial light fittings need to be functional and energy efficient. The lighting needs to look streamlined and have hard wearing properties. Weather resistant lighting needs to be used in exterior applications to provide years of functionality. The different types of lighting range from fluorescent, LED, uplighting, track lighting, etc. and floodlights and security lighting the outside of building. Parking lot lighting is also required for safety of people coming and going from the buildings.

Depending on the type and needs of the building, commercial lighting specialists can provide different lighting methods and provide lighting layouts to the customer. Retail lighting needs to provide the function of making a shoppers experience enjoyable without being intrusive or glaring. The light needs to show products in the best light but is not harsh to the eyes. Office lighting needs to make a busy environment conducive to work in. Most offices use long fluorescent tube lighting as it can provide maximum illumination, but is considerably cheaper to run than other lighting products. Fluorescent lighting also produces very little heat which makes a working environment more comfortable and lowers the cooling costs of the company.

Buildings can have many rooms including kitchens and bathrooms. Lighting specialists can provide classic, contemporary and traditional lighting solutions to fit into the architectural design of the building. Wherever the organization is located, it is possible to find commercial lighting specialists to provide the best, most environmentally friendly and economical lighting solutions. They work with architects, engineers, designers and electrical contractors who install the lights to meet the lighting needs of their clients and customers. 

The best place to start your research for a good commercial lighting company is online. There are thousands of lighting companies out there, so do your diligence and research what each company can provide you. 

Author Bio: Emily Hall runs a successful business of commercial lighting. She has a huge client base that includes famous industrialists to hotels and restaurant owners.

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Topics: General Lighting, Guest Post

Paper Towel Revolution

Posted by SEPCO

11/1/12 9:30 AM

Have you ever wanted to make a difference? I’m talking about making a real difference in your family, in your community and possibly the world.

571,230,000 is a big number. It also happens to be the number of pounds of paper towels used by Americans each and every year. Think about that for a second.  571,230,000 pounds of paper is being used to wipe our hands and then discarded in the trash. That’s huge, not to mention wasteful!

I recently received an e-mail from a friend and the only thing it said was “trust me, click the link and watch.” It was a friend that I trust, so I did just that. You know what? I’m glad I did. The video was not only funny, it was inspiring, clever and eye opening.

The video is called: How To Use A Paper Towel, a quick 4 1/2 min. video from Ted.com featuring Joe Smith, and promoting proper paper towel technique.


I know, this sounds completely crazy--but we use paper towels each and every day and we’re doing it wrong! How many times have you gone into a public restroom and seen paper towels scattered all over the floor? Or watched kids and adults alike, yanking two, three, even four sheets from the dispenser at a time? Have you ever stopped and considered the waste? By using two simple principles and remembering two simple words, you can help save 571,000,230 pounds of paper a year.

An active figure in the Oregon community, Joe Smith teaches you about the two key principles to remember: “shake” and “fold.” Through his simple demonstration using a bowl of water and a stack of various styles of paper towels, you’ll learn how to make an immediate difference in paper consumption. What’s that mean? In less than 5 min., you’ll be empowered to teach, encourage and guide others while directly saving the forests.

 You don’t have to be a tree hugger to get involved. You just have to be willing to share the truth. Joe Smith will show you that truth and he’s going to make you smile while he does it. It's a quick, easy, fun way to spread some knowledge to family and friends that they’ll remember and use for the rest of their lives.

So now that you know there’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the world, what are you going to do about it?

My suggestion is to click on the link above and listen to what Joe Smith has to say, and then share the video with others.

Author Bio: Dwayne Thomas, who works for cabletv.com, is a 33 year old husband and father from Salt Lake City, UT.  He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.

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Topics: Green Ideas

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