Posts tagged with "Go Green"

Five Reasons Solar Energy Could Save You Money 

Are you thinking of switching to solar? There are tons of benefits for your wallet, your family and the planet. 

However, time is running out if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Here are five reasons why solar energy could save you money — especially if you act quickly. 

1. Earn Tax Benefits 

The tax credits you can get for switching to solar are set to expire in 2024 unless Congress acts to renew them. The more rapidly you convert, the more you can save. Systems installed in 2020 through 2022 are eligible for a 26% credit. Those who wait until 2023 can only claim 22%. 

You must own the solar panel system, not rent it from a conglomerate, and locate it at your primary or secondary U.S. residence to qualify for the tax credit. You can’t install it on your vacation home in the Bahamas.

You might also be eligible for state and local tax credits, depending on where you live. These could also put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket come tax time. You can look these up in an online directory or contact your state government offices to learn more. 

2. Collect Credits and Reduce Payments 

Many homeowners ask how solar panels can save you money on your monthly utility bills. Some property owners reduce their electric bills to zero. How does the magic work? 

When you install solar panels, they convert photons from sunlight into direct current. This energy then flows to your inverter, which translates the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) and sends it to your electric box to power your home. 

If your home is on the grid, you have an electric meter somewhere outside that measures the electricity you use. However, your system will use the stored energy from your solar power before renting it from your provider. The less power you use from grid sources, the lower your monthly bill. 

In months when you generate more power than you use, you build up credits that work to lower your bill through a process called net metering. These credits are applied to future bills to make up for months when you might use more than you produce — such as during winter. Therefore, your solar system works to lower your utility bills all year, not only during the summer heat. 

You might ask whether you can reduce your monthly bills to zero. The answer is yes. If you’re accustomed to paying $200 or more a month for power, switching to solar can put some serious green back in your pocket while protecting the planet. 

3. Reduce Reliance on Nonrenewable Energy Sources

Have you noticed gas prices lately? They’ve more than tripled in the last 18 months, and they don’t look like they’re going to fall anytime soon. When they go up, so does the cost of heating oil for your home, and at the risk of sounding like Ned Stark from “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming. 

Switching to solar energy can save you money now and in the future by reducing your reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. The reality of climate change coupled with the natural expiration date of such resources means that sooner or later, everyone will have to make the switch or get left behind. 

Scientists estimate that humankind will run out of oil by 2060 if the pumps continue running at current rates. Fracking causes a host of environmental problems, contaminating groundwater supplies that human beings rely upon to live. Why not get ahead of the curve and save money with solar today — while preparing for tomorrow? 

4. Enjoy Increased Reliability 

Are you hesitant to switch to solar power because you fear outages? Quite the opposite is true. While you might run out of your backup supply if you go off the grid, you have no such fears when you remain connected. 

You’re probably in a better position than your neighbors if rolling blackouts or other outages strike your neighborhood. Since your home will draw on the power from your panels first, you’ll keep your lights on while everyone else goes dark. 

5. Enhance Your Home’s Resale Value 

Solar energy can put significant extra cash in your pocket when it comes time to sell your home. Today’s buyers look for energy-saving features as one of the topmost desirable qualities when choosing a new home. Why wouldn’t they? They also want to prepare for America’s energy future while saving money on monthly utility bills. 

A recent comparative analysis by Zillow bears out this logic. Homebuyers shelled out nearly an extra $10,000 for properties with solar panels versus those without this feature. Your investment will pay for itself in increased resale price alone, let alone all the money you’ll save on tax credits and monthly utility bills. 

Today’s panels offer more attractive options than ever before. The next generation of solar panels uses photovoltaic (PV) cells instead of bulky panels. These integrate with the rest of your home or roof design instead of standing out for all passersby. 

Solar shingles combine thin PV cells with molecules on a flexible copper/indium/gallium diselenide base. Today’s versions are three times more powerful than the first generation, allowing you to generate even more power. They integrate flush with concrete/asphalt shingles, creating a uniform look for your roof. 

While not yet readily available, manufacturers are now investigating solar window technology. Once perfected, these panes will take advantage of the sun’s rays to generate electricity without changing the exterior appearance of your building. 

If you’re still unsure about converting to full solar, why not investigate portable panels? This option also offers promise to renters who want to reduce their monthly energy costs without discussing extensive remodels with their landlords. 

Solar Energy Could Save You Money 

There’s never been a better time to invest in a greener future for your home. Solar energy could save you significant money — why not convert today?

F-wheel A5 Electric Bike illustrated by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

F-wheel A5 Electric Bike

By: Heather Skovlund x Vaughn Lowery

The F-wheel A5 electric bike has all the perks to an e-bike that you could dream of having while headed to your destination. It sports 14-inch wheels, an ergonomically designed frame, seating for adults and kids, and is easy to maneuver and store tight spaces with its folding capabilities. While you’re likely to see tons of these types of e-bikes zipping around just about any city in China, it’s a fairly extraordinary e-bike in the US. 

Curb Appeal

Affiliates of 360 Magazine had the opportunity to test the capability of the F-wheel A5 e-bike. The A5 is sleek and holds a trendy appearance with its 14-inch wheels and minimalist aluminum alloy frame. The A5 is designed for dense urban living with its durability, upgraded seat, and back seat perfect for transporting cargo (with bungee cords) or even a second person/child. The F-wheel is available in three colors: black, red, and white. This sleek e-bike is available in F-wheel A5 Standard as well as F-wheel A5 Deluxe. To customize the look of your new ride, look no further than Gabe Majalca, mastermind of Good Vibe Gliders for an enhanced flare.

Performance

With the amazing durability of the F-wheel A5, you will be able to sightsee in style and go shopping on a whim. The powerful 350W 48V motor will get you to your destination with ease with a max speed of 25KM/H. The F-wheel runs on a 7.5AH battery that is portable and removable, which is fantastic for charging. The added suspensions work nicely for a smoother ride with a noticeable difference in the seat post suspension. The acceleration is powerful, it has been reviewed at around 500W continuous and up to 750W peak for speeds. There are three different riding modes with the A5: Pure Electric Mode, Boost Mode, and Manpower Mode. The F-wheel A5 Deluxe is equipped with a LG lithium battery with a capacity of up to 21AH, with a BMS battery management system to help battery life up to 180KM.

Technology

As previously mentioned, the A5 has three different riding modes. The first, Pure Electric Mode, allows you to ride with no cycling of the pedals. The second, Boost Mode, allows you to pedal with an assist from the power source. Lastly, Manpower Mode, enables you to ride like a human-powered bicycle – no need to power on. There is a power display and real-time speed display in addition to the different modes offered: eco, medium and high. The A5 comes with two keys as well as two fobs to easily start the e-bike up. There is also an extra removable battery. The front and rear brakes work well as well as the front lights and taillights. There is a light on the back of the bike that lights up “EBIKE” which adds a subtle touch of flare to the bike. This e-bike is low maintenance without a derailleur or gears. The 14-inch tires are in a mag wheel – there are no spokes that need to be tuned or that will break. The F-wheel A5 weighs 22.5KG and easily folds up for easier transportation such as when you’re heading into an elevator, riding the Amtrack, climbing stairs or simply placing the e-bike in your apartment. Just simply fold the handlebars down, fold the frame in the front, fold the pedals down, remove the seat and you’re set. There are also sensors on the A5 to notify you if someone or something is too close the bike along with a lock on the battery.

Competition

Competition is very limited with the sleek improvements of the F-wheel A5 electric bike (formally DYU Smart Electric Bike D3). Priced at $700 and worth every cent. The closest competitor is the EB7 Elite Commuter from Swagtron. The next competitor would be the Flido D25 Folding Electric Commuter Bike. The electric bike trend has been on the rise due to communities embracing the go “green” activity. A review left on DYU’s website from Clayton Kent states that the A5 is the “perfect commuter bike enduring at least 70 NYC blocks a day” as well as “it has saved me a lot of money not having to use the train”. With the new improvements to the design and overall functionality to the F-wheel A5 electric bike, it is sure to be the front runner for delivery workers, professionals, and kids at heart.

Photo by Armon Hayes
Photo credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are evolutionary, not revolutionary, says Baker Institute expert

Tesla will disrupt the automotive industry only if it is able to achieve scale, according to a new issue brief by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“Ford vs. Tesla: What Does a Transformational Automobile Scale-up Look Like?” is authored by Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute.

Ford and Tesla both earned their reputations through what Collins describes as a “revolutionary vehicle type” — the Model T and Model S-X-3 suite, respectively — and as market makers. Comparing their sales growth trajectories, Collins hypothesizes, can offer insights on how electric vehicle (EV) sales are scaling up as well as how EVs can reshape automobile and oil markets.

The modern world, saturated with automobiles, provides a different battle for Tesla than Ford faced. For Tesla, scalability is essential and “holds the keys to lasting structural change in the energy and transportation spaces,” Collins wrote. Without scale, he says, Tesla cannot compete with the legacy brands that have built off of Ford’s vision for decades. Scale would allow EVs to create the operational infrastructure that can support pure-battery EVs and become more affordable, Collins says.

So can EVs reach market-transforming scale within the next decade?

“Possibly,” Collins wrote. “One overwhelming reality leaps forth from the past decade of data and anecdotal evidence alike: at the global level, EVs have thus far been evolutionary, not revolutionary, factors in the transportation sector.

“Tesla has been ‘evolutionary’ in that the changes they have introduced to the car market to date are thus far incremental …” Collins writes. “A ‘revolutionary’ change, such as the introduction of the Model T, would cause palpable shifts on even a short-term basis. … EVs are not yet impacting the market with sufficient mass to trigger that compounding, deep, high-velocity change necessary for a revolution.”

Collins conducts a range of globally focused commodity market, energy, water and environmental research. He focuses on legal, environmental and economic issues relating to water — including the food-water-energy nexus — as well as unconventional oil and gas development, and the intersection between global commodity markets and a range of environmental, legal and national security issues.

Related materials:

Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute

Follow the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies via Twitter @CES_Baker_Inst

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 2 university-affiliated think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 4 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Sustainable Vacation Planning: Tips and Tricks

Americans aren’t great at planning vacations. So much so that a large tourism industry group, the U.S. Travel Association, is encouraging workers to begin planning their getaways on Jan. 28, dubbed National Plan for Vacation Day

But planning a sustainable vacation – one with a small environmental footprint that is respectful of a destination’s people and culture – is an even taller task, said Jonathon Day, an associate professor in The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.

Jonathon Day, chair of the Travel Care Code initiative and author of the book, “An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel,” provided these tips for making vacations more socially and environmentally friendly:

Shop local: “Visit local businesses and enjoy authentic experiences from your destination. Visiting farm-to-table restaurants, local arts-and-crafts stores and farmers markets all make a bigger contribution to the communities you visit.”

Be waste wise: “Bring your best habits from home. Plan to recycle and minimize waste, particularly plastic waste when you travel.”

Limit your carbon footprint: “Be a fuel-efficient traveler or purchase carbon offsets for those flights you are taking.”

Can air extend an EV’s range?

The energy efficiency of electric vehicles (EVs) can be improved by 3 to 7% with proper tire inflation, according to a recent ExxonMobil study.

The first-of-its-kind study followed three identical EVs, each with different tire air-loss rates, as they each traveled 5,400 miles crisscrossing all sorts of environments in the United States, including city streets, small towns and rural roads, for six months.

The results showed that properly inflated tires enhanced EV energy efficiency by as much as 7% to extend vehicle battery range.

What if there were a way to increase an electric vehicle’s (EV’s) energy efficiency by 3 to 7 percent? A recent ExxonMobil study has revealed that proper tire inflation can do just that.

Back in 2018, the company embarked on a first-of-its-kind study that tracked EVs to understand the impact tire inflation pressure has on vehicle range. As the inventor of halobutyl rubber, the technological wonder that helps keep tires properly inflated, ExxonMobil wanted to take a hard look at the challenges EVs encounter.

The study followed three identical EVs, each with different air-loss rates. Each car traveled 5,400 miles, crisscrossing all sort of environments, including city streets and remote roads, for six months.

The results? In a nutshell, choose a tire that will stay better inflated over time. It will not only extend the life of the tire, but also the overall energy efficiency.

Learn more about our study in this video

Millennials at L.A.’s Auction House

*This original watercolor by Sam Francis will be among the coveted art to hit the block at L.A.’s Abell Auction Company on Sunday, Sept. 16 starting at 10 a.m. For a catalog, visit www.abell.com.

Did you know that more Americans relocate between May and September than at any other time of year? And, millennials are on the move! According to rent.com, some 43 percent are leaving their college cities or hometowns to live in more urban areas – mainly for a job, significant other or to try something new. (Blog- millennial generation on the move)

Whether they’re decorating their first apartment, cultivating a taste for modern art and design, or want to own something vintage, millennials are buying at auction to express themselves and live green! You’re invited to go “behind the block” at L.A.’s original and 102-year-old auction house – Abell Auction Company – when the next lot of collectibles, memorabilia and treasured belongings go up for sale on Sunday, September 16.

The live auction action begins 10 a.m., when it’s a race in real-time to see who will place the highest bid (in-person or online) for the items they love – ranging from fine art and 20th century design to classic cars. An auction preview runs Sept. 12-15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Abell gallery, 2613 Yates Ave. Visit www.abell.com or call 800.404.2235.

Head to Auction

Abell holds live gallery auctions every Thursday featuring 800-1,200 items from up to a dozen Southern California estates, making it one of the remaining weekly auction houses in the country. It also holds high-end quarterly live and online auctions on select Sundays.

Find What’s One-of-a Kind

Auction lots include furniture, artwork, and modern and vintage design that you won’t find anywhere else. From David Hockney painting to a Vasa “nest” of hexagonal colored acrylic tables to a Frank Gehry “Easy Edges” cardboard desk, the possibilities are endless.

Go Green

Buying at auction means buying “green.” You’ll be reusing an item, and in the process reducing waste and over-production.

It’s Not His Grandfather’s Auction House Anymore

Todd Schireson, 36, represents the third generation of his family to operate Abell Auction Company and can provide auction tips and trends for the younger generation, plus describe some of the most unique items to hit the block. He sometimes holds up pop-up displays at Venice Beach for millennials to preview popular auction items.

More About Abell Auction Company

Abell Auction Company, Los Angeles’ original and premier auction house, has been entrusted with fine estates and collections for over a century. It handles the treasured belongings of high-profile clients, including many legendary figures in Hollywood. Abell’s weekly and quarterly sales attract an international audience of in-person and online buyers. For more information, visit www.abell.com or call 323.724.8102. Connect with Abell: @abellauctionco for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.