Steps to Increase Energy Efficiency

In this world we have certain natural resources that we must use in our daily lives. Energy is something that we use every day. This energy can come from coal, natural gas, solar, wind, or nuclear resources. It is important that we are energy efficient in our daily lives. This will help us save on energy costs that may otherwise cut deeply into our budgets. Not only will this help individuals in their own personal lives, but as a whole will all be doing a great part to help the environment.

There are many different ways in which individuals, businesses, and organizations can help cut down on their energy costs. One of the most common types of energy conservation begins with lighting fixtures. If you are unnecessarily leaving lighting fixtures on in your business, home, or school, you will find that your energy costs will be much more that if you were turning your lights off whenever possible. This is especially true for businesses and schools. Where there are many lights, you must make sure that these lights are not accidentally left on overnight. This will greatly raise the costs of your energy bill.

When you are looking at your energy costs, you will find that your heating and cooling make up a big portion of this cost. When you are looking for ways to cut down on your energy costs, cutting down on your heating and cooling can be a great way to cut down on these costs. There are many natural ways to cool and heat your home. Using these natural ways will keep you from having to use your heater and AC as often. During the warm summer months, take advantage of cool breezes and open your windows. This can naturally cool off your home or business. This is true as well for bright shining light that can radiate heat through windows during the colder months. Open your blinds to allow for the sun to heat up your home during the colder months.

There are many more great ways in which you can cut down on energy costs, but these are a few easy ones that you can take into action to help save on your energy bills. Working with an energy conservation company like Cenergistic can help you save on energy costs in your home, school or office. In any case, raising awareness and understanding your own personal energy usage is a smart first step.

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Drought Study in California


A new NASA study found that 1934 hosted the driest and most widespread drought of the last 1,000 years in North America. The complete research findings appear in the Oct. 17 edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

The study used a reconstruction of North American drought history based on a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005, in addition to modern records. Scientists from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought in 1580, and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America. In comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent.

“It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record,” said climate scientist Ben Cook at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

The researchers found that two sets of conditions led to the severity and extent of the 1934 drought. First, a high-pressure system in winter sat over the west coast of the United States and turned away wet weather. This pattern is similar to that which occurred in the winter of 2013 to 2014. Second, the spring of 1934 hosted dust storms that suppressed rainfall.

“In combination then, these two different phenomena managed to bring almost the entire nation into a drought at that time,” said coauthor Richard Seager, professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York. “The fact that it was the worst of the millennium was probably in part because of the human role.”

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Termites: The Silent Predators

Termites can cause significant damage to one’s home if not treated properly. They are social creatures, making it easy for an infestation to quickly get out of hand within a short period of time. In fact, they live in colonies that can grow to be quite large. If an in-home termite infestation is not caught early on, the consequences can be detrimental. That being said, it is always recommended to contact a pest control professional to provide an effective termite control treatment, if you suspect an infestation.

Living creatures need food and termites are no different. An infestation is caused by this same premise. Termites enjoy feeding on wood, books, drywall coverings, bookshelves, boxes and other items found in the home. Therefore, it is no surprise that homes serve as the perfect grounds for termite colonies to call their own.

Infestations typically occur in one of two ways:

The first of these ways is through winged reproductive sent from a healthy termite colony to start a new one. As soon as they find a suitable habitat, the new colony will begin. This can be especially unnerving if your home is the suitable area for them to start a new colony.

The second way a termite infestation will occur is through the aforementioned search for food. When foraging for food, there are a number of different ways these tiny creatures make their way in a structure. Whether it be through mud tunnels or a crack in the pipes, it doesn’t take much of an opening for these insipid creatures to make way in your home.

The home is an important asset for a plethora of reasons. And as it should be a sanctuary for peace, there is nothing worse to ruin that state but by a termite infestation. Owning a home requires a large investment and termites can severely damage that investment.

Termite infestations lead to billions of dollars of damage in structures all across North America and are a threat that should not be taken lightly. These creatures are at work, around the clock, unknowingly destroying your home. If you have a notion that an infestation is occurring within your home, it is important that you hire a termite and pest control professional to survey your home and remove the unwanted house guests as soon as possible.

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Efficient Drilling Techniques Drive Production Increases in the U.S.

The United States runs on oil. Oil is used in so many applications that life without it would be nearly unrecognizable. Gasoline amounts for nearly 2/3 of all oil consumption in the United States. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that for years the United States has been dependent on foreign oil. This reliance has left the United States incapable of effectively regulating gas prices, and has been an ongoing source of frustration.

This could all change, however, with the help of an innovative drilling technique known as horizontal drilling. Horizontal drilling has not only steadily increased drilling efficiency, but has improved the yield of existing basins. As the name implies, horizontal drilling allows operators to drill horizontally rather than vertically through rock formations. This ensures amplified rock contact and, unsurprisingly, serves to maximize returns from wells.

Furthermore, horizontal drilling reduces environmental impact, as multiple vertical wells can be replaced by a single horizontal well. A reduction in the number of wells being drilled means fewer emissions, less water use, and reduced damage to the land itself. The importance of this more eco-friendly approach to drilling is two-fold. In addition to the immediate benefits to the environment, this technique is also partially responsible for lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

The second process that has revolutionized oil production in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking’. Hydraulic fracturing is used to stimulate a new or existing well in order to increase production. This process is completed using pressurized fluid. The fluid is generally composed of a mixture of chemicals, sand and water. When injected into a wellbore, this fluid creates cracks in the rock, or in some cases expands existing cracks. These fissures allow oil to flow more freely and increase well productivity exponentially.

These innovative techniques have vastly increased production of oil in the United States. The methods previously used to drill for oil were much less effective. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has increased both productivity and efficiency. If this level of production continues, the United States could find themselves independent from foreign oil companies. Increased production would also allow the United States to influence and stabilize the global market.

Energy companies like Cunningham Energy are at the forefront of this revolution. As an independent explorer and producer of oil and gas, Cunningham Energy is dedicated to acquiring and producing oil in the most effective and efficient manner. In order to meet this standard of productivity, they use both hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the exploration, acquisition and production of oil and natural gas.

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Why oil prices will be ‘robust’ long-term: Shell CEO

The decline in the price of oil has been one of the most prevalent stories in financial markets this year. But Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell, the world’s second-biggest listed energy company, is confident that oil will return to “very robust” pricing in the long-term.

He told CNBC: “We see prices being very robust over the longer term, for fundamental reasons of growth in prosperity and demand. It’s harder to find oil and more difficult to develop it, so I still see a very robust outlook.”

Oil prices on all main indices have been driven lower this year by concerns about slowing economic growth, a strong U.S. dollar and higher production than some expected. On Wednesday, the daily basket price for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $88.32 a barrel, down from 89.37 the previous day.

“In the short term, we have a trading strategy to inoculate ourselves from the swings,” van Buerden said.

Shell’s oil and gas business is also affected by sanctions against Gazprom, its partner in developing Russian shale oil, as part of Western penalties imposed on Russia over Ukraine. Last week, it suspended work on one of its joint ventures with the Russian energy giant.

Continue to the rest of the article…


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Advantages of Installing a Storm Door in your Home

Energy Efficiency
Keeping the storm door open during the summer can let in cool, fresh air without letting in pests and keep your warm air inside by acting as an airlock during the winter months, so you do not need to crank up the HVAC. Investing in a low-emissivity glass storm door once, which is more effective than the average storm door,  can save you a ton of money later, reducing energy loss and subsequent costs.

A storm door acts as more than just a protectant against rain–all kinds of wind-borne debris can wear at your front door, in addition to snow buildup and even sunlight that can fade paint away. Besides just protecting your door, however, storm doors generally come with a lock separate from the primary door, and can even be made from break-resistant glass.Creating this extra barrier between the outside and your home protects you, your family, and your belongings from burglary.

Saving Money
Not only can storm doors save you money on your energy bills, but their protection from damaging elements like rain and wind allows the paint or finish on your primary door to stay in good  condition for longer.

Curb Appeal
Storm doors come in many different styles, colors and designs with unique details or iron-work, which can fully enhance the look of your home.

Get in touch with a professional door installer who can help you find a storm door that fits your tastes before winter sets in. Investing in a quality door and correct installment can save you money, as well as a headache, and keep your home secure as well as comfortable in any season.

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Handy Smartphone Apps for Home Improvement

My husband is a marriage and family therapist, so I definitely have an advantage when it comes to managing marital conflict. The one area of exception is when we decide are forced to work together on a home improvement project. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a good man, but when two first born children come together, and by come together I mean collide, to do a DIY project, sparks are gonna fly, whether or not power tools are involved.

Fortunately for me, all his years of training eventually kick in and we get the job done together – unless  it’s something from IKEA, who I’m convinced could open a side business as divorce attorneys.

Since my husband doesn’t make house calls and IKEA hasn’t responded to my suggestion, here are some DIY apps that will make those projects much less stressful.

Handy Man DIY comes with videos and demos detailing common DIY projects and even includes shopping lists for those projects to eliminate the guess work or frustration of realizing you needed a flathead, not a Philips head screwdriver. You can create customized shopping lists, get an estimate of how much a project will cost, store dimensions of room sizes, windows and doors for future projects, and even calculate how much paint you’ll need.

Platform:  iOS
Cost: $1.99

iHandy Carpenter puts 5 carpenters’ tools in the palm of your hand: a plumb bob, a surface level, a bubble level, a protractor, and a ruler. Once the app has been calibrated, the plumb bob, surface level and level bar can also be used as an inclinometer/clinometer simply by reading the angles on the screen.

Platform:  iOS, Android
Cost: $1.99

Most major paint companies have apps that can help you avoid the dreaded “That’s not what it’s supposed to look like” panic of choosing the wrong paint color. Depending on your brand preference, Behr ColorSmart, Benjamin Moore Color Capture, Glidden on the go (iOS only), Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Studio, Valspar ConnectLive (iOS only) all help you digitally color match, and many offer the option to virtually “paint” the room.

Platform:  iOS, Android
Cost: Free

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Power-full Investments

With today’s expansive efforts of implementing green technologies for more efficient utilization of clean energy and power, Riverstone is taking the initiative solely as an independent brand by investing about half of its $6 billion funds for energy without its joint-venture partner for the first time. This is a drastic move for the company as they have conducted almost all of their business moves within partnership agreements.

Riverstone is an equity firm with a private entity that is based in the state of New York. In the second half of last year, Riverstone began communication with investors about their energy funds for the purposes of delving into broad investments. In the year 2000, founded by David Leuschen and Pierre Lapeyre, Riverstone joined with Carlyle’s under a partnership agreement, in which either firm was able to take upon an option of ending their contract during the beginning of any fundraising cycle. Upon accumulating enough funds for efficient and smart investing, Riverstone used the option of becoming independent during the fifth fund of marketing last year. Although Riverstone had been hinting towards going independent for several years, they decided it was the perfect time to do so just recently.

Riverstone is known for investing in the midstreams of exploration, production, petroleum, and refineries of power segments in the energy industries. Since the beginning of its company, Riverstone has regularly participated in deals involving management buyouts, financial growth, and joint ventures.

One of the more successful investments for Riverstone was the deep-water oil explorer provided by Cobalt International Energy. CIE has resulted in being a great reward of investment for Riverstone, in which they held a 19% stake since January 1 of 2012. Its stock has exceeded past doubling in its return in 2012 after striking oil off of the coast of Angola.

When investing in a company like Riverstone, it is imperative to ensure that the company is engaging in business deals that concentrate on the latest technologies of energy. As our technologies progress, so does the methods of energy usage. Clean energy is becoming prevalent in today’s industry, and Riverstone is a company that is constantly seeking to become involved in the field to not only benefit their involvement, but also their stakeholders.

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Opinions on Plastic Bag Bans


Yesterday, California became the first state to ban plastic grocery bags entirely. In a statement signing the ban into law, Governor Jerry Brown argued that “This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks, and even the vast ocean itself. . . . We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.” While the governor may unfortunately prove correct in his prediction of future statewide bans to come, he’s almost certainly wrong that they in any way help the environment. In a 2011 NRO article, I explained why plastic-bag taxes and bans can end up causing more environmental harm than good:

Unfortunately, study after study has shown that most of the supposed “benefits” of these bans and taxes have a negligible effect on the environment at best, and can actually have unintended consequences that cause greater environmental harm. Take Ireland[‘s plastic-bag tax], for example. When the New York Times reported the 94 percent decrease [in plastic-bag use], it neglected to specify that it was referring only to plastic grocery-bag use. Sales of non-grocery plastic bags (garbage bags, etc.) rose an astonishing 400 percent, amounting to a net increase of 10 percent in total plastic-bag consumption. In an interview with National Review Online, Patrick Gleason, state-affairs manager of Americans for Tax Reform, explains why.


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