Move over Monet: Art with megawatts is the next big thing

Renewable energy can be beautiful. Or at least that’s what those involved with the biannual Land Art Generator Initiative competition believe.

The international design ...

Tagged: Land Art Generator, energy cost, renewable energy

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Move over Monet: Art with megawatts is the next big thing

Art gallery

These pieces can be integrated into cities in a way that can enhance public space, educate and inspire.

Key Points

  • The Land Art Generator Initiative challenges participants to design renewable energy that’s also beautiful.
  • The projects should enhance public space, educate and inspire.
  • They are beautiful in concept but might not be the most cost effective choice. 

Renewable energy can be beautiful. Or at least that’s what those involved with the biannual Land Art Generator Initiative competition believe.

The international design competition challenges people around the world to design energy resources that are also art. They ask the competitors to design something that can be integrated into cities in a way that can enhance public space, educate and inspire.

The competition is gaining steam, with thousands of participants from over 60 countries participating. And the designs really are beautiful. You can check them out here.

One design looks like giant swans swimming in the ocean that are also wave energy converters. Another looks like a giant Ferris wheel but is actually a power plant with photovoltaic panels and algae bioreactors.

Although they’re beautiful and mesmerizing to look at, the big question is if they’re also cost effective. Would you be willing to pay more for power that also made your community more beautiful? 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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This beats every friendship bracelet you made in the ‘80s

My Fitbit died the other day, and I lost all motivation to move. What’s the point of taking a single step if it’s not going to be documented? If I get off the couch without a ...

Tagged: friendship bracelet, wearable, Fitbit, Wearable Solar

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This beats every friendship bracelet you made in the ‘80s

Friendship bracelets

No, the materials aren’t available at your local Ben Franklin, and yes, it’s way cooler than that one Stacy made you in third grade.

Key Points

  • New fabric can generate power from motion and sunlight.
  • A simple bracelet made of the material could power your wearables, like a Fitbit or iWatch.
  • The fabric could also be used in cloths, tents and curtains to produce energy.

My Fitbit died the other day, and I lost all motivation to move. What’s the point of taking a single step if it’s not going to be documented? If I get off the couch without a Fitbit, did it even really happen?

Thankfully, a new energy technology might ensure this never happens again. It’s like a friendship bracelet, but instead of knots of neon thread that your 10-year-old best friend gave you, it’s made of a copper-covered polymer and light-sensitive zinc oxide nanowires. No, the materials aren’t available at your local Ben Franklin, and yes, it’s way cooler than that one Stacy made you in third grade. 

The power-generating cloth is a little different than others out there because it generates electricity from the sunlight and motion, so it could generate energy day and night. It can create enough energy to keep your wearable, like a Fitbit or iWatch, charged.

Researchers at Georgia Tech and Chogquing Univeristy in China invented the device. They wrote about the research in the journal Nature Energy. “The hybrid power textile could be extensively applied not only to self-powered electronics but also possibly to power generation on a larger scale,” Zhong Lin Wang at Georgia Tech, Xing Fan at Chongqing University in Chongqing, China and their colleagues wrote.

The team believes that eventually the fabric could be used in clothes, tents and curtains to produce energy when they flap in the wind or are exposed to sunlight.

Sorry, Stacy, your crummy bracelet is going in the garbage. We were never that good of friends anyway. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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We’re sharing even more energy tips @KeepingEnergyAffordable. Stay informed about the latest issues, learn about new advances in technology, and understand how we're keeping energy affordable, one photo at a time.

Pirates might be getting into rrrrrrrenewable enerrrrrrrgy

I can’t really picture a pirate enjoying a baguette and fine glass of wine. Well, maybe a ch-arrrrrrr-donnay. But the group of seafarers might soon have a new appreciation for ...

Tagged: renewable energy, boat, pirate, Energy Observer

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Pirates might be getting into rrrrrrrenewable enerrrrrrrgy

Scull and cross bone pirate flag

I hear the pirates are most excited for the boat’s low c-arrrrrrr-bon footprint.

Key Points

  • Researchers are working on a boat that runs entirely on renewable energy.
  • It will use solar, wind and hydrogen power.
  • They hope to make an around-the-world trip within six years. 

I can’t really picture a pirate enjoying a baguette and fine glass of wine. Well, maybe a ch-arrrrrrr-donnay. But the group of seafarers might soon have a new appreciation for the French thanks to a certain boat sitting on its coastline.

The boat is named the Energy Observer and is a project by naval architects and the CEA-Liten research institute, a renewable energy technology development organization. Their goal is to make the first boat to be solely powered by renewable energy. Think of it as the Solar Impulse of the seas.

It will run on solar, wind and hydrogen power. The developers hope the project will be a launching pad for additional energy innovation. One of its flagship technologies is using equipment that can break down water to produce hydrogen and oxygen for an energy source. The project team believes technology like this could someday be used in homes to efficiently store energy.

The project has a $4.72 million price tag and should complete its around-the-world voyage in six years. Talk about some loot and booty. And check out that picture. Throw a pirate flag on that thing and it might be one of the scariest-looking boats in history.

I hear the pirates are most excited for the boat’s low c-arrrrrrr-bon footprint. OK, done now. Promise.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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This art might solve California’s drought problem and save energy

Imagine a huge tube that cleans ocean water, runs on solar energy, has a spa and is a piece of art. No, I haven’t been hanging out in Colorado. This is a real thing.

A ...

Tagged: The Pipe, water, energy efficient

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This art might solve California’s drought problem and save energy

Pacific coast

"The Pipe's" magnetic field design uses less energy than traditional reverse osmosis, making it easier to be self-sustaining by using solar energy.

Key Points

  • Engineers designed a pipe that turns ocean water into drinking water.
  • It’s also energy efficient and runs on solar power.
  • If that’s not enough, they also include a spa inside with salt baths. 

Imagine a huge tube that cleans ocean water, runs on solar energy, has a spa and is a piece of art. No, I haven’t been hanging out in Colorado. This is a real thing.

A group from Khalili Engineers developed the design. The traditional way of taking salt out of the ocean water -- reverse osmosis -- requires a lot of energy. The process forces water through filters to clean it, and pushing that water through the plant is energy intensive. This pipe’s design uses a magnetic field instead.

"We're just addressing the salt," Abdolaziz Khalili, part of a team from Khalili Engineers that created the design told Fast Co.Exist. "Regular ocean water has about 3 percent salt, so we're culling that 3 percent of salt out of the water rather than pushing the 97 percent that's water."

Since the magnetic field design uses less energy, it’s easier for it to be self-sustaining by using solar energy.

And while I’m all for drinking water, energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources, my favorite part of the design is the salt pool inside the pipe. Visitors could float in the salt water while surrounded by the soothing sound of ocean waves. Yes please! 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Nailed it: Costa Rica setting new records for renewable energy

Have you ever tried a Pinterest project with less than Instagram-worthy results? I saw this ...

Tagged: Costa Rica, hydropower, Pinterest, renewable energy

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Nailed it: Costa Rica setting new records for renewable energy

Map of Costa Rica

If Costa Rica were a Pinterest Mom, it would be the one with cakes that always rise and hot-glue gun skills that are the envy of everyone.

Key Points

  • Costa Rica is running entirely on renewable energy for its electric needs.
  • It relies mainly on hydropower.
  • It is also looking into using more geothermal power from volcanos. 

Have you ever tried a Pinterest project with less than Instagram-worthy results? I saw this picture the other day. It pretty much sums up every craft project I’ve ever tackled. 

If Costa Rica were a Pinterest Mom, it would be the one with kids that always smile, cakes that always rise, and hot-glue gun skills that are the envy of everyone.

The small country is on a 113-day streak using all renewable electricity. Instead of fossil fuels, Costa Rica relies mainly on hydropower. It also supplements with geothermal, wind, biomass and solar energy. It’s even looking into increasing its geothermal use by tapping into its many volcanoes as a resource (I’m pretty sure that idea came from its Pinterest board “ideas for volcanos”).

In 2015, Costa Rica achieved 100 percent renewable electricity for 285 days of the year. With this latest streak, it may beat its own record in 2016. Unfortunately, Costa Ricans have fairly high electric rates. But the National Power and Light Company uses variable rates depending on how much electricity you use, and when you use it, so in theory, customers should have some options to help keep electricity somewhat affordable.

Next up, Costa Rica will undoubtedly post a picture of its entire family posing perfectly, surrounded by fall foliage. You win Costa Rica. You win. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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This bag could soon be a fashion statement. Really.

There’s a push to change the way people stay cool. Our approach to cooling doesn’t make much sense. Cooling entire buildings – and many times, empty rooms – wastes a lot ...

Tagged: air conditioning, cooling, plastic, clothes

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This bag could soon be a fashion statement. Really.

Plastic bag

Researchers are figuring out ways to cool people instead of the air around them.

Key Points

  • Plastic might someday be in your clothes.
  • Researchers discovered that plastic can keep you cooler.
  • Cooler clothes could result in less AC use and less energy use. 

There’s a push to change the way people stay cool. Our approach to cooling doesn’t make much sense. Cooling entire buildings – and many times, empty rooms – wastes a lot of energy. So researchers are figuring out ways to cool people instead of the air around them.

One of the latest attempts is plastic clothes. The same plastic that’s in your grocery bag. But of course, wearing plastic has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • The material doesn’t absorb your body’s heat. Researchers discovered that skin with plastic on it stayed cooler than skin with cotton on it.
  • If enough people wore it, it might be enough to change what temperature the AC is set at.
  • This multiplied by hundreds of thousands of buildings could add up to big energy savings.

Cons:

  • Plastic isn’t exactly comfy cozy. But the researchers are working on a way to make it softer.
  • I’m pretty sure I saw Kim Kardashian wearing a version of it, and I’m Team Taylor.

Other attempts to change how people stay cool include ideas like a personal robot that follows you around blowing air at a temperature of your choice, clothing with tiny capillaries that carry warmed or cooled air through them, and a chair with built-in heating and cooling elements that let you regulate your personal space like a boss.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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How Millennials might make over the energy industry

Here’s what we know about Millennials:

  • They were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
  • They make up the largest share of the U.S. population, at 28.7 percent.
  • Twelve ...

Tagged: millennials, solar, the grid

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How Millennials might make over the energy industry

Millennials are so likely to choose new energy systems that they might completely change up utilities’ traditional business models.

Key Points

  • Millennials might change how utilities do business.
  • This huge generation wants new, green options.
  • They’re more likely to go off the grid if given the chance. 

Here’s what we know about Millennials:

  • They were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
  • They make up the largest share of the U.S. population, at 28.7 percent.
  • Twelve percent are faithful vegetarians (and another significant portion are meatatarians and are very offended that the vegetarians are eating their food’s food).
  • They might dramatically change how our energy companies treat their customers.

I know, you’re mostly impressed that so many 20-somethings don’t eat meat. Me too. But that little tidbit about changing how utilities work with us is kind of interesting too.

A recent article in Forbes outlined what utilities need to do to keep Millennials as customers. In the past, the companies who provide our electricity didn’t have to worry too much about getting your business. Many utilities are regulated monopolies, which means you don’t have a choice about who you buy your energy from. Instead of competition, these monopolies have elected officials who make sure the companies keep our needs top priority.

This system makes sense. The infrastructure to make and deliver electricity is expensive and complex, so having multiple electric lines strewn across our landscape wouldn’t help anyone.

But now there are new ways to get energy, like solar panels on your house, that don’t require that big grid. And Millennials are much more likely to adopt them. The study in Forbes notes that Millennials are significantly more likely than other generations to be early adopters of new technology, especially for energy-related products and services.

“More than half of them are likely to sign up for solar panels in the next five years, double the proportion of Baby Boomers,” said the authors of the article.

The article suggests that Millennials are so likely to choose new energy systems that they might completely change up utilities’ traditional business models. 

In most areas of the country, going off the grid would be too expensive and too unreliable for most customers, but for a few, that might not be the case. The general consensus is that it won’t be cost-effective to cut ties with your utility until 2030 or beyond.

In the meantime, many utilities are offering new options like adding renewable energy to their mix, offering ways to make your home more efficient, or even coordinating community solar projects for their customers to participate in.

Has your utility offered any new technologies? If it were cost-effective, would you want to go off the grid, even if it meant giving up some of the reliability your utility offers?


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Go ahead, have a Frosty

What is a Frosty, exactly? Not quite ice cream, not quite milk shake, it lives in some sort of creamy middle area that makes it really hard to decide if I should use a spoon or a ...

Tagged: Wendy's, Frosty, savings

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Go ahead, have a Frosty

The Frosty’s maker, Wendy’s, is trying to save some energy

Key Points

  • Wendy’s was recognized by the Department of Energy for being energy efficient.
  • One restaurant achieved a 37 percent total energy reduction.
  • That will save it $8,000 in energy costs annually. 

What is a Frosty, exactly? Not quite ice cream, not quite milk shake, it lives in some sort of creamy middle area that makes it really hard to decide if I should use a spoon or a straw (#firstworldproblems). But at least while I debate this very important decision, I can rest assured that the Frosty’s maker, Wendy’s, is trying to save some energy.

The Department of Energy recently recognized the infamous gal with the red pigtails for her energy-efficiency success.

One Wendy’s restaurant in Alabama achieved a 37 percent total energy reduction or more than 50 percent energy savings per sales transaction, and nearly $8,000 in savings annually, according to the DOE.

As a company, Wendy’s is working to achieve 20 percent energy savings in all of its restaurants. The company will do that by installing things like exterior LED lights, all-LED interior lights, ultra-high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and new, efficient commercial kitchen hoods.  

And in case you’re worried, the answer is start with a spoon and have a straw handy to slurp up the melted bit at the bottom.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Offshore wind making waves on East Coast

Offshore wind is huge in Europe. But like skinny jeans and man purses before it, this crazy concept is waiting for it’s time to shine in the U.S.

The Department of Energy ...

Tagged: wind energy, wind power

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Offshore wind making waves on East Coast

The Department of Energy estimates that offshore wind along the coast of the U.S. and the Great Lakes could generate more than 4,000 gigawatts of electricity.

Key Points

  • Off shore wind is big in Europe but has had challenges in the U.S.
  • The projects are difficult to install and maintain and disrupt the landscape.
  • One small project on the East Coast is nearing completion and should be up and running in October or November. 

Offshore wind is huge in Europe. But like skinny jeans and man purses before it, this crazy concept is waiting for it’s time to shine in the U.S.

The Department of Energy estimates that offshore wind along the coast of the U.S. and the Great Lakes could generate more than 4,000 gigawatts of electricity. That’s four times our existing electric system.

So what’s the hold up?

A few things. For one, constructing wind turbines in the water is tricky work. It’s difficult to transport those huge parts out to sea, not to mention build a platform for them to sit on where the weather is more extreme. Plus, locals in many of the beach communities where the turbines could be built don’t like the idea of huge pieces of machinery obstructing their views.

One project is proving that it can happen. The Block Island Wind Farm is off the coast of Rhode Island. It’s only five turbines and will produce 30 megawatts, enough electricity for up to 5,000 homes.

The project is small compared to bigger ones planned in other areas of the country like Cape Cod. And some have attributed its small size to its success. With only five turbines, the wind farm doesn’t distract from coastal views as much as a larger project.

The crews are testing the turbines now, and the farm should be operational as soon as October or November of this year.

 “This project is a very important symbol of the fact that tangibly offshore wind can work in the U.S.,” said Tim Brown, public affairs leader for GE Renewable Energy in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine. “It won’t be a theoretical debate. People will see it in the water, they will see it working, and they will see it supplying electricity.”

There was a time I never would have believed that American men would adopt skinny jeans and murses either, but one look around your local microbrewery will confirm that crazier things than off shore wind have happened.  


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Energy Tip

KEEP THE AIR CIRCULATING.

Install an attic ventilator. An attic ventilating system draws cool air up through the house and may provide as much comfort as an air conditioner at a much lower cost. Use the system to "pump in" cool air during summer evenings.

Bubble wrap: solar thermal energy tool?

Just looking at this picture of bubble wrap gives me the urge to pop all those little bubbles. Whether you’re a one bubble at a time kind of person, a “wringer” or a put-it-on-the-floor-and-walk-on-it ...

Tagged: bubble wrap, MIT, solar

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Bubble wrap: solar thermal energy tool?

Roll of bubble wrap

Those little plastic pockets of air are good for more than our amusement or packing needs.

Key Points

  • Bubble wrap is good for more than popping fun or packing needs.
  • Researchers at MIT are using it in solar thermal energy systems.
  • Using bubble wrap might make the systems much more affordable. 

Just looking at this picture of bubble wrap gives me the urge to pop all those little bubbles. Whether you’re a one bubble at a time kind of person, a “wringer” or a put-it-on-the-floor-and-walk-on-it type, you have to admit that there’s something about that pop that is very satisfying.

Those little plastic pockets of air are good for more than our amusement or packing needs. Mechanical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are using it in solar thermal energy systems.

These systems usually use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and are very expensive. Enter the bubble wrap. Using the same stuff as your local UPS store, the researchers bypassed the need for costly mirrors. Bubble wrap worked as a top layer to their new device that lets sunshine in and traps heat.

Here’s how George Ni, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explained it to IEEE Spectrum: “We found the performance of bubble wrap in this system quite surprising. Though it is commonplace and low cost, bubble wrap has good properties for solar applications. It is transparent enough to allow solar energy to pass through to an absorber; however, the large air pockets allow bubble wrap to trap the absorbed heat, leading to higher efficiencies. The bubble wrap can be likened to a greenhouse."

The researchers believe they can make the system for about $2 per square meter, compared to $200 per square meter for traditional systems.

Read more about the project here.

Now go ahead: Start popping.  


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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The delightful light: Watch this sweet couple get power back after 20 years in the dark

Meet Milka and Stevo Balac. They live in a remote village in Croatia. When they were young, they lived without electricity. During their lifetimes, their village was connected to ...

Tagged: electricity, the grid, solar, UNDP, Croatia

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The delightful light: Watch this sweet couple get power back after 20 years in the dark

Couple stands outside their home

My favorite quote from the video was when Stevo says "I will live like a king now!"

Key Points

  • This couple’s genuine excitement over getting power back will make your day.
  • They lost power when war destroyed their village’s infrastructure in the 1990s.
  • Now, thanks to a solar energy system, they can turn their lights back on. 

Meet Milka and Stevo Balac. They live in a remote village in Croatia. When they were young, they lived without electricity. During their lifetimes, their village was connected to the grid, and they quickly became accustomed to life with power.

Then in the 1990s, local infrastructure was destroyed by war, and as described by Fast Company’s Co.Exist, it was too expensive to rebuild.

Watch this video to brighten your day and see these two finally get power restored to their home.

The effort was part of a project led by UNDP Croatia. The group installed a solar system in the Balacs’ home. In this case, solar was reportedly 30 times cheaper to install than connecting the home to the grid. That’s not always the case, but it does show just how expensive all those poles and wires in a full grid system are to build and maintain.

My favorite quote from the video was when Stevo says "I will live like a king now! I'll have all sorts of meat. And sausages.” Thanks for the reminder, Stevo, of just how lucky I am to live like a queen, every day. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Stovetop challenge: Induction versus gas

Fall is here. Time for soup, stew and chili. But before you start your simmer, consider that how you heat your pot could impact your energy bill.

Most stoves have ...

Tagged: oven, stove, induction, soup, heat, gas, cooking

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Stovetop challenge: Induction versus gas

Soup pots on stovetop

Induction cooking is gaining steam. See how it stacks up against the competition when it comes to energy efficiency.

Key Points

  • Soup weather is here.
  • How you cook your soup could impact your energy bill.
  • Induction heat uses less energy than gas.

Fall is here. Time for soup, stew and chili. But before you start your simmer, consider that how you heat your pot could impact your energy bill.

Most stoves have a gas or electric range. But induction cooking is gaining steam, and Paul Scheckel of Home Energy Pros put induction cooking to the test for energy efficiency.

His test was simple. See how much energy was used to boil a pot of water using gas versus induction.

Here’s how Co.Exist explained his results:

“For gas, Scheckel’s 7,000 BTU burner boiled the quart of water in 8 minutes and 30 seconds. That works out to 992 BTUs of energy.

“The 1,300-watt induction cooker boiled the quart in 5 minutes and 50 seconds, which is a little more convenient, but it did it using 0.126 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or 430 BTUs of heating energy. Scheckel compares this to a theoretical 100%-efficient method, which would use around 317 BTUs.

“The induction cooker used 430 BTUs, and gas used 992 BTUs. That’s a pretty big difference. A big part of this efficiency is the induction method itself, which effectively turns your pot or pan into a heating element, whereas gas (and conventional electric hotplates) makes heat which in turn heats the pot. And as we know, gas also heats the room, which is a big waste of energy. In fact, many professional kitchens have switched over to induction precisely because it doesn’t heat the kitchen directly, making it more comfortable for the chefs, and requiring less power to cool the kitchen back down again.

“Whether or not induction saves you money will come down to the cost of gas and electricity in your town, but the energy saving is quite clear.”

Now pass the soup, please. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Proof that procrastinating on that laundry is a good thing

Laundry. No matter how much I try to stay on top of it, there’s always a mountain of dirty clothes awaiting my attention. But why should I want to do loads of laundry when I could ...

Tagged: Xcel, save energy, demand

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Proof that procrastinating on that laundry is a good thing

Clothes washer

Delaying energy-sucking tasks until later in the day could help save you money.

Key Points

  • Energy can be more expensive when demand is high.
  • Xcel Energy is testing a program that charges customers extra for electricity used during certain parts of the day.
  • Programs like this might help keep energy affordable. 

Laundry. No matter how much I try to stay on top of it, there’s always a mountain of dirty clothes awaiting my attention. But why should I want to do loads of laundry when I could be at the pool, park, or having a “Let It Go” dance-off with my daughters?

Thankfully, Xcel Energy is giving its customers in Colorado a great new reason to procrastinate on doing chores like laundry until the end of the day. It’s their new time-of-use pilot program.

Here’s how the “Denver Post” breaks it down:

The time-of-use pilot has two seasons — summer and winter — and three rate periods during each day: peak, shoulder and off-peak. Residential rates during the peak period, which runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, would reach as high as 13.8 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer months and 8.9 cents per kWh in winter.

Electric use during the shoulder periods, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., would run 8.4 cents per kWh in summer and 5.4 cents per kWh in winter. During the off-shoulder period during winter and summer, from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., they would run 4.4 cents per kWh.

The concept isn’t new. Several utilities have programs to incent customers to delay energy-sucking tasks until later in the day. This helps reduce peak power demands. As a product of basic supply and demand, when everyone is using energy during middle of the day to run air conditioners, power office computers and lights, and cook meals, demand is high – and so is the price.

By spreading some of the demand out to times when energy use is lower, time-of-use programs can help customers save money. If extremely successful, lowering peak demand could help utilities delay having to invest in new power plants, keeping energy more affordable all the time.

Would you use a program like this? Or, have you used a time-based rate program? Please share your thoughts. 

And now, I’m off to play. The laundry can wait.  


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Teaching your kids these tips could save your school district some serious dough

If you’ve noticed lots of pictures of small children wearing very large backpacks in your Facebook feed, you probably already figured out that school is starting.

But ...

Tagged: save energy, Alliance to Save Energy, school, back to school

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Teaching your kids these tips could save your school district some serious dough

Schoolboy standing in front of chalkboard

School buildings spend more on energy than they spend on computers and textbooks combined.

Key Points

  • School is starting soon.
  • K-12 schools spend $8 billion on energy.
  • Teaching our kids to save energy at school could help lower that

If you’ve noticed lots of pictures of small children wearing very large backpacks in your Facebook feed, you probably already figured out that school is starting.

But here’s something that probably didn’t appear in your “trending news section”: school buildings are the third-largest energy user of all commercial building types. According to the Alliance to Save Energy , K-12 schools spend $8 billion and universities spend $6 billion on energy – more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined.

Groups like the Alliance to Save Energy have programs to help students lead the charge to save energy and lower their school’s energy costs. One way to do that is by helping peers and teachers change some everyday behaviors.

Here are some tips from California’s Consumer Energy Center:

Turn Out the Lights

Lighting is one of the largest consumers of energy in the classroom. By turning out the lights when a classroom is unoccupied, the school can save money. The school also may want to consider "occupancy sensors" that detect whether there are people in the room. If no one is there, the switch turns off the light.

Stop the Drips

Hot water is another commodity that uses a great amount of energy. By fixing dripping hot water faucets, you can save water and save energy. If it's cold water, you should still fix the drip, because sanitizing and delivering water spends energy, too.

Close the Doors

Leaving doors wide open to a room or building may make it more inviting, but it wastes energy. Don't prop doors open – allow them to close after people walk through the doorway.

Change the Settings

If there are no health issues, change the thermostat settings to 78 degrees during warmer months and 68 during cooler months. Doing so will lower the heating and air conditioning use.

Reuse and Recycle

If the school doesn’t have a recycling effort, do it now. Reusing or recycling paper saves money and energy. And don’t forget to recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

None of these ideas are new, but encouraging our kids to take the energy lessons they learn at home to the classroom could make a big impact on their school’s expenses.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Farmers’ Almanac is predicting this winter will be _______

Fall is in the air. School is starting, Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas decorations and it’s just a matter of time before pumpkin spice takes over everything including lattes, ...

Tagged: Farmers' Almanac, Energy Efficiency, weatherization, cold

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Farmers’ Almanac is predicting this winter will be _______

Walking in the wintertime

With frigid temperatures on the horizon, weatherizing our homes will be important.

Key Points

  • The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold winter.
  • Energy efficiency will be more important than ever.
  • Pass the hot chocolate. 

Fall is in the air. School is starting, Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas decorations and it’s just a matter of time before pumpkin spice takes over everything including lattes, Oreos, M&Ms, pancakes and Pringles (yes, really).

It’s also time to start thinking about winter. And so far, predictions are for a cold one. The Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting an exceptionally cold season for much of the nation. “We’re calling it the return of the old-fashioned winter. The ice-cold winter is back,” said Sandi Duncan, the Almanac’s managing editor.

With frigid temperatures on the horizon, weatherizing our homes will be more important than in recent El Nino-driven warmer winters.

Here are some tips to keep the cold out this winter:

Let the sunshine in – Open your curtains in the day to let the sun naturally add some heat to your home, and then close them at night to help block cold drafts.

Seal your windows – Consider using those plastic sheets available at your local hardware store to cover your windows. Bonus: your kids will think you know magic when your hair dryer shrinks the plastic taut for an unobstructed view. Well, maybe that’s just my kids; they’re easily amused, and one is too young to talk yet, so I just assume she thinks I’m amazing and magical.

Stop the leaksFind out where your house might be letting valuable warm air out and cold air in, and caulk the gaps. Common culprits are around your door, chimney and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and cabinets. There are several different types of caulking (yeah, who knew?), but thankfully, energy.gov offers a nice chart to help you decide which one to buy. Don’t procrastinate on this step. You should caulk before the cold comes (above 45 degrees is best) so the caulk will set and adhere to the surfaces.

Pamper your heater – Replace your filter so it doesn’t have to work so hard to circulate all that warm, comfy air.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Chernobyl is prime real estate for development. No joke.

When you think about Chernobyl, “prime real estate development opportunity” probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind.

But don’t be so fast to judge. It might ...

Tagged: Chernobyl, nuclear power, solar. Ukraine, atomic waste

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Chernobyl is prime real estate for development. No joke.

Ferris Wheel in Chernobyl

The site of the former nuclear station might soon be perfect for a 1,000 megawatt solar farm.

Key Points

  • Chernobyl is making a comeback.
  • Sure, it’s an atomic wasteland, but it has real potential.
  • The Ukrainian is working to build a solar farm. Turns out, land is a bargain there. 

When you think about Chernobyl, “prime real estate development opportunity” probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind.

But don’t be so fast to judge. It might soon be the new sight for a 1,000 megawatt solar farm.

The Ukrainian government is hoping to produce cheap energy close to the ghost town. Right now, the country depends on Russia for most of its energy, so projects like this could help it be a little more independent.

The project planners say it’s a good spot for a solar project. It already has high-voltage transmission lines originally used for the now infamous nuclear station. And land is pretty cheap there. Shocker.

The Ukrainian government is working with investors and energy developers right now, with no clear timeline on when construction might begin.

Until then, take a look at these pictures of Chernobyl. I think I see a nice spot for a Starbucks. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Energy Tip

PLANT A TREE

Planting trees or shrubs that provide shade for your air-conditioning unit can increase efficiency by up to 10 percent.

Enough about wind power: Breeze power might be the solution.

If you’ve ever ventured a little too close to a speeding car, you know that an automobile can create quite a breeze as it hustles down the highway. One company found a way to use ...

Tagged: windmill, Capture Mobility, turbine, solar, breeze

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Enough about wind power: Breeze power might be the solution.

Speeding traffic

A windmill on the side of the highway uses air movement to make energy.

Key Points

  • Traditional wind turbines are big and expensive.
  • A new version is small, light and portable and only requires a slight breeze to work.
  • It also has solar panels and cleans the air. 

If you’ve ever ventured a little too close to a speeding car, you know that an automobile can create quite a breeze as it hustles down the highway. One company found a way to use that air movement to make energy.

Capture Mobility created a windmill that can sit on the side of the highway and only needs a car to pass it to start making energy.

But wait, there’s more!

It also has a solar panel and boasts an air filter that actually helps offset the pollution from vehicles passing by.

It doesn’t look like the classic windmill we all picture. It’s more vertical, light weight, small and mobile. The company hopes the product will be an energy solution for rural areas. The windmill includes an adapter to give residents in small villages without access to a power grid a convenient way to charge phones or other small devices.

Here it is in action:

Capture Mobility Prototype from Sanwal Muneer on Vimeo.

I hear the next version can also slice AND dice. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Cities: This is your energy future

I’m a Midwestern mom and my bigget accomplishment this week will be brushing both my daughters’ curly hair without having anyone cry.

So, I’m not an expert in urban ...

Tagged: future, University of California, urban planners

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Cities: This is your energy future

Cityscape at night

Our cities can save energy in the future. Here's how.

Key Points

  • More people are leaivng rural areas for the city.
  • This creates a bit of an energy conumdrum for urban planners.
  • Researchers at the University of California offer solutions for getting energy to all those city dwellers. 

I’m a Midwestern mom and my bigget accomplishment this week will be brushing both my daughters’ curly hair without having anyone cry.

So, I’m not an expert in urban planning. But Daniel Kammen and Deborah Sunder of the University of Calfornia Berkely are. And they recently released a paper outlining how cities of the future should get their energy. I hope for my daughters’ sake that ideas like this take root.

Here are Kammen and Sunder’s recommendations, as outlined in the journal Science:

Better solar

Cities can be tricky places to install big solar panels. But new technology is making it easier to integrate solar power production into skysrpaers, like see-though solar sells that can be mounted on windows.

What is this, a turbine for ants?

No, tiny turbines are wind power for city centers. Instead of tall turbines with spinning blades, new turbines are small, light and can be built into buildings, like this one used at the Eiffel Tower.

There’s treasure in that trash

Cities have lots of people, who use lots of stuff and make lots of garbage. The researchers recommend using the methane and carbon dioxide released at landfills to generate energy.

It’s not broken; it just needs a new battery

I say this at least 84 times a day when a toy stops working, so I totally understand just how important an improved energy storage system is. On a only slighly bigger scale, renewable energy sources will become more competitive when better energy storage systems are created. That includes things like home battery systems that allow buildings to store things like solar energy in the day and use it to watch tv at night.

Play nice

The final piece of the energy pie comes down to sharing. Using new systems that can be integrated and adapt to new technologies will keep cities at their energy efficient best.

And now you’re up to date on how our cities can save energy in the future.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my secret is lots of leave-in conditioner. You’re welcome.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Local dad impresses daughter’s friends with unlikely knowledge of fusion energy

No, that’s not a headline from The Onion. It could be real. And it could be you.

Take five minutes to check out this infographic from the Department of Energy with everything ...

Tagged: fusion energy, dad, Energy Department

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Local dad impresses daughter’s friends with unlikely knowledge of fusion energy

Man in white t-shirt

Scientists are basically trying to make a star right here on earth to study fusion reactions.

Key Points

  • You can understand fusion energy.
  • Scientists are trying to make a star on earth to study fusion.
  • This infographic makes it oh so easy to learn about it. 

No, that’s not a headline from The Onion. It could be real. And it could be you.

Take five minutes to check out this infographic from the Department of Energy with everything you need to know about fusion energy. For example, did you know that scientists are basically trying to make a star right here on earth to study fusion reactions? Yeah, mind blowing.

The hope is that if we can use the same energy source at the sun and stars, we’d have access to all the carbon-free electricity we’d need. Ever. To power all the things in the whole world.

As explained here, fusion is simply two light nuclei smashing together and fusing to make a heavier nucleus. This releases energy in the process. A machine in New Jersey is studying fusion reactions, and might someday make a power plant with energy that never runs out.

Here it is: (Click on the image to make it larger.)

When you’re done with that, check out other exciting news like “Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready to Order.”


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Look, a squirrel! Rechargeable batteries for the easily distracted

Let’s face it: We have short attention spans. We need things five minutes ago, or we’ll likely lose interest. That’s one of the challenges for electric vehicles. Who has time ...

Tagged: batteries, electric car, ABB, Charging Stations

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Look, a squirrel! Rechargeable batteries for the easily distracted

Dog on a trail

A Swiss rail and bus company created the equivalent of an attention-deficit battery. It does quick 15-second charges while travelers get on and off the bus at each stop.

Key Points

  • Charging electric vehicles can take too long for our short attention spans.
  • A Swiss company is now using flash charges.
  • It gives buses 15-second charges throughout their routes to save time and use more affordable energy.

Let’s face it: We have short attention spans. We need things five minutes ago, or we’ll likely lose interest. That’s one of the challenges for electric vehicles. Who has time to let a car battery recharge?

A Swiss rail and bus company is working on a solution. They created the equivalent of an attention-deficit battery. Instead of taking one long charge, it does quick 15-second charges while travelers get on and off the bus at each stop. These flash stations give the buses just enough energy to get to the next stop, whith then a little longer charge of about five minutes at the end of their routes.

This approach has a few advantages. The first is the simple time savings. Instead of sitting idle for longer periods of time, these buses can utilize the time it already has to stop during its regular business. The other advantage is that it keeps these larger energy users from pulling lots of energy from the grid all at once. By taking smaller amounts of energy throughout the day, it helps keep energy demand more constant instead of peaking at certain times. Big peaks in energy demand require energy companies to ramp up additional sources of energy, and these sources usually aren’t as affordable.

The company behind this new technology, ABB, just finished a pilot project and now has a commercial contract to operate the buses in Geneva. The hope is that this system could also work for other large electric vehicles that make frequent stops like delivery trucks and cabs.

Now, where’s that squirrel? 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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10 electricity-free ways to have family fun

It’s August, which means school is right around the corner. Soak up the last of the long days and freedom from the classroom with some electricity-free ways to have family fun.

Here’s ...

Tagged: family, Project Envolve, unplug, save energy

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10 electricity-free ways to have family fun

Family playing cards

Unplug and have some fun with your family before summer slips away.

Key Points

  • It’s easy to get in an electronic rut.
  • Unplug and have some electricity-free fun.
  • It’s fun and affordable. 

It’s August, which means school is right around the corner. Soak up the last of the long days and freedom from the classroom with some electricity-free ways to have family fun.

Here’s a list from mommy-blogger, seemomclick.com. She writes for Project Envolve, a how-to hub for living an energy-efficient lifestyle.

  • Family game night (Chinese checkers is the current favorite!)
  • Crafts
  • Hide-and-Go Seek
  • Color
  • LEGOs or other building toys
  • Puzzles
  • Charades
  • Read a book
  • Make a no-bake recipe (these Peanut Butter Balls are our favorite – a mixer is required but no oven!)
  • Set up a scavenger hunt (these are REALLY fun!)

I like her list, but would have to add a few summer favorites like hanging out at the park, going for a bike ride or hike and playing with sidewalk chalk and bubbles. What are some of your tips for unplugging and having fun with your family? 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Your next house could be made of old toilets

One way to save energy is to reuse materials instead of creating new ones. So when Tom van Soest saw how many toilets, glass and insulation are thrown away when a building is demolished, ...

Tagged: toilet, StoneCycling, manufacture, brick, save energy

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Your next house could be made of old toilets

Toilet

The energy it takes to manufacture new products is a hidden part of our consumer experience.

Key Points

  • It generally takes less energy to recycle a material than make something new.
  • A company in the Netherlands is reusing industrial waste as bricks.
  • These bricks take 25 percent less energy to make than traditional ones. 

One way to save energy is to reuse materials instead of creating new ones. So when Tom van Soest saw how many toilets, glass and insulation are thrown away when a building is demolished, he decided to figure out a way to use them.

The first step was making a giant blender to mix up a concoction of garbage. Then he made bricks out of them. And here’s the thing. They’re really pretty bricks. And useful. And use 25 percent less energy to produce that their traditional counterparts.

 Tom and his long-time friend Ward Massa took these bricks of industrial waste and made a company, StoneCycling.

The company currently uses waste from the ceramic, glass and insulation industries but is exploring using other waste, like ground ash from power plants, if government regulations eventually allow it.

They’re also working with builders to do a better job of documenting what materials go into a new structure so it will be easier for companies like StoneCycling to purchase them back for a new use when the building is eventually demolished.

The energy it takes to manufacture new products is a hidden part of our consumer experience. It’s nice to see a company that is doing something to save energy.

Learn more about StoneCycling at Smithsonian Magazine.  


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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How much energy does Pokemon Go use?

As a kid, my brother, sister and I played endless hours of Monopoly. The only energy we used was brain power to take over the board (and to make sure my little brother wasn’t cheating. ...

Tagged: Pokemon, Energy Usage, Data, Niantic, Forbes

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How much energy does Pokemon Go use?

Pokemon Go

It takes the energy equivalent of about one-fifth of a gallon of gasoline a year to connect an average Pokemon player.

Key Points

  • Pokemon Go uses a lot of energy to play.
  • It requires lots of data too, which means more data servers are being built.
  • It also wears out your sneakers, and sneakers take energy to manufacture (yes, a stretch, but still). 

As a kid, my brother, sister and I played endless hours of Monopoly. The only energy we used was brain power to take over the board (and to make sure my little brother wasn’t cheating. You know who you are).

But although the board game certainly isn’t dead, it’s much more likely these days that kids are playing something that uses energy. The kind of energy that requires real electronics to make a device work.

It’s no surprise that we’re using more energy to do things that didn’t require an electric current a generation ago. But now that Pokémon Go is taking over the world, analysts are recalculating just how much energy we use in our daily lives.

A recent article in Forbes Magazine outlines the impacts of the gaming world on our energy demand. As noted in the article, John Hanke, CEO of Niantic Labs that developed Pokémon Go, remarked that the game requires “building a unique, massively scalable server and global location dataset.” That’s techy talk for saying that the game required building lots of data servers, which use a lot of electricity to operate.

To make it simple, Forbes calculated that it takes the energy equivalent of about one-fifth of a gallon of gasoline a year to connect an average Pokemon player. At the rate Pokemon is growing, that would be about the same as adding about 20,000 cars to the roads.

Another analyst looked at Pokemon Go’s energy use from a different angle. Shoes. Lots of gamers used to spend their days locked in a basement. But now they’re out walking. And that requires shoes. Shoes wear out and require energy to make. The analyst determined that all this new physical activity will account for at least 100 million more shoes worn-out annually. And when calculated for energy use, it will take about the equivalent of the fuel 100,000 new cars on the road would use to manufacture new kicks.

The bottom line? We rely on energy for more and more things in our daily lives, so keeping it affordable — and sustainable — is as important as ever. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Energy Tip

CHOOSE PLACEMENT WISELY.

Do not place lamps or television sets near your thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from appliances, and that might cause the A/C to run longer than necessary.

Where is the dam tour?

Well, it might be a lot closer than you think. When you hear about hydropower, your mind probably goes to one of the biggies, like the Hoover ...

Tagged: hydropower, Hoover Dam, electricity, renewable energy, dam

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Where is the dam tour?

Hoover Dam

The U.S. doesn’t need to build any new dams to expand hydropower.

Key Points

  • There’s potential to generate more electricity from hydropower.
  • The U.S. has more than 80,000 dams, but only 2,000 of them have power production.
  • A new report found that just improving our existing dams could increase hydropower by 50 percent by 2050. 

Well, it might be a lot closer than you think. When you hear about hydropower, your mind probably goes to one of the biggies, like the Hoover Dam, which, no doubt, was the star of your own “Vegas Vacation.”

But did you know that the U.S. has more than 80,000 dams? And only 2,000 of them have power production? Energy experts see that as a huge opportunity to increase our use of this renewable energy.

Hydropower already accounts for 6 percent of our electricity. That makes it fourth place for our power sources. A new report from the Department of Energy explored the options for making hydropower an even bigger part of the energy mix.

Hydro has a lot of benefits. A dam can provide consistent energy, unlike wind and solar. And it’s one of our most abundant resources. On the other side, there can be significant environmental impact to the natural landscape and wildlife when building a dam.

The good news is the report determined that the U.S. doesn’t need to build any new dams to expand hydropower. Just improving the existing dams could grow it by 50 percent by 2050.

“The future of hydropower is not in building new dams. It’s in re-powering existing dams, adding power generation to those dams that don’t have it and upgrading and improving the dams that have hydropower in them,” Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said in an interview with the Washington Post. “That’s the kind of future we ought to be looking at, where we can invest in responsible hydropower, while making sure we don’t destroy any of the remaining rivers we have.”

The report did not make any policy recommendations, instead leaving the dam question up to the next administration. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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