These energy topics will guarantee you have the most romantic Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have lost count of how many V-days you’ve spent with your significant other, it’s important ...

Tagged: Valentine's Day, romantic energy topics, conversation starters

Expand Article

These energy topics will guarantee you have the most romantic Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Love spelled out inside a heart-shaped light bulb

If all else fails, you can always read your date highlights from the Energy Infrastructure Authority’s Annual Outlook. I recommend keeping a printed copy handy for all romantic situations.

Key Points

  • Valentine’s Day dates can be awkward.
  • It’s important to come prepared with awesome conversation starters.
  • These pointers will make this your most romantic V-day yet. Trust me.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have lost count of how many V-days you’ve spent with your significant other, it’s important to have some good conversation starters for that big date night out.

When you head to your favorite romantic restaurant next week, here are a few ideas to keep the conversation going.

  1. The romantic lighting — Chances are that the lighting will be dim to really set that romantic mood. Did you know that LEDs can be dimmed? They’re energy efficient to begin with, and when you add a dimmer switch, they save even more energy. Less energy, less light, fewer visible wrinkles. That’s what they call a triple win.
  2. Meat storage — You’re sitting across the table from your Valentine. You look adoringly across the table, and the waiter delivers your steak. This is the perfect time to bring up energy-efficient meat storage options. Lean in extra close and say, “I want to talk about that extra chest freezer in the garage. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, a running chest freezer consumes around 103 kWh and costs an average of $14 per month. When your chest freezer is empty, unplug it to save energy and money.” Believe me, as you’ve probably already figured out, I’m very good at the dates.
  3. Turning up (or down) the heat – Let’s be honest. It’s Valentine’s Day. You likely showered. AND put on makeup using a real mirror (not the rearview mirror in your parked car). You. Look. Hot. What better time to talk about the heat setting in your home? Tell your significant other your needs. You need to turn the thermostat down when you leave the house for the day. Contrary to popular belief, it takes less energy to reheat a colder home when you get home in the evening than it does to keep it warm all day while you’re gone. Better yet? Give your date a programmable thermostat for Valentine’s Day. It’s verrrrrrrry romantic. Believe me.

If all else fails, you can always read your date highlights from the Energy Infrastructure Authority’s Annual Outlook. I recommend keeping a printed copy handy for all romantic situations. A good discussion about natural gas prices and energy demand is always a good decision.

Now get ready to enjoy the best Valentine’s Day of your life. You’re welcome.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree 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.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: Valentine's Day, romantic energy topics, conversation starters

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

The Super Bowl was super energy efficient

Yesterday marked the biggest day of the year for football fans. I hope they all had a good time.

Me? I can’t tell you who played, what the score was or name a single ...

Tagged: Super Bowl, Energy Efficiency, LED

Expand Article

The Super Bowl was super energy efficient

Lights illuminate a football field

[T]he Houston NRG Stadium was one of the first to install the efficient lights, and as a result, it uses 65 percent less energy on lighting than it did before.

Key Points

  • The Super Bowl was illuminated by all LED lights this year.
  • They used 65 percent less energy than traditional lights.
  • Venues for the 2018 and 2019 Super Bowls are set to be really energy efficient too. 

Yesterday marked the biggest day of the year for football fans. I hope they all had a good time.

Me? I can’t tell you who played, what the score was or name a single player who made a goal/touchdown/point or whatever you super sports fanatics call it (there aren’t baskets in this game, right?).

But I can give you an exciting scoop: The stadium where the match was held was pretty energy efficient.

The field was illuminated entirely with LED lights — 65,000 of them to be exact. Back in the olden days — pre-2015 — big, professional venues like this didn’t use LEDs.

But the Houston NRG Stadium was one of the first to install the efficient lights, and as a result, it uses 65 percent less energy on lighting than it did before.

The LEDs did more than save energy and money. They also made Lady Gaga look good. The lights don’t flicker, don’t have a warm-up time and can be dimmed, which can set the mood and save even more energy.

The future looks bright too. In 2018, the Super Bowl will be at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, an LEED certified venue (which means it is really energy efficient). In 2019, the players will take to the field in Atlanta, where its new stadium, under construction now, is set to be LEED Platinum (that means really, really energy efficient).

Until next year, good job to all you players. I heard the goalie did great.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree 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.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: Super Bowl, Energy Efficiency, LED

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Energy Tip

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

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.

Will the price at the pump go up this year?

A tax hike might be coming to a pump near you.

With low oil prices, we’ve all been enjoying some savings when filling up our vehicles. But thanks to some big state budget ...

Tagged: fuel tax increase, Oil Prices, taxes

Expand Article

Will the price at the pump go up this year?

Gas tax increase ahead

According to NPR News, 12 states are considering the tax increase, including Alaska, where the governor has proposed tripling motor fuel tax. The revenues from the proposed increases would be used to build and maintain highways, roads and bridges.

Key Points

  • Several state legislatures are expected to increase motor fuel taxes this year.
  • The increases would help states fill budget holes and pay for infrastructure improvements.
  • Many states haven’t increased motor fuel taxes in decades. 

A tax hike might be coming to a pump near you.

With low oil prices, we’ve all been enjoying some savings when filling up our vehicles. But thanks to some big state budget holes, many state legislatures are considering raising taxes on gas and diesel fuels.

According to NPR News, 12 states are considering the tax increase, including Alaska, where the governor has proposed tripling motor fuel tax.

The revenues from the proposed increases would be used to build and maintain highways, roads and bridges. In many states, motor fuel taxes haven’t changed in decades. In Oklahoma, another state considering an increase this year, the rate has been 16 cents per gallon for 30 years.

Political analysts believe this year could be the perfect setting for tax increases like this to pass state legislatures. It’s not an election year, the budget shortfalls are big, oil prices are low, and even groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have OK’d the idea of increasing taxes at the pump, so long as all revenue goes toward infrastructure improvements.

Are you willing to pay a little more to fill your car in exchange for good roads and bridges? 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree 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.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: fuel tax increase, Oil Prices, taxes

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Nuclear is going small

 “Breathtaking! I shall call him mini-me.” 

I’m sure that’s the first thing NuScale Power, the company employing the brains behind a new miniature nuclear ...

Tagged: nuclear power, small-scale energy, nuscale power

Expand Article

Nuclear is going small

Tiny people takes pictures of a giant light bulb

[NuScale Power] recently submitted designs to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 50 megawatt reactor. It uses standard uranium reactor fuel, but unlike gigantic standard nuclear power plants, this could fit on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Key Points

  • A company submitted a design for a mini nuclear power plant this month.
  • The mini plants could be more affordable and safer than traditional nuclear plants.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will take at least three years to review the 12,000-page design.

 “Breathtaking! I shall call him mini-me.” 

I’m sure that’s the first thing NuScale Power, the company employing the brains behind a new miniature nuclear reactor design, said when it finalized its plans.

Only the NuScale inventors are not Dr. Evils.

They’re trying to make energy safer and more affordable.

The company recently submitted designs to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 50 megawatt reactor. It uses standard uranium reactor fuel, but unlike gigantic standard nuclear power plants, this could fit on the back of a flat-bed truck.

The company touts many advantages to the small design. For one, since it uses less uranium to fuel the small plant, it would be less likely to melt down. The small design also offers additional safety features since it can fit in a containment vessel, submerged in a pool of water. And it doesn’t require pumps to circulate water, so there’s no risk of experiencing a Fukashima-type disaster.

NuScale’s design would also be much cheaper to build and operate. Not only would the costs of construction be cheaper, but after the plant was up and running, it would require less personnel to operate it.

Other benefits of the small-scale nuclear is that it could be deployed to sites like wind farms to act as back-up power when the wind stops blowing. Or it could serve as a massive generator for places like military sites that can’t be without energy during a major power outage.

There are some concerns about the design. The Union of Concerned Scientists question if the cost savings could come at the cost of safety.

But don’t worry. There won’t be a mini nuclear power plant popping up in your backyard until the design is thoroughly reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NuScale submitted more than 12,000 pages, and the commission says it will take at least three years to review them.

If it is approved, the company hopes to have its first plant operational by 2026. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree 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.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: nuclear power, small-scale energy, nuscale power

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Ken Bone reveals the answers he wished he’d heard

(Editor's note: Ken Bone’s Twitter account describes him as an “average midwestern guy who was on tv that ...

Tagged: Ken Bone, presidential debate, trump, Clinton, president

Expand Article

Ken Bone reveals the answers he wished he’d heard

Ken Bone poses with a knit Ken Bone doll

In 30 years, we are unlikely to recognize the power industry of today. Without a solid plan in place for dealing with this fact, we as an industry — and as a nation — are going to be left in the dust by newer and more sustainable alternatives.

(Editor's note: Ken Bone’s Twitter account describes him as an “average midwestern guy who was on tv that one time.” But Bone’s a lot more than that. During an October debate, he became an instant Internet celeb when he asked then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, “what steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?” His question, coupled with his infamous red sweater, thrust him into meme history. Still, his question was an important one. And one we asked him to answer himself.)

 

When I asked the presidential candidates about their plans for energy, I was hoping to hear at least a rough outline of a plan to transition our country into the future of energy.

What I got was a pair of rants about Chinese steel.

Fossil power generation is on a downhill slide. Between nuclear and renewable energy sources, coal and gas are set to have less market share every year for the foreseeable future. I had hoped to hear a plan that included investment into our rapidly aging transmission infrastructure to accommodate for the highly variable outputs of wind and solar assets.

What I got were more accusations and arguments with no real substance.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of communities in America built around the power industry. Power plants have long been a source of skilled, high-paying jobs that workers could rely on to be there year in and year out. Operators, electricians and mechanics at plants like mine would often teach their sons and daughters the ins and outs of the business before sending them off to get their education, hoping they would return to their communities and run the plants for another generation.

Often they would.

Now we are becoming more cautious about asking our children to follow in our footsteps because there is a real danger that these communities could suffer the same fate as Detroit or Flint. Automation and regulation have eliminated huge numbers of jobs in the fossil power industry.

I asked the candidates how we could minimize job loss for workers like me. I was hoping to hear ideas for a job retraining initiative or hear that incentives might be made to encourage new energy sources to build their assets in the same communities where old plants are ready to close. I wanted to hear about how skilled power sector workers could be moved into jobs in the rapidly evolving renewable sector.

I heard nothing of the kind.

Whether those of us in the business see it or not, change is coming. In 30 years, we are unlikely to recognize the power industry of today. Without a solid plan in place for dealing with this fact, we as an industry — and as a nation — are going to be left in the dust by newer and more sustainable alternatives. I hoped to hear how we were going to make America the innovator and leader of this new wave of energy.

I didn't get what I hoped for.

Now with Donald Trump set to take office, we are going to see some short-term change, especially in the coal industry. He has promised to ease regulations to foster growth in the coal industry. There are very few projects in the works for new coal-fired generation.

New coal assets would take much longer than a single presidential administration to get investors, go through the approval process and be built. That's pretty risky for a long-term investment.

Some older plants may forgo plans to idle or decommission for a few years, which is great but hardly a formula for long term growth.

Ultimately the Trump administration is going to provide us with an opportunity. If regulations are eased, we will have the chance to show the world that we can be responsible with our environment even when no one is forcing us to.

If we prove that, we could get real opportunities for growth in the future.

 

You can view Bone's original presidential debate question and answers from the candidates below.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: Ken Bone, presidential debate, trump, Clinton, president

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Load More

See what new energy saver had everyone talking at the Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas last week, and some of the show’s most popular items were devices that can help families manage energy use and, as Green Tech ...

Tagged: sense, smart home, consumer electronics show

Expand Article

See what new energy saver had everyone talking at the Consumer Electronics Show

Sense lets you monitor electronic devices in your home

Sense also makes a case that knowing everything every electronic device is doing can help families track energy consumption line by line like you would track a grocery receipt. The folks at Sense believe that knowing exactly where your energy dollars are going will help you make better consumption decisions.

Key Points

  • New smart home technology lets you increase “family awareness.”
  • That’s a nice way of saying that you can keep tabs on every move your family makes.
  • Tracking energy data line by line, appliance by appliance, might help some families save energy.

The Consumer Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas last week, and some of the show’s most popular items were devices that can help families manage energy use and, as Green Tech Media put it, increase “family awareness.”

Family awareness is a nice way to say “know everything your family is doing without them knowing you know in a kind of creepy way.”

For instance, a device called Sense will alert you on your phone when your kids turn on the Xbox. Or say you’re out on a run and the kids are home with Dad. And say, maybe, Dad decides to let the kids watch TV even though they’re already had their screen time for the day. Sense would let you know.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.  

In addition to giving you the power to spy on your family and keep tabs on everyone’s every electronic move, devices like this could help families save energy. Sense can alert you when your laundry is done so you can quickly remove it and avoid having your machine run fluff cycles.

Sense also makes a case that knowing everything every electronic device is doing can help families track energy consumption line by line like you would track a grocery receipt. The folks at Sense believe that knowing exactly where your energy dollars are going will help you make better consumption decisions.

So whether you want to save energy, or just be nosy, check out Sense here. And when you’re done stalking your loved ones, check out these other smart home trends seen at the Consumer Electronics Show. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree 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.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: sense, smart home, consumer electronics show

Add a Comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!