Thursday, September 21, 2017

Philadelphia works to bring solar energy costs down to earth



Anthony LoCicero, a 33-year-old structural engineer raised in South Jersey, has been flirting with the idea of installing solar panels on his three-bedroom brick townhouse in South Philadelphia since he bought it, seven years ago.

“Something about it just sounds like the right thing to do in general, right?” LoCicero said. “But it just never made financial sense.”

Although the price of solar panels has been dropping over the last five years, the cost of installing a solar system capable of producing most of the energy consumed by a Philadelphia row house still ranges between $10,000 to $30,000 — depending on the amount of energy consumed and the size of the house. But a city-wide solar program, with the goal of installing solar panels on 500 city rooftops by 2018, is currently offering below-market rates and other benefits, to entice homeowners.

“It was surprisingly inexpensive, I was pleasantly surprised,” LoCicero said after meeting with one of the three solar installers participating in Solarize Philly, a company called Solar by Kiss.

LoCicero and his fiancee, Christina George, currently use 5,662 kilowatt-hour (Kwh) per year. That’s a little bit below average for a Philadelphia rowhome, according to the installer, which typically would use between 7,000 and 8,000 Kwh. Their house has an electric stove, an electric dishwasher, and air conditioning. But their heating system is gas and their house is properly insulated, so it’s reasonably energy efficient. On average, their monthly electric bill is $70.

By installing 17 (300 Watts) solar panels on their roof, for a total cost of $18,615, they would produce 5528 Kwh a year, almost all the electricity they consume. Taking advantage of a federal tax credit, they could deduct 30 percent of that cost, which would save them $5,584.50, bringing down the total cost to $13,030.50.

“If we do the solar install, theoretically, our electric bill will drop to $1.66 a month,” LoCicero said.

If they finance that cost for 20 years through an equity or home repair line, LoCicero said they would need to make monthly payments of about $100. That’s about $30 more than their current average monthly electric bill.

“Which is not chump change but, at the end of the day, if we go out to lunch one less time a month — it’s not making or breaking our living situation,” LoCicero said.

LoCicero estimates it would take nine years to pay off the solar installation costs, at which point they would begin paying the projected average of $1.66 a month for electricity. Because they would still be Peco customers, they would need to pay an additional meter fee and taxes, which would range between $8 to $10 a month. Pennsylvania’s net metering program requires Peco to buy back extra electricity solar consumers don’t use at the retail rate, which is what non-solar ratepayers pay for electricity.


Weighing the costs and benefits of solar

LoCicero’s fiancee, Christina George, is not convinced it’s such a good deal. She said LoCicero is not looking at the big picture.

“My whole thing was… this may not be our forever home so does it makes sense to invest in this program if we are deciding that we’re going to move three years down the line?”

LoCicero counters by saying they would recoup their investment because it would raise the value of their house. But George said she’s also still paying her student loans — she’s an interior designer — and that this is not the best timing: they’re getting married on October 7th.

“It’s not on the top of my list of things to take on right now, and another expense — so needless to say I was not happy [with the idea of installing solar],” she said.

“So, I’ve been obviously the proponent of it in the family,” LoCicero said. “And I think I’m slowly turning Christina…. But we’ll see, we’re not sure yet.”

How Solarize Philly works to cut costs

LoCicero and George are among more than 1800 Philadelphia homeowners who have expressed interest in installing solar panels (for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 PLUS ) on their rooftops since the city launched Solarize Philly in July.

Philadelphia’s goal is to install solar energy on 500 houses by the end of 2018, which Philadelphia Energy Authority’s executive director Emily Schapira said would create 75 new green jobs. More than 500 homeowners are already working on a proposal with one of the three installers selected by PEA through an RFP — Solar States, Solar by Kiss, and Moore Energy — and Schapira said they are distributed all across the city.

“A few hot spots are the River Wards, South Philly, parts of West Philly are very active…. Also East Falls, the Northwest and parts of the Northeast,” Schapira said.

PEA also vetted the equipment for this program. For solar panels it selected the SolarWorld 300W Sunmodule Plus, the LG 335W Neon2 and the Jinko Solar 280W Eagle mono-crystalline PERC module, and SolarEdge inverters. Schapira said they offer long guarantees for the equipment and that her office reviews the installers’ proposals to make sure they’re citing the right production values.

And because they are buying in bulk and using economies of scale, PEA has been able to get better pricing across the industry. For example, Solar States charges $3.27 per watt of solar installed but within the Solarize Philly program that price drops down to $3.15.

“So you already save just by being part of Solarize Philly, not to mention the fact that the more people join, the deeper those discounts get,” Schapira said.

PEA negotiated discounts with installers using four tiers, depending on how many people sign up (0 to 15, 16 to 40, 41 to 100, over 100). Every tier comes with a $0.05 discount per watt of solar installed. With 55 contracts signed, the program is at Tier 3, meaning an average household with a 5kW system will save an additional $500.

But given that solar installation prices have been going down, some wonder whether it would be better to wait until the price drops even more.

The Looming International Trade Case

University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy solar expert Christina Simeone said waiting could be risky, because there’s a chance prices could actually go up.

“The immediate threat is the trade case,” Simeone said.

That’s a case brought to the International Trade Commission in August by bankrupt American solar manufacturers, including one of Solarize Philly providers SolarWorld. The U.S. manufacturers say they can’t compete with the cheap solar panels imported from China. So they’re begging the federal government to set tariffs to solar imports.

Simeone said the ITC has until September 22nd to decide, but ultimately the decision could go to president Donald Trump, who touts his support for American manufacturers. The Solar Energy Industry Association said “tariffs will double the cost of solar panels and will cause the U.S. to lose 88,000 jobs next year alone”disrupting the solar boom.

“So one could theorize that people would want to lock down the price of cheap solar as soon as possible given that there might be a threat that prices go up,” Simeone said.

Schapira said prices for Solarize Philly are fixed until the end of December 2017. Next year, PEA will launch a low and moderate income program, and although they have intentions of having a second market rate phase, she said “those plans are not finalized.”

“So there is some urgency to really moving forward, if you want to do it,” Schapira said.

Solar State’s Micah Gold-Markel agrees: “This is the moment to jump in,” he said. Gold-Markel argues that installations have seen a huge price reduction in the last eight years. He said they used to install solar for $6 per watt. His current price is $3.27 per watt.

“Is the technology going to get better and cheaper? Probably, but not hugely,” Gold-Markel said. “We’re not going to see some huge price drops. We are going to see some efficiency gain, but it’s not like computers, where they get twice as fast every year — the curve is much slower.”

And because the investment tax credit starts getting reduced in 2020, ending in 2022, Gold-Markel said the possible gains of better efficiency would be offset by the phasing out of those tax credits.

The Looming Wedding

Taking into account the urgency, LoCicero tries one last argument to convince George. He tells her that if they were doing this on their own they would have to figure out how to get the permits needed from the Department of Licenses and Inspections to install the rooftop panels, and from Peco to connect to the electric grid. But if they join the program, PEA cuts through the red tape for them.

“Considering that they’re doing all that for us,” LoCicero said, “that right there is a huge time saver, which to me time is more beneficial than money a lot of times, right?”

George is almost convinced. They start joking about having a “solar wedding.”

“They’ll [the solar contractors] be here that day,” LoCicero said.

“They better not be here,” George responded.

“I’ll be putting my tux on and stepping over electricians on my way out the door,” LoCicero joked back.

“Just don’t tell me, just don’t tell me about it,” George said.

Truth is, the panels will be installed within 90 days from the contract signature, according to Solar by Kiss. So no need to deal with contractors on their honeymoon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flashlight - Ten Random Facts



A flashlight (for example: SUNJACK LIGHTSTICK ) is a portable hand-held electric light. The source of the light is usually an incandescent light bulb or light-emitting diode (LED). A typical flashlight consists of a light bulb mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover (sometimes combined with a lens) to protect the light source and reflector, a battery, and a switch. These are supported and protected by a case.

The invention of the dry cell and miniature incandescent electric light bulbs made the first battery-powered flashlights possible around 1899. Today flashlights use mostly incandescent lamps or light-emitting diodes and run on disposable or rechargeable batteries. Some are powered by the user turning a crank or shaking the lamp, and some have solar panels to recharge a battery.

In addition to the general-purpose hand-held flashlight, many forms have been adapted for special uses. Head or helmet-mounted flashlights designed for miners and campers leave the hands free. Some flashlights can be used underwater or in flammable atmospheres. Flashlights are used as a light source when in a place with no power.
  • Flashlights  are portable light devices that are powered by electricity, which is created by mechanical, solar or battery sources.
  • ‘Flashlights’ are also known as ‘torches’, which is a reference to original flamed torches.
  • Modern flashlights generally contain one or more light emitting diodes (LEDs) although traditional incandescent lights are still used in some torches.
  • Flashlights have a reflector, light bulb, cover, switch and battery as well as a casing.
  • The term ‘flashlight’ comes from the early style torches, that did not project light consistently but rather were required to be flashed on and off due to the lack of power available from the battery, and the type of switched used.
  • The first flashlights were invented in the mid to late 1890s, by David Misell, an English inventor who started working for the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, which later became the American Eveready Company, owned by Conrad Hubert, a Russian living in the US who also patented some of his own flashlight inventions.
  • The very first flashlights included a light, battery and reflector in a paper cylinder and after significant improvements in a twenty year period, the electric torch had become quite popular, due to their safety factor (compared to candles and kerosene lamps) and ease of use.
  • The flashlight principle has been used in headlamps, penlights and keyrings.
  • Flashlights are often made of plastic or aluminium, but materials have included steel, copper, silver, rubber, leather, wood and brass.
  • Beside household use, flashlights are used by campers and miners to see in the dark.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Handmade Quilts and Pillows

You could get an entire large amount of options and choices in the event that you purchase your bedding online through the online bedding stores. You may get comfortable and quality of bedspreads, comforters, handmade quilts and pillows, a variety that is huge all age ranges in your household. Online bedding stores make it possible to attain the skillfully created search for your rooms, because the bed is a key element in a room, becoming the item that is biggest of furnishings truth be told there and occupying a more living area. Bedding hence becomes the main and element this is certainly easiest to work with when you need to change the appearance of the room.

Amish applique quilts


Bedding yourself or as being a Gift

No matter what fancy or pricey asleep are, in case it is covered with a plain sheet that is white its beauty is lost. An easy bed covered by having a gorgeous bedspread will add to the beauty of the room having said that. A young child, a baby or older people, a bedspread is perfect if you'd like a gift for any person. A young child leaving for college, a house-warming, a child bath or perhaps, in reality, any special occasion whatsoever, a bedspread will offer the purpose and also be described as an expression of love and consideration if you want something special for a wedding, birthday, graduation.

Bedding for infants

Babies need bedding, too. Baby bedding is specifically made such that it is soft and experiencing this is certainly nice. You may get an assortment this is certainly large of Comforters, Fleece Blankets, Quilts, Car Seat liners, Mattress Pads and Wool Baby Buntings, in order for an infant does not feel cool alone inside the crib, but could experience a sense of safety.

Quilts

Quilts provide convenience and warmth. You will get patterns that are stunning colors in quilts from Amish online stores that provide Mennonite and Picture Quilts. These are handmade as well as a long lasting as really, so for decades as possible enjoy them. They truly are gorgeous pieces of art and work out for perfect gifting also. They could sooner or later also become heirlooms because they are handmade and of great quality.

From before 3400 BC quilts have been around. One of many earliest quilts had been located on the ivory this is certainly carved of the Pharaoh. Probably it started in China and Egypt around the time that is same was held to Europe by the Crusaders. Early quilts contain many layers of fabric which were stitched together to give you warmth into the Knights in cool and weather condition that is harsh and worn under their armors. Much later in the process, this is certainly quilting hold when mattresses and coverlets were stitched collectively to create a thick quilt; the procedure had been known as Cowlitz in medieval England. Quilts became essential toward the cold off of harsh winters.

The quilting procedure has come a long way from such modest origins. Italy's Trapunto, Japan's Yosemite, England's Cowlitz-Stuffed Sack and France's Appliqué, and also the Amish applique quilts all left their stamps being individual the quilt. Solid colors with feathered scroll designs and cable-stitch work had been the stamp of this Mennonites being Amish. The revival regarding the colonial styles in the mid-century this is certainly nineteenth together with "the Quilting B" the American woman's social occasion, saw lots of the quilting styles and styles we today even in modern times.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Roof Gardens: Green and Brown Roofs - The Differences and Benefits



Living roofs are soaring in popularity, both in residential and commercial projects, due not only to their aesthetics, but also the many environmental benefits they bring to the building. You will note if you visit horticultural events such as Chelsea or Hampton Court Flower Shows that many of the show gardens incorporate green roofs in some way, which is always a good indication of future trends. Here is a brief guide, explaining firstly what green roofs and brown roofs are, before detailing their uses and benefits.

Green Roofs

Green Roofs are basically roofs which incorporate planting, often sedum or wildflower and meadow planting, grasses and mosses. In fact, some can even be planted with trees and shrubs. The Roof Gardens in Kensington is a prime example of this. Installing a green roof creates a vegetated surface which provides colour and interest throughout the year. Often, living roofs are used in rural settings and in areas where the buildings need to blend into the background. Green roofs will either be planted or seeded.

There are of course many considerations before installing a green roof, primarily ensuring your roof is suitable, and ensuring it is completely watertight. It is always recommended to get a professional company carry out the work, as you could do more harm than good if not done properly.

Of course, living roofs/wildflower and meadow roofs create a dramatic visual impact, but they also have many other benefits.

Benefits of Green Roofs

1. Photosynthesis - the process of plants absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This is of particular benefit in urban areas.

2. Filter pollutants and dust from the surrounding area, again, a huge benefit in urban areas.

3. Green or living roofs act as an insulating layer on your roofing contractors NYC. You should therefore expect to spend less on your energy bills, thus reducing your carbon footprint.

4. Increase in biodiversity - encourage animals such as bees, butterflies and birds into the area. With the current bee crisis, any opportunity to encourage bees into the area is a huge benefit.

5. Living roofs can be fitted with bird boxes to encourage birds, often endangered species, into the area and give them a safe environment to nest.

6. Endangered plants can be introduced into the roof planting.

7. Green roofs can reduce stormwater runoff significantly, which can help alleviate flooding, another very topical issue.

8. Often used as social areas, perhaps on top of office buildings, allowing staff to have somewhere green to escape to in the middle of an urban area. They are also increasingly being installed in public areas, to provide much needed green space in built up areas. A good example of this is on London's Cannon Street Station.

Brown Roofs

Brown roofs are very similar to green roofs. The main difference is that whilst green roofs are often installed partly for the aesthetic value, brown roofs tend to be installed for environmental reasons, mainly, to encourage plants and wildlife.

Brown roofs are generally made using recycled materials and local soil. Whereas green roofs are often planted using very specific plants and following structured plans, brown roofs evolve more naturally. Whilst they are called brown roofs as this is the colour they are at the time of installation, they generally turn green over a period of time once the plants have started to establish themselves.

Brown roofs can incorporate water pools, wetland areas, rocks and boulders, basically any materials which will attract wildlife.

Benefits of Brown Roofs

1. Encourages wildlife into the area - brown roofs are specifically designed with this in mind. Particular plants may be introduced with the sole aim of encourages bees or butterflies. Wetland areas will encourage other types of insects and animals.

2. Brown roofs utilise soil and rubble which has been left behind after construction work. This ensures that wildlife which may have been displaced when construction work began, are encouraged back into the area.

3. As with green roofs, air quality is improved, which is particularly beneficial in inner city areas.

4. As brown roofs are made using recycled materials, they are the greener alternative.

5. Brown roofs generally have all the benefits of a green roof. They may take slightly longer to develop and flourish, but the environmental benefits will more than make up for that.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What’s the Best Leadership Style for Your Business?


Effective leadership is at the core of any successful business. A good leader knows how to motivate his employees and listen to their needs. He also has the skills required for managerial activities. The best leaders will approach each new project thoughtfully, see the lighter side of things when times are tough, and help others reach their career goals.

From situational leadership to transactional leadership, there are various ways to run a business. An experienced manager or CEO should be able to choose the right approach for the situation. Studies indicate that successful business owners combine two or more leadership styles. The goals and culture of an organization determine which one works best.

Here are the most popular leadership styles and their unique characteristics:

Autocratic Leadership

Managers who adopt this leadership style make decisions on their own. They rarely consult their team members, which can be useful in emergency situations that require immediate action. However, autocratic leadership rarely works in a democratic organization.

Some leaders using this approach often maintain their authority by threats, intimidation, or force. Those with less experience may not be able to steer the organization in the right direction. This leadership style allows quick decision-making and provides a stable work environment, but it has its downsides.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Small Businesses Owners: Outsource These Tasks to Grow Your Business


Small business owners have hundreds of tasks on their to-do list at any given time. It’s impossible for anyone to tackle them all by themselves. Even if you are a super human and can take care of these tasks yourself the question still remains – should you? Are you better off spending time on tasks that are directly tied to your core business instead of the ones that can be taken care of by others? Based on interviews with number of small business owners and opinion of experts the answer is unequivocal YES. By focusing on core competency and letting others take care of non-essential ones you will be able to focus on and grow the business. So what tasks are better suited to delegate to others? Here are few that easily come to mind.

  • IT support – Technology has become an essential part of every business. You simply cannot operate business without computers, network routers, storage, etc. Maintaining these IT systems is not something that anyone can do. You are better off finding a company that can provide support for IT systems rather than doing it yourself.
  • Real Estate Maintenance – Maintaining a building is another job that not everyone is suited to do. There are any number of things that can go wrong with the building. Finding a company that can send the right handyman to take care of them is a better approach than having someone on your payroll all the time.
  • Landscaping – This is another area where an external company can help. Whether you are looking at lawn care or shrub maintenance or tree trimming the landscaping company will have the right equipment and people to take care of them. Why have someone on the payroll?
  • Accounting – This is one of the important functions any business has to perform. The problem is not every business owner is knowledgeable in this area. The result of doing something wrong, even unintentionally, can result in financial loss or even government inquiry. Hiring an expert accountant not only frees up your time to focus on core job, but also saves you from the trouble later on.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bronx Roofing Company




Even though the roof is an important part of any building, many people shy away from doing repairs. Yet you should never avoid mending the roof of your home or business. Regardless of the type of roof in question, tackle known problems quickly. Delaying repairs guarantees that the repairs will become more difficult and more expensive.


The following tips will help make your roof repair projects safer and easier.


Learn About Roof Types and Weather Effects


Knowing the difference between roof types makes any roof repair project flow easier and safer. Each roof type has a unique set of qualities and physical characteristics that regulate the required repair process. Even the local weather can play a role in when the roof repairs should be done. For example:
Wooden Shingles are easiest to work with when they are slightly damp since they are brittle when dried out. Schedule wood shingle repairs for cool days, perhaps the day after a gentle rain fall has moistened the shingles.


Asphalt Shingles, on the other hand, are too pliable when hot, extremely brittle when cold and also slick when wet. Schedule asphalt shingle repairs for days with moderate temperature.


Shakes and Shingles are common roofing materials, but they are prone to breaking and often require replacement. In order to keep them in place, shakes and shingles have to be nailed. Never hammer on the replacement pieces. To prevent breakage, hold a board in front of the shingle or shake while hammering.


Be Aware of Roofing Safety Hazards


Roof repairs can be dangerous. Shingles can be slippery. Sharp slopes increase your chances of falling. Know what to expect in Bronx roofing safety hazards. Take precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the roof. Here are some simple safety tips:
Use safety harnesses. Secure them to a dependable anchor system.
Wear proper work shoes with soles designed to grip the associated roofing materials.
Inspect the roof for loose shingles, slippery slopes or holes in the sheathing. Do this prior to beginning any work processes.
Never go on a roof during a rain storm, snow fall or immediately after either has occurred.


Consider Hiring a Professional Bronx Roofing Company


Following these tips can make your small roof repair jobs flow easier and safer. However, there are times when you need to hire a professional roofing contractor. Major roof repairs or roof replacements require special knowledge and tools. Professional roofing contractors have the skill, the knowledge and the tools to repair or replace your roof.


Plan your roof repairs in advance. Consider the scope of the work, associated insurance issues and the need for expertise services. Arrange for professional help if you need it. And never let roof issues linger unresolved.