Nebraskans Wonder About Wind

By admin On December 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

This article from The Omaha World Herald offers a well rounded look at the positives and negatives of wind power in Nebraska and how it could stimulate the rural economy.

It takes a look at the issues that have hindered wind development in our state and what steps are being taken to make wind work.

In a related story, check out this profile story from on a new job available to professional climbers. Something you might think about if you’re really down on your luck looking for a new job.

The Great CFL Migration of 2009

By admin On December 23rd, 2009 in Uncategorized /

OPPD offered a $3 off coupon on multi-packs of CFLs throughout the entire month of October. The numbers are almost completely in, and so far over 30,000 packs were sold, equalling 90,000 individual bulbs.

I took some time to run the numbers to see how much energy and money this influx of bulbs will save. Lets walk through the math, the amount is staggering.

I based my calculations on the comparison between a typical 100 watt incadescent and an equivelant 23 watt CFL. So we’ll start there at an individual bulb level.

A 23 watt CFL has an average life of 10,000 hrs (700-12,000 hrs). A 100 watt incadescent has a maximum life of 1,000 hours (from 750-1,000 hrs). To do an accurate comparison, we’ll compare the energy usage of the 100 watt bulb at 10,000 hours. It keeps things easy on the math, and right up front, you’d have to purchase 10 incadescents to equal just 1 CFL. The CFL just paid for itself, twice and the savings only go up from here.

CFL - 23 watts x 10,000hrs = 230,000 watt hrs
Incadescent - 100 watts x 10,000hrs = 1,000,000 watt hrs

Electricity usage is measured in kilowatts hours (kWh)To convert from watt hours to kWh, we must divide the watt hours calculated above by 1,000.

CFL: 230,000 watt hours / 1,000 = 230 kWh
Incandescent: 1,000,000 watt hours / 1,000 = 1,000 kWh

The average residential rate at OPPD is currently 8.6 cents per kWh.

CFL: 230 kWh x $.086 = $19.78
Incadescent: 1000 kWh x $.086 = $86.00

So purchasing just one CFL will save you approximately $66.00 over the course of its lifetime just in energy cost. Makes you wonder how many lights in your house still need to be converted to CFL. Over a couple of years of use, 20 individual lightbulbs add up to a nice vacation.

With 90,000 new CFL bulbs in the community, the Omaha area is using 20,700,000 kWh of electricity compared to 90,000,000 kWh previously used by incadescent bulbs. Using our previous conversion and multiplying those hours by our $.086 per kWh, there is a cost difference of $5,959,800… soak that in for a minute, nearly $6 million in energy costs based entirely on light bulbs. And to put that into perspective, Omaha has over 165,000 households according to There are a whole lot more bulbs to replace!

Take some time to calculate the savings in your home based on how many lights you have replaced or are now going to replace. You can even break it down on a timeline if you can think about how often you actually replace your bulbs each year and give yourself a better idea of how long it takes you to go through 10,000 hrs of light use.

Happy calculating.

Staying Warm

By admin On December 22nd, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Home heating can be one of your biggest energy expenses. But there are plenty of ways you can make sure everyone stays comfortable and still help keep energy costs down.

- Set the thermostat at the lowest possible comfort level, and leave it there.
- Open shades and draperies during the day to let the sun shine in. Close them at night and on overcast days.
- Have your furnace cleaned and checked by a qualified service technician, and change the filter once a month.
- Consider a portable or power humidifier — it will put moisture in the air and make you feel more comfortable, even at lower temperatures.

And when the weather outside is frightful, take the day off, start a fire in your fire place, break out the blankets, start the longest game of Monopoly ever, and enjoy some time with your family.

Green Tech

By admin On December 18th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Green technology will continue to be an expanding market. Especially when paying a little upfront will save you money over time and as the price on green tech drops.

Check out this post from Gizmodo describing three new wall plug offerings from iGo Green. The outlets stop energy vampires where they stand, and force them into the the burning daylight… or at least let them only suck power when you need it.

They aren’t super cheap yet, but the economy option at $30 drops it into a tempting price range. I wonder how long until homes are built with outlets already using this technology?

Video Library

By admin On December 16th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Questioning your home’s efficiency? OPPD now has an Energy Efficiency Video Library available on their site. Spend some time learning how you can live more efficiently.

Topics include:

Top 10 List of Energy Efficiency Tips: This video gives a checklist of the top energy-saving tips that will be covered in depth in the following videos.

Heating and Cooling System: 45 percent of the energy used in your home is from heating and cooling. That’s more than anything else in your home. Learn actions and behaviors that can help lower your overall usage.

Weatherization: Sealing air leaks can improve energy efficiency. About one third of the air that leaks from typical home escapes through floors, walls and ceilings.Find out what you can do to seal your home and save energy.

Windows and Doors: Windows make up 25 percent of your heating and cooling costs. Learn how to reduce window and door heat loss or gain up to 50 percent.

Lighting: Approximately 11 percent of the energy used in your home is from lighting. Switching to CFL’s and simple changes in your habits can cut that amount by 75 percent.

Electronics and Appliances: Electric equipment in your home may be using energy even turned off. Find out what you can do to prevent phantom energy use.

Water Heater: Learn the proper temperature setting on your water heater as well as water conservation tips.

Wind Synergy

By admin On December 11th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

The youtube series continues with another poorly thought out plan to save the planet.

Wind energy. When we look at the facts, we know that it isn’t that special something that will change the world forever. However, it is one piece of a multi-threaded solution. The more strings you use to make your rope, the stronger it will be.

Turbines are popping up all over the country, when you drive down I-80 from Omaha to Des Moines, hulking turbines tower on either side of the road. Somewhat magestic, and frighteningly huge, they act as a poster-child for the green energy movement. This spring, in southeast Nebraska near the Kansas border, construction on a wind farm will begin that will help OPPD get closer to its 10% renewable energy goal by 2020. We’ll be keeping you updated on the process with pictures and videos as the project develops.

Winter Cycles

By admin On December 4th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Last night, the cold really set in for the first time this winter. It even snowed for a bit. The perfect time to get your bicycle out of the garage and start using it to commute to work.

Don’t believe us? Check out this great aritcle from Outside Magazine. They go into the detail why your excuses are simply excuses, and what kind of gear its gonna take to get you out there and stay comfortable commuting any time of the year.

Omaha continues to grow into more and more of a biking community every year, with the addition of bike lanes on roads new and old. We won’t blame you for not getting out there this winter, but there is no time like the present to start planning for some of those warmer days to get back out on a bike and improve your health, as well as cut down on emissions.

Looking forward to those warmer days will help you overcome the duldrums of winter, and remember, bicycles get inifinity miles per gallon.

Green Gifts

By admin On December 1st, 2009 in Uncategorized /

We found this extensive gift-guide for the green-minded to be somewhat humorous as well as useful.

The Daily Green has found something for everyone looking to aim green this holiday season, whether its your ultra-vegan cousin, or your uncle who always has the latest gadgets. Take a look, get some ideas, and more than likely have a laugh at a menagerie of green gifts.