When you’re trying to live a greener lifestyle, it’s helpful to take a closer look at all your daily activities to evaluate their environmental impact. You may be surprised to learn that drying clothes in a standard electric clothes dryer accounts for a whopping 6 percent of the average household’s electricity use. Here is a round-up of ways to use less energy (and save on utility bills!) drying your laundry.
Choose a lower energy dryer. Both gas and electric dryers use electricity to turn the drum which rotates the clothes, but they differ in terms of the energy source that supplies the actual drying heat. Gas dryers are more energy efficient and thus cheaper to operate than most electric models. However, the former come with a higher purchase price plus an additional charge if you need to install a gas hookup to your laundry room. Recently developedelectric dryers with condensers or heat pumps may consume less energy than their more traditional counterparts, which expel moisture via a venting system. Before purchasing a new machine, check labels and compare energy consumption figures.
Set up your dryer in the optimal environment. Your dryer will be able to perform its best if you do not place it in an unheated area, such as a basement. You should ensure that the machine’s location is dry and well ventilated, too. If you have a venting model, vent it to the outdoors.
Keep your dryer clean. Regular cleaning of the lint screen removes dust – a fire hazard – and lowers your machine’s energy consumption by 30 percent. In addition, you will need to scrub the screen monthly to remove film buildup if you use dryer sheets, although you may prefer to switch to greener reusable dryer balls of rubber or felted wool. The vent hose should be cleaned occasionally as well.
Load properly. Use a high speed spin cycle in your washing machine to extract more moisture from your laundry before you even move it into the dryer. Make sure clothes are not bunched up, as this will slow drying time and increase energy consumption. Similar weight items such as lightweight synthetic tablecloths or thick jeans should be loaded together. Try not to run an energy-wasteful partial load, but stay away from overloading, which slows down the machine.
Run efficiently. Whenever possible, dry several loads in a row, progressing from delicates to the heaviest clothes. This way you will benefit from the heat of previous loads. Set the Auto Moisture sensor to automatically turn the dryer off when your clothes are dry. Remove anything that you want to iron while it is still slightly damp.
Use the sun’s power. Drying your laundry on a line outside is the greenest way of all. You don’t need to wait for a summer day; temperature is less important than sunshine and a breeze. Hang the clothes by their edges and spread them out for faster drying. Though it has yet to catch on among the majority of Americans, outdoor clothes drying has many advantages beyond its energy savings. This method is easier on your clothes, causing less wear and tear, shrinkage and static cling. It even kills dust mites, bacteria and fungus, and adds a fresher smell than any fabric softener.
Hang clothes inside if your local climate, HOA or city ordinances restrict you from using the great outdoors. Choose a well ventilated space and open the windows wherever feasible. If you live in a humid state like Florida, try turning on an energy-efficient ceiling fan to help laundry dry faster – even with the fan you will still save on your St. Petersburg electricity bill. Use a freestanding dryer rack or build one permanently into your laundry room; a foldable or wall-mounted rack is very practical.
Figures show that O&R and its customers continue to enjoy lower bills, breathe cleaner air and support more reliable electric service.
The latest figures tallied just in time for Earth Week this year show that O&R and its customers continue to enjoy lower bills, breathe cleaner air and support more reliable electric service by taking advantage of the Company’s wide array of energy-efficiency programs.
A low-temperature process has been developed that has opened a window on the ability to combine incompatible materials, such as ceramics and plastics, into new, useful compound materials.
A new technology developed by Penn State researchers, called Cold Sintering Process (CSP), has opened a window on the ability to combine incompatible materials, such as ceramics and plastics, into new, useful compound materials, and to lower the energy cost of many types of manufacturing.
Ceramics is the oldest known human-made material, dating back tens of thousands of years. Throughout that time most all ceramics have been made by heating them to high temperatures, either by firing in kilns or sintering ceramic powders in furnaces, both of which require large amounts of energy.
“In this day and age, when we have to be incredibly conscious of the CO2 budget, the energy budget, rethinking many of our manufacturing processes, including ceramics, becomes absolutely vital,” said Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State who developed the process with his team. “Not only is it a low temperature process (room temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius), but we are also densifying some materials to over 95 percent of their theoretical density in 15 minutes. We can now make a ceramic faster than you can bake a pizza, and at lower temperatures.”
In a recent article in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Randall and his coauthors describe the co-sintering of ceramic and thermoplastic polymer composites using CSP. Three types of polymer were selected to complement the properties of three types of ceramics, a microwave dielectric, an electrolyte and a semiconductor, in order to highlight the diversity of applicable materials. These composite materials demonstrate new possibilities for dielectric property design, and both ionic and electronic electrical conductivity design. These composites can be sintered to high density at 120 degrees C in a time frame of 15 to 60 minutes.
Just add water
According to the researchers, the process involves wetting ceramic powder with a few drops of water or acid solution. The solid surfaces of the particles decompose and partially dissolve in the water to produce a liquid phase at particle-particle interfaces. Adding temperature and pressure causes the water to flow and the solid particles to rearrange in an initial densification process. Then in a second process, clusters of atoms or ions move away from where the particles are in contact, which aids diffusion, which then minimizes surface free energy, allowing the particles to pack tightly together. The key is knowing the exact combination of moisture, pressure, heat and time required to capture the reaction rates so the material fully crystallizes and gets to very high density.
“I see cold sintering process as a continuum of different challenges,” Randall said. “In some systems, it’s so easy you don’t need pressure. In others you do. In some you need to use nanoparticles. In others, you can get away with a mixture of nanoparticles and larger particles. It really all depends on the systems and chemistries you are talking about.”
The Penn State team has begun building a library of the precise techniques required to use CSP on various materials systems, with 50 processes verified to-date. These include ceramic-ceramic composites, ceramic-nanoparticle composites, ceramic-metals, as well as the ceramic-polymers discussed in this paper.
Other areas that are now open to exploration by CSP include architectural materials, such as ceramic bricks, thermal insulation, biomedical implants and many types of electronic components.
“My hope is that a lot of the manufacturing processes that already exist will be able to use this process, and we can learn from polymer manufacturing practices,” Randall concluded.
Before you go “Green”, it’s a good idea to cut your energy use first. Follow, these simple steps outlined below and make big savings in your energy consumption. In this article we will walk you through these easy to follow steps that will help you reduce your energy use before you start your “green ” energy conversion
With simple instructions available on how to convert to homemade wind power or DIY solar panels for as little as £200, many people are taking renewable energy more seriously. When choosing to take on a DIY conversion project the first question most people ask is will one windmill or one large solar panel be enough?
There are far too many factors involved to be able to fully answer that question for you here. But one way to start is to ensure your home is energy efficient in the first place. In this article we will walk you through some steps that will help you reduce your energy consumption before you start converting your home.
Reducing Your Energy Needs
One often overlooked step in converting a home to green power is reducing your energy needs in the first place. The average home uses inefficient lighting, power hungry appliances, and poor heating/cooling solutions. An important step to reducing your energy needs is to look at the inefficiencies in your current system.
1. Replacing old incandescent bulbs with fluorescents or led bulbs.This can cut your energy use from lighting by 50%
2. Turn off lights when not in use.
3. Replacing old, inefficient, appliances may reduce your energy bills by as much as 30% in itself.
4. Always switch appliances off. Never leave them on standby.This wastes too much energy. You can now buy energy saving gadgets which will do this for you. However, if you start to make it part of your daily routine it will soon become second nature.
5. You should also look at your current heating/cooling solutions. That inefficient electric hot water heater could potentially be replaced by a modern solar water heater.
6.Or maybe your old air conditioner system,could be replaced with a more efficient heat exchanger.
7. Ensure the timer/ programmer on your heating only operates when the house is occupied.
8. Turn individual room, as well as radiator thermostats down one degree. You wont feel the difference, but this alone could save £50/£60 a year on your energy bills.
If you need help choosing more efficient appliances, or just want more energy saving advice, an excellent resource for this in the UK is http://www.housingenergyadvisor.com
Spend some time looking around the site and calculating how much you can reduce your energy consumption in different areas of your home. You don’t have to go and spend £1000’s replacing everything, but by simply reviewing everything in your home that consumes powerComputer Technology Articles, you will most certainly find many ways to cut your energy needs before you start your “Green Energy”conversion..