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Going Green

There are plenty of reasons to go green, ranging from the idealistic – like helping the Earth – to the pragmatic – like saving money. According to the US Department of Energy, the US would save $20 billion dollars on energy costs if all the homes in the country were modified to be more energy-efficient. Similarly, using plumbing systems designed to save water will lower your water bill. Recycled building materials last five times as long as conventional materials, so a home made from recycled products will be a lot more durable than one made from standard materials.

Going green is also better for your health. Energy-efficient vehicles produce fewer pollutants than do cars that burn more gas or diesel fuel per mile traveled. Green household cleaners and paints emit fewer volatile organic compounds, so people in environmentally friendly homes enjoy better air quality and better health. Green products in general are made with fewer harmful chemicals than conventional products.

Going green doesn’t have to be expensive. Even if you can’t afford to build a new home made from recycled materials or buy a new electric car, there are plenty of practical, inexpensive ways to go green.

Visit the Library

Borrow books or movies from the library, as opposed to buying them. People generally read a book or watch a movie only once. By borrowing such items, you reduce not only the number that end up in landfills, but also the number manufactured in the first place. Making a new item from scratch requires energy and raw materials, while using existing items does not.

Recycle Everything Possible

“Single-stream” recycling has made recycling a lot simpler in many communities. Back in the bad old days, people had to sort their trash into different containers for paper, plastic, aluminum, etc. These days in most places, people can just put it all into one blue bin. There are still a few things like plastic bags that can’t be recycled in some communities, but your local recycling center will provide information about what they can and can’t take.

Recycling includes more than just disposables. It also means making stuff you no longer use available to others. Organizations like GoodWill accept old clothes, toys, some furniture, and some electronics. Many churches, libraries and social organizations accept donations and hold large-scale rummage sales one or more times each year. You may find a bookstore willing to buy some of your old books. Craigslist has a section to give and get free items, and there are local upcycling organizations and Facebook pages to redistribute items that their owners no longer need. If an item isn’t broken or defective, somebody else may be able to use it.

Don’t Buy Bottled Water

Bottled water is often tap water in ridiculously expensive packaging. Even worse, the plastic bottles require energy to produce and recycle, and if they’re not recycled they create huge amounts of solid waste. It’s much better to buy a reusable water bottle, preferably one made of aluminum, and fill that with water when it’s time to hit the gym. Tap water with a funny or unpleasant taste isn’t unsafe; it owes its flavor to chlorination or minerals in the water. Faucet-mounted water filters like Pur or Brita are available for less than $40.00, and they can improve the taste of tap water.

Buy Energy Star Products

Energy Star is a program developed by the EPA in the early 1990s to establish energy-consumption standards for a wide range of products. Independent scientists test and rate products from LED bulbs to refrigerators to entire buildings on their energy efficiency. Products that make the grade get a blue and white logo proclaiming their energy efficiency. Some building materials like doors, windows, and insulation materials can also get Energy Star certification. When it’s time to buy a new appliance, new computer or new door, look for one with the Energy Star label.

Use Less Power from the Grid

One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to install a photovoltaic (solar energy) system at your home of business. By using less electricity from the grid, you cut back on the burning of fossil fuels and the air pollution it generates.

Contact TerraSol Energies to learn about solar energy installation in southern New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

 

Switch Your Business To Solar Power and Save

Solar power is more popular than ever. According to the US Energy Information Agency, utilities added a record amount of solar energy generation capacity in 2016. The amount of solar capacity installed on the roofs of homes and businesses is 35% higher than it was a year ago. This trend includes small businesses, for which there are compelling reasons to make the switch to solar.

Lower Electricity Bills

The upfront costs of a photovoltaic solar energy system may seem high for a small business, but the savings you will see on your energy costs make it money well spent. The average firm reduces its electricity costs by 75%. With these savings, commercial solar installations usually pay for themselves within three to seven years.

Switching to solar also makes it easier to forecast your energy expenses. Solar energy systems have low maintenance requirements, and they provide free electricity to their owners for over 25 years. When you get your electricity from solar, there is no reason to worry about your utility increasing their rates.

The Solar Tax Credit

The federal government recently extended the Solar Investment Tax Credit. Businesses can take full advantage of this tax break if they install solar power systems before the end of 2019.

When you claim this tax credit, you can deduct up to 30% of the value of your solar installation from your federal income taxes. This tax credit is only a one time deal, but you can think of it as 30% discount on what would be a worthwhile investment even without it.

Social Responsibility and Public Relations

When you put solar panels on top of your building, you are making a visible statement about your company’s values. Your investment in solar energy shows the public that you care about fighting air pollution and reducing your carbon footprint.

With an environmentally responsible public image, more people will be interested in your products and services. According to a Nielsen survey, 50% of consumers are willing to spend more money at businesses that are seen as socially responsible.

Another Nielsen survey found that 67% of employees prefer to work for socially responsible businesses. The public image boost that you get from switching to solar will help you attract talented and productive workers.

Supporting Growth in Your Community

The solar power industry is growing and creating jobs to keep up with consumer demand. Solar energy employment grew by 20% in 2015 and by another 25% in 2016. There are more than twice as many solar energy jobs now as there were five years ago.

When your small business chooses solar, it generates local spending and brings new jobs to your region. The people who install and maintain your solar power system are your neighbors, and they spend their incomes locally. This benefits local businesses, including your own company’s bottom line.

TerraSol Energies designs, installs and services photovoltaic solar power systems in Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Contact us to learn more.

Save Money, Energy with Efficient Lighting Choices

If you’re still lighting your home with traditional incandescent light bulbs, you’re wasting money and energy. Let’s look at your options to become more energy efficient and put a few dollars back in your pocket every month.

Incandescent bulbs have been in use for well over 100 years, and we’re so accustomed to them that we accept their shortcomings as a given. Inside the glass bulb of an incandescent lamp is a metal filament through which electricity flows. Electrical resistance in the filament causes it to get hot, and it gives off light as a side-effect. In fact, only 5% of the electricity an incandescent lamp consumes becomes light. The rest turns into heat, which is mostly wasted. Incandescent bulbs have a short lifecycle, typically 750 hours, so they need frequent replacement. On the positive side, they’re inexpensive. The cost of a typical 100-watt bulb is about $0.50.

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Comparing the True Costs of Solar

Are you considering investing in solar technology for your home or business? The economic advantages of solar are at the forefront of most buyers’ minds, but getting the best bang for your buck isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are some common misconceptions regarding solar power that can muddy the waters when comparing systems for initial cost and long-term benefits. Whether you’re just beginning to investigate systems and suppliers or you’re looking at competing proposals, it’s important to understand two issues clearly.

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Unique Ways to Get More From Your Whiteboard

You know TerraSol Energies best for our industry standard services in commercial and residential solar power, but those aren’t our only services. We also provide affordable, environmentally friendly options for whiteboard refurbishing, for everyone from school teachers to hospital employees.

Our services here include a 10-year no ghosting warranty, plus a product that responds perfectly well to standard cleaning solvents and antimicrobials. We also encourage our clients to find additional uses for their whiteboards on top of traditional uses – here are a few suggestions off the beaten path for ways to use a whiteboard.

Digitize

In today’s modern age, combining analog and digital elements is the way to go. Within the workplace, classroom or even at home, mesh the two by taking photos of important whiteboard elements at various times during a meeting or presentation. For note-takers, these can be valuable tools archived in a central location later on. You can turn files into PDFs and circulate them where necessary.

Magnetize

Most dry erase whiteboards are perfectly conducive to magnets, and this is another great way to combine different elements. Supplement presentations or meeting notes with magnetic markers, which can also be used to hold up pieces of paper or loose items. Magnetic binder clips are great, as they allow you to move things around without ever lifting items off the whiteboard itself.

Calendar

Both in a school or work setting, using a whiteboard partially or fully as a calendar is a great use of the space. This encourages awareness in deadlines and greater accuracy, plus lends an easily available resource for any scheduling concerns. You can create a sidebar section featuring post-it notes for elements of the schedule that change frequently.

Full Walls

If you’re in a setting where a whiteboard will be frequently used for large projects, why not go big? Installing a whiteboard as a full wall within an office or conference room makes it part of the room’s identity, and may even signal to clients that you’re serious and professional. There’s as much room as you need for writing, drawing and any other needed project elements.

Want to learn more about whiteboard refurbishing and options, or about any of our commercial solar power company services? Speak to the experts at TerraSol Energies today.

Taking Advantage of the Solar Energy Tax Credit

The shift toward solar and other renewable energy sources has provided opportunities for households to use renewable energy tax credits when filing taxes.

The government instituted the tax credit program to give solar power and other renewable energy users a way to recoup part of their green investment. Through this initiative, homeowners are not only recovering costs but also reducing their carbon footprint and doing their share for the environment.

With the tax season now upon us, it is important to know that one can apply for renewable energy credit when filing for taxes. The range of systems that the program applies to include solar energy or photovoltaics, and solar heating systems. For a system to qualify, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program says that a solar heating unit should be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation or another entity endorsed by the state government where the property is located.

For solar power, the system should meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements and standards. The qualified expenditures for solar systems include labor costs, installation, and wiring connection of a solar energy unit or any applicable renewable set-up to the dwelling.

Under the program, taxpayers are allowed to deduct up to 30 percent of qualified costs for a green energy system installed in an existing or newly constructed home. There are several requirements for applicants to fully qualify for credit. Primarily, the dwelling must be located in the U.S., and must be owned and primarily used as a residence by the taxpayer.

Generally, green energy tax credits cannot be claimed for rental properties. However, homeowners can claim a certain credit percent if they currently live in the property but rent it out for a certain portion of the year. The credits would have to be calculated against the amount of time they stay in the property. For instance, if they stay in the home for half a year, only 50 percent of the applicable credit may be claimed by the homeowner.

Those who are planning to file their tax claims should use an IRS Form 5695. If a taxpayer has more credit than income tax due, the credit would be carried over in the succeeding filing year, according to TurboTax. The current 30 percent cap on solar tax credits will remain in place up until 2019. However, by 2020, owners of new solar systems can only deduct 26 percent. By 2021, this will be reduced by 22 percent, as posted in energy.gov. This applies to both commercial and residential systems.

The tax credit program was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. At that time, the tax credit was only applied to newly installed solar power and fuel cells. This was eventually expanded to include other renewables in 2008. Small wind energy, fuel cells, and geothermal heat pumps were included in the program.

Tips for Home Generator Maintenance

As a premier solar power company, we at TerraSol are dedicated to providing power to you and your family in safe, affordable and earth-friendly ways. We know all about alternative sources to provide you with energy when you most need it.

High on this list are home generators. Installed using gas or propane, a generator gives you a guaranteed source of power when your initial source is at risk or out. A generator is quick to respond and can power all items in your home. Because they’re located outside and open to some elements, though, a good home generator requires some maintenance. Let’s look at a few of the simplest items on the checklist.

Regular Checks and Records

Our generators are meant to withstand the elements, but it’s still a good idea to check them on a seasonal basis – we recommend spring and fall in most cases, to give you time for any repairs to be done away from the most extreme weather patterns. Corrosion and bits of dirt may find their way into parts of the generator, and leaves or other debris may need to be removed as well.

When you’re checking your generator, make sure you document its condition each time. This will allow you to provide accurate information in the event it ever needs professional service, plus will help you recall important details next time around.

Run it Periodically

Your generator will start automatically if power goes out, but it’s good to run it once every few months just to make sure things are working correctly. You can even do this during your maintenance checks, though a bit more often than this is advisable.

Safe Storage

Store all equipment in a dry, well-ventilated location. During tougher months with lots of moisture, do your best to cover the generator however you can.

Expert Assistance

If there are any additional issues, or even if you just want a professional eye to make sure you’re on the right track, using a reputable service provider like TerraSol is the only way to go. Don’t waste your money on services which aren’t qualified to service your home.

Want to learn more about generators, residential solar power or any of our other services? The experts at TerraSol are standing by.

How A Solar Panel Works

One of the most common forms of clean energy is solar energy. It has become more popular in recent years, with solar panels appearing on rooftops around the world. Much of their appeal is due to the fact that they don’t have any moving parts that would eventually have to be replaced. Here’s a brief look at the seemingly mysterious process by which these panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Continue reading