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Archive: Jan 2013

  1. Categories: Uncategorized

    Renovating? Some things to consider when looking into new windows.

    To identify energy-efficient windows, skylights and sliding glass doors, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. The label indicates which climate zone(s) the product qualifies for. Four climate zones have been designated across Canada, the more zones a product qualifies for, the more energy efficient it is. ENERGY STAR information is also in the product literature for each model. ENERGY STAR qualified windows will reduce your energy costs up to 12%.

    ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, skylights and sliding glass doors will have many of the following features:

    •  Double or triple glazing with sealed insulating glass unit.
    •  Low-emissivity (low-e) glass.
    •  Inert gas, such as argon or krypton, in the sealed unit.
    •  Low conductivity or ‘warm edge’ spacer bars.
    •  Insulated frames and sashes.
    •  Superior air-tightness.

    To minimize heat loss, windows must be insulated and air sealed at the frame-to-wall joint when installed. You need to confirm this procedure with the contractor prior to and during the installation.

  2. Categories: Business

    Staten Island Ferry Converting to Natural Gas

    As the famous song goes, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And natural gas is definitely making it big in the Big Apple.

    New York City’s Department of Transportation is converting one of its Staten Island ferries to liquefied natural gas (LNG) from diesel, significantly reducing the boat’s fuel bill and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.

    The well-used Staten Island Ferry service shuttles 60,000 people to lower Manhattan every weekday. The boats make more than 100 trips a day during the workweek, and about 35,000 trips annually. Converting the Staten Island Ferry to LNG is a win-win-win: reducing dependence on imported oil, resulting in lower operating costs, and helping the environment.

    With diesel costing the city about $1 per litre, it pays more than $150,000 a week to fill one ferry’s fuel tank. LNG is much more affordable, ranging between $0.06 and $0.11 for the equivalent of a litre. Retooling the vessel to operate under LNG power will save New York taxpayers nearly $3 million a year. (In other words, the $3 million retrofit will pay for itself within its first year.) Just imagine what they could save if they converted all eight of their ferries to natural gas?

    So, what are your thoughts about switching diesel-burning engines to clean and affordable natural gas? How is this conversion being realized in your community? Let us know in the comments below.

  3. Categories: Uncategorized

    Winter Energy Tips: Insulate and don’t let the heat escape.

    From the moment heat’s generated inside your home, it tries to escape. Besides air leakage, heat’s also lost by conduction, convection, and radiation through the ceiling, basement, windows, and doors. But every house differs by size, type, age, and any improvements that have already been made by the homeowner. All influence energy-saving potential, percentage of heat loss and priorities for which potential improvements could yield the most savings for your budget.

    This priority list helps determine where your money and effort can be best spent:

    1. Attic: Though it can have only 10-15% heat loss, your attic is the first place to consider adding more insulation because it’s generally the easiest and most economical to do. It is especially important to add more insulation if there’s less than 10 inches (approximately R-30).

    2. Basement: Since an unfinished basement has a high heat loss (20-25%) adding exterior or interior insulation presents a major opportunity to improve your home’s thermal efficiency. This is most cost-effective when done in conjunction with finishing the basement as a living space, or digging up the exterior to repair foundation wall drainage.

    3. Windows and doors: Windows and doors represent about 15-20% of your home’s heat loss. (Remember, this is the heat loss through the glass, wood, and framing materials; not heat loss from air leakage.) Depending on the age, operation, and design of your windows and doors, you may want to consider replacing them. Replace windows and doors if they do not operate easily, are in poor condition, or are difficult to weatherstrip.

    4. Walls: Adding insulation to walls is worthwhile if done in coordination with renovating the interior walls or re-siding – this can reduce heat loss by 10-20%.

  4. Categories: Business

    Ontarians Want Natural Gas

    The Innovative Research Group surveyed 605 randomly-selected Ontario adults in October 2012, to find out what they thought about natural gas and its role within Ontario’s energy mix.

    Here’s what they found out:

    Clean and affordable energy is important
    Nearly 1/2 of us in Ontario (48%) believe access to clean energy is critical, while almost 2/3 of us feel affordability is just as important. Moreover, almost 3/4 of the province (73%) believes it realistic to expect that energy can be both clean and affordable.

    Natural gas fits the need
    By far, natural gas is seen as the most affordable way to produce electricity in Ontario, with 73% believing it affordable (compared to both nuclear and coal at 46%).

     Complements renewable
    Natural gas (along with solar) is seen as having the best combination of affordability and cleanliness. And, despite being a conventional fuel, a majority of Ontarians consider natural gas clean like solar and wind.

     Better access and more natural gas
    Almost 8 out of every 10 people (79%) support expanding the natural gas system to ensure all Ontarians have access. And the majority of Ontarians (62%) think the province’s energy supply mix should include more natural gas.

    The clear choice
    In order to meet growing local demand for electricity, more Ontarians (45%) would prefer building natural gas power plants in their communities, instead of high-voltage transmission lines (29%).

    How do your opinions about natural gas and gas-generated electricity compare to your fellow Ontarians? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

  5. Categories: Environment

    A Cold Week In January

    With record cold temperatures sweeping across Ontario, we’ve been bundling up and turning up thermostats to keep ourselves warm. There’s no doubt that reliable natural gas is working hard to warm our homes and businesses, and it’s also keeping our lights on.

    In fact, today, most of Ontario’s natural gas-fired electricity generating plants are on-line, producing almost 30 percent of Ontario’s total power supply – that’s 6500 megawatts.

    When compared to regions like Quebec, where just yesterday Hydro Quebec asked its residents to conserve power on the grid, Ontario is benefitting from an abundance of natural gas-fired electricity in order to meet increased demand.  During cold snaps, clean and affordable natural gas can be quickly ramped up or down according to our energy needs – helping keep people warm even on the coldest of days without having to worry about the possibility of a blackout or expensive heating costs.

    Summer or winter peak, natural gas is here to serve Ontario families.