smart taps and showers
future energy

Smart Bathrooms and Toilets Reduces the Energy Consumption

As the homes continue becoming smarter, so too are the bathrooms. People are undertaking style updates to transform their bathrooms into more comfortable areas. Not only do these improvements make the bathrooms fun and practical, but also increase the overall value of the homes. Installing a Wash “n” Dry Toilet system is one of the smart methods of upgrading a bathroom. It outdates the use of toilet paper for the family members because it is capable of automatically flushing, washing and drying off the user.

Smart Bathrooms and Toilets

The Energy Forum will be addressing some of the things that could be adopted to transform lives by use of energy efficiently. For instance, the toilet system is designed to utilize minimal energy while performing an essential task. It is a great unit for all individuals and grand for the aged and disabled people who may require somebody to take care of them in everyday hygiene tasks. Elderly and disabled people can simply revolutionize their dear lives with the Wash n Dry Toilet systems, instead of using the traditional portable or add-on models. Even though they cost high at the initial stage of investment, the amount of money and time you will save in the long run outweighs it all.

 smart taps and showersAnother smart bathroom improvement is the use of smart taps and showers. They have facial recognition feature capable of knowing the bathroom user and then utilize that data to determine user’s bathing habits. They can adjust shower temperature based on what you usually want. Therefore, you will not need to adjust the taps when looking for a perfect shower temperature. The high-end models come with touchscreen feature, and can also forecast weather and send a notification to your email. This means you can schedule your day while taking a bath, courtesy of smart technology in the bathroom.

Energy Consumption in the Bathroom

Alright, where does energy consumption in your bathroom come from? The first things many guests may think of are the vents, gadgets, or lights installed in their bathrooms. However, these are some of the minor things that won’t create a huge change in your monthly energy bills. According to an energy consumption report shared during the Energy Forum 2015, 18% of energy consumed in a typical home is taken by heating water in the bathroom. The longer you run the water heater, the more energy is consumed. So, how do you save energy in your smart bathroom?

First, it is important to turn down the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees. This was not only recommended by the Energy Forum members but also the Environmental Protection Agency experts. It ensures that the bathroom routine is not affected, while the overall consumption and standby losses start decreasing automatically.

Second, you need to learn best alternative ways of reducing hot water consumption in the bathroom. Don’t think twice. Simply go for the modern faucets, aerators, and showerheads. There are many options nowadays, given the need for eco-friendly products in the today’s world. These contemporary products offer a luxurious and comfortable shower pressure while keeping hot water consumption at its lowest. Also, ensuring the pipes are well insulated can prevent heat loss. This can save up to 4 degrees in every shower, which is equivalent to about $12 per year.

Third, in addition to changing your usage of hot water habit, you can as well make small adjustments to other energy consuming fixtures in the bathroom. For instance, you can make the lighting more efficient by switching to energy saving bulbs. You can also adapt smarter ways of saving energy in your bathroom such as unplugging gadgets that are not in use. Additionally, leave your lights turned off when not in the bathroom and only use the vent fans whenever needed.

As much as we need to save energy in our bathrooms, it is also vital to have good quality toilets. When choosing a toilet, start by looking at the key users and how often they use it. A home toilet is more likely to be used frequently, and therefore there are various factors that need to be considered. In today’s modern world, new toilets are supposed to offer comfort to the users, including those with disabilities. That is why most of the toilets offer 17″ rim height, not to mention the quality, design, and durability aspects.

3 Main Factors to Consider when Choosing a Toilet

Consider when Choosing a ToiletFirst, choose a toilet with a comfortable height. Elongated toilets are recommended because they have oversized seat and are 2″ deeper compared to conventional ones. So, they are generally more comfortable.

Second, check cleanability aspect. This is important because you want a toilet that is easy to clean. Choosing those with smoothly rounded bowls can be a perfect selection.

Lastly, consider the flushing factors. This entails flushing power and level of noise during flushing. A quieter toilet is the best pick, especially the gravity-fed model. Additionally, an ideal toilet should perform well by compressing air, and then push the water out. Such toilets use less water for flushing.

filtered water
future energy

Future of Water Filtration and Accessing Clean Water

The terrible future of access to clean water on earth is making scientists employ more creative methods of water filtration and purification. This was evidenced during the Energy Forum 2015, whereby various experts from different water supply companies will showcase their proposed approaches to water purification and filtration. There will be teams from different institutions of higher learning with excellent projects. Actually, they will also be looking for potential sponsors to partner and facilitate their projects.

filtered waterOne of the potential projects that will be exhibited by proponents will be to turn cow dung material into filtered water, and fertilizer as a byproduct. This is how serious water shortage is global. Since manure contains mostly water and the material is abundantly available on farms due to many cows all over the world, there is a lot of potential in extracting the water and also make eco-friendly fertilizer out of it.  According to the experts, guests will learn how 2,000 cows can produce about 20 million gallons of manure per year. Their technology focuses on the use of anaerobic digestion method that extracts waste and produces energy while the ultra-filtration (reverse osmosis system) produces water. The water can be used for livestock since it is already filtered.

Another future of water in the world is through desalination process, which is seen by many scientists as an efficient method due to the constant increase in water shortage issues. The experts will talk about arid and semi-arid countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia that can turn to salty water desalination method. They can use ocean water to produce pure drinking water for domestic use. Apart from the said countries, even the process is becoming a norm in California. Many projects have started along the coastline. So, the future of water is still bright despite the fact that water security remains an issue in many countries.

Various reports show that a major project is underway in San Diego County, California. To-date, the plant is already operational. More than 45 million tons of salty water is being purified through reverse osmosis, which is then used to supply clean water for the highly populated county. There is also another plant that is being constructed in Beijing, China, which is expected to start operating by 2019. This will supply clean water for the city residents and its neighboring towns. In addition to these big plants, there are other smaller companies that are using solar-powered plants to desalinate ocean water. These are economical as they use cheaply generated energy, and perhaps start realizing their returns on investment within a relatively shorter period of time.

thermostats for sprinkler irrigation systems at homesAmong other issues to be raised during the Energy Forum are the WaterSense irrigation controllers. These were first created by the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency designed them as a certification procedure for controllers, which perform as thermostats for sprinkler irrigation systems at homes. According to the agency, these can save more than 8,000 gallons of water per year. The WaterSense controllers are better alternatives to the traditional clock timers as they control watering schedules that match with the plant needs. They use local weather conditions to determine the amount of water required by plants at a given time of the day. Therefore, the builders, landscapers, homeowners, and businesses can benefit from the customizable controllers for their irrigated properties.

The Seriousness of Global Water Challenge

According to World Health Organization, lack of access to clean water causes more deaths than the war in the world. Approximately 2 out of 12 people do not access adequate clean water while more than 5 people out of 30 people lack proper basic sanitation. As we all know, sanitation is entirely dependent on water. In many developing countries, almost half of the population lack access to safe water for drinking. This has led to poor health and outbreak of different water-related diseases. A report by the United Nations indicates that more than 4,000 children die from diarrhea worldwide, a toll that may drop significantly if safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation are made available.

Even though abundant water is available on earth, it is not located evenly everywhere in the world where it is required. If you look at a country like Canada, there is plenty of water more than enough for the people. However, countries in the Northern Africa and the Middle East, just to mention a few, lack adequate clean water. In some parts of Brazil and Africa, there is enough water while other areas suffer from severe droughts.  However, lack of political goodwill in some countries interferes with the ability of the governments to avail clean water to their citizens. In other cases, the supply of water in developing countries may be contaminated by poor management of toxic substances such as lead from industries.

It is vital to understand that drinking water accounts for only 5% of total water consumption. Most of the water is used in sanitation, agriculture, and industry. To achieve a healthy and sustainable future, there is a need to develop better methods of availing adequate clean water supply. As mentioned earlier, the future of water may be determined by the ability to invest in the desalination and filtration methods that incorporate the use of reverse osmosis systems.

Kitchen Faucets for Water Efficiency
future energy

Future of Home Energy and Water Resources – How Can We Minimize the Waste?

During the Energy Forum that took place in 2015, visitors will be informed on how a typical American family utilizes at least 300 gallons of water on a daily basis. Rarely people think about the water that drips down the drain when cleaning dishes. The daily usage of water is significantly high in many modern homes, which translates to high energy and water bills in every month. Even the US Environmental Protection Agency has been releasing statistical data on water usage showing that households are among the most consumers of water.

water on the earth's surfaceEven though there is plenty of water on the earth’s surface, scientists have consistently considered it as a non-renewable resource. Approximately 97% of water on the surface is salty, frozen in polar regions, or very expensive to avail in homes. The remaining 3% is highly demanded in homes, institutions, and businesses. That is why a report created after the energy forum indicated that water shortage is anticipated to increase globally in the next one or two decades.

It is due to this background we need to understand better ways of minimizing wastage of water in our homes. As the smart homes continue to be essential to many people, it is advisable to have low flow fixtures installed. For instance, older kitchen faucets do not meet the modern water efficiency standards outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency programs. The WaterSense is the counterpart of the Energy Star, which are the two major programs of the Environmental Protection Agency. The program proposes the use of products that guarantee less water usage as opposed to using the outdated fixtures.

All the water efficiency products bear a WaterSense label, though some homeowners may not be comfortable to incur the costs of purchasing them. For that reason, there are also high-efficiency aerators that can be installed on kitchen faucets and save at least one gallon per minute.

Kitchen Faucets for Water Efficiency

Kitchen Faucets for Water EfficiencyA good kitchen faucet will not only help in saving water but also make cooking a right center-piece in your home. However, the choice of the faucet should match with the style and scheme of the kitchen, as well as be fully-bodied to handle anything you will throw at it. It should be functional with a broad angle head and extendable hose capable of reaching all corners of the sink. Most of the top-rated models feature 1.8GPM, meaning they are economical compared to older ones.

Additionally, home-improvement experts recommend the ceramic faucets because they are drip-free and their heads come with excellent pot fillers for a perfect washing experience. During the earlier said energy forum, some homeowners expressed concerns about the height of their kitchen faucets. Therefore, it is vital to understand that some models may appear too big while others lack sufficient space underneath for filling the pans and pots appropriately. Due to this matter, you may need to have a faucet with a high arch spout and adequate space to allow the user to maneuver easily below it. Some of the modern models have heads that can rotate 360 degrees, as well as featuring 1.8 GPM for water consumption. This ensures that your water bill will remain low in the long run. Some of the best models incorporate various features such as Masterclean Sprayface for a perfect cleaning experience. Another exclusive feature is the DockNetik, which entails a magnetic rim that allows the unit’s head to reattach once you have finished using it.

Saving Water in the Kitchen

The amount of water used in the kitchen is too way much compared to other places in your house. You want to wash your vegetables and fruits or soak dirty utensils. Most people fill their sinks with soapy water before washing the dishes. All these processes are essential for keeping hygiene and safety in the kitchen, but there is a need to consider switching up the washing routine. Therefore, take note of the following tips to save water in your kitchen.

First, always scrape food remains into the trash and load the dishes into the dishwasher. You will be saving more than 20 gallons of water, and the dishes will still be sparkling clean.

Second, it is important to let your dishwasher do the job. Washing with hands wastes a lot of water because more than 10 gallons go down the drain unused.

Third, you will save more water by washing many dishes at once. Remember, a dishwasher will consume an equal amount of water when washing 4 plates or 15 plates.

Fourth, it will be better to plug the sink when washing utensils that cannot be put in the dishwasher. You fill the sink with enough water, perhaps half-way, and wash your items and then rinse all of them at once.

Lastly, many homeowners run frozen meat in hot water to defrost it out. To avoid wasting water, leave the frozen meat in the refrigerator ahead of meals. Instead, you can also use a microwave to melt it for a last minute meal.

Geothermal heating
future energy

Future of Heating Systems and Energy Efficiency for Home Users!

modern homes use approximately 35% more energy Based on the Energy Forum Report on energy consumption in homes, heating and cooling consume the most energy. The report indicates that in today’s world, modern homes use approximately 35% more energy compared to three decades ago. Therefore, energy efficiency is becoming a common buzz nowadays, which is anticipated to be achieved through employing more technological innovations. However, the energy usage per household is still down regardless of the many devices in our homes. Other studies have also shown that use of energy efficient products has led to less energy consumption in homes, as well as relatively lower carbon emission into the environment.

The future of heating systems can be bright if homeowners continue using energy efficient systems and gadgets. The smart technology in homes has also enhanced the efficient use of energy because heaters can be connected to the internet to offer real-time information that enables homeowners to know and control their energy usage. The proposed wireless sensors for automated heating and cooling control systems will enable access to information such as outdoor weather conditions at relatively lower cost than the current sensors. New protocols are also being developed by various federal agencies in order to enhance communication between smart appliances and systems.

Most Energy Efficient Heating Systems

There are many innovations taking place globally, all geared towards reducing the energy consumption in homes. The best heating system should be able to insulate and air-seal the home such that heat does not escape. Secondly, it is important to ensure that the source of energy is cost-effective and low-carbon as possible. Assuming that every homeowner understands the importance of insulating and sealing, the forum shall go straight and allow discussions on the most efficient heating options for home users. Read more on homeair.org

Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps

Heat PumpThe ongoing production of next-generation heat pumps may improve the efficiency of home heating. These heat pump systems will be able to heat and cool by distributing heat from one room to another. Some of the systems include; fuel-fired systems that can minimize energy consumption by approximately 30%, natural gas heat pumps with low emission of carbon, and low-cost gas heat pumps that are designed to minimize heating cost by approximately 40%.

Solar Heating

It is the most energy efficient heating system for home users based on the conversion efficiency, environmental cost, and financial cost. It is the cheapest when it comes to installation and operation since the user does not need to buy specific equipment. Once a home is designed such that the sunlight can be captured and converted into heat energy, you are done with almost everything. The sunlight will pass through the windows that are facing the sun so that the heat can be retained by the sealed and insulated walls and floors. There is a less operational cost after installation because the heat energy is ‘free’ unless when the weather is cloudy and you need a different source.

Geothermal

Geothermal heatingThis is another efficient heating source for homes as its source is underneath the earth’s surface. It is an environmentally friendly heating source, which uses a similar evaporator system to draw heat from a refrigerator. Of course, some electricity, fossil fuel, or coal might be used, but less greenhouse emission is produced. It is one of the great methods of saving on heating cost, even though the installation process is usually expensive. This might make some homeowners unable to pay for it.

Wood Heating Source

Wood heating can be another efficient energy source for your heating needs as long as you have access to unlimited wood materials. Burning wood is said to be carbon neutral because little carbon is released. However, this source of heating might endanger the global forest cover if everyone is relying on wood for heating. If it can be harvested sustainably, wood can be a good source of heating because it is carbon neutral. It is worth noting that wood can only be effective if you have an efficient woodstove or fireplace that can burn cleanly. Also, the flue damper needs to be closed if you are not burning wood to prevent the heated air from escaping through the chimney.

Oil Heating Source

As much as oil is cheap to obtain, there is a challenge when it comes to storage. You need a tank in order to store the oil, not to mention the health and environmental risks of storing oil. It generates obnoxious smell originating from the oil tank or furnace. In addition, nowadays insurers are not willing to ensure homes with oil storage tanks. Another challenge is the task of filling the tank, which is seen as an inconvenience to most homeowners.

Electric Heaters

Electric HeatersThis is the most expensive source of heating unless you live in areas where the prices are subsidized by the state. The only efficient and clean methods of producing electricity are hydropower and geothermal whereby water and steam are used to turn turbines respectively. This lowers the conversion cost and low emission of carbon.

Natural Gas Heating Source

For many years, natural gas has been used as the heating source due to relatively lower cost compared to electricity. However, many homeowners who use natural gas are facing challenges due to price fluctuations of the commodity.