Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Federal Opportunities for Geothermal Projects

admin | June 18th, 2010 | No Comments »

The Stimulus Bill signed into law bVertical-Loop-Illustrationy the President in February has many provisions that recognize the important contribution that the geothermal heat pump industry can make to the nation’s economic recovery.

  • Geothermal heat pump systems for residential applications (new, retrofit, primary and non-primary residences) receive a 30% tax credit starting January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2016. (The $2,000 limit for the 2008 tax credit has been removed for 2009 and later years.)
  • Federal facilities and military installations will receive billions for energy upgrades, and geothermal heat pumps will be an important component of those upgrades.
  • Each state will receive an average of $100 million to upgrade energy efficiency in the state, the uses for that money to be determined by each state, and geothermal rebates and loans are a good use of those funds.
  • Schools with receive billions for modernizing and improving energy efficiency, another very good fit for geothermal.
  • All commercial and private buildings are eligible for a 10% grant in lieu of tax credit for the total cost of installing geothermal systems, the check to be written from the government to the building owner within 60 days of completion.

RESULTS OF STIMULUS PACKAGE

  • The 30% residential tax credit has the effect of making geothermal systems cash flow positive at today’s energy prices in virtually every market.
  • The federal, state, military and school initiatives will create hundreds of large installations calling for hundreds of geothermal heat pump units each, as well as geothermal loop field work.
  • The commercial grants in lieu of 10% credits will make geothermal heat pumps very attractive to new and existing commercial enterprises in every market.

What’s the status on biomass energy production?

admin | June 14th, 2010 | No Comments »

biomass

PBS Newshour
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/energy/

Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/
Ethanol milestones
Biomass milestones
Biomass energy consumption by source and sector
Heat content of biomass fuels
Map of potential biomass resources
Biomass Simplified

Wind energy by the numbers

admin | June 11th, 2010 | No Comments »

Lempster_Wind_Farm-2aaWind energy produced worldwide: 65,000,000,000 kWh per year (enough power for 6 million U.S. homes)

Wind energy produced in the U.S.: 16,000,000,000 kWh per year (enough power for 1.6 million homes)

Potential U.S. wind energy production by 2020: enough power for 25 million homes yearly

Installed cost of wind energy: 2-6 cents/kWh

Yearly emissions eliminated by generating energy from a 1 MW wind turbine instead of 1 MW of conventional sources: over 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 6.5 tons of sulfur dioxide, 3.2 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 60 pounds of mercury in one year.

Wind power farms generate between 17 and 39 times as much power as they consume, as compared to 16 times for nuclear plants and 11 times for coal plants, according to a study of Midwestern wind farms by the University of Wisconsin.

Downloadable Factsheets

  • Wind Energy for Electric Power (Renewable Energy Policy Project): A comprehensive overview of wind power science, the current state of wind development, and the positive effects of wind energy.
  • Economic Impact of Renewable Energy in Pennsylvania (Black and Veatch): Analyzes the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) in the State of Pennsylvania, showing how the adoption of the AEPS would not only lower electricity costs in the state, but also provide significant other economic benefits to the state.
  • Benefits of Wind (U.S. Department of Energy): A look at the national and local advantages of wind power. Also see our Benefits of Wind and Benefits to PA pages.
  • Wind Energy Myths (U.S. Department of Energy): Addresses some common misconceptions about wind energy.
  • Wind Energy Facts and Myths (American Wind Energy Association): Provides the answers to aesthetic, economic, and environmental concerns regarding wind power.

New economic stimulus plan offers tax credit

admin | June 7th, 2010 | No Comments »

The recently passed Economic Stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) includes federal tax credits that encourage homeowners to make energy efficient improvements to their homes. The 30% consumer tax credit (up to $1500) applies to the purchase and installation of a stove which uses the burning of biomass fuel to heat a dwelling unit located in the United States and used as a primary residence by the taxpayer, or to heat water for use in such a dwelling unit, and which has a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent using the lower heating value.

tax_creditHow to Qualify for Tax Credit

  1. Purchase and place in service a qualifying Wood Doctor outdoor furnace between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  2. Save the purchase receipt and the manufacturer’s certification statement for the furnace purchased.
  3. Claim the tax credit associated with your qualifying purchase on your federal filing for the 2009 and/or 2010 tax year.

Details of the Tax Credit

  1. Tax credit is 30% of the amount paid for the qualifying product up to a maximum of $1500 combined for 2009 and 2010.
  2. The credit applies to the homeowner’s primary residence only.
  3. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction subtracted from your tax liability. Therefore, $1,500 can be subtracted directly from the amount of tax that is owed, or added to a tax refund.

This summary information is provided as a convenience and may not be relied upon as a substitute for professional tax advice. Brookline Renewable Energy Source is not a tax advisor. Taxpayers claiming a tax credit should consult a tax professional with any questions. Brookline Renewable Energy Source is not responsible or liable for the taxpayer’s ability to receive tax credits. More information is available at http://www.irs.gov

Renewable energy and reaching 20% usage by 2020

admin | May 20th, 2010 | No Comments »

A windy/sunny day gets you thinking

admin | May 6th, 2010 | No Comments »

compare-wind-turbinesOn a day like today where the winds are gusting, the sky is clear and the sun is bright, it’s hard not to think of alternative energy. The average electricity bill in Southern NH is right around $85 a month and the thought of getting off the grid and having a few days a month where PSNH actually pays you is really tantillizing.

A couple new wind turbines that take up little space and spin quietly as your electrical meter grinds to a halt and perhaps even starts spinning the other way, is worth looking into. Seriously, there are so many sizes and shapes to select from, surely one or more of those would fit your lifestyle. The stereotype of a giant propeller spinning with that gentle but prominent “whoosh” sound is no more.

But say you don’t want all that metal spinning in your backyard like some sort of Calder sculpture. Maybe harvesting all those trees that have fallen over in the yard because of gusty winds or recent ice/snow storms. Cut it up large and load your wood-burning outdoor furnace. Now is a perfect time to stock up for the cold months. Better to have too much than too little. In fact, if you don;t have enough, ask you neighbors. They are likely to just want to get it off their grass and whether it’s pine or oak, you can burn it all and save money.

For those looking to capitalize on the sun, solar panels are starting to become cost-effective for residential installations and coming first-hand from a small installation in Amherst, in about 10 years everything will be paid for with annual electricity savings. Not bad considering there is little to no maintenance on the panels.

Combine any number of these and you are looking at significant savings and for no other reason, you are doing your part to keep the Earth healthy for future generations.

Researching renewable energy in NH

admin | April 28th, 2010 | No Comments »

This week we have a series of links to do a little research of your own. Renewable energy in New Hampshire is a hot topic and these links provide great information to help you decide if an outdoor furnace or other means of utilizing renewable energy sources is right for you.

nhmapReports Relevant to New Hampshire

Renewable Energy in Your State

  • State Policies for Renewable Energy
    A database of incentives and policies
    for renewable energy in New Hampshire.
  • State Activities & Partnerships
    DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, state activities and partnerships page.
  • State Energy Alternatives
    A summary of the renewable energy potential in BLANK, going especially into solar potential.
  • Wind Energy
    A summary of the wind power capacity in New Hampshire and a listing of the current wind projects.
  • Bioenergy
    A DOE summary of biomass resources in New Hampshire (select your state).
  • Hydropower
    Hydropower projects and potential in New Hampshire, from the Idaho National Lab.

Facts and Figures from DOE

Spring cleaning for summer efficiency

admin | April 19th, 2010 | No Comments »

Spring is the time of year where we open the doors and windows to rid our homes and ourselves of that winter funk. With warmer days we now have an opportunity to address those areas we noticed through the winter and also to make adjustments in preparation for summer.

spring-cleaningFans
Make sure your fans are working and dust-free. Utilizing fans over air conditioners can save money and maintain higher quality air. Wash or replace filters with your central air and make sure you reverse the direction of cieling fans. In the winter the fan should be directing the warmer air at the ceiling towards the floor and during warmer weather direct the air flow from the floor to the ceiling. Doing this helps keep the room warm or cool depending on the time of year.

Drapes
Many people swap out their drapes during the spring to thermal-backed drapes. What these are designed to do is to keep the sun and radiant heat from entering the home and ultimately keeping you cooler. Conversely, some manufacturers also make a winter shade/drape that holds more heat in the home during the overnight hours.

Attic Ventilators
These are becoming increasingly popular with energy-conscience homeowners. These fans work by pulling cooler air from the lower levels of the home throughout the house and through the attic. The cool moving, air can reduce the humidity and the interior temperature in your home significantly with considerably energy savings.

Windows & Doors
Now that it’s warm enough you can address those draft issues that you noticed with your windows and doors. Leaving open while making necessary upgrades will prove to be more cost effective and energy efficinet than correcting the issue in the winter. This also includes cleaning out the track of sliding doors and fixing any of the insulating cushion around the door jam.

Stacking firewood properly

admin | April 1st, 2010 | No Comments »

Last time we talked identifying seasoned wood but once you get your wood, how do you store it? Stacking your wood in an area and leaving it exposed to constant rain or snow cover will actually allow the wood to reabsorb water. This could make the wood too wet to burn and possibly rot faster than you can burn.

When you are stacking your wood, try to keep it off the ground. Many people use pallets or old pine planks. Ideally a constructing a shed with open sides that promotes air circulation. Even more simple is to find a sunny spot to pile your wood and to cover it on rainy or snowy days. The key is to remove the cover during sunny days allowing the sun to dry the wood and for air to circulate throughout the pile.

Outside of weather elements, keep in mind that termites could also be an issue for you. Monitoring your firewood regularly is an important part of maintaining your fuel supply.

Take a look at some other fire wood stacking techniques:

  1. http://www.woodheat.org/firewood/holtzhausen.htm
  2. http://www.ehow.com/how_4835876_stack-firewood-outdoors.html
  3. http://www.endtimesreport.com/storing_firewood.html
  4. http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/Stack_Firewood_1/

Identifying seasoned hardwood

admin | March 24th, 2010 | No Comments »

Firewood-pile_BrændestabelAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seasoned wood is wood that has been split and dried for at least six months and has less than 20% moisture by weight.

What this means is that if you are burning seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood stove, it burns hot and clean. Burning seasoned hardwood will have the least amount of creosote buildup in your flue reducing the chance of a chimney between cleanings.

It’s difficult to regulate individuals or businesses claiming to sell seasoned wood so here are some tips to help you purchase seasoned wood:

  1. Seasoned wood looks  dark, or gray when compared to green wood  – but if you split a piece of seasoned wood – it’s WHITE on the inside. It’s brittle, or gnarly. It has cracks running through each piece, and a lot of little cracks on the inner rings.
  2. The bark is not hugging the wood tightly, it may be easy to pull off or in some pieces not attached at all.
  3. Ask when the wood was split. Many times sellers will use the date that the wood was cut but cordwood does not begin to properly season until after it has been split.
  4. Inspect how the seller stores their cordwood. If it is completely under a tarp, it will not season properly. Also, if the area is extremely wet, the wood towards the bottom will actually absorb more water reducing its quality and accelerating decomposition.

Keep in mind that wood 4-5 years is rotting, so aim for wood that is 2-3 years seasoned. If buying cordwood, the rule of thumb is to buy this year’s wood for next year. This way you can ensure your wood is stored properly and has had the appropriate amount of time to become seasoned.