Saturday, January 24, 2015

Energy and Green

When it comes to energy, ‘Green’ has many, many meanings.
Green is the On Button of your coffee maker and the color of the load indicator on the transformer that powers it.

Green is about efficiency and continually decreasing the consumption of the tools we use every day. 
Green is about producing energy in the most responsible and long-term-cost-effective way.

 Green is about our energy’s effect upon the Mother Nature we all love: It can be the deep mossy green of spring grass or the neon green of polluted river algae.

Green is about dollars saved. As much as 20% of the retail price of anything you buy is accrued by the overhead associated with energy. Energy to extract, to produce it, energy to package it and process it, to ship and haul it, energy to market it and operate it.

Every dollar saved on producing and distributing energy is a dollar saved at the cash register.
For all of our technological advancements since Alexander Graham Bell the power grid in America is largely the same as it has always been: one way and dumb.

The City is doing a great job installing smart-meters in the homes and businesses around Arlington. Installing and networking smart-meters is the first step towards and much smarter grid, two-way power distribution and much lower costs.

 As of January the City is about 1/3 complete with smart meter installation. In the mean time how can we affect lower energy prices and lower our bottom lines? Not at the source but at the end-user; in our homes and in our businesses.

Heartland Consumers Power District, in Madison, produces and distributes the power that the City manages for the citizens of Arlington. They understand how much can be saved by the end-user and have put a number of lucrative energy-efficiency incentives on the table for both home owners and business owners.

Heartland calls their energy efficiency program Power Forward. You can see a comprehensive list of the incentives, as well as energy saving tips, at . Heartland hasn’t addressed everything Green but this is a great start.

I will give you the cliff-notes version here: purchasing energy-star appliance is worth cash, replacing older major appliances such as your central air unit can earn a rebates and the newest incentive is for buying LED lights for your home.

Heartland is offering a $5 rebate for each new LED light you purchase. LED lights are up to 95% more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs and basically last forever.

Business can also cash in on the LED lights as well as numerous other incentives for creating jobs, replacing inefficient old systems and expanding economic development.

Visit the same website I listed above to find out more, print an application and see how you, the business owner, may be eligible for a free year of electricity.

Rebates are not mutually exclusive: you can get the incentives for your home and for your business – for each separate business entity actually.

In the future we need to have a community discussion about greener production and distributed generation like a community solar farm, a Kingsbury County wind farm or solar shingles. But, in the meantime visit Heartland’s Power Forward page to see how you can start going Green.

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