Tag Archives: Energy

Beware of Voltage Vampires

110626-vampire

Just as the vampire sucks your blood, machines are sucking the energy out of your house when appliances are turned off. (Photo courtesy of zdnet.com)

This Halloween as you await the arrival of the traditional ghosts, goblins, and witches at your front door, be sure to check for the “monsters” living with you!

Who knew that power could be so spooky?  I love the term “phantom energy” but I personally feel that the term “vampire power” is more appropriate because just as a vampire loves to suck your blood, vampire power is constantly sucking away energy and draining money from your pockets.  These are just a couple of the terms used when referring to electrical products that cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged, such as your television, cell phone chargers, cable box, coffee maker, computers, etc., because these devices are created with little light bulbs, sensors, or other features that keep working as long as the device is plugged in.

You may think that the amount of electricity that gets used up in these situations is too small to worry about, but it does add up.  Let’s try to minimize these voltage vampires and phantom power loads by following these tips:

How to put a stake through the heart of these energy thieves:

  1. Pull out individual plugs where possible for example – unplug your cell phone charger or toaster when you aren’t using it.
  2. In areas near computers and home entertainment equipment with lots of components, plug everything into one power strip – just make certain you get one with surge protection, and when you’re done for the night or weekend, flip off the illuminated switch.

Slaying voltage vampires in your home is a good way to save a few dollars on your electric bill, and it also helps cut down on everyday emissions lessening your carbon footprint.  It’s a little bit of extra work, but every little bit helps and Mother Earth will thank you.

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Beware of “Phantom Energy” and “Vampire Power”

Beware of "Vampire Power"

Beware of “Vampire Power”

Just in time for Halloween, we thought we’d share with you ways in which you can eliminate the “fright” when viewing your monthly power bill?

Who knew that power could be so spooky!  I love the term “phantom energy” but I think “vampire power” is more appropriate because vampire power is constantly sucking away energy and draining money from your pocket.  These are just a couple terms used when referring to electrical products that cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged, such as your television, phone chargers, cable box, coffee maker, computers, etc., because these devices are created with little light bulbs, sensors, or other features that keep working as long as the device is plugged in.

You may think that the amount of electricity that gets used up in these situations is too small to worry about… but it does add up.  Let’s try to minimize these voltage vampires and phantom power loads by following these tips:

How to put a stake through the heart of these energy thieves:

  1. Pull out individual plugs where possible.
  2. In areas near computers and home entertainment equipment with lots of components, plug everything into one power strip – just make certain you get one with surge protection, and when you’re done for the night or weekend, flip off the illuminated switch.

Slaying voltage vampires in your home is a good way to save a few dollars on your electric bill, and it also helps cut down on everyday emissions lessening your carbon footprint.  It’s a little bit of extra work, but every little bit helps and Mother Earth will thank you.

Leave a comment

Filed under City of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power, Community Outreach, Energy Efficiency

Tips on Winterizing your home!

The sun is shining today and the temps are chilly but not too cold, so why not take this opportunity to begin or complete the task of winterizing your home. While there are some common sense tips to prepare for winter and save money, we thought we would go to the ultimate source for information – the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

If you aren’t aware, DOE has a website filled with tips on how to conserve energy year round. Today we’re going to take a look at the tips offered for fall.

Looking to get rid of those pesky drafts coming in from your windows? Well one of the first steps would be to install storm windows – interior or exterior. DOE explains on this site,  the installation of storm windows will “reduce heat loss by 25-50%” which means more heat inside the house.

To further ensure that heat is not escaping through windows you should also check the caulking around the frame.  Information on the importance of weather stripping and caulk can be found here.

Now you may also find leaks around electric outlets, pipes, gaps around the chimney and even in the area around recessed lighting. The key in these areas is to apply more insulation. You might wonder how you are going to find these leaks. Well the unsophisticated method would be to observe the drapery or curtains for movement from wind outside, or hold a piece of paper up to the window to see if it moves from air coming in. The best methods however, may call for an expert. More information on these techniques can be found here.

It is also important to check your furnace filters and to have your furnace serviced if you believe there is a more serious problem. The DOE offers information on furnaces and boilers on its website.

These are just some of the tips offered by the Department of  Energy, and to find more tips on saving energy, just visit this site.

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Delegates return home from Far East with positive outlook

The Cleveland delegation visiting the Far East returned on Saturday. After a long week of visits to manufacturing plants and observing the different processes for transforming waste into energy, Cleveland Public Power Commissioner Ivan Henderson reports, “The consensus is that we learned a lot and believe that this is a real opportunity for the City. Both technical and economic development opportunities appear real and sound.”

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Filed under Economic Development, Municipal Solid Waste to Energy, Renewable Energy Sources

Visit to Shanghai bodes well for potential economic development

The group spent the morning at a waste to energy facility in Shanghai that incinerates MSW to fire a boiler and produces electricity. Their process was the first of its kind in China and is  amazing yet it has several problems our project would overcome. The smell there was offensive

Panoramic view of Shanghai skyline.
Panoramic view of Shanghai skyline.

and on a hot muggy day it can be overpowering.

After that we met with a number of companies that expressed interest in locating in Cleveland. Discussions with these companies confirmed the project’s economic development aspirations

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Filed under Economic Development, Renewable Energy Sources

The Road to Shanghai

It was an uneventful flight from Japan to China today. Once in China, and on the road to Shanghai, we witnessed a couple unusual sights that reminded us of how different life is here. Nonetheless, we were awed by the endless high rise buildings that are home to the 16 million people here. We had a late introduction and dinner meeting with a boiler and a turbine manufacturer and also the design engineers of the waste to energy plant we will visit tomorrow. That plant does not gasify the waste, instead it incinerates it. What we will see relevant to our desired process is the sorting steps they use at that facility and the production of syngas from MSW and the production of power from that syngas.

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Filed under Economic Development, Municipal Solid Waste to Energy

Delegates close out visit to Japan

As the delegates begin to wrap up their time in Japan, they visited the Vendor Headquarters and resumed the Q&A sessions. They have found the management team and president of the company to be very receptive to the many pointed questions, and impressed with the types of questions being posed. In closing remarks they were reminded of an inspirational saying that in essence urged you “to be ready to move forward when opportunities arise and not to give up, instead work through any obstacles you may face.” The next activity was to visit a customer that uses the gasification system. Housed at this site is a state-of-the-art medical lab, which uses the gasifier to dispose of expensive medical waster. The operation was impressive as was the facility layout. Located in a residential area, the facility did not seem out of place – and if you did not know what it was, you would not have known it was there. The delegates videotaped the tour of the facility while it was in operation, giving a first hand view of the technology living up to its reputation. The day ended with a meeting at a possible brick making company, and candid conversations about what had been seen thus far.

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Filed under Economic Development, Japan, Renewable Energy Sources

Plain Dealer reports on fact-finding mission

The fact-finding mission to Asia has generated some publicity from Cleveland’s daily newspaper The Plain Dealer. Reporter John Funk writes about the trip on the front page of today’s business section.

You will find more here.

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Delegates view gasification process

CPP Commissioner and Interim Assistant Public Utilities Director Ivan Henderson.

CPP Commissioner and Interim Assistant Public Utilities Director Ivan Henderson.

Ivan Henderson, Commissioner of Cleveland Public Power provided this update from Japan:

The schedule for today started with a bus ride to see a gasifier in use at one of the vendor’s customer’s facilities and was supposed to be a 2 hour ride one way. Due to a recent earthquake the main road was closed so we had to take an alternate route. That route was about 5 hours one way. It was worth it to see the gasification system in use but 10 hours on a bus makes for a long day.

We spent  an hour at the customer’s location and spoke with the system operators and asked questions about everything as we toured the facility. Each question was answered although working with an interpreter can make communication of technical questions a bit difficult sometimes.  I took video throughout the visit an each of the components we saw in the demo model and in the diagrams and reference pamphlets were there in living color. We have video of everything from the ash to the clean vapor and smoke coming out of the smoke stack. The Q&A with the operator and manager was also recorded…some of it may actually be interesting to watch.
That’s it for today.  Its just after 9 pm and we are going to find dinner now.

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CPP leaders visit China, Japan to investigate MSWE plants

Saturday, August 22, the City of Cleveland will lead a delegation to China and Japan on a week long fact finding mission to observe solid waste to energy conversion facilities in operation.  The Group will also meet with foreign advanced energy companies to discuss locating their U.S. operations in Cleveland. The delegation is composed of Richard Stuebi from the Cleveland Foundation; Valarie McCall, Chief of Government Affairs for the City of Cleveland; Ivan Henderson, Interim Assistant Director of Public Utilities; Ron Owens, Commissioner of Waste Collection; Jose Hernandez, Engineer at the Cleveland Water Department; Councilman Matthew Zone; Larry Marquis from American Municipal Power; and Rahim Rahim from RNR Consulting.  The delegation will visit facilities that utilize gasification to produce electric power by processing municipal solid waste in a patented process that presents near zero environmental emissions. While abroad, the team will visit Kinsei Sangyo Co. Ltd., Marutoku Environmental Services and BML Corporation in Takasaki, Japan.  The delegation will also tour the state of the art Shanghai Pu-tong Municipal Solid Waste to Energy plant in China.

Although the technology has been used abroad for over 30 years, Cleveland would offer the first U.S. application.  Coupled with the City’s recycling program, Cleveland’s approach would be the first of its kind.

“Cleveland’s facility would serve as a foundation to nurture the growth of the advanced energy technology industry, facilitate the business development of local advanced energy companies and to propel Cleveland and the region to the front of the international stage of advanced energy technology development,” Mayor Jackson explained.

“This project is one way to attract foreign investment and jobs to Cleveland as new businesses emerge and as the advanced energy market grows in Cleveland and World-wide,” said Public Utilities Director Barry Withers.

This fact finding mission comes on the heels of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit which took place last week; the waste to energy project is part of Mayor Jackson’s movement to redefine Cleveland’s economy through sustainability.  CPP would use the electricity from the facility to help meet its Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard goals established in legislation passed last year that set goals for advanced and renewable energy in CPP’s power supply at 15% by 2015, 20% by 2020 and 25% by 2025.

CPP commenced research and development efforts for the municipal solid waste to energy project dating back to 2007.

“CPP’s approach is a true sustainability model featuring recycling and waste-to-energy technology that minimizes wastes, produces electricity and has low environmental impact,” said Assistant Director Henderson.

Earlier this year, the Mayor formed a Steering Team composed of City of Cleveland employees and leaders in the community to investigate the feasibility of moving forward with the development of a MSWE plant in Cleveland. This trip abroad is part of that investigation, and will offer the team members the opportunity to see first hand the operation of a MSWE facility in person. The Steering Team’s role is to help guide and develop the project.

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