When does saving one of anything ever result in actually saving three or four? When we're talking about electricity, of course. The reason is simple: Most of our electricity comes from the burning of fuels like coal and natural gas. That process results in a lot of waste heat. After converting the fuel, we then send the electricity through miles and miles of wires, where it loses more of the energy that was originally in the fuel (called source energy or primary energy).
Take a look at the diagram below. It's from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and shows the energy flows in the US for the year 2014. Those diagrams show the inputs and outputs, so you can see the big picture of energy supply and consumption easily.
One addition to the LLNL diagram that's really nice is the grey lines that show 'rejected energy.' Do you see where the thickest grey line is? Right after the yellow box called "Electricity Generation."
The primary energy that goes into electricity generation is 39.49 quadrillion BTUs (usually shortened to quads). About half of that is from coal. The amount of electricity that gets delivered is 12.71 quads. Divide the delivered electricity by the primary energy that went into making it, and you find that we're getting 32% efficiency out of our electricity generation here in the US.
That's about one third. What that means is that for every 3 units of primary energy you're getting about 1 unit of usable electricity. Of course, we don't use that energy at 100% efficiency in our homes, so that reduces our take further.
Here's where we need to change our perspective. Yes, looking at the waste of primary energy can be depressing, but let's turn it around. When you save 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity in your home, you're actually reducing primary energy use by 3 kWh. Wow! What an opportunity. Saving a little can actually save a lot. This is one of the reasons Amory Lovins has been talking about 'negawatts' for several decades and a negawatt technology could be a game changer.
We happen to find energy flows extremely interesting, but you don't have to be a building science geek to see that home energy efficiency can have a big environmental impact. Those 3 kWh of primary energy that you save for each 1 kWh reduction means less pollution from the power plant, less mountaintop removal to get coal out of the ground, less transportation energy to ship coal across the country...
Take advantage of the multiplier effect. Your energy-saving actions are more significant than they may seem and it may just get you interested in the emerging megawatt technology opportunities that are quickly coming to market.
Air leaks in buildings causes drafts, and drafts cost you money. The AireBarrier Platform lets you spray a coat of foam insulation over cracks and holes in your building, creating an air barrier, to help keep the temperature of your building from varying so much. The proper use of an air barrier to stop an air leak has proven to significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability and create a healthier indoor environment.
For more than 40 years, there has not been a way to use one component foam sealant to spray, until now! Introducing the Spray Sealants Gun. This simple solution uses pressurized air to create spray sealants which will save you time and money on every project. It’s compact, easy to operate and great for all those hard-to-reach areas in which traditional foam kits cannot be easily used. Also, because you are using a one component foam sealant, each application is affordable. The Spray Sealants Gun is truly a handy addition for your energy efficiency toolbox.
The Spray Sealants Gun allows for spray applications of polyurethane foam sealants using either a 24oz can or 16lb canister. This means that all of those larger projects that you use to use to a foam kit, can now be applied faster and more affordably using the Spray Sealants Gun. Also, because the Spray Sealants Gun volume can be controlled through the air compressor you can change the amount of material that you are spraying in a matter of seconds.