Author Archives: Casey McDevitt

About Casey McDevitt

Casey is a writer and industry expert focused on energy and sustainability. Since graduating from the University of New Hampshire, she has worked in clean energy communications. In her free time, Casey loves staying active, being outdoors, traveling, and adding gems to her jewelry collection.

Flexible loads

What are flexible loads?

As we collectively move towards electrified energy consumption, more pressure is put on the grid to meet the growing demand for electricity. Clean and emission-free electricity sources, like solar and wind, are valuable grid contributors and are key to breaking our reliance on fossil fuels and meeting net-zero climate goals. But, increasing electrification doesn’t come without new challenges. 

The power generated by renewable energy sources is produced according to nature rather than consumer demand – which can increase intermittency. This shift in how the grid operates affects the balance between electricity supply and demand and, ultimately, grid stability. Demand response programs aim to lessen the strain on the electricity grid during peak demand events to avoid grid failures. In this article, we explain the role flexible loads play in demand response solutions and the benefits of participating in them. 

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HSPF

What is HSPF and why does it matter with heat pumps?

Upgrading your home with energy-efficient systems like heat pumps saves you money on electricity bills while minimizing carbon emissions. And, incentive and rebate programs like those included in the Inflation Reduction Act make the decision to tap into the financial and environmental benefits of heat pumps even simpler. But between the different makes and models, various features, and technical energy efficiency ratings, it’s easy to feel lost when researching and comparing heat pump systems

Specifically, the various energy efficiency ratings can cause confusion. Although a heat pump is capable of both heating and cooling, the different functions require different amounts of energy and therefore use separate efficiency calculations: SEER and HSPF. In this article, we explain what HSPF means, how heating systems are rated for energy efficiency during the colder months, and when investing in a highly efficient heat pump is actually worth it. 

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heat pump maintenance

Using your heat pump: five tips for maintenance to optimize efficiency

Heat pumps are an effective, cost-cutting alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. Between (usually) lower energy bills and various incentive programs, heat pumps provide consistent savings in a turbulent energy market. However, proper maintenance is essential to optimize a system’s efficiency and savings. According to the Department of Energy, the energy consumption of a well-maintained heat pump is 10 to 25 percent lower than that of a neglected one. So, we spoke with some industry experts to gather some helpful maintenance tips to optimize your heat pump’s efficiency. 

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Nest thermostat review

Google Nest thermostats review

Smart home products – or home appliances that can connect to other devices or networks, like a smartphone – offer convenience and efficiency, and are becoming increasingly popular. From doorbells and locks, to smoke detectors, to thermostats, smart home devices can be controlled from virtually anywhere. Google Nest, Google’s line of smart home products, boasts a sleek collection of smart home products that can help manage a home’s energy habits. In this article, we review Google Nest smart thermostats: the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat

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SEER

What is SEER and why does it matter with heat pumps?

Upgrading your home with energy-efficient systems like heat pumps saves you money on electricity bills while minimizing carbon emissions. And, incentive and rebate programs like those included in the Inflation Reduction Act make the decision to tap into the financial and environmental benefits of heat pumps even simpler. But between the different makes and models, various features, and technical energy efficiency ratings, it’s easy to feel lost when researching and comparing heat pump systems

Specifically, the various energy efficiency ratings can cause confusion. Although a heat pump is capable of both heating and cooling, the different functions require different amounts of energy and therefore use separate efficiency calculations: SEER and HSPF. In this article, we’ll explain what SEER means, how cooling systems are rated for energy efficiency during the warmer months, and when investing in a highly efficient heat pump is actually worth it. 

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solar panel disposal

Solar panel disposal: what happens at end of life?

As the urgency for climate action increases, so does the adoption of renewable energy. Namely, solar photovoltaics (PV) – aka solar panels – are one of the fastest growing sources of clean energy. Solar panels have long lifespans, increasingly lower costs, and are safe for the environment! But, what happens to solar panels when they stop producing electricity? Where do decommissioned solar panels go? 

There are a few ways solar panels can be disposed, and in this article, we break down what happens to a solar panel at the end of its life.

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Green Banks

What are green banks?

We continue to get closer to achieving net neutrality thanks to local, state, and federal climate policies and goals. Generous rebate and incentive programs lower the financial burden to develop and implement clean technologies, but oftentimes consumers and green organizations still rely on private loans, investments, and financial backing. However, lending and investing in new technology from a young industry doesn’t come without its perceived risks, so, it can be difficult to obtain funds from traditional lenders to upgrade to green technology. 

This is where green banks can come in – they’re specialized lenders created to address gaps in traditional lending, helping accelerate investments in clean energy. In this article, we explain what green banks are and the benefits of working with them.

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electricity burden

Where electricity burdens are high (and how community solar can help)

Electricity prices are turbulent and can be unpredictable – especially over this past year, the average electricity price has continued to rise, making this abundantly evident to ratepayers. Although no one likes to receive an unexpectedly high electricity bill, not everyone is affected by the cost of keeping the lights on in the same way. Some ratepayers won’t even notice the change in bill payments; to others, it may be a catalyst for a discussion on the state of geopolitics. But to some, a high electricity bill may mean sacrificing adequate heating and cooling. 

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EV charging time

How long does it take to charge an EV?

With continuously-improving ranges, lower prices, and incentives, more and more people are making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Just this year, EV registrations in the U.S. rose by 60 percent in the first quarter of 2022. But, some drivers are still worried about range and how long it takes to charge before they go electric with their driving. So how long does it take to charge an electric vehicle? 

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signing up for community solar

How to sign up for community solar

Whether you rent or your roof just isn’t suitable for solar panels, community solar brings the benefits of renewable energy to those traditionally excluded from the rooftop solar market. Electric bill savings, lack of upfront costs, and a boosted local economy are a few things that make community solar a worthwhile investment. So, how do you sign up for community solar once you’ve decided you’re ready to tap into those energy savings? In this article, we explain what you can expect when enrolling in a community solar project. 

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