Category Archives: Environment and Clean Technology

Articles about environmental issues and clean technology products besides solar.

Smart thermostats

What are smart thermostats and how do they facilitate energy management?

As we accelerate home electrification across the United States, the energy management industry continues to grow. More and more homeowners are looking for actionable insight into their energy usage so they can reduce their consumption – and save money! According to Energy Star, the average American household spends over $900 on heating and cooling each year. So, it’s no surprise that one of the first products to gain major traction in this space was the smart thermostat.

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plug-in batteries

Home batteries for renters: what are plug-in batteries?

Whether you’re looking to lower your electricity usage during peak electricity hours or have a backup power supply in the case of an outage, home batteries are becoming increasingly popular. However, most energy storage systems require installation and electrical wiring, making it difficult for people who rent or own a condo to take advantage of these benefits. Some companies have recently acknowledged this gap, launching plug-in battery solutions that don’t require installation by an electrician – this is making home batteries more accessible to everyone, regardless of whether you have access to your main electrical panel. 

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top renewable resources

What are some renewable resources? Examples of alternative energy

The era of renewable resources and alternative energy has arrived. It’s cheaper now than ever before to generate electricity from renewable resources, catapulting them from fringe options to the fastest-growing energy resources in the country. These renewable resources include alcohol, water, methane gas, natural oils, and thermal generation. In 2017, renewables set a record in the U.S. by generating 15% of all electricity, predominantly due to hydropower, solar and wind. What are some other examples of renewable energy? We’ll go down the list.

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Responsible lithium mining

The white gold rush for green lithium: can lithium production be done responsibly?

Lithium has been hailed as ‘white gold’ for its versatility and value in today’s world. But what exactly is it? Well, lithium powers technology spanning from the computer you’re reading this on to lifesaving pacemakers. Basically, any portable electronic device contains lithium. Lightweight, powerful, and rechargeable, this metal’s value also lies in its role as an essential piece in the clean energy revolution. Lithium batteries’ high energy density and ability to be recharged make them uniquely suited to power the electric vehicles (EVs) and electric grids of the future. However, despite the metal’s importance in the clean energy revolution, it’s incredibly resource-intensive to extract and this process causes environmental distress, leading many to wonder: can we produce lithium responsibly? 

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Smart plugs

What you need to know about smart plugs and energy management

Solar and storage are just two components of a fully energized home. Energy management is the next most important piece of the puzzle: to truly understand and manage how your home uses electricity, you also need consumption monitors with built-in controls. Consumption monitors can tell you what is using electricity, how much each device in your home uses, and ultimately how it costs to run each device in your home; meanwhile, the controls allow you to act on that information, shutting off–or scheduling–certain devices at certain times. 

Smart plugs are a great, easy and inexpensive first foray into energy management for your home: just plug them into any device in your home and start receiving actionable insights about how your home uses energy. In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about smart plugs. 

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Tigo product launch

Introducing the Tigo Energy Intelligence Residential Solution

If you’re familiar with the residential solar market, you’re probably aware of the two main players providing inverters to residential solar installations in the US. But those two companies are far from the only companies providing inverter (and inverter-adjacent) products in the residential solar market in the US. 

While their optimizers and rapid shutdown devices have been installed on many roofs throughout the country, one company you may not yet be familiar with is Tigo Energy. However, Tigo Energy is banking on that changing with their latest product launch: the Tigo Energy Intelligence (EI) Residential Solution, which brings Tigo-branded products to the forefront of a solar and solar-plus-storage installation. 

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Generac product launch

What’s included in Generac’s product launch, and what does it mean for you?

New product alert! This week, Generac–the national leader in backup generator solutions-turned clean energy company–added three new releases to their ever-expanding product lines. First, Generac is adding a microinverter option to their existing string & hybrid inverter options for solar installations. The second product is a new backup generator that is designed primarily to recharge PWRcell batteries. And, finally, Generac’s third new product is an energy management system designed to improve and increase battery performance. In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about these new products.

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solar panel recycling

Solar panel recycling: what you need to know

Solar panels have a lifetime of about 30 years. With the increasing number of solar panels being sold and installed in the U.S. each year, it’s only a matter of time before high volumes of panels are at the end of their useful life and have to be disposed. Solar panel recycling is still at an early stage, but as the solar market continues to expand, recycling processes will have an increasingly important role to play.

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passive solar heating

Passive solar heating: an overview

Electricity is not the only thing that can be created by harnessing the sun’s energy. One of the most economical ways to take advantage of the sun’s power is to design your property with passive solar design in mind, or to say, to take full advantage of the site, materials, and climate of your home to maximize efficiency and minimize energy usage overall.

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IPCC report

What does the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report mean for you?

On August 9, 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the world’s largest report on climate change, which the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General called “a code red for humanity.” The report synthesized information from over 14,000 references to assess current impacts of climate change and future risks, both on global and regional scales. But why is this report so important and how could its findings impact you? 

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