The Energy Edge

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Simple Energy Savings for Family Gatherings

‘Tis the season for getting together with your loved ones. While you might be stuffing more than just the turkey this year, here are some simple things you can do to save energy:

Keep the cold stuff outside – if it’s cold. If you live in a part of the country where snow and winter’s chill bring in the holiday spirit, consider keeping your veggie trays, drinks, and desserts outside until it’s time to celebrate. Or, if your outside spot is easy to get to, leave the food outside and direct your guests away from the refrigerator.

Use holiday decorations as your lighting. Do the double duty of setting the mood while saving on power; try only using the lights on the Christmas tree, garland, and windows to illuminate your party instead of your normal room lights. Add upwards of 90% to your savings by decorating with LED lights.

Let the oven and guests heat your house. Give your furnace a break and turn down the thermostat before your party reaches full swing. Those guests, along with any cooking you’ve been doing, will more than warm your home. Then, after your dishes come out of the oven, leave the door cracked slightly to keep that heat from going to waste!

Prep food in batches days before. Cutting and chilling veggies, hard-boiling eggs, preparing desserts… there are a lot of things that need to be done before the day of an event. Try to group these preparatory steps when you do them, or space them out over the few days before your event. Doing this can minimize spikes in your energy usage.

Bake several dishes at once. While we’re on the concept of grouping: whenever you are cooking larger amounts of food, it’s a good idea to keep the oven full. Double-check the target temperature of your various dishes and, if they are within a few degrees of each other, throw them on the rack together. Doing this reduces the length of time the oven stays on.

Leaving the lids on your dishes as you cook can also save energy. Whether on the stove-top or in the oven, lids do more than just keep your food from drying out. The covers save energy by capturing rising heat and returning it to the target dish.

Go on an energy vampire hunt. Home activities often look different when you have company, so another simple way to save some electricity is to unplug unused electronics before guests arrive. Video game systems, laptops and computers, monitors—almost every electronic device with a standby mode can cause phantom energy loss and are probably not going to be used during your party anyway. Take this opportunity to stop the drain these vampires can cause.

Throwing a party takes a huge amount of energy, but by following these simple steps, you can reduce the energy that is wasted while still enjoying your festivities.

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The Secret Life of Natural Gas: Part I of 'Know Your Energy'

At IGS Energy, we work with energy every day and thought it you might also enjoy some of the lesser-known facts about the resources you use to power your life. What do you really know about natural gas, anyway? Well, here are some fun facts that might surprise you:

The non-renewable renewable resource.

The gas that comes to your home is mostly methane tapped from huge reservoirs under the Earth. While those reservoirs are limited in their supply, we do have enough to last America over 100 years of use. But no need to worry about running low, methane can also be harvested from manure and decaying plant matter. We call that methane “biofuel”.

Shale plays hide and seek.

The result of thousands of tons of pressure on decaying plant and animal matter is vast amounts of methane. Gas released from ancient decaying material seeps up through the soil until it reaches an impermeable (solid) layer of rock called shale. These shale “plays” are where we find natural gas. Typically thousands of miles below the surface, shale plays do more than just provide us with natural gas: once empty, the same reservoir can be refilled to allow us to store purified natural gas for later use.

When you’re feeling blue.

Ever wonder why natural gas on your stovetop or in your furnace burns blue? Well the secret is in what’s not happening. A campfire or candle converts its fuel to fire without any oxygen in the fuel. This lack of oxygen produces soot, which burns with a bright yellow or red flame. With natural gas, however, the natural gas is mixed with oxygen before it is ignited. This is called a premixed combustion and does not create any soot. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/answering-a-truly-burning-question/article5381010/)

Smarter than your average resource.

Natural gas is used for more than just heating your home or a pot of water, too. When compressed to less than 1 percent of the volume it occupies it becomes compressed natural gas, or CNG. CNG can be used as a fuel source in the same way as gasoline or diesel. Many fleets across America are actually converting their cars and trucks to CNG. Natural gas is also used in place of coal for some newer power plants to create electricity. In both instances the natural gas burns cleaner than its fossil fuel counterparts, making it a cleaner alternative.

The natural gas super highway.

Natural gas makes up nearly one-fourth of all the energy in the US. Delivered through a 2.4 million mile underground matrix, the US natural gas infrastructure is second only to the number of roads across America (http://www.artba.org/about/transportation-faqs/#9).

Heavy lifter.

Natural gas makes up nearly one-fourth of all the energy in the US. Delivered through a 2.4 million mile underground matrix, the US natural gas infrastructure is second only to the number of roads across America (http://www.artba.org/about/transportation-faqs/#9).

 

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Bundling products for a great cause

For the second year in a row, IGS Energy is donating a new coat for every bundled product enrollment through December. This means that whenever one of our customers enrolls in an additional IGS Energy product—or for new customers who enroll in two or more products, we will give $18 to Operation Warm!

Operation Warm is a non-profit whose singular mission is to “counter one of the most unfathomable hardships of childhood poverty; the lack of adequate winter clothing”. But in providing coats to children in need since 1998, Operation Warm discovered that a coat means far more than just warmth.

Coats keep kids warm and boost confidence. A new coat can tell a child “you are valued”. And Operation Warm has seen in their giving that a new coat encourages children to go to school which increases their chances of a quality education, and a balanced nutrition of school lunches. In every way, these coats proclaim to the children who bundle up in them that they are worth it.

Because of such a great response last year, we decided to double our goal and hope to be able to donate a full $20,000 to Operation Warm before the new year! If you have any questions about Operation Warm or the Bundle Up program please visit the Bundle Up page.

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IGS is now on Instagram! We only post great pictures (we promise!). Follow us to see all of the filters:IGS Energy Instagram.

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IGS Impact, our community investment program, is an extension of IGS’ purpose-driven culture. Learn more about our foundation and our commitment to community giving.

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  • Fall is a good time to check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors, especially if your home uses fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas furnaces, stoves and space heaters.
  • An ENERGY STAR-labeled computer uses 30%-60% less electricity than computers without ENERGY STAR.
  • Replacing 15 inefficient incandescent lightbulbs in your home could save about $50/year
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