Welcome to The Current, Liberty Power’s blog site
Each week, we’ll post a new set of articles on a variety of topics including energy tips and savings, technology innovations, energy and your business, green advances and even a few Liberty Power updates (it is our company’s blog after all).
EcoCAR 2 is a three-year competition offering college students an opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience. Teams work to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, an already highly-efficient vehicle.
During the first year of the competition, the 15 participating universities created and tested eco-vehicle designs using various simulation technologies. Year two was spent developing cutting-edge automotive engineering processes to remodel their vehicle. During the third and final year of the competition, the teams will finalize their designs.
In May, the universities met in Arizona for six days of rigorous 2013 Chevrolet Malibu testing at the General Motors (GM) Desert Proving Grounds. Part of the judging process involved evaluating the cars on their reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. They were also tested performance, utility and safety.
Penn State took home the win after impressing judges with their ethanol (E85) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They were the first team to pass safety and technical inspections and the on-road safety evaluation. Cal State Los Angles came in second with their ethanol-fueled vehicle and Ohio State University took third place for its series-parallel hybrid electric vehicle.
“Engineering advanced technologies that help reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions is the key to developing sustainable transportation,” said John Haraf, GM’s director of hybrid vehicle integration and controls and one of GM’s EcoCAR leads.
The competition is managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GM and 30 other government and industry leaders.
Renewable energy is becoming more and more popular as regulators require producers to increase their supply to customers. However, the issue with increasing the supply lies with having a steady supply or storing the resources. Wind power, for one, doesn’t make it easy to accomplish. But Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has come up with two ways of using compressed air as a means of storing the natural resource.
According to the lab, wind power makes up approximately 13% of the power supply in the northwest region, making it a viable contender for storage. It is noted to be most plentiful at night, when demand hits a low. Having the ability to store that power for day time use would definitely help in the balancing act.
The way the whole process works is an electrically powered air compressor sends pressurized air into a storage facility in an underground reservoir. Later, the pressurized air is let out to run a turbine and generator to produce electricity. Approximately 80% of the electricity used to compress the air can be recovered with this method. The ideal underground storage would have to be at least 1,500 feet deep and 30 feet thick as well as be located close to transmission lines.
One of the two locations founded to complete this feat is in Boardman, OR by the Columbia River. The compressed air storage plant uses natural gas to heat the compressed air and in the process boosts the amount of electricity produced. The other location in Selah, WA in the Yakima Canyon uses geothermal heat to run a chiller that cools the air compressor, making it run more effectively. Once the air is released from storage, the geothermal energy heats it up.
Now that wind power can be harnessed, researchers must engage in rounds of cost and benefit analysis to determine if the compressed air will make for a good business case. If so, we’ve found ourselves a winner.
A Gallup poll of 1,022 people revealed 76 % of Americans think the U.S. should put more emphasis into developing solar power. A major obstacle, however, is the cost to manufacture, install and maintain solar panels.
The good news is that is changing. Researchers like Qiaoqiang Gan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University at Buffalo, and his group are exploring a new generation of photovoltaic cells that produce more power and cost less to manufacture than what’s available today.
Currently, solar power is manufactured with either thick polycrystalline silicon wafers or thin-film solar cells made up of inorganic materials such as amorphous silicon or cadmium telluride. These materials are expensive for manufactures to purchase.
Gan’s study also involves thin-film solar cells, but he is utilizing organic materials such as polymers and small molecules which are carbon-based and much less expensive.
“Compared with their inorganic counterparts, organic photovoltaics can be fabricated over large areas on rigid or flexible substrates potentially becoming as inexpensive as paint,” Gan claims.
He also added, “The reference to paint does not include a price point but rather the idea that photovoltaic cells could one day be applied to surfaces as easily as paint is to walls.”
The downside to Gan’s strategy is how thin the organic photovoltaic cells need to be because of their poor electronic conductive components which decrease their optical absorption.
The new generation of photovoltaic cell power conversion efficiency needs to be 10% or more to remain competitive in the energy industry market. Gan and his team are combining metal nanoparticles into organic photovoltaic cells to reach this goal.
The new study suggests there will be continuous improvements in the performance of renewable technologies such as solar power.
Are you planning a road trip? Do you commute to work with empty passenger seats in your car? You do know that you could be making money off of those vacant seats, right?
Check out Zimride, an app available on your iOS device that lets you buy or sell empty seats in your car. You’ll be helping the environment and saving on your gas bill by sharing the road.. . and who knows, you might end up like Mauricio Q who said, “I met my girlfriend Kim on my Zimride to a Jack Johnson concert!”
Visit Zimride for more details!
10 tips on how to save energy without breaking the bank or changing your entire lifestyle
People talk about saving energy all the time, but not many people actually engage in the activities essential to doing so. Either it’s too time consuming or requires going out of their way to get it done. Whatever excuses you can come up with stop here. The following are 10 of the easiest ways to save energy and even save money in the process without having to seriously alter that crazy lifestyle of yours.
- Turn Off the Lights and Other Electronics When Not in Use
You’re not in the room so there’s no need to keep them on. The ghosts probably prefer the lights off anyway and don’t really care who the father is on the latest installment of Maury.
- Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
It’s not enough to just turn them off; appliances that don’t need to be plugged in 24/7 and should be unplugged when not in use. Those greedy little vampires will consume unnecessary energy as soon as you turn your back to them.
- Clean Up After Your Appliances
Show your air filters some love by cleaning or changing them regularly. The same goes for cleaning refrigerator coils, dryer lint filters, and even lighting fixtures in your home.
- Keep Your Freezer as Full as Possible
Misery may love company, but not as much as your food. Place containers filled with water in your refrigerator to take up space and keep everything colder without using as much energy.
- Allow Your Dishes to Enjoy Some Fresh Air
Don’t keep them cooped up in the dishwasher, give them some fresh air and let them air dry. It’s okay to wash them in there, but drying can be done in a regular dish rack.
- Allow Your Clothes to Enjoy Some Fresh Air Too
Air drying clothes is a great way to save energy. Let them be independent for once; they’re grown, they don’t need to be plastered to your side or stuck in a drawer every moment of the day.
- Allow Yourself to Enjoy Some Fresh Air
Your air conditioner won’t hate you for turning it off when the weather is nice and cool outside. It may even enjoy the break. Open up the windows, get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature!
- Keep the Sun Out
Don’t let the sun bully your house into getting hot. Close your blinds, shades and drapes during the day to keep your house cooler; therefore, using less energy from your air conditioner.
- Dress According to the Weather
This may seem like a novel idea, but when it’s cold, wear more clothes indoors to stay warm. When it’s warmer, wear less clothes, just make sure to close those blinds so your creepy neighbors can’t get a glimpse.
- Save Water = Save Energy = Save Money = Save Time
It’s a win-win-win…win. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth and shaving. Take showers instead of baths. Just don’t nix these activities all together and voila, you’re still clean, but you’ve saved so much in the process.
The point is, you don’t have to undergo an entire life changing process to save energy, nor do you have to be charged an arm and a leg. It’s a simple, conscious decision that we all make to be the difference we want to see in the world, which Gandhi put so eloquently. It’s the little things that count the most!
When it comes to energy-saving opportunities, lighting often tops the list. Depending on your type of business, lighting expenses can account for somewhere between 20 to 50 percent of your electricity usage! There’s a simple way to decrease your lighting costs: replace your traditional incandescent light bulbs with a more energy-efficient alternative. This seemingly small step can offer a large financial gain for your company.
So what are these energy-efficient alternatives? Well, there are a few to choose from such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and T8 fluorescent tube lights, both of which use 40 to 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. There is also the light-emitting diode, popularly known as LED lighting. This eco-friendly and affordable bulb utilizes less than half the electricity of fluorescent lights and can last more than 30 years. LEDs also emit a softer quality of light and do not contain any mercury.
While larger companies have already begun investing in LEDs, small businesses are slower to make the switch to these energy efficient and eco-friendly bulbs because of the substantial upfront cost. There’s good news on the horizon though. Prices are continuously being reduced as manufacturers improve the LED technology and retailers push higher volumes.
With the economics of LEDs getting brighter every day, it’s definitely worth doing a little research into what LED offers your business may be able to take advantage of. Financial help and grants are available for qualifying businesses interested in installing LEDs.
Oh, and remember to seek advice from a lighting professional when selecting and installing fixtures to ensure everything is done properly and you’re receiving the best energy efficient option for your business.
Growth in green building materials set to grow steadily in the immediate future as energy efficiency becomes top of mind
Over the next four years, demand for green building materials is set to grow 11% annually, reaching $86.6 billion in 2017. Why such a large increase in such a short space of time? Several reasons to be honest, but first, what are green building materials?
The answer is simple and no, it has nothing to do with the color. Green building materials are those that are made of renewable resources rather than nonrenewable resources. In order to qualify as a green building material the following criteria are used in the selection process: resource efficiency, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and affordability. Basically, these materials must be environmentally responsible and resourceful throughout a building’s life cycle.
It’s no wonder why people are making the move toward more environmentally-friendly products and practices; there are so many advantages! For one, utilizing green materials reduces maintenance and replacement costs over the life of the building. They foster energy efficiency and conservation. Occupants have been known to experience improved health and productivity with these practices. Changing space configurations incur lower costs with green building materials. And finally, there is greater design flexibility. The more indirect advantages include conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources and protecting the environment from the negative impacts of using such materials.
Since consumers are becoming more and more educated on these matters, demand for green building materials will continue to flourish. There’s even an expected growth in LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which advocates the third party accreditation of green buildings. Builders and architects are opting for recycled concrete, permeable pavement, even lumber harvested in a sustainable manner in order to earn LEED points. Overall, these items are going to see considerable growth over the next few years as people become more environmentally aware of the current situation.
It’s certainly time to keep an eye on the evolution of green technology, especially considering the energy efficiency, conservation, and resourcefulness that can come of it. It could mean the difference between regression and progression.
Source: PR Newswire
Liberty Power’s CEO and President Named Finalists for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Award in Florida
Liberty Power co-founders, David Hernandez and Alberto Daire, recognized for their entrepreneurial success
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – May 30, 2013 – Liberty Power, the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier, today announced co-founders David Hernandez, Chief Executive Officer, and Alberto Daire, President, are finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Award in Florida. Award winners will be announced at the Florida awards gala on June 13 at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida.
According to Ernst & Young LLP, the awards program recognizes high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate extraordinary success in the areas of innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
“These finalists were selected from nearly 80 nominations by a panel of independent judges,” says Greg Rosica, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida program partner. “Collectively, these finalists grew their employment by 18 percent and their revenues by nearly 36 percent between 2010 and 2012.”
Hernandez and Daire co-founded Liberty Power in 2001 and have guided the company on a consistent path of growth and advancement. This isn’t the first time the co-founders have been recognized for their entrepreneurship; they were also recognized as finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in 2010.
“We are humbled and honored to be named a finalist for this award a second time. This esteemed distinction is a symbol of our entrepreneurial spirit,” said David Hernandez, CEO and co-founder. “The energy industry is constantly changing and every day something new and exciting challenges us to reach even higher.”
Over the years, Liberty Power has also been acknowledged by several of their partners for their extensive service and leadership as a supplier. In 2008, Liberty Power received the Bill Alcorn Supplier Diversity Award from JCPenney; Frito-Lay North America recognized them as Supplier of the Year in Energy in 2009. Earlier this year, Liberty Power accepted the Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MSDC), Inc. ® 2013 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) of the Year Award. They were nominated by long-time customer, Costco® Wholesale.
“When we first established the company, it was hard to imagine ourselves in the position we are in today. We could not have reached this stature without the commitment of our Liberty Power team, our channel partners, and of course, our customers,” said Alberto Daire, President. “The initiative and drive shared throughout the company has helped to shape the nature of our business and propel us forward.”
Hernandez and Daire are also interested in sharing their hard-won knowledge on how to successfully launch new, scalable businesses. The co-founders are currently exploring ways to share their business and leadership experience with the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program celebrates its 27th anniversary this year. The program has expanded globally to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.
Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur Of The Year national program. Award recipients in several national categories, as well as the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California on November 16. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.
About Liberty Power
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Liberty Power is the largest independent retail electric supplier in the United States based on 2012 KEMA rankings of electric retailers. The company is also the first certified, minority-owned supplier with a national footprint, and the largest Hispanic-owned energy company in the United States according to Hispanic Business. Liberty Power provides large and small businesses, government agencies and residential customers with low-cost electricity and exceptional customer service.
For more information on Liberty Power, please visit www.libertypowercorp.com
Liberty Power is a registered trademark of Liberty Power Corp. LLC encompassing Liberty Power Holdings LLC, Liberty Power Delaware LLC, Liberty Power Maryland LLC, Liberty Power District of Columbia LLC, and LPT LLC, dba LPT SP LLC. Liberty Power is certified and licensed by the Public Utilities/Service Commissions of: CA, CT, DC, DE, IL, ME, MD (IR793), MA (CS-057) MI, NJ (ESL-0001), NY, OH, PA, RI, TX (10118) and VA; as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Regional sponsors include Carlton Fields, Fifth Third Bank, Tribridge, Vaco, RFB Communications Group, Scherzer International and Smart Business Network.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential. Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com. Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US.
About Ernst & Young LLP’s Strategic Growth Markets practice
Ernst & Young LLP’s Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter at EY_Growth.
About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.
Liberty Power assists in raising more than $70,000 for the 17th Annual Sporting Clays Charity Event
Ft. Lauderdale – April 26, 2013
Liberty Power, the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier, today announced their sponsorship in the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network 17th Annual Sporting Clays Charity Event which took place on April 6 in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
The annual event, which raises funds for pediatric services, life-saving equipment, research initiatives, and educational resources, is organized by the Penn State College of Medicine, a Liberty Power customer through energy consultant, World Energy.