Green Energy Options – my new big brother

USA Solar Store painting

USA Solar Store painting

For the last 5 days I have had the privilege of being mentored by Pablo of the Green Energy Options (GEO), USA Solar Store.

As part of membership in the USA Solar Stores buyers group, there is a 5 day training experience in a working store. In those 5 days Pablo, my new big brother, has shown me many of the products, design ideas, and systems that can help people save money and find affordable cleaner, greener technology solutions.

Zero Energy Building (ZEB)

Solar Evacuated tubes

Solar Evacuated tubes

The building that I am hoping to lease for my store, the Enfield Energy Emporium, is called the Leviston House, 78 Main St in Enfield, NH. I am excited to be involved in discussions about what it takes for this to be a zero energy building (ZEB).

Wikipedia defines a zero energy building as “a building with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. Zero energy buildings are autonomous from the energy grid supply – energy is produced on-site.”

More energy measuring devices

The Energy Detective, $144.95

The Energy Detective, $144.95

A few weeks ago I install TED (The Energy Detective), and have been using it to watch my house electricity on a regular basis. I use it to see how much energy the washer and dryer use, I monitored when the refrigerator when on/off, and at one point when the house was quiet I turned off all the lights and found that I still had 200 watts of ‘phantom’ loads. I haven’t found them all, but it has been an eye-opening experience.

I also have electric baseboard heat in my new house, so I have been documenting how much energy each of the baseboard heaters use. Each room has its own thermostat.

Energy Emporium Books

I’ve started collecting books related to renewables, energy efficiency, green products. I need a good selection for my store and it would be great if they come recommended. If you have read any of these or if you recommend others, please reply with a comment. Thanks!

Books I’ve read:

  • “75 Green Businesses” – I like this book since there are some realistic business ideas related to renewables that don’t required venture capital to start. Good ideas.
  • “The Green Collar Economy” – This is one of those books that says it all in the first couple of chapters: the economy is bad, the environment is bad, we need to ensure that everyone is part of the solution. Pretty good message, a little too much preaching for me.
  • “Go Green, Live Rich” – 50 things you can do to help save the earth, with links and ideas. This is almost a bathroom book – pick it up and read a page or two and you’ve learned a couple new things.
  • Energy Efficient Lighting

    Direct replacement CFL

    Direct replacement CFL

    My town, Enfield, NH wants to provide residents with information on compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at the next town meeting. They would like to demonstrate the energy usage of various CFLs compared to incandescent bulbs in an effort to encourage saving money and saving energy.

    They are creating a display board with a Kill-A-Watt meter to show you exactly how much power an incandescent and a CFL bulb use to provide the same brightness. I’ll have one of these in my store as well since it becomes very clear that you use a lot less energy with a CFL than traditional incandescent bulbs.