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Electrical Panel Labels Take Guesswork Out of Identifying Circuits

October 26, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ — We’ve all been there: to replace a light switch or ceiling fan, the circuit must be turned off at the electrical panel. You open the panel door, and are confronted with a hand-scribbled, illegible table of your electrical circuits. How do you tell which breaker to turn off or fuse to pull?

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has created a sheet of peel-and-stick electrical panel labels to help reduce instances of electrocution that can occur if live wires are accidentally touched during home repair or upgrades. Included are both pre-printed and blank labels that homeowners can mark with indelible ink and place directly on each breaker or fuse. The sheet also provides two stickers that remind homeowners and contractors to take safety precautions before working with a home’s wiring.

“When researching this project, I opened my own electrical panel and was surprised by what I found,” said Brett C. Brenner, ESFI president. “The list was impossible to read. I thought, ‘ESFI can help here.'”

Even when circuits are legibly marked, often the notations are too vague to be of much use. “Lighting 1,” “lighting 2” or “upstairs” are common, especially in older homes. ESFI recommends that both homeowners and contractors be as specific as possible when marking circuits, writing, for example, “east master BR wall” instead of “master BR 1.”

Because most homes contain such appliances as furnaces, ovens and refrigerators, there are pre-printed labels for those and other common items. There are 30 numbered and several blank labels to allow homeowners to most closely match their homes’ circuitry.

ESFI strongly urges that electrical work be performed by a licensed electrician, and reminds homeowners that some electrical work requires a permit.

Visit http://www.esfi.org/esfi-library.html#epl to order a free copy of the labels; http://www.electrical-safety.org for information about other ESFI electrical safety materials.

Founded in 1994 through a joint effort between Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is North America’s only non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety in the home and workplace. ESFI is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by electrical manufacturers and distributors, independent testing laboratories, utilities, safety and consumer groups, and trade and labor associations. ESFI sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May, and engages in public education campaigns and proactive media relations to help reduce property damage, personal injury and death due to electrical accidents. The Foundation does not engage in code or standard writing or lobbying and does not solicit individuals.

For additional electrical safety information, visit the Foundation’s Web site at http://www.electrical-safety.org or call 703-841-3229.

Google plans largest U.S. solar-powered office

October 17, 2006

Google plans largest U.S. solar-powered office

By Eric Auchard and Leonard Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOGnews) plans a solar-powered electricity system at its Silicon Valley headquarters that will rank as the largest U.S. solar-powered corporate office complex, the company said on Monday.

The Web search leader said it is set to begin building a rooftop solar-powered generation system at its Mountain View, California, headquarters capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 California homes.

“This is the largest customer-owned solar electric system at a corporate site,” said Noah Kaye, director of public affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, an industry group based in Washington, D.C.

A Google executive said the company will rely on solar power to supply nearly a third of the electricity consumed by office workers at its roughly one-million-square-foot headquarters. This excludes power consumed by data centers that power many of Google’s Web services worldwide, he said. Entire story

Northwestern Energy Offers Energy Saving Tips for Montanans

October 15, 2006

In almost all homes, space and water heating are the biggest energy users followed by refrigeration and lighting. Here they offer some energy saving tips to help you get the most out of your energy dollar.

Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Program
NorthWestern Energy is teaming up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Program to support a new public education campaign showing how we can all help the environment through decisions we make at home. Simple changes can, in fact, make a big difference.

Change Five Lights
Change a light and help change the world. Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures, or the bulbs in them, with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR, and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household did it, together we’d prevent more than 1 trillion pounds of air pollution. Well-lighted steps, walkways, driveways and entrances are smart improvements. Installing ENERGY STAR qualified lighting fixtures outdoors for security and safety is always a good idea. Read More

Off Oregon’s coast, researchers hope to pump electricity from surf to turf

October 14, 2006

Off Oregon’s coast, researchers hope to pump electricity from surf to turf

By Peter N. Spotts

NEWPORT, ORE. – Along Oregon’s postcard coast, generations have tapped the ocean for its rich fisheries. Now, a new generation wants to tap it for electricity.

The goal is to wrest kilowatts from the Pacific Ocean waves by using small floating generators that ride the rolling swells and convert the up-and-down motion into usable volts.

In late July, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies, Inc., filed for a preliminary permit with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to anchor one of its generating buoys off Gardiner, Ore. Meanwhile, researchers at Oregon State University are working to establish a national wave-energy research and demonstration facility here off Newport.

The efforts highlight a renewed interest in the US for enlisting waves and tides in the quest for renewable energy sources and greater energy independence, specialists say.

Ocean energy is still in its infancy, specialists emphasize, and work remains to be done to make it economical enough to hook to the grid. But smaller, more powerful turbines; advances in marine cables and anchoring techniques; and other developments may allow today’s power-plant designs to avoid some of the technical and environmental hurdles that plagued ocean-power proposals in the 1970s and ’80s, they add. Entire story

Solar Power 2006 Set To Showcase California Clean Tech Open Entrepreneurs Finalists

October 13, 2006

Finalists for the California Clean Tech Open’s Renewable Energy Prize will present their innovations at Solar Power 2006, the largest business-to-business solar conference and expo in the United States. The California Clean Tech Open finalists were selected by an elite panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, clean tech executives, and domain experts, and will compete for the nation’s largest cash and service prize devoted to environmentally-conscious technology development.

“Solar Power 2006 is a launching pad for innovation,” said Julia Judd, executive director of the Solar Electric Power Association. “With the California Clean Tech Open entrepreneurs in front of the leading companies in the solar industry, new business partnerships will form, the spirit of innovation will be fostered, and sparks will fly.”

Presented by SEPA and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Solar Power 2006 will focus on new and innovative developments in the industry. Conference organizers expect more than 2,000 attendees representing the solar industry, customers, and policymakers from throughout the US and around the world. The conference will take place from October 16-19th in San Jose, California.

The expo will feature more than 130 companies including module, inverter, and component manufacturers, distributors, installers, investors, architects, and others involved in solar markets. Pacific Gas and Electric is the lead sponsor and host; other sponsors to date include Sharp Solar, Kyocera, Piper Jaffray, BP Solar, Applied Materials, PowerLight Corporation, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, SPG Solar, Kaco Solar, Conergy, Akeena Solar, DuPont, REgrid Power, California Energy Commission, Salt River Project, Silicon Valley Power, Stoel Rives, SCHOTT Solar, SunPower Corporation, Uni-Solar, and WorldWater and Power. More information on the conference is available at www.solarpowerconference.com.

“The California Clean Tech Open aims to create a real opportunity for entrepreneurs to bring clean tech innovations to market,” said Laurent Pacalin and Michael Santullo, co-chairmen of the competition. “Solar Power 2006 is the preeminent event in the commercial solar industry, and we can think of no better public forum for our best contestants in the Renewables category to showcase their plans.”

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