Archive for August, 2016

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power SystemsWhy solar power will change traditional power systems and when is the big question facing electrical generation companies, transmission companies and investors. Utilities in the power generation and transmission have been cash cows for investors for years and many investors are beginning to wonder if their cash dividends are at risk. The quick answer is that it depends on how the existing companies respond to this new source of power and how they manage the environmental impact message for the new and old systems. There is no question that there is less air pollution from solar and wind farm generation compared to coal, oil and natural gas fired generation plants. There is a lot of pressure to have a higher percentage of generation come from these sources as time goes on.

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Traditional power system companies must realize that they need to invest in this new technology to protect their investments in transmission systems and retain existing customers while being seen as being progressive from an environment perspective. Progressive companies will make this transition and therefore protect their dividend stream for investors while producing low cost electrical power.

The real threat comes from roof top solar power which removes bottom line revenue from the system and drives the per unit cost up for everyone else who does not deploy a roof top solar installation. Remote areas and high cost per kilowatt areas will be the first to convert to roof top solar simply because of the economics.

An aggressive approach to generating power by traditional power generation companies will help to keep costs to the consumer down and decrease the motivation to install roof top solar generation. The jury is still out on how this issue will evolve, however investors in utilities would be wise to pay attention to these issues.

Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

Driveway Sealing in Cold ClimatesEnvironment plays a huge role in terms of what maintenance is required around your home. Driveway maintenance and repair is no exception. Driveway sealing in cold climates is much different than in warmer climates simply due to the freezing / thaw cycle. Anytime you have a crack in your driveway, there is an opportunity for water to penetrate. If that water freezes, it forces the cracks wider and the asphalt to further deteriorate.  Warm climates do not have these same issues and you can get away with not sealing your driveway.

Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

We strongly recommend that all cracks should be filled with the appropriate products for crack sealing to prevent further damage.  At the very least you will prevent further damage.

Some people prefer to also place a sealant over the entire asphalt driveway. There are several advantages. First you fill all of the miniature cracks and holes which prevents them from becoming larger. This is a long term maintenance advantage.

Secondly, your driveway just looks better. Esthetics are important and a great looking driveway improves your curb appeal and home value.  Our own driveway is 28 years old. We have sealed it and filled cracks several times over the years. It looks great to the point that our neighbors are amazed.

They have spent thousands of dollars to replace their own black top driveways instead of doing some basic maintenance every couple of years.

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?Electric cars may not be as green as you might think. The YouTube video to debunk this myth and let consumers know that there is lots of room to do more work before they really make a large contribution to the environment. Check out the video after you finish reading this post and make up your own mind regarding whether it is the right thing to do. Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Based on the analysis that is portrayed in the video referred to above, all electric cars are not as great at reducing emissions as everyone thinks. Yes when you operate the car there are no emissions. But, the cost in terms of environmental impact of producing the batteries and also producing the electrical power to charge them is almost the same as a traditional gas powered car. Burning coal, oil and natural gas to produce electricity causes a great deal of pollution. Wind energy and solar panels are better but not as much as you might think based on the analysis.

The writer notes that the analysis did not take into account such issues as the impact of nuclear power, battery efficiency improvement, car breaking regeneration, improvements in electric cars over the next 10 years and other alternate power sources for electricity. Also who funded the research and are there any biases built into this analysis?

The bottom line is that the electric car business is still in it’s infancy and will have many new developments over the next 10 years and will get even better than it is today. So yes, it does not save us in terms of pollution today, but will it with improvements over the next 10 years. Time will tell.

Spalling Concrete Causes

Spalling Concrete RepairMost consumers have seen spalling concrete and wonder what are the spalling concrete causes? We find our sidewalks in front of our homes, or perhaps our garage floors looking like the one in the picture. One section of sidewalk might be fine, while the very next section is badly spalled. The fundamental cause is usually contractors who do not finish the concrete properly. They add water to the surface to keep it moist until they have a chance to finish it or they start finishing the surface before the bleed water has a chance to be absorbed. Both of these actions weaken the surface of the concrete making it susceptible to environmental conditions.

Spalling Concrete Causes

Consumers who live in areas that are exposed to constant freeze – thaw conditions may experience more severe spalling conditions in their concrete sidewalks and garage floors or driveways. Once the surface is weakened, water can get between the cracks and when it freezes will cause the surface of the concrete to lift up and particles will be dislodged.

In most cases it is only the surface that lifts up. The underlying concrete will not be impacted and will remain strong. The surface does not look great and can even devalue your home when it comes time to sell it.

In our next post “Spalling Concrete Repair”, we will quickly explain how consumers can do their own repairs and make their garage floor, sidewalk or driveway look like new again.


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