Local library “checks out” the benefits of energy efficiency

The Township of East Brunswick stretches across more than 22 miles of central New Jersey real estate and is home to a diverse population of 47,000 who have cultivated a municipality with an outstanding school system and a strong mix of housing, commercial and recreational options.

The East Brunswick Public Library helps to anchor this thriving community with more than 335,000 patrons passing through the doors annually. The library is one of the busiest municipal library buildings in the state of New Jersey. It has achieved national recognition for the quality of its collections, programs and services, as well as continually being named as one of the “Best Public Libraries in Central New Jersey” by readers of the Home News Tribune.
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There Are Vampires Among Us

Ghouls, goblins and other scary creatures roam our neighborhoods on Halloween. But there are other scary creatures – vampire devices – secretly sucking energy from our homes.

Vampire energy, or phantom load, is the name we give to the electricity consumed by household electronics when they’re not in use. Households in PSE&G’s service territory spend an average of about $1,200 a year in energy costs, and up to 10 percent of that can be attributed to vampire appliances wasting energy that customers probably don’t even realize is being used.

No one would throw away $120 a year, and no one wants to see that much energy wasted. These are the appliances freeloading the most power – and money – from your home, and some tips to help you reduce the amount you pay for unwanted electricity use.

Flat-screen TVs, especially those equipped with smart technology, are the biggest vampires in your home. They need to draw power constantly to be ready to respond to signals from their remote controls and content providers. Advanced power strips (APS) are one convenient way to help reduce energy wasted by TVs and other vampire devices. There are a few types of APS systems available that won’t cramp your energy lifestyle.

Check out the infographic below for details (click to enlarge):

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Infographic developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Video game consoles are the second-biggest energy vampires. They could be costing your family even when they’re not being played. For avid gamers who purchase games digitally, automatic game downloads and updates can keep a console drawing power for hours. But why take the fun out of gaming? Disable automatic updates, downloads and Wi-Fi access. Instead, enable “background downloads,” to have new content delivered to your device as you play. That will keep your console up-to-date without adding to your energy bill. Another solution is connecting the gaming console to an APS to ensure the device is completely shut off and not wasting energy or money.

In your kitchen, a single appliance may not have a huge impact on your energy bill, but when the energy use is combined, the waste adds up. At an average of $5 apiece, when not in use, blenders, coffee makers, toasters and microwaves can add $20 to your energy bill every year. Anything with a digital display is drawing power non-stop to keep the clock and other information up to date. Do you really need your microwave to tell you it’s lunch time? Plug all these devices into a power strip that can be easily shut-off on your way out the door.

Opening your energy bill does not have to be a scary experience – especially when you can reduce unnecessary power consumption.

Blog_headshot (2)Frank Vetri- Renewable & Energy Solutions Specialist, PSEG

Founding Fathers of Energy

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PSEG founder Thomas McCarter (Center) hosts New Jersey Governor A. Harry Moore (Left) and Thomas Edison (Right) at the 1926 dedication of the Kearny Generating Station.

Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America and all that has been sacrificed in the name of freedom and independence for this country. And while we recognize men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as the Founding Fathers of this country, let us not forget a separate but equally important group of influential men – the Founding Fathers of Energy, to which we owe a world of ever-progressing power and technology. Along with the contributions of Andres Celsius, Georg Ohm, Isaac Newton, James Joule and James Watts, the following men are just a few of the key players who built the foundation for the energy we use and understand today.

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A Humbling Drive To Work

If you drive down Martin Luther King (CarinburwellMLK) Blvd. in Newark, before you pass St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, you may or may not notice the line of people outside the St. James Social Services building at lunchtime.

As with most people, you may be consumed by thoughts of what’s on today’s list of things to do, how you can get it all done on time, and what’s waiting for you at home. Next time you drive down MLK Blvd, notice the line. Notice that it’s made up of men, women, children, and families from all walks of life. Maybe even notice that the line gets longer towards the end of the month – as cash left over after bills and rent gets scarce. Continue reading

#FirePreventionWeek: New Jersey’s Best of the Best

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I remember it like it was yesterday. On July 3, I opened the door to the bathroom/laundry room in my home and was stunned to have a wall of smoke pour out of the small room. Nothing prepares you for that moment when you believe that your house is on fire – not even being a trained firefighter, emergency responder, or a qualified emergency preparedness instructor who has taught a couple hundred classes on how to properly use a fire extinguisher. At that moment, my stomach sank and some panic set in.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Skycrane

On any given day, it’s not unusual to see helicopters hovering overhead in the Hackensack Meadowlands – monitoring traffic conditions or ferrying passengers between New York and New Jersey.

But the helicopter that drivers along the western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike saw early in October was anything but routine.  PSE&G used a specialized, heavy-lift helicopter called a Skycrane to deconstruct 13 existing transmission towers and construct 12 new 115-foot towers in the North Arlington meadows as part of the Northeast Grid Reliability Project. Continue reading

Fuel Diversity Makes Sense

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Even while the warm weather of August is still in our minds, I want to bring you back to the extreme cold that held New Jersey in an icy grip for the last two winters.

Temperatures plummeted and customers throughout the Northeast had their heaters running nonstop to keep their homes warm. Demand rose so much that power plants were not able to buy enough natural gas to run. Fortunately, there were other power plants available (including our own) that could run on other fuels – coal and oil for instance – so that electric service was not disrupted. Continue reading