10 Natural Alternatives to Energy Drinks

Almost every one of us is living in a fast lane and so are most of the Americans and we support this kind of lifestyle with no other than energy drinks.

According to Packaged Facts, a food and beverage market research firm, consumer demand for energy drinks increased 60 percent between 2008 and 2012. Sales of energy drinks and shots summed more than $12.5 billion in 2012 and Packaged Facts estimates this figure to boost to $21.5 billion by 2017.

Products who label themselves as the “energy” packaged drinks, shots, drink mixes and extra heavily caffeinated soft drinks. Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., for the Mayo Clinic explains, most rely on large amounts of caffeine, along with sugar and other additives, to temporarily boost energy. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suggests “stimulant drink” is a more appropriate name for this class of beverages.

The USADA found tyrosine and phenylalanine, which may interfere with medication; kola nut and guarana, which are sources of caffeine; yohimbe while analyzing commonly used ingredients in energy drinks, which interacts with anti-depressants; and ma huang, which is a plant source of ephedra. Competitive athletes should focus more on to energy drink ingredients, warns the USADA, as banned stimulants may come out having some other name.

Depending on energy drinks for just a boost of energy is fine sometimes but taking these kinds of products has harmful effects on the body. Excessive caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, insomnia, increased heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.

Plus, it can trigger more serious complications such as migraines, seizures and heart problems. Reported by Medical News Today, the number of people receiving emergency treatment as a result of consuming energy drinks increased from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011,

If regularly feel fatigued or tired, or maybe you have a problem with your low energy or you, identifying the cause can be helpful in identifying effective, natural strategies. “Usually when people are feeling the need for an energy boost, it is due to a low-blood sugar or dehydration,” says Mindy Black, a board-certified dietitian and exercise physiologist.

Blood sugars drop 3 to 4 hours after a meal or 30 to 45 minutes after a high-sugar snack.

“No matter how perfect their lunch may have been, blood sugars only remain stable for about three hours,” Black says. She recommends one of these energy-boosting combos rather than energy drink. The secret is to include lean protein with quality carbs.

•             Handful of almonds mixed with a handful of whole grain cereal

•             Beet juice with low-fat string cheese

•             A smoothie with yogurt, a few strawberries and a banana or a mandarin orange and handful of walnuts

•             Salmon and half a cup of quinoa or brown rice

•             A glass of chocolate milk

Another common cause of low energy is dehydration. “If we’re dehydrated, a lot of our organs and vital systems are slowing down, which can make us lethargic and tired,” Black says. “If you are not drinking enough hydration fluids, not sodas and alcohol or juice, to have clear or close to clear urine every 90 minutes, your energy drain may be due to dehydration.” The solution? Drink more water.

One typical reason why people feel tired is that they’ve depleted their glycogen stores.

“Perceived exertion and perception of fatigue are directly related to low glycogen stores,” says Barbara Lewin, RD, LD, sports nutritionist and owner of Sports-Nutritionist.com. “That translates into not taking in enough carbohydrates, especially before and after your workouts. This is the primary reason for athletes experiencing low energy levels. The best ways to boost your energy levels is to consume carbs throughout the day.”

Here are a few more natural energy boosters:

•             Snack on healthy carbohydrates, such as apples and oatmeal

•             Include foods containing iron, such as spinach, nuts, oysters and dark chocolate, in your diet

•             Drink cold water to increase energy for up to two hours

•             Take a quick 10-minute walk

•             Catch a 20-minute power nap

Although energy drinks offer a short-term solution to low energy, developing healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating wholesome foods every 3 to 4 hours and regular physical activity will keep you energized all day, every day.

Solar Startup Could Make At-Home Renewable Energy Purchases Easily

An online marketplace will let U.S. homeowners to evaluate selections for going solar as easily as they can compare prices for airline tickets for the first time this December.

Geostellar is a startup backed by power producer NRG Energy Inc. It is in quest of becoming the Expedia or Orbitz of the solar industry. The said solar industry is a one-stop shop where consumers can not compare the benefits of leasing solar panels versus buying them outright alone but eventually sign up to install a system.

On the site, www.geostellar.com, Solar players together with NRG, No. 1 U.S. installer SolarCity Corp, Boston-based solar loan provider Admirals Bank, manufacturer and financier Conergy, East Coast installer Roof Diagnostics and Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority will feature their products.

Geostellar looks forward to its platform will let installers and financiers to lower the price of getting hold of new customers. It is a main objective in the ferociously competitive rooftop solar industry. Solar companies are centered on cutting prices therefore they will be able deliver on their promise to save customers money on power bills by converting to solar.

Geostellar will make money by claiming a portion of a system’s total installed price – between 10 and 20 percent, Chief Executive David Levine said.

According to Levine, Geostellar, which was founded in 2010, got its start by selling data to solar companies that showed the solar energy potential of individual rooftops. Its early customers included solar financing companies SunRun, Sungevity and others.

It increased to $14 million from NRG, Flash Forward Ventures, satellite imagery company GeoEye (now owned by DigitalGlobe Inc), and the state of Maryland’s venture capital fund, in May 2012

Levine had tried to convince his customers to use Washington-based Geostellar’s data to build a website where consumers can comparison shop for solar. He resolved to use those funds to build it himself.

“We went back to those customers and said instead of us giving you data and you doing the marketing, we want to be your customer acquisition engine,” Levine said in an interview.

To build 3D representations of neighborhoods and their rooftops, Geostellar makes use of satellite data. It is a simulation that moves the sun across the sky then facilitates the company calculates how much sun a rooftop gets at any specific time of the year. A key factor of this occurrence is in determining whether going solar makes financial sense. The website then layers on the value of government incentives in addition to local utility rates to provide customers a full view of what it would charge them to sign up for a solar installation.

Visitors to Geostellar’s website or its mobile app called Solar Mojo can then compare and contrast the costs and benefits of a solar lease, a lending plan or a cash purchase, depending on the market. Lastly, they can sign up for what they want with the click of a button.

Zero-emission cars on roads by 2025: Eight US states pledge to get 3.3m zero-emission

On Thursday, the governors of eight states pledged to get 3.3m zero-emission vehicles on roadways by 2025 in an effort to curb greenhouse gas pollution. In the eight states includes California and New York

To sign a memorandum of understanding, representatives from all eight states were to assemble in Sacramento. This would raise infrastructure and make other alternations to help increase market share for electric cars, hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The expectations are in 2015, there should be more than 200,000 zero emissions vehicles on the road.

“This agreement is a major step forward to reducing the emissions that are causing our climate to change and unleashing the extreme weather that we are experiencing with increased frequency,” New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo said in a statement.

The other states such as Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont are also involve in the agreement. All in all the eight states represent about 23 percent of the US auto market.

Every state has already separately agreed to policies to entail a percentage of new vehicles sold to be zero emission by 2025. California’s authorization alone of 15.4% calls for a total of 1.5m zero-emission vehicles to be on the state’s roads by that time.

It’s a precipitous curve. Today in California, plug-in-hybrids and electric vehicles make up less than 2% of the auto market.

First, the states will institute a taskforce to contribute ideas that will help inflate the network of charging and fueling stations necessary to make electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles more striking to consumers, all under terms of the memorandum.

“The idea is to broaden the pool of people talking about this and working their way through the challenges that come up in setting up this kind of infrastructure, and growing this kind of a market,” said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for California’s Air Resources Board, which regulates auto emissions.

Now, there are 16 zero-emission vehicles from eight manufacturers on the market; nine that run on batteries alone, two hydrogen fuel cell cars and five plug-in hybrid models, which can run on battery alone or gasoline.

Officials say that every automaker will have a zero-emission model by 2015.

According to car dealers, who are under pressure to help meet these 2025 goals, getting fueling infrastructure like charging stations in place quickly is the only way to get average consumers used to a new product that requires new driving habits.

“We think that is going to be necessary for some of the range anxiety and other acceptance barriers that need to be broken down,” said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association.

“The cars are coming – they’re here already – but if you don’t have a place to charge them, there’s not going to be the level of consumer acceptance.”

Governors signing the memorandum all addressed the cooperative exertion as a way to hurriedly resolve the foreseeable problems that occur when making such far-reaching adjustments in people’s everyday lives.

Furthermore some observe future economic benefits from the switch to new vehicles.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said more electric vehicles are key to his state’s efforts grow the region’s economy.

“Diversifying transportation fuels and providing drivers with options will help reduce vulnerability to price swings in imported oil that hurt consumers and our economy,” Patrick said in a statement.

Renewable Energy Sources Used For Boiler Electricity Room Production in Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region belongs to the few areas in the world where investment in renewable energy appears to be overcoming the global economic crisis. Fresh investment in renewable energy in the region amounted to USD 2.9 billion in 2012, up by about 40% from that of 2011 and a 6.5-times growth from 2004.

 

The region’s growth in the renewable energy sector posted increased confidence among investors from 2009 to 2012, exhibited primarily by the entry of some of the largest international energy corporations into the solar energy market, including, in particular, national and global oil and gas companies.

 

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Solar energy has gained the top average annual growth in the region’s power generation production.

 

Wind ranks second with average annual growth of 27%, about five times over that of fossil fuels, while retaining the lead in total installed capacity among non-hydro renewables.

 

Based on absolute values, hydroelectric power still holds the chief renewable energy source for power generation in MENA at present.

 

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The percentage share of renewable energy climbed to 3.3%, up by 0.4% percentage points within the same period. Although this may appear like a negligible gain, it should be emphasized that renewable power generation garnered shares against traditional power sources despite a marked increase in demand for electricity, which makes this growth truly significant.

Energy savings by operations

5.23 Reductions in scheduled speed (i.e., accepting longer voyage periods) will enhance efficiency although it will result in more ships being required. Nevertheless, there is a trade-off between freight rates and fuel cost: with lower freight rates and higher fuel prices, it may be more advantageous to reduce speed.

Generally speaking, efficiency improves when we concentrate cargoes in larger ships as much as possible. Obviously, larger ships that are not fully loaded are not efficient when they do sail. Smaller ships, on the other hand, end up having higher net energy efficiency for being able to fill their cargo hold to capacity and having access to more ports and cargo types, [7].

Voyage optimization

5.29 Voyage optimization can be achieved by:

 

.1 choosing optimal routes to avoid adverse weather and current conditions will minimize energy consumption (weather routeing);

.3 ballast optimization – preventing unnecessary ballast use. Attaining optimal ballast may sometimes be difficult since it also affects the safety and comfort of the crew; and

.4 trim optimization – determining and operating at the proper trim.

 

5.31 Weather routeing can bring substantial savings for ships on particular navigational courses. Certain types of weather routeing systems, performance monitoring systems and technical support systems and other procedures can be used to help attain optimal voyage performance.

Energy management

There are certain cargoes, such as special crude oils, bitumen, heavy fuel oils, etc., that need heating.

 

The heat required may partly be provided by producing steam or using exhaust heat. However, in many instances an extra steam boiler is required to supply enough steam. Steam from exhaust gas is usually sufficient to heat the heavy fuel oil used on most vessels; in port, however, steam from an auxiliary boiler may be required.

 

5.35 It is often feasible to decrease energy use on board by achieving more conscious and optimal operation of ship systems. Examples of measures to under taken include:

.1 avoiding unnecessary use of energy;

.2 avoiding parallel running of electrical generators;

.3 optimizing steam plants (tankers);

.4 optimizing the fuel clarifier/separator;

.5 optimizing HVAC operation on board;

.6 cleaning heat exchangers and the economiser; and

.7 detecting and repairing leakages in boilers and compressed-air systems, etc.

 

A lot of savings may be achieved by upgrading automation and process control, for example, automatic temperature control, flow control (automatic speed control of pumps and fans) and automatic lights. The potential for attaining energy-savings using energy-management measures is hard to determine, since that depends on the ship’s previous operational efficiency and on the contribution of auxiliary power use in the overall energy scheme. A 10% savings on auxiliary power may be a practical target for many vessels. This amounts to about 1 to 2% of the total fuel consumption, depending on actual conditions.

 

5.37 Optimal maintenance and tuning up of main engines.

5.38 Maintaining a clean hull and propeller is vital in achieving fuel efficiency.

 

Selecting more effective hull coatings.

 

16. Reducing navigational for ships is often seen as a “quick win” in terms of reducing carbon emissions from vessels.

 

Recent studies reveal that many abatement technologies are available, and cost-effective, such as:

 

-          Slide valves reduce NO2 on slow-speed engines by 20%, very inexpensive, fit easily and are cost-effective.

-          In-engine controls could reduce new engine NO2 by 30%.

-          Selective Catalytic Reduction cuts NO2 by 90%.

-          Water Injection/Humid Air Motor cuts NO2 by 50%/75%.

-          Scrubbing by sea-water cuts SO2 by 75%.

Housing Corp. Switches From Fuel Oil to Natural Gas, Saves $2.8m

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) managed the construction management and environmental permitting for a major boiler modernization project for a large apartment complex in New York City that has reduced emissions and saved the complex over $2.8 million in fuel costs compared to the previous 12-month period.

East River Housing (ERH) Corporation operates a boiler house providing heat and hot water to a number of apartment buildings with over 2,700 units plus a shopping center. It had been combusting over 2 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil annually. The housing corporation decided to modernize the boilers and switch from fuel oil to natural gas.

ERH replaced one aging boiler with a new modern unit and renovated its other two existing boilers, installing new low NOx burners with flue gas recirculation. ERH worked with Con Edison, the local utility, to bring a natural gas line into the boiler house for the fuel switch.

No. 2 diesel oil is to be used as a backup during natural gas interruptions, necessitating the installation of a new tank farm replacing the No. 6 fuel oil tank farm.

CCES carried out construction management to address scheduling and technical issues with the implementation of the installation and testing, as well as all environmental permitting. The physical installations are complete and the plant has operated under natural gas for one full year now.

CCES has assessed the cost savings due to the project. Given natural gas being piped to the facility, removal of No. 6 oil tanks, and use of a modern No. 2 oil tank farm, ERH virtually eliminated the risk of a messy oil spill in the densely populated area. In addition, emissions of pollutants critical in an urban area all markedly dropped because of this project, such as NOx (85%), particulate matter (75%), greenhouse gases (equivalent of removing 4,600 cars from the road), and SO2 (99%). These reductions helped change the permitting status of ERH from major to minor, saving them much in fees and removing several regulatory requirements.

CCES determined that themal efficiency improved by about 18% (fewer therms to create steam). “We are not sure if the thermal efficiency improved because of natural gas being more fluid than No. 6 fuel oil, which is thick and viscous or because of the new equipment. But probably both contributed,” said Marc Karell, principal with CCES.

CCES also calculated cost savings. In the 12 months of natural gas service (May 2012 through April 2013), ERH directly saved over $2.8 million (63%) in fuel costs compared to the previous 12-month period, despite this being a measurably colder winter than the one before. CCES also calculated avoided cost savings (added fuel costs ERH would have had to incur if ERH still combusted No. 6 fuel oil with the old boilers). The avoided cost savings for the 12-month period was conservatively estimated to be over $5.3 million.

The project payback, initially anticipated to be about 4 years, will be under 2.5 years based on direct cost savings.

Asked if switching from fuel oil to natural gas was a viable option for other facilities, Karell said it depends on the availability of natural gas and the cost of extending a natural gas line to the site.

Including All the Benefits in Cost-Benefit Analyses of Solar Energy

On the issue of evaluating energy alternatives, biomass boiler policymakers makes a room to commonly conduct cost-benefit anlayses. Which appears almost run-of-the-mill, correct? The difficulty, however, arises when we have to choose the parameters. What costs should we input? Short-term or long-term costs? Should we include externalities? If a particular system has by-products that pollute and endanger life on earth as it is, how greatly should it affect our decisions? These are the vital questions that we need to consider.

So it goes for the benefit side. Do we give weight to the resource as a short-term or long-term energy provider? Do we consider the time of generation, knowing that electric power costs are higher when there is a great demand for it? Do we input other benefits from the grid, for instance, the opportunity to do away with other capital investments in tranmission and distribution systems?

And there are those benefits existing outside of the grid. Should we input into the analyses the value of having cleaner air and reduced morbidity for society at large? What about the impacts of climate change? Economic and employment impacts? And impacts of the use of water?

We believe we should.

For this purpose, we have joined a coalition of similarly-oriented companies (American Lung Association in California, California Center for Sustainable Energy, Asia Pacific Environmental Network, Brightline Defense Project, California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Solar Energy Industries Association, Distributed Energy Consumer Advocates, Environment California Research & Policy Center, Coalition for Clean Air, Environmental Defense Fund, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc., Local Energy Aggreagation Network, Dr. Luis Pacheco, Presente.org, Sierra Club, Solar Energy Industries Association) in order to petition the California Energy Commission to carry out a study of the societal costs and benefits of the State’s net-energy metering program.

Vote Solar is a non-profit organization striving against the ill-effects of climate change and fostering economic development by introducing solar energy as a primary power source in society.

A Room for Alternative Energy Source: Solar Energy Collecting as an Alternative Energy Source

Boiler Efficiency Technology: Compared to solar energy which collects alternative energy at a dependable constant, water evaporates and wind dies down.

A solar panel is made up of an array of black squares called photovoltaic cells which collect energy from the Sun. More and more, solar panels are getting more efficient, and progressively cheaper due to innovative designs which focus the collected sunlight with ever-increasing precision to a singular point.

As the size of the cells decreases, their efficiency increases, making each cell less expensive and more productive to manufacture. In terms of cost, therefore, the price of producing solar-power energy per watt-hour has decreased to $4.00 as of this writing; whereas, 17 years ago, it was almost double that cost.

Generating solar-powered electricity is clearly environment-friendly because of its absolutely zero emissions into the atmosphere while it utilizes one of the most naturally available resources to generate it.

Solar panels are gradually and definitely becoming more practical and popular features on the rooftops of people’s homes, being easy to install as a heating system to provide hot water or electricity.

Photovoltaic cells utilize copper pipes running through a glass-covered collector for heating water which is usually stored in a water tank on the roof. The circulated water is siphoned thermally in and out of the tank, producing hot water.

Even on cloudy or stormy days, photovoltaic cells have become more efficient at collecting enough solar energy. Particularly, Uni-Solar, has developed solar collection arrays for the home that operate efficiently during overcast days, by utilizing a more technologically-advanced system which stores more energy at one time during sunny days than other less-efficient systems.

Another solar power system now available for consumers is the PV System which is connected to a nearby electrical grid. When there is an excess of solar energy being collected by any home, the excess energy is transmitted to the grid for shared use as a means of decreasing the grid’s dependence on hydro-generated electricity.

Connecting to the PV System can help bring down one’s energy costs as compared to a complete solar energy system, while immediately decreasing pollution and removing pressure off the grid system. Several places are establishing centralized solar collection systems for small towns or suburban areas.

Some top corporations have signified their intention to also enter into the use of solar power generation (a clear sign that solar-generated energy has become an economically viable source of alternative energy).

In fact, Google is installing a 1.6-megawatt solar-power generation system on top of its corporate headquarters, while Wal Mart plans to set up its own gigantic 100-megawatt system.

Countries, such as Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and the United States, have been promoting the cause of solar-energy production by granting government subsidies or by providing tax breaks to companies and families who desire to use solar power for generating their heat or electricity.

With the advances in technology being applied for more efficient solar collection materials, more and more private investors will realize the advantages of investing in this “green” system and view solar energy collecting as a wise and productive alternative energy source.