Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

LED lighting: why you need orange sunglasses

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

By Catherine Haug, Nov. 14, 2016; updated 1/4/17 regarding f.lux app  (photo, right from Recycle Nation (1))

About a year ago, a health newsletter newsletter had an article on problems with LED lighting. They explained the issue of LED blue light at night and how it can impact our internal clocks, sleep patterns, and immune systems. Not long after that, Edd mentioned that when he drives the school bus in the dark early morning hours, oncomming cars with LED headlamps blind his vision until the car is well behind him. I seldom drive at night so had not noticed that problem, but I believe he is right.

Nowadays, most of us have smartphone, tablet and computer screens lit by LEDs, and many of us have LED TV screens. We’ve also begun to replace our homes’ incandescent and CFL lighting with LED lights. Do we face risks from these?

The answer is YES. But there are things you can do to minimize that risk.

For printable pdf version, see LED lighting: Why you Need OrangeGlasses; it includes the 1/4/17 update. (link ) (more…)

Carcinogenic chemical found in Flathead and Missoula Counties’ drinking water

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

By Catherine Haug, Sept 24, 2016

This is a critical issue, and I just learned about it from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) (1). See also their interactive map (2):

  • Counties in various shades of yellow, green, blue and black were found to be positive for the toxic chemical Chromium-6.* These include Flathead and Missoula counties.** A total of 1,370 U.S. counties had an average level of chromium-6 exceeding California’s non-binding public health goal of 1 ppb. (see below).
  • Counties in gray have not been tested.

If you saw the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich” (played by Julia Roberts), then you know about chromium-6, because that is the deadly chemical she fought to expose. And Erin has not given up the fight; see EWG article (1). This carcinogen has been found in tap water of more than 200 million Americans.

If you wish to take action on this, sign the online petition to the EPA (5)

*NOTE: Chromium-6 is not the same as Chromium-3, which is considered by some to be an essential nutrient for humans.

** Flathead Co. testing was only Kalispell Municipal drinking water; Missoula Co. testing was only Mountain Water Company.  (However, our levels are below California’s limit goal of 1 ppb). (more…)

Energy cost savings programs and income tax credits, 2016

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

By Catherine Haug, April 13, 2016

Previously, I posted information from Flathead Electric Coop (FEC) about green programs they offer that could save you money – as opposed to what Arcadia Power is offering (see article About Arcadia Power’s mailing to all FEC customers, published Feb 15, 2016). David Bopp at FEC recently sent me more information about ways to save money on electricity through federal and/or state income tax credits, as well as FEC offerings. (more…)

About Arcadia Power’s mailing to all FEC customers

Monday, February 15th, 2016

By Catherine Haug, February 15, 2016

If you get your electricity from Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC), you likely received an offer from Arcadia Power in the mail, to ‘join your neighbors in Montana’s first Community Wind Program.’ As with so many things, the truth is in the ‘fine print.’

Below are the specific questions about this mailing and service that I sent to Don Newton at FEC, and a summary of his response to each. Also included are green energy programs and energy-efficiency rebates that are offered by FEC. (more…)

CFL and LED bulbs: how to dispose/recycle them

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

By Catherine Haug, Oct 21, 2015 (Photo, right, from Recycle Nation (4))

We’ve all been encouraged to use CFL(compact fluorescent light) bulbs because they save on energy consumption. But CFLs contain mercury, the most toxic substance known to man, which means you should not put them in your trash. Also, you cannot put them with your regular recyclables, so what do you do when they burn out?

Is there a better alternative?

FEC’s Community Solar Array Project

Monday, August 10th, 2015

FEC-CommunitySolarProjectBy Catherine Haug, Aug 10, 2015; updated Aug 18, 2015 (Image, right from Flathead Electric Coop)

FEC began construction in June of this year on Solar Utility Network (SUN), a community project (1). This is a community solar array near the Stillwater Substation on Whitefish Stage Road in Kalispell (on Co-op property), and is scheduled for completion in September. Its power output will be shared by all FEC customers. This is the first project of its kind in Montana.

Last week we polled our readers for interest in a gathering about this project, to determine if we will go forward with its planning. Only 5 people responded to the poll, so we determined NOT to plan a gathering, as there would likely be a very light turnout. Instead, I will interview Ross Holter of FEC about this project and other energy efficiency programs they offer for home owners, then write up an article for this website.

For more information on FEC’s SUN project, read on. (more…)