Navigating the Pros and Cons of Rechargeable VS. Alkaline Batteries

Navigating the Pros and Cons of Rechargeable VS. Alkaline Batteries

By Frank Scotti

In the realm of portable energy, the choice between rechargeable batteries and alkaline batteries is a decision that consumers face regularly. Both options bring their own set of advantages and drawbacks, catering to diverse needs and preferences. I’m talking about batteries for things like flashlights, game controllers, smoke detectors, remote controls, wireless computer mouse, clocks, etc. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of rechargeable batteries and alkaline batteries to help you make an informed choice.

Rechargeable Batteries: A Green and Economical Choice

Pros:

  1. Environmental Friendliness: One of the most significant advantages of rechargeable batteries is their positive impact on the environment. By reducing the need for disposable batteries, users contribute to less electronic waste in landfills.
  2. Cost Savings Over Time: While the initial investment in rechargeable batteries and a compatible charger might be higher, the long-term cost savings are substantial. Rechargeable batteries can be reused hundreds of times, making them more economical in the grand scheme.
  3. High Performance in High-Drain Devices: Rechargeable batteries excel in high-drain devices like digital cameras, gaming controllers, and power-hungry toys. They provide a consistent power output, ensuring optimal performance in demanding applications.

Cons:

  1. Limited Shelf Life: Rechargeable batteries tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to alkaline batteries. This makes them less suitable for devices with infrequent use or emergency situations where a battery may need to hold a charge for an extended period.
  2. Initial Investment: The upfront cost of purchasing rechargeable batteries and a quality charger can be a deterrent for some users. While the long-term savings are evident, the initial expense may be a barrier to entry for budget-conscious consumers.

Alkaline Batteries: Convenient and Widely Available

Pros:

  1. Convenience and Availability: Alkaline batteries are widely available, making them a convenient choice for quick replacements. They are the go-to option for devices with sporadic use or in situations where rechargeable batteries may not be practical.
  2. Extended Shelf Life: Alkaline batteries boast a longer shelf life compared to rechargeable counterparts. This characteristic makes them ideal for devices like smoke detectors or remote controls, where maintaining a charge over an extended period is crucial.
  3. Suitability for Low-Drain Devices: Devices with low power consumption, such as wall clocks or TV remotes, benefit from alkaline batteries. Their ability to retain a charge over time without significant power drainage makes them a reliable choice for such applications.

Cons:

  1. Environmental Impact: The primary drawback of alkaline batteries lies in their environmental impact. Being disposable, they contribute to electronic waste, posing a challenge for sustainable waste management.
  2. Long-Term Cost: While alkaline batteries are affordable for one-time use, the cumulative cost over time can surpass that of rechargeable batteries. Frequent replacements can add up, making them less economical in the long run.

Making the Choice

In the end, the decision between rechargeable and alkaline batteries hinges on individual preferences, usage patterns, and environmental concerns. It is also not an all-or-nothing decision.

Rechargeable batteries are the greener, cost-effective option for high-drain devices with frequent use, while alkaline batteries offer convenience and reliability for low-drain applications. As technology progresses, innovations may bridge the gap between these two options, providing users with even more versatile and sustainable choices for their power needs.

Do Solar Panels Produce Energy In Winter Months?

Do Solar Panels Produce Energy In Winter Months?

Winter means shorter days, and because of the reduced sunlight hours, many people assume that solar panels also have reduced efficiency. This is a misconception.  Even in the dreary, short days of the winter months, photovoltaic (PV) panels will still produce energy. Solar panels transform light — not heat — into electrical energy to power your home.

Although short winter days mean a significant decrease in exposure time to sunlight, solar panels efficiently uptake whatever sunlight is available and convert it to usable electricity.

PV solar panels work in winter, but optimizing energy generation requires knowing how they react to cold temperatures and snow.

Winter weather also means more power outages, making whole home backup power solutions an effective safeguard against blackouts that allow you to continue reaping the benefits of solar energy. For this, consider adding battery storage and backup.

Do Solar Panels Work in Cold Weather?

Because photovoltaic panels rely on light rather than heat, they will continue to perform even in freezing or sub-freezing temperatures. As long as they have adequate sun exposure, they can continue to generate electricity. Solar panels actually improve their efficiency in colder temperatures since lower temperatures prevent overheating.

What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Panels During Winter?

Solar panel producers account for seasonality and ensure that there are accessible methods to maintain electricity production year-round.  It allows homeowners to take advantage of solar power systems’ benefits, even in winter.

17+ Sustainable and Green Building Construction Materials

17+ Sustainable and Green Building Construction Materials

Conserve Energy Future – Rinkesh

We are traditionally used to using earth bricks, concrete, and wood in construction. They have been and continue to be used in everyday construction, meaning the continued destruction of trees for timber, and the mining of resources to produce cement for binding sand, gravel, and bricks. #1 is bamboo. Bamboo is considered one of the best eco-friendly building materials. It has an incredibly high self-generation rate, with some being reported to have grown up to three feet within 24 hours.

Read More. #11 and #13 surprised me.

Solarponics Hosts First Annual Nonprofit Volunteer Signup Day

Solarponics Hosts First Annual Nonprofit Volunteer Signup Day

Solarponics has partnered with local nonprofits to host the first annual Share the Sunshine Volunteer Signup Day event happening this Friday, November 18, from 11 AM to 1 PM at Solarponics office in Atascadero. Attendees are invited to meet a nonprofit that is a perfect fit for them to volunteer.

Solarponics created Share the Sunshine as a way to introduce their employees to nonprofit organizations in the community that need help. At Solarponics, every employee gets a paid day off to volunteer for a cause of their choice.

When employees started inviting family members and friends, they quickly realized how rewarding and valuable this program was for everyone involved. The idea quickly expanded to our community-wide launch of Share The Sunshine Volunteer Signup Day.

“We saw how our employees jumped at the chance to volunteer when the opportunity presented itself,” says Kristian Emrich, Solarponics president. “Share The Sunshine is that opportunity, made easy and approachable for everyone in the community.”

Over a dozen area nonprofit organizations are expected to be on hand to share what they do, and what type of volunteer help they need. Organizations attending may include; health services, animal rescue, faith, arts and education, food services, community development, environment, and more.

Come by and meet your local nonprofits Friday, November 18, from 11 AM to 1 PM at Solarponics office, 4700 El Camino Real, Atascadero. Find a nonprofit that is a perfect fit for you. Give your time, and your heart to those in need in our communities. For more information, visit

Washing Away A Bad Laundry Habit.

Washing Away A Bad Laundry Habit.

By Frank Scotti, Sustainable Energy Advocate – October 01, 2022 – As far back as I can remember, my mom always used liquid laundry soap, or detergent, to wash our clothes when we were kids. Like most everything, my parents never questioned the product, or its environmental impact. Liquid detergent was just what you used. Then, when I moved out and was responsible to wash my own clothes, I, too, chose liquid detergent out of familiarity and habit.

But now I know that liquid laundry soap is not good for the environment. Heck, it’s not really even a soap. Detergents are mainly a synthetic combination of chemicals designed to produce optically clean clothes, but as a result, also introduce a ton of chemical pollutants. These chemicals include; phosphates, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach, ammonium sulfate, dioxane, sodium lauryl sulfate, optical brighteners, ammonium quaternary sanitizers, dyes, benzyl acetate, dichlorobenzene. After your clothes are washed, all of these chemicals are drain out with the water and remain in our water, forever.1,000 loads of laundry are started every second of every day in the US. Assume we use an average of 2 ounces of detergent per load, that equates to 492,750,000 gallons of chemical detergent pollutants added to our water supply each year from laundry alone.

In addition, 700 million empty plastic detergent jugs are thrown away each year in the US alone, with less that 30% ever being recycled. Factor in all of the water used to create the detergent, and all of the CO2 emitted to transport these heavy jugs from factory to consumer, the environmental impact of liquid laundry detergent is simply staggering.

Recently we have finally seen an innovation in the category, laundry detergent sheets.
Laundry sheets are lightweight, compact, don’t use water, are pre-measured amounts, and come in compostable paper packaging.

The basic ingredients of laundry detergent sheets are: deionized water, natural plant-derived surfactants, enzymes, and in some cases, a fragrance. A box of 100 load sheets weighs only  about 7 oz., compared to the equivalent liquid weighing almost 10 lbs. Plus, laundry sheets and packaging contain no plastic at all.

I tested a laundry sheet brand called Earth Breeze for one month. I use a front-loading wash machine, so the sheet goes in the top detergent cup, folded. I was skeptical at first. But here’s what I found.
The sheet dissolved fully. There was no residual residue or signs of soap or other chemicals. Surprisingly, clothes seemed to be just as clean. I did not notice any difference. I used both the fragrance free and the Fresh Scent. I did prefer the Fresh Scent over fragrance free.

Like I said no noticeable difference between the Earth Breeze laundry sheets and my other liquid detergent. I shall admit that I do not have heavily soiled clothes. Both my boys no longer live at home, and I don’t regularly work on cars getting oil stains on my work clothes. But the average garden variety soiling came clean with no issues. The switch for me is a no-brainer, especially since the cost per load of laundry sheets vs. liquid is about the same.

 

I have freed up extra space in the laundry cabinet to store other stuff I don’t need. I don’t have any large jugs to dispose of and hope they get recycled. I can take on with me when I travel. My clothes get just as clean.

No matter how hard I try, I really can’t find anything to complain about. Laundry sheets are an amazing substitute to liquid laundry detergent.

Since testing laundry sheets, I have not reverted back to liquid detergents. I think I may have finally broken the cycle of habit and complacency and made the full-time switch to laundry sheets. I suggest that everyone give them a try.

Sustainable Travel Tips: Eco Flying

Sustainable Travel Tips: Eco Flying

I recently came across an article in the AAA magazine, Westways, talking about sustainable travel. It was a bit basic and abbreviated, but touched on something that I had not really been aware of, something that I had to learn more about.

Air travel is the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions related to travel. The average CO2 emissions of a Boeing 747-400 international flight is about four tons of CO2 equivalent per person for a 4,000 mile flight. To put that into perspective, a typical gasoline vehicle produces 4 tons of CO2 emissions in an entire year. But don’t cancel your flight just yet. There are a number of airlines that are now using biofuels for their commercial flights because of the known fact that air travel is the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions of any long-distance travel trip.

The aviation industry is getting swept into the international movement to reduce C02 emissions partially due to a surge of eco-conscious travelers demanding greater eco accountability. By using renewable jet fuels derived from such things like algea, waste carbon, or corn-based ethanol, the airline industry may very well be able to reduce C02 emissions by at least 25% within a few short years.

“Algae is a good alternative fuel source for this industry. It’s an alternate feedstock for bioethanol refinery without the need for pretreatment. It’s lower cost than coal or natural gas. It also provides for a more efficient way of carbon capture and utilization,” says Joshua Yuan, chair of Synthetic Biology and Renewable Products in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology.

According to reportlinker.com, the biofuels industry is poised to grow by $1.31 billion between 2022 and 2026. That would be a compound annual growth rate of 6.74%. Exxon Mobil, for example, is investing $600 million in algae. Algae is highly synergistic with the established oil and gas industries, and it can be refined on the same site as is petroleum.

Airliners that have used biofuels for their commercial flights include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Azul Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Virgin Atlantic. As for Jet Blue , it is using sustainable aviation fuel at its hub in the Los Angeles International Airport. It is working with World Energy and World Fuel Services so that it can get sustainable aviation fuel.

“Sustainable aviation fuel is one of the most promising ways to rapidly reduce air travel emissions and help our industry move toward our net-zero goals,” says Sara Bogdan, JetBlue director of sustainability.

Other tactics that eco-friendly airlines are implementing include; sustainable in-flight products, eliminating single use plastics, sourcing local food service, coating technologies to make the planes lighter, and improved aerodynamics.

The next time you are planning a vacay that includes air travel, visit the website alternativeairlines.com which allows travelers to search for flights using biofuels. While the options are limited, the site did produce some very possible alternative flight itineraries.

Happy green traveling.