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Baby puppy proofing

electrician puppy proofNothing is more stressful than bring your new baby, or even your new puppy, home and realizing just how many sharp corners and exposed outlets you have in your house! But don’t panic, here you’ll find several tips on how to much sure your home is safe for little ones, furry or not, to roam free without worry.

  • Cover any exposed electrical outlets. This one’s a bit of a no brainer as it seems like it’s almost imbedded in us from countless tv shows and infomercials that show the dangers of sticking things in sockets they don’t belong in. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning. Try to keep any plugged in items tucked behind something heavy enough that a small child or dog can’t easily budge. Also make sure to get plastic plug covers to put in any open outlets, keeping any curious fingers or snouts from exploring too close.
  • Keep any and all harmful chemicals in a locked cabinet or, preferably, a high hard-to-reach spot in an upper cabinet. A locked cabinet will easily keep out a baby or toddler from getting in but a curious puppy who is teething may attempt to chew on cabinet doors and could expose harmful chemicals lying inside the cabinet. The same idea follows things such as house plants and knowledge of their toxicity to humans and animals. Keep this kind of items out of arms/paws reach.
  • Turn a spare room into a play room or training room. If it’s a little overwhelming to baby/puppy-proof your entire home and you have the space to spare, this is probably the best idea. It consolidates everything into the one area, making it easier to maintain and keep track of. This also doesn’t need to be an actual “room," if space is an issue; a play pen for a baby keeps them in one spot as does a crate for a puppy. Crates also prove beneficial when having to leave home for short periods of time, though I don’t suggest leaving the baby in the play pen in the same manner.
  • Baby gates for every room! A baby gate is like an instant see through the wall and is a must for any parent or dog-parent. These gates keep babies and puppies alike from entering rooms they are not allowed in. It’s recommended to keep baby gates at the beginning and foot of staircases, eliminating the risk of a tumble down the stairs.
  • Keep the toilet seat down! Really! An open toilet seat could cause a potential drowning hazard to a small child or dog (to mention no one likes to see their dog, or child, drink from the toilet). Any small body of water causes a threat, whether it’s a toilet, some water left in the tub, a running faucet, they all could be a potential danger if not noticed.

While it can be overwhelming making sure your home is ready for a new arrival, it can all be accomplished with diligence and a common knowledge of baby/puppy safety.

Elon Musk predicts 50% of all cars will be electric in 10 years

electric car being chargedElectric cars are now much more viable than they were ten years ago—the presence of charging stations in every major and minor city throughout the country lends weight to that fact. To reach a point where over half of all new cars are fully electric by the year 2027—as Elon Musk predicted recently—there needs to be a massive undertaking that only the enterprise can understand.

This is not a consumer endeavor, but rather one that must be backed by IT, similar to rollouts of ERP or a massive Microsoft Windows deployment.

Here’s why - according to Computer World Magazine:

While the act of driving is a consumer activity—you buy an electronic vehicle (EV) and drive off into the sunset, hoping to make it home on the current charge level—the “back-end” is all about efficient delivery of power. Today, the network of gas stations is highly fragmented, incredibly random, sporadically priced and woefully inefficient. Yet, EV drivers need predictability. The range for a 2017 Bolt EV is around 238 miles today; the range of the Bolt with a gas engine is about double that. But, importantly, there is no range anxiety for a gas-powered car. Gas stations are everywhere.

Launching anything new on a comprehensive level requires more strategy and planning—and that’s where IT can shine. Using even basic algorithms, IT can map out a network of charging stations that are incredibly robust and logical. It can look at the actual range of currently owned vehicles and forecast what the needs will be for charging based on buying habits. It can examine the power grid and loads across the entire U.S. population and determine what will be required to reach that 50 percent of all new cars prediction. IT can also play a major role in determining peak usage (the best charge times) and even help with forecasting based on battery innovations.

Standards and cooperation among companies needed

One company can’t do this alone. There needs to be better standardization, better cooperation and more strategy for EV charging networks, and that’s something only the enterprise can provide—not just Tesla or GM. Consumers only want to know that their new electric car will make it to Omaha. But there has to be standards and cooperation across the entire industry. Without it, we'll never hit 50 percent.

That’s something Musk already knows—he sees that IT can be the leader in mapping out the charging stations, tracking battery progress and forecasting what will work regardinofg massive EV roll-outs beyond the Tesla brand and one or two other models from Chevy and Nissan. He knows IT is also involved in tracking fossil fuel consumption. In other words, he knows IT can grasp the big picture of where this is all heading and not just depend on the fickle consumer habits thatreally have nothing to do with an EV becoming a better choice. Left to the desires of consumers, an EV feels like a glorified golf cart. In the hands of IT and the enterprise, an EV becomes part of a vast recharging network that is fine-tuned in a way that a network of 168,000 gas stations—all owned by different brands and scattered everywhere—can’t match.

The enterprise knows how to do a roll-out. An EV dealer network, planning for roads, modernization of EV driving lanes, a connected car infrastructure, the placement of charge stations—they all require strategic planning and analytics in a way that the haphazard nature of everyday gas cars could never touch.

Now, the question is—who will make this all happen?

Rooftop Solar Power in 2017

rooftop solar panelsAccording to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, (EIA) a government agency that collects and analyzes information about the energy industry, the solar energy industry is geared up to add more electricity-generating capacity than any other source this year! Solar panels are not just going to “become a thing, " but it already surpasses other forms of energy as the most popular alternative energy source. Planned large-scale solar farms are expected to add 9.5 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity to the power grid. And that figure doesn’t count electricity-generating capacity from distributed solar, such as rooftop panels.

Many homeowners have already installed or are exploring solar power options at home too. According to a Pew Research Study, homeowners’ increased interest in solar panels reflects both financial and environmental concerns. Nine-in-ten homeowners said they have installed or considered home solar panels to save money on utility bills and 87% say they did so to help the environment.

Other homeowners say getting a solar tax investment credit is a reason they installed or considered installing solar power at home. A federal tax credit for solar projects, which was scheduled to expire at the end of this year, has since been extended five years for residential solar projects.

Many people wonder when the cost of producing power from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be equal to or less than buying from the grid as affordable solar panel options could accelerate solar adoption. But that question, as US News reports, is often a comparison of apples to oranges. The answer varies from place to place and from one type of installation to another. Residential electric rates, on average about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour in the U.S., are much higher than wholesale electric rates – the price utilities pay to power generators – which are usually less than 4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Predictions within the Energy community project solar energy usage and installation to rise, while the costs of solar power drop. Solar energy is predicted to cost less than coal or gas by 2017. MJ Shiao, GTM’s Director of Solar Research, in a roundtable discussion following the tax-credit extension said “solar isn’t just a promising technology. It’s a real, deployable tool and platform for a next-generation electricity grid. The regulations and innovations that come together in the second half of this decade will set the stage for what the future of electricity in the U.S. looks like.”


Why a Home Battery Solution is Heads Above the Rest

home energy battery californiaEveryone looking for ways to increase our savings and decrease our stress when it comes to our daily lives.

Electricity bills are one of the largest bills we pay each month, and even after cutting corners, we find that we cannot seem to get it any lower. The home battery solution is a newer and more convenient alternative. These home batteries are quickly becoming a solution that fits every home's need for lower power bills. Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Home Storage Batteries maximize consumption of your power
    In a traditional solar panel power setup, the solar panels on your roof, and your home are backed up to the grid - this means that if you are not producing enough energy from your solar panels, you will still have power fed to your home from the grid. Typically, if you make more power than you consume, you can sell the excess back to the grid for discounts or credits on your electric bill. However, sell-back fees have changed quite substantially over the years and continue to be subject to change. Residential battery storage lets you control and store all of your excess power. If you have a solar panel system that’s giving you more power than what you use, these batteries store the power for you instead of selling it back to the grid. The power from these batteries is then availed for inclement weather or low sun conditions.
  2. Home Storage Batteries keep your home’s electricity resilient
    If you have solar panels, survival is possible until your solar power runs out and the grid takes over. However if the entire grid is down, you and your neighbors are left with no power at all. The home battery solution means as long as there is power left in your batteries you can continue using your home’s electricity at no cost.
  3. Home Storage Batteries reduce your carbon footprint
    Removing your home from the grid and making it self-sufficient is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. In the past, ‘going green’ was not a reliable way of living each day comfortably, especially concerning energy sources. Newer technologies like the battery backup system are both earth-friendly and dependable.
  4. Home Storage Batteries dramatically save on your electricity costs
    A home battery system installed into your home’s solar power system means your electricity bills will either be non-existent or so much more affordable than they were, you will barely notice them. The cost savings you will discover in your utility bill will more than pay for the home battery system quite quickly, and you will save hundreds, even thousands of dollars every year on your electricity bills.
  5. Home Storage Batteries are affordable to install
    Believe it or not, solar systems and home battery solutions are affordable to have installed in your home. There are government incentives to install a solar system, and the costs involved is outweighed by the amount of savings each year on your utility bills.

Can my home be retrofitted with home automation?

In some homes, retrofitting is impossible, but there are ways to automate without having to tear down your home. Every home automation system needs a space to house the centrally-installed control equipment. This space needs to be able to accommodate a small server-rack cabinet and, ideally, be close to your existing distribution board. Can my home be retrofitted with home automation?

Many homes have an existing area where services such as the alarm system, CCTV, DVR, DSTV decoder, and router are fitted – that would be the obvious choice for your automation controls as well, space permitting. If not, garages are often good options, as are the unused spaces beneath stairs.

There are situations in which not all of a home's services are located in the same place, and in these cases, you'll need to weigh up the cost and hassle of relocating them to a central position. If this is not an option, you'll need to accommodate at least one CAT6 data cable running from your automation control system to each of the services, wherever they are. That can add up to a lot of cables, and concealing them isn't always a simple matter.

Once your cabling is in place or your services have been relocated, it's time for the fun stuff – selecting the hardware that will suit your lifestyle the best. 4ward-design is a huge fan of systems like Crestron, Control4, and KNX, which are modular and allow for upscaling at a later date. (source)

If you would like to enjoy this amazing technology in your home, contact the electrical experts at Switched Electric. 

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