Online Taxes Meeting Deadlines and Extensions!

No one likes being told what to do. It gets even worse when people tell you when to have what they told you to do done. We face deadlines every day: getting bills paid on time, kids to school, work, and of course filing taxes. The problem with deadlines is they cannot take into account our daily lives and how quickly it can be changed. This makes meeting deadlines sometimes very difficult. Online tax filing is no different, and it also carries a deadline: April 18th for your 2010 return. This is to avoid late fees and gathering interest which will result in more money out of your pocket, which is never a good look. As I said before, our daily activities and responsibilities can get in the way of our deadlines, so what do you do if you can’t get your taxes filed online on time? The answer is simple, and it is getting an extension.

I know it may be shocking to hear that the Internal Revenue Service actually will let you file your return later. These extensions are open for anyone to use to prolong their time electronically filing their taxes. There are two major kinds of extension forms to fill out: form 4868 and form 2688. Each of these forms can help you when crunch time comes and taxes are due to give you a little breathing room instead of pulling your throat out and charging you a bucket of fees. We will go into greater detail on these extension forms and how each one should be used.

Form 4868 is the first type of extension option that you can use. The form is very simple to fill out, having to only put your name, address and social security number. You also have to figure out your tax liability and send in any type of balance you may have. This extension requires you make this payment and cover no less than ninety percent of your tax liability, but you will not have to pay a fee for filing later or any penalty for late payment. You can estimate your tax liability with several tools that can be very helpful in getting an accurate figure. This must be filed by the time your original return is due, around the 15th of April, but it will give you four additional months to file your taxes! You don’t have to provide a reason for this extension which is great if you were just lazy and didn’t bother to complete your return on time. If only more things in life had extensions!

Form 2688 is the second extension you can apply for, but it is a little more tricky to attain. When you complete this form, you receive an additional two months, requiring you to file by no later than the 17th of October. The tricky part about this extension is that you do have to have a reason for filling out this form. However, the IRS is pretty forgiving with your excuse, and as long as it is reasonable and thoughtfully explained you should have no problem getting approved. In the event that your reasoning isn’t up to snuff, the IRS is still very lenient and will all you a few days to submit your income tax return. Still a sweet deal I’d say.

You must pay your tax liability regardless of if you have a great excuse to use either of the extensions or not. Without paying you cannot get an extension. Most websites allow you to request these extensions with a few clicks. Even the most successful people sometimes procrastinate, and everyone needs an extension every once in a while. Life Support for the Goose

The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” Jean Baptiste Colbert

You’ve heard about the goose that lays the golden eggs? You know, the eggs we’ve been spending faster than they’ve been appearing for the past forty years.

Birds and eggs aside, real wealth rises from our ability and willingness as a country and a people to create genuinely useful products, adding to the general prosperity. Wealth creation has been having a bad day for the last forty years, and we’ve finally gotten to the point where it’s on the endangered species list. Insufficient wealth creation means a dim future for us all.

America was built on some basic ideas, a number of which were intended to facilitate wealth creation, and thus a prosperous society. For example, the idea that you should be able to own or have things without them being taken away arbitrarily. The idea that you should be able to have and enjoy the results of your hard work. The idea that people could be free and could govern themselves. The idea that the role of government should be limited, and mostly oriented toward supporting those things which facilitate a free and prosperous society. These are all part of the American tradition which allowed those geese to lay all those wonderful golden eggs, the same geese now on life support.

Certainly you’ve noticed oddities in the financial world recently, such as unfathomable sums of “new money” created out of thin air and added to the national debt in what was promoted as an attempt to hold off a collapse of the banking system. There’s also the utter bankruptcy of many state and local governments, California being a prime example. I’ve mentioned and commented about these things before. Here’s a new one; a recent report from the trustees of the Social Security system reveals that total federal income and payroll taxes will need to almost double, and do it now, in order to pay for all the promises we’ve made with the Social Security system. Doubling all income and payroll taxes now.

It’s painfully obvious that tax revenues are going to have to increase mightily to even begin to come close to covering the debt we’ve created. Well, that introduces a couple of problems. For one, income taxation, especially heavy income taxation, tends to drive profitable productive activities out of business. Anyone doubtful can look at what happened to the industrial base of this country, most recently exemplified by GM and Chrysler. They couldn’t afford to run their plants, pay their staff, provide a decent return to their shareholders, pay their corporate income taxes and invest heavily in new facilities, new technologies, and such. The money which a successful business would have used to replace old facilities or invest in new facilities or technologies went to tax. Thus, we got stuck with old plants and old technologies which could not compete on the world stage, and which have now been, or are being, abandoned. We have a whole wide area of America that used to be alive and vital but is gradually turning into an economic desert where the only remaining jobs are low paid, or in the “health care” (actually sick care) business. Look at Detroit, or any of the other manufacturing centers of the Northeast or Midwest; we’re changing from a nation that was the engine of the world to a nation of enfeebled, drug-using hypochondriacs who depend on the reserves of foreigners to sustain our lifestyles.

Another unhappy fact is that most folks really don’t want their taxes to double, and might even revolt if this were done. So your representatives are working hard to find a way to get more juicy revenue without having to raise your taxes too much, or too obviously. How to do this? Well, they’re starting to implement something similar to “sin taxes,” except that we’ll all be sinners now. The general idea is to impose a heavy, complex, and convoluted tax structure, then penalize anyone who fails to comply with some dark corner of this sticky mess. The PR idea is that you can assess these heavy penalties because, after all, that person failed to comply with the law. That’s the sin; failing to comply. Of course, the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to comply with every single rule out there is overlooked. So, the government gets to raise lots of new revenue in the form of penalties and interest on the penalties (and penalties on the penalties, and interest on the penalties on the penalties, ad nauseam). Even better, if anyone protests, they can trot out their spokesmen to talk about stamping out the “underground economy,” making sure that everyone pays their fair share, and so forth. After all, they say, you were wrong; you failed to comply; you deserved to be penalized.
Unfortunately, if you penalize the goose too heavily, take away too much of its feed, pluck too many of those feathers, the goose may just roll over and give up. Without some help, the future looks dim.

We handle a lot of tax audits, and that’s how we observe things going. Would you be willing to state that you understand all the laws, regulations, rulings, procedures, and doctrines of tax law as it has to do with you and have applied them in full? Anyone? Well then, I guess you deserve to be penalized. Once the IRS contacts you, you may find yourself answering questions like, “How does total penalties equal to 50% of your total tax burden sound? If you don’t like that, maybe 75% would be more like it….” Believe it or not, your government, in its haste to raise revenue, is taking on the color of an enemy.

How You Can Protect Yourself

The news is not all bad. Fortunately, this tax system is built on a foundation laid many years ago, back when ideas like fairness, due process under law, and protecting the rights of each citizen were given more than just lip service. As such, there are protections imbedded in the system that you can use if you know about them and know how to use them.

While there’s way too much tax law (and regulation, and case law, and doctrine, and procedures) to expect any one citizen/goose to actually know, there are some basic principles which you should always follow, because if you do, it puts you in a position where you can take advantage of those protections. To the degree you don’t do these things, you open yourself up to trouble as regards taxes, interest, penalties, interest on penalties, penalties on interest….oops, sorry. You open yourself up to getting a really huge bill from IRS.

Here’s what you must do.

File your tax returns on time. “On time” is considered to include valid extensions. But don’t forget to file or extend, because the penalty for late filing gets really big, really fast. And don’t blow off filing just because you don’t have the money to pay. The penalty for late filing is ten times as high as the penalty for late payment. We can almost always work out some sort of payment arrangement, but a late return is usually not fixable.

Always report any and all your income, whether reported to you or not. Even if the report is incorrect, it can be corrected on the tax return. The IRS computer system is set up to crosscheck all income reported to your social security number from all sources against your tax return. Any errors or omissions on the return start a ball rolling which will probably end up costing you money to handle or pay or both. Also, if you omit substantial amounts of income, or even worse, omit income with bad intent, you lose much of the protection offered by the statute of limitations.

Be able to document it all. Keep your records. Keep those bank statements, copies of canceled checks, credit card bills, and so forth. Make sure your records can be clearly understood by someone other than yourself. One of the interesting characteristics of this tax system is that the IRS is presumed correct in its determinations unless you can prove them wrong. Get that? Whatever they say, no matter how outrageous, is right unless you can prove it wrong. And the word “prove” in that use means just exactly that. It doesn’t mean “say” or even “say really sincerely” or even “show.” It means prove with clear and convincing evidence. Oh, and your word isn’t worth much as evidence because citizens, well, have been known to lie when it comes to taxes. Only documents really count, and they have to show pretty clearly what happened.

Not all expenses were created equal. Some expenses, the sort that people actually like to spend money on, require more documentation than usual. The most notable examples are use of a vehicle for business, travel expenses, meal or entertainment expenses, and charitable donations. For vehicle use, you have to be able to show the total number of miles driven in a year, and of these, how many were related to business. That’s all. A day book or computer calendar program showing the number of business miles driven daily is adequate to prove business mileage. For business travel, be able to show that the primary purpose of the trip was for business. If you travel in the U.S. that, and the proof of the expense itself, is all you need to show to make the travel expenses deductible. With meals and entertainment expenses, you have to be able to show not only proof of the expense, but also who you saw and what business was discussed. For charitable donations, you need an annual acknowledgment letter or statement or receipt from the recipient organization. A canceled check or credit card bill alone is not enough for donations. Donations for which some return benefit was received (like a service, or participation in a golf tournament, or a fundraising dinner) require a special kind of letter. Without all this extra data, these kind of expenses can be disallowed.

Keep the sort of records the IRS expects from you. If you have or run a business, the presumption is that you’re going to be a bit more professional in your record keeping than Joe Average. In fact, they might even expect you to keep “books.” If you don’t know how to keep books, get a decent bookkeeper, or get some help sorting it out. Lack of adequate records (or poorly kept records) is probably the single largest reason folks lose tax cases.

Don’t ignore mail from the tax man. They are required to give you warning before taking certain (unfriendly) actions. If you ignore the warnings, bad things can happen. Tax collectors in this society are very powerful and can take almost everything you have if you give them a reason, so don’t. If you don’t know what to do about the notices, get a competent professional to assist. They can help you navigate through the situation.

Don’t lie or cheat on your tax returns. It’s one thing to take a position in good faith which might be controversial, it’s another to just lie. It’s the 21st century, and they have ways. Lying or cheating might work for a while, but sooner or later you might get “that” notice in the mail, and your life goes to hell.

Don’t try to hide, they have computers. It might work for a while, but there’s a good chance they’ll catch up, and when they do….

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t show up at your tax advisor’s office urgently seeking help the day before a deadline. Tax agencies are notoriously slow to respond to communication, and you might not have time to do what’s needed and get the government to notice that before your assets start disappearing (or even worse, criminal charges start appearing). Sometimes it just takes time to get your data and strategy together and to get the government to understand that you really want to comply. Try to get the jump on a tax problem before it jumps on you.

Don’t try to resolve any but the simplest of tax issues with tax agencies on your own. I hate to say it, but sometimes tax agencies seem to attract and hold onto the antisocial as personnel. There’s nothing some of these boys like better than to rip up a defenseless citizen who doesn’t know the rules of the game. There are lots and lots (and lots) of rules (some of which make great traps for the unwary), so be willing to get and pay for a competent professional to represent you and your interests if the situation goes anywhere past “easy.”

Not all tax professionals are the same. There are all sorts out there just plain (unenrolled) tax preparers, CPAs (certified public accountants), enrolled agents, tax attorneys. Each tends to specialize in something different (with exceptions, of course). The level of experience of any one practitioner can also make a huge difference. Tax law is ungodly complicated, and it takes years to get to know it passably well. Unenrolled preparers are at their best doing simple tax returns cheaply. CPAs are accountants, which is not the same as tax experts. They tend to specialize in handling books and financial statements, and do taxes as an “add-on.” Tax attorneys litigate, meaning they handle cases in court, or those which might end up in court. Enrolled agents tend to prepare somewhat more complex returns and handle the nuts and bolts of everyday representation before tax agencies (tax audits, collections, and such). They do nothing but taxes and work with tax agencies on a daily basis, and they tend to be the most experienced when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of dealing with tax agencies. Having said all this, every person is different. It’s up to you to size up what you need and see who’s right for the job.

The IRS is not always right. Our office sees lots of notices sent to taxpayers that are just plain wrong. Also, lots of times tax auditors will take stupid or aggressive positions on things because their bosses are pushing them to raise revenue. When these things happen, a firm and competent defense is needed to preserve your interests; otherwise, you’ll get run over by the bureaucracy. This principle also applies to what goes on a tax return. Sometimes, tax law is unclear as regards how it applies to a particular set of facts or circumstances. You could be justified in taking a position that the IRS might not agree with. However, it’s part of the job of your tax preparer to analyze and evaluate the position and advise you accordingly. Assuming the position is not frivolous and has a reasonable chance of success, the final decision is yours.

Don’t mess with payroll taxes. If you’re an employer, or in a position of responsibility for an employer, make sure the payroll taxes are paid. These things do not go away, are collected ruthlessly, and can be assessed personally against anyone involved who bore any responsibility for their payment (or lack thereof), even if that responsibility was only on paper. Also, the penalties for late payment of these taxes are just horrendous and can double a debt fairly quickly. Our suggestion is to just make it your policy to pay the taxes right along with the payroll each time payroll is issued, and make sure the returns are filed on time.

Don’t panic. If you’ve followed this advice, you should be defensible, even if you owe them some uncountable sum you can’t pay. Just get a good tax person to help you through the mess. There are numerous solutions and protections available to you and your tax advisor, and something should work to handle, or at least minimize, the damage. Having said this, you should not expect a tax advisor to work miracles; for example, if you forgot to report some income and the IRS spots it, you’re probably going to have to pay. However, a good advisor can not only minimize the penalties and fees, but can also help you get a payment deal you can actually live with.

Finally, the most important thing is, live! As long as you do these things, a good tax advisor can keep you out of most tax trouble. At that point you, Mr. or Ms. Goose, should feel free to go about your business without having to fear irrational demands for more and more of your feathers. Create jobs, create wealth, do whatever it is that you do, get back to laying a few golden eggs, and do it without trembling fear of the tax bogeyman. We all need you to do this. Otherwise, America will continue its downhill slide and take with it a substantial chunk of the light that this ol’ world depends on.

An Introduction To Network Switches And The Ws-c3560x-24t-s

A network switch is one of the basic components of a computer network that connects different segments and devices to each other. It is otherwise known as a multi-port bridge that processes and routes data on the on the several memory layers of the system. It can receive any message from any unit connected to it and then transmit it to the component it was intended for. It is an upgraded version of a hub (which normally just delivers the same message to every device in the network), and it can accommodate anywhere from 8 to 50 devices at a time.

Network switches are commonly found in Ethernet local area networks. Small offices typically just use a single switch for every purpose, whether it is to access broadband services or network PCs. Mid-size and large LANs contain a number of linked managed switches with routers and VoIPs. Now the main difference between managed and unmanaged switch is configuration. With unmanaged, which is typically found at home, in less complex networks, you just have to insert cables to the box and let it handle the data transfer on its own; whereas for managed, you can program it. Hence, you can secure greater flexibility to your network dynamics, monitor and adjust activities, as well as control the traffic and who makes use of the system.

Now, there are two sub-classes of managed switches marketed today the smart/intelligent and the enterprise or fully-managed switches. Smart switches have a limited set of management features while enterprise managed switches have the full set. This includes web interface, VLANs, SNMP agent and CLI with special backup and restore as well as display modifications. Obviously, they are more expensive and better suited for networks with a large number of connections. But for a lower price, one can acquire a web-managed switch that have almost similar features to that of an enterprise switch, except for the CLI access.

The ws-c3560x-24t-s is an example of a switch manufactured by Cisco; also known as the Cisco Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X series switches. This particular model is an enterprise-class line of independent and stackable switches that provides high security, scalability, and data availability on top of energy efficiency. It can be easily operated with innovative specifications such as the Cisco StackPower, IEEE 802.3at Power over Ethernet Plus configurations, redundant power supplies, Media Access Control Security features as well as optional network modules. And the ws-c3560x-24t-s is designed to enhance productivity through seamless integration of technologies such as wireless internet, video and IP telephony, with 49 ports in total.

Of course, there are other models included in the series as well as those manufactured by other networking brands such as Avaya, Netgear and Broadcoms that could be integrated in your network system. But Cisco products are probably the most identified and utilized kind in the United States. But before you decide which to get, you should get an in-depth understanding of them first as well as the other components so you could properly maintain the performance of your system. And if you have the budget, it would definitely be more favorable if you get an engineer or an accredited personnel to manage your Main Information System, even if part time.

Metal roofs the new frontiers for the energy efficiency of houses

The metal roofing for large buildings that are an ideal solution for both efficiency and maintenance, since they are very resistant and can also enhance the buildings from the aesthetic point of view.

A tangible example of their application has had last December with the inauguration of the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the largest spatial structure in the world that is entirely covered by a metallic coating, efficient and aesthetically impressive. Even at the planning and engineering for the construction of the metal roof of the building has required great efforts but we must admit that the performance and end are short of initial expectations.

This is just one example of large-scale applications with high performance that can be obtained by roofing made of various metals, but the fact remains that the principles apply equally to smaller buildings that still need maintenance, but above all high efficiency.
The benefits that can be found in metal roofing are multiple and relate both to the scope of the environmental efficiency of the building by implementing both areas and amortizing the initial investment in no time.

First, it must be emphasized that the metal roof is an investment in real time since it requires no maintenance and does not deform over time, a feature that does not go to affect the ability to modify and relocate the structure. A privilege not just when you think how influential they are in the business budget costs for the maintenance of the structure and its efficient maintenance. The materials are of high quality despite also have a high cost as other types of coverage and thus the maintenance and the change in cost of raw materials and totally accessible. Also in front regarding the benefits of this coverage must be remembered that these are immune from the deterioration that instead affects roofs made of different material such as mold, bacteria, decomposition, and if placed properly sealed and allow a greater resistance to weather very well aggressive as wind, hail and ice, and their design allows you to easily throw them out or snow accumulations of leaves and other materials. Many others are also the absolute advantage as compared to crack and leak tightness and perfect seclusion from the outside.

Moving on, however, their application must be stressed that, thanks to the evolution that these covers have had over time, and thanks to the efforts of designers and architects who have tested it with hand applications and possible variants allowing to develop products that can be applied not only to industrial buildings and corporate offices (so far privileged places for the application of these types of coverage) but also to private homes that go well with contemporary lines and take energy efficiency and autonomy, unique and advanced to the ecological level. E ‘to stress that this type of coverage also allows for easy application of photovoltaic panels and other installations for the production of renewable energy, making it even easier to install these plants in a certain period after completion of the house.

Panel Heaters For Energy Efficiency In Your Home

Panel heaters are very useful in cooler climates for year round use. They are the perfect solution for providing instant, controllable heat to areas which do not require constant heating all through the day.

Regardless of the size of the area, panel heaters are capable of heating bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens and other areas of your home efficiently. These rooms in your home might only require heating for short periods of the day. If a panel heater has a splashproof IP rating it can be used in a bathroom .The splash proof nature of a panel heater make it suitable for heating bathrooms in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Sleek and slim, these heaters are easy to install and use. However, there is more to panel heaters which make them an ideal electric heating system.
Panel heaters are well known as efficient electric heating systems, as these are designed to consume minimal power. You would end up saving huge amount of energy, which would certainly have a bearing on your utility bills.

The energy efficient panel heaters make use of the natural convection principle to ensure minimal consumption of electricity. Each panel heater is designed to be mounted on the wall, a few inches above the floor. The small air gap behind the heater draws in cold air from the floor. Since the gap is too small, the cold air gets heated very quickly and then rises out of the gap at the top of the panel. More cold air then rushes in to replace the heated air. The process continues and eliminates the need for a fan. This in turn increases the energy efficiency of the panel heater.
You can choose between fixed panel heaters or portable panel heaters. Low wattage portable panel heaters are economical to run as they consume less power; the power consumed by them is equivalent to that consumed by 4 incandescent light bulbs. So, when you think about energy efficient heating solution for your home, think panel heaters.

There are many brands selling fixed and portable panel heaters. Two names you may trust when it comes to energy efficient panel heating system are that of Dimplex and Creda. Dimplex electronic panel heaters are ultra compact wall heaters. These heaters feature cutting edge technology and provide rapid heat and accurate temperature control at the flick of a switch. There are many options available in fixed Dimplex panel heaters. You could choose the Dimplex Monterey designer style panel heater, Dimplex Girona glass fronted panel heater, Dimplex radiant electronic panel heater, Dimplex EPX panel convector heater, or Dimplex Skirting panel convector heater depending on your requirements.

Another equally popular brand is Creda. Creda Slimline Electronic panel heaters are designed to complement todays modern contemporary living. Ultimate in style and performance, Creda Contour 100 and Creda Newera range feature safety, comfort and flexible control. If you would like to buy Dimplex or Creda panel heaters online, you may visit The website is a one stop solution for all your electrical product needs.

Tips for Finding the Best Desk Fan

Whether you are in an office or at your personal desk, you would like to have a very simple way to cool off. Whether you are working on your term paper, working on a book, or you’re working on stuff you have to do for work, you’d like a little fan that is small enough to cool you off but is quiet enough so it doesnt bother anybody else around you. Most importantly, it must not take too much space, and it has to be non-obtrusive. The fan should cool you off without being noisy or burdensome.

If you’re in the market for a great desk fan, its a great idea to look for that desk fan online. If you’re going look for it offline you’re probably gonna waste a lot of gas, time, and effort hitting the pavement looking for the right desk fan. Its a very common scenario. You go to a house ware or department store looking for desk fan and they don’t have it and you go to another store down the road, and across town and they might have something that you may be interested in. It just takes too much time and effort and at the end of the day you dont walk off with the right desk fan.

Going online saves a lot of the hassle. Basically, with just a few keystrokes and a few clicks of your mouse you can scan many different stores, and guess what? No gasses involved, because they ship directly to your home, no mess, no hassle, no fuss. So here are some tips on how to look for a desk fan online.

Find the online retailer that has the huge amount of desk fan selections. Not all online retailers are the same. Some online retailers are niche retailers, they just focus on a particular brand or a particular type of desk fan. This may or may not work for you, so go through a long list of online retailers and chances are, you would find the right desk fan. The better the selection, the better it is for you, because no selection means no choice.

Regardless of which online retailer you go with for your desk fan, make sure that you pick the retailer who has the right customer support features. Number one, they have to have a generous return or refund system. Not all retailers are quite generous with their refunds. The truth is, retailers ship the wrong product, send a defective product, or in some way or form screw up your order. You need to have some form of protection against this particular contingency. So the more customer support features you find, the better.

Most importantly, the retailer must give you many ways of getting in touch with them. Insist on a retailer that has a phone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, wide range to get a hold of them. If the company just says email us, thats a red flag. Number three, shipping costs must be clear. The Achilles heel of many online retailers is the shipping cost. A lot of them are not very transparent about it, so it’s very clear that you have to look for a desk fan seller that clearly spells out their shipping cost. If they are quite vague or ambiguous about the shipping cost or you find out about the shipping cost once you click the checkout button, you might want to close the window and find a better retailer.

How Cooling Systems Can Improve Your Energy Efficiency

The business case for energy efficiency is a powerful one. At the end of 2010, the Carbon Trust reported that the average return on investment of energy-efficiency projects carried out in commercial premises is 48%. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that to invest in sustainability is to save money.

But while the UK government is supporting carbon reduction by introducing grants and green initiatives, these have done little more than skew people’s perception of what represents an energy saving. With heavy focus applied to insulation and heating, cooling strategies have been left rather more out in the cold.

The hot topic

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was announced in March 2011 to drastically alter the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes. Britain’s largest energy users are required by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to start lowering carbon emissions so will naturally be enticed by such offers. But incentives like the RHI fail to acknowledge that when a commercial building is designed, the crowds of people and electrical appliances that then occupy it are not taken into account.

Human bodies and devices such as computers, printers, coffee makers, toasters and refrigerators generate an exceptional amount of heat and cause room temperatures to dramatically increase. So, instead of heating, most commercial buildings need to bring temperatures down in order to maintain a comfortable environment and maintain staff productivity.

Office cooling, namely air conditioning, represents a huge energy burden, and can increase a building’s emissions by 100%, according to Carbon Trust research. So, to use it on a daily basis yet take a grant to invest in heating and insulation is a notion most people would surely see as perverse.

The reality of air conditioning is that, despite its widespread use, the energy it consumes often goes to waste. Realistically, without tackling this problem it is unlikely than any commercial building will be able to create a truly energy-efficient environment, no matter how much government grant money it is awarded.

Here comes the sun

As we all know, when the sun comes out in the UK, it is met with something resembling blind panic. Whether in the heights of summer or the depths of winter, sunshine causes heat to build up through unprotected glass windows. These windows then get thrown open to create a through draft, or in colder months, blinds will be snapped shut to block out the sun’s glare, meaning that lights have to be switched on. Either way, this behaviour ends up negating the effect of air conditioning, causing wildly fluctuating internal temperatures and eating up a large, unnecessary supply of heat and energy.

Such widespread and basic energy wastage should not be allowed to continue. Maintaining stable internal temperatures requires more than efficient heating and insulation; businesses need a cooling solution that minimises air conditioning, allows natural light to enter the building and helps to block out heat, rather than trap it within the building. One of the most simple and most cost-effective solutions that can deliver all of these benefits is one you may not have heard of: solar-control window film.

By rejecting up to 82% of solar energy, window film can reduce internal temperatures by up to ten degrees. This stops air conditioning units from being maxed out during sunny spells, meaning that internal temperatures are kept stable and extreme peaks in energy usage are reduced.

Cooling systems can therefore be run more efficiently and inexpensively, reducing a building’s cooling load by 30%, or roughly 5% of the energy bill. If window film were taken into consideration during the design stages of a new building, savings would be greater still as businesses would reduce cooling requirements from the outset; using smaller, cheaper air conditioning units that are easier to install and maintain. In plain English, this could mean thousands of pounds in savings to many UK firms.

Love in a cold climate

With budgets being squeezed and such significant carbon reductions to be made, the heat is on for UK businesses to find meaningful ways to lower emissions. It is the responsibility of our government to steer them in the right direction. Improved insulation and heating is, without doubt, an effective means of preventing energy waste, but without considering the likely effects of over-heating, businesses are in danger of missing the bigger picture.

While most UK businesses will currently look to insulation as their first port of call for energy savings, more vocal support for solutions such as window film by government schemes and incentives, would show these companies that such measures are just the tip of the iceberg.

How to Reduce Wastage of Energy and Cut Your Energy Bills

It is time you truly decide upon yourself to reduce wastage of energy and slash your energy bills as far as possible. A committed effort from your end will true make things easy and feasible for you as you initiate these energy saving measures. A few of them are enumerated below

Paperless bills and direct debit mode of payment of energy bills – You can avail your energy bills online which are indeed a good measure to reduce costs. In fact most energy suppliers encourage customers who sign up for paperless bills. Similarly by opting for monthly direct debit method which is the cheapest way to pay your energy bills you can enjoy additional discounts ads well. You could check out the energy tariffs and the energy supplier online who offer the same to their customers.

Track your energy consumption – make it a habit to track your energy consumption by taking regular meter readings. You also need to make sure you are not billed on the estimated meter readings but for the energy you have actually consumed. By keeping track of your meter readings you can monitor your energy consumption and take efforts to reduce it as well.

Compare suppliers – With energy suppliers vying for a larger market share, you should keep checking the energy prices as frequently as you can. In case you find cheaper energy tariff you could seriously contemplate a switch. Most energy suppliers offer a welcome bonus and discounts to customers who switch. This means you succeed in lowering your energy bills and enjoy discounts on account of the switch. The best way to compare supplies is to log on to the Internet and check out them out through comparison sites.

Undertake home improvement measures – You could check out the time tried and tested energy saving measures which make your home energy efficient. Make sure the new energy appliances you go for carry the energy saving logo and are recommended as well. In case you wish to go for home insulation, new boilers or renewable energy generation schemes you could check out for offers and grants available for the same. Your energy supplier could be your best guide in this initiative.

Glazing of Windows and Doors – Windows and doors can be glazed implying two sheets of glass can be used with a gap between them which act as a barrier in preventing hot air from escaping. At the same time light can through the glass enabling your home to stay lit with the available natural light during those winter months as well. Ideally you should go for B rated double glazing products which also enjoy accreditation from the Energy Saving Trust.

Install a condensing boiler – If you have an old non condensing boiler you could be wasting a considerable amount of energy for they are capable of converting just 60%of their fuel into heat. On the other the new condensing boiler are capable of converting almost 88% of the fuel into heat and also emit low carbon levels. In case you decide to replace your old condensing boiler make sure you go for an A-rated condensing boiler which is equipped with a plastic flue and lets out a visible steam when firing as against non condensing boilers which are equipped with a metal flue.

Install a renewable energy system – By installing a renewable energy system such as solar electricity, wind turbine, hydroelectricity and Micro combined heat and power. With government supporting these initiatives through Feed-in-tariffs (FIT), more and more people are encouraged to generate their renewable energy. The main financial benefits are receive extra payouts for excess energy sent out to the national grid, savings on your energy bills and a guarantee for a minimum payment from your energy supplier for the electric energy generated by a renewable source installed on your property.

In case you find all or even a few of these measures convenient for you to follow, do make a committed effort to implement them. If at all, you wish to pursue these initiatives in greater detail, you could always seek the assistance of your energy supplier who would be more than ready to help you in the same direction.

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Energy Efficiency And Solar Power Systems Help San Diego Homeowners Cut Energy Costs

When it comes to balancing comfort and savings, industry experts recommend combining cost-effective energy efficiency measures with smaller solar power systems. The powerful benefit of solar power systems to create electricity added to reducing energy loss not only saves money, but also costs San Diego homeowners far less in the long run.

Electricity bills have skyrocketed lately everywhere, and San Diego is no exception to the trend. The average electricity consumption rate for a single family detached home in San Diego County is about 675 kWh per month. In June of 1999, that meant an electric bill of $71 but now, thanks to rising costs, that same consumption will result in an electric bill of $150.

For many San Diego homeowners, solar power systems have provided at least some relief from astronomical electricity costs. While the systems require an upfront investment, most solar panels come with a substantial warranty and will produce electricity for up to 40 years at practically no operating cost. The savings on electric bills from a solar power system will cover the investment in 6-8 years for most homeowners, leaving them with free electricity for another 20-30 years.

For example, a homeowner with a $150 average electricity bill today can either buy a solar power system for $17,500 after state and federal incentives or pay $150,000 over the next 30 years for the same amount of electricity. Over the last five years, more than 8,000 homeowners in San Diego have installed solar power systems. New financing options, such as third-party Power Purchasing agreements, allow homeowners to install solar power systems with little or no money down.

While solar power systems yield moderate savings for San Diego homeowners, a combination of solar power and energy efficiency can lead to even better results. By focusing on basic adjustments like insulation, duct sealing and LED bulbs, consumers can drastically cut the amount of energy wasted on heating, cooling and lighting. All it takes is a custom energy audit to figure out the right efficiency improvements. San Diego homeowners can invest 10-40% less than what is needed to install an average solar power system into energy efficiency measures and smaller-scale solar installations and reap the benefits of bigger financial savings and better energy efficiency for many years to come.

Each home uses energy differently and there are no generic solutions that are cost effective for everyone. But with the help of an expert energy auditor, homeowners can identify the custom solution that combines the right energy efficiency measures and solar power system size.

For True Blackout – Think Window Shades, Not Blinds

First off, just what is “blackout?” When it comes to window treatments, blackout means two things, one of which is more important than the other and the focus of this article. In the most basic sense, blackout means that the material used in the construction of a window treatments is totally opaque i.e., no light is transmitted through the fabric. The second refers to what is known as “blackout experience.” It is not enough that the material/fabric blocks light, it is also how the window treatments fits within your window casing. The best blackout experience includes the combination of an opaque window treatment (more on this later) that is made to the exact specifications (made to measure) of your window casing. Furthermore, it is important that the window treatment be mounted on the inside of your window (within the window casing), not outside mounted (like drapes which are hung over the window). Having a window treatment custom made to fit your window, and mounted on the inside minimizes the light gaps between the window treatment and the window casing. This combination, inside mounted with the right blackout window treatment, will block about 99% of all incoming light – thus proving a blackout experience.

The best blackout experience is achieved with window shades, not blinds. A lot of people are searching for blackout blinds, this is because most people call all window treatments, “blinds.” Technically a window blind has slats (think mini blinds) or vanes (think vertical blinds). Window blinds do not make the best blackout window treatments. Blinds have too many light gaps between all of those slats or vanes to be good at blocking light.

The best blackout window treatments are window shades. And the best of these are, blackout cellular shades, blackout roman shades and blackout woven wood shades. Blackout cellular shades are made with opaque fabrics, the last two come with a blackout liner. These three window shades, when custom ordered, will fit tight enough within your window frame to have almost no light gaps. As an added benefit, these three window shades will also provide additional insulation to your windows which will help lower heating and cooling bills. This is especially true with cellular shades which are the best insulating window treatment, period.

A last note on cellular shades from the standpoint of energy efficiency is that they can be purchased in single cell or double cell, the latter offering more insulation. There is one manufacturer of triple cell cellular shades (Hunter Douglas) but Hunter Douglas is no longer selling their products online, so they are fairly hard to find anymore – and also a lot more expensive if you have to buy from one of their signature stores.

Having “true” blackout window shades for bedrooms is kind of a no-brainer and it is of course one of their main applications. It is really nice to be able to close the shade and it’s dark. Think of sleeping in till “whenever” and your room is still dark though the sun is high in the sky. Blackout shades are also very popular for home theaters, media rooms and nurseries.