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National Grid offers tips on reducing energy consumption during summer

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WATERTOWN — National Grid is reminding customers of ways to reduce energy consumption during the summer months.

National Grid issued a news release on Tuesday about free and low-cost methods of reducing energy consumption when the weather is hot.

Closing window drapes and blinds during the day can block the sun’s light and heat into homes, according to National Grid. Running fans along with air conditioning units creates a windchill effect by distributing and circulating cold air throughout a room. Changing or cleaning the reusable filter in your air conditioner can improve air flow and efficiency.

National Grid also offers a Budget Billing Plan, in which customers pay a monthly amount based on their average energy usage. This spreads the cost out to provide a predictable monthly payment amount, according to National Grid.

“We periodically review accounts and adjust payment amounts to keep customers on track if their usage increases or decreases,” the news release said. “Participation is free of charge and can be discontinued at any time without penalty.”

Before it gets too hot, National Grid has a few tips.

— Have your central air conditioner checked. Just like you have your furnace serviced and cleaned each fall, you should have your central air conditioning system checked. Professionals will perform a comprehensive examination on your outside condenser and inside fan to ensure your system is working at peak efficiency.

— Replace your air conditioner’s air filter. Dirty air filters on central and room air conditioning systems can choke off the flow of air to your home’s ventilation system. Changing your filter as directed by the manufacturer not only permits air to flow freely, it helps your air conditioning run more efficiently.

— Vacuum your air intake vents and keep them clear. Dust builds up on your home’s air returns, and a couple of minutes with a vacuum can keep the air flow moving. Move toys, furniture and other objects away from the intake vent to keep air moving.

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Scientists Power a Computer Using Only Algae and Daylight to Make the Electricity

in Technology 108 views

Researchers have used a widespread species of blue-green algae to power a microprocessor continuously for a year—and counting—using nothing but ambient light and water.

Their system has potential as a reliable and renewable way to power small devices.

Comparable in size to an AA battery, the system contains a type of non-toxic algae called Synechocystis that naturally harvests energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The tiny electrical current this generates then interacts with an aluminium electrode and is used to power a microprocessor.

The system is made of common, inexpensive, and largely recyclable materials. This means it could easily be replicated hundreds of thousands of times to power large numbers of small devices as part of the Internet of Things.

The researchers say it is likely to be most useful in off-grid situations or remote locations, where small amounts of power can be very beneficial.

“The growing Internet of Things needs an increasing amount of power, and we think this will have to come from systems that can generate energy, rather than simply store it like batteries,” said Professor Christopher Howe in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry, joint senior author of the paper.

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