News from Don & Jane Hammer – April 24, 2015

Cheap LED bulbs have arrived!!! LED light bulbs have always been extremely efficient to operate but, pretty outrageous to purchase, making the return on investment very low. Philips has put that to a screeching halt with the introduction of their new Philips Everyday 8.5 watt LED (a 60 watt equivalent at 800 lumens). They are priced at $4.97 each at major retailers. The estimated annual energy cost is just $1.02. That is 85% less than the annual cost to operate a 60 watt incandescent bulb. … [Read more...]

April 3, 2015 – An Interesting Story in the World of Cars

An Interesting story for the automotive world reached a climax last month. We often hear of “barn finds” - the proverbial classic car buried in a barn for years only to be discovered and brought back to life. This one was the mother lode of barn finds. The Baillon Collection was hidden away for over 50 years. A French industrialist collected rare cars for an eventual museum. He fell on hard times and sold off about 40 percent of the collection then he died and the remaining collection went … [Read more...]

Some Retirement Surprises – March 20, 2015

Some recent studies have busted some of the myths about retiree preferences. Although 51% of retirees will downsize their homes, fully 30% plan to move to larger homes to accommodate family and guests. 64% of retirees will move at least once during retirement and the highest percentage of those who change locations will move to the Mountain States region (which includes Arizona). According to the research done in a Merrill Lynch Retirement Study (see the link below), fully 67% prefer to shun … [Read more...]

Grid Bike Program Update – March 13, 2015

Hey, remember the post I did about the Phoenix Grid Bike Share program? It seems that is off to a roaring start. After 3 months in operation, it has nearly tripled in size to 300 bikes, almost doubled the initial 27 stations and now has 2250 members and growing. By next quarters end, they plan to expand to 500 bicycles, 50 stations and now, Tempe and Mesa are jumping on board. Visit GridBikes.com for some details and this article has more information - … [Read more...]

Changes to the Arizona Property Tax System – March 6, 2015

An interesting article in The Republic / azcentral.com by Catherine Reagor details the upcoming changes to the Arizona property tax procedures. There was previously a built in 18 month time lag between property valuation and tax billing to allow time for property owners to appeal their valuations. House Bill 2253 calls for shortening that time lag to 45 or 60 days. The net effect will be to align tax valuations more closely with market values but, will still reflect a conservative valuation … [Read more...]

Interesting News – February 20, 2015

Tesla Motors To Produce a Home Battery More interesting developments. According to Bloomberg Business, Elon Musk says that, “We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon.” Tesla already offers residential energy-storage units to select customers through SolarCity Corp, the solar-power company that lists Musk as it’s chairman and biggest shareholder. Musk said, “We have the design done and it should … [Read more...]

Feb. 13, 2015 – How about 3-D printed bricks for cooling?

I ran into a novel idea that peaked my interest and I thought you might appreciate it, too. The “Cool Brick” is developed by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello as a masonry block and an alternative (or supplement to) air conditioning. They use a 3-D printer to lay up clay mixed with organic matter. When the brick is fired, the organic matter burns off leaving little micropores. As you pour or spray water onto the surface, these holes suck up and hold water through capillary action. It is … [Read more...]

Worldwide Solar Costs to Decline Sharply – Feb. 6, 2015

Worldwide Solar Costs to Decline Sharply Several articles and research reports have recently predicted that installed costs of solar modules will be declining about 40% over the next two years. Average cost of rooftop installations in 2014 was about $2.90 per watt and is expected to reach $1.77 per watt by 2017. Total module costs of the leading Chinese solar companies have decreased from around $1.31 per watt in 2011 to about $.50 per watt in 2014 primarily due the reductions in the cost of … [Read more...]

Grid Bike Share Program

The City of Phoenix has initiated what they are calling a “Grid Bike Share”. They started out with over 100 distinctive lime green bicycles at 27 stations around the city and are continuing to expand toward 500 bikes in 50 locations. To access one of the bikes, you may pay-as-you-go or you can purchase a membership. If you become a member before January 31, you can get 20 percent off using the promotion code - GRID31633. The pay-as-you-go charges are $5 per hour, prorated to the minute. … [Read more...]

More Energy News – January 23, 2015

Now, here is an interesting development on the energy generation front. Certainly interesting if not downright exciting. The first hybrid solar-wind generating station is getting closer to reality in San Luis, Arizona. The technology is interesting, the promise of abundant, clean and economical energy is exciting. The pragmatic side is that there is real progress being made with the purchase of 650 acres and a development agreement being reached with the city government. The plant is … [Read more...]