Energy Conservation

Save Money, Be Energy Efficient!

Did you know that a typical American family spends nearly $2,000 per year on their home energy bills? With much of that money, however, is wasted on air leaks and drafts- accoring to Here’s a new blog post courtesy of the site!


With fall right around the corner — and cooler temperatures on their way — we are relaunching our website with fresh updates that will help you and your family save money by saving energy.

Our Energy Saver site is well known for practical tips and advice on making homes more energy efficient, but we’re adding a new feature called “Savings Projects” — articles with easy, step-by-step, do-it-yourself instructions to home energy efficiency improvements that will save you money. The first two projects, which focus on caulking and weatherstripping, explain how to seal air leaks around windows and door frames, with information on the expected costs and the time needed to complete each project. Each one will provide visitors to the site with low-cost ways to lower their energy bills.

Energy Saver Tips, one of the site’s most popular features, offers practical ideas for reducing household energy consumption — such as using a programmable thermostat to reduce heating and cooling bills or upgrading light bulbs to save money. The site also provides information about local tax credits, rebates and energy efficiency financing that may be available in your community. 

As part of this upgrade, we’ve also incorporated into our platform, which will give it more visibility and make it easier to access important Energy Saver content from throughout the agency’s website. 

The bottom line is this: saving energy saves you money. In many cases, families can cut their energy bills by as much as 20 or 30 percent by making energy efficiency upgrades like the ones found on And don’t forget to bookmark the site, because we’ll continue to add new “Savings Projects” and other valuable information that will help you and your family save money by saving energy.

Read more at the conversation on Facebook— You can also connect with us on Twitter at 


EnergySavers- Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home

Saving money, do-it-yourself tips, and energy information are things always on people’s minds. The U.S. Department of Energy has compiled a user-friendly guide to being energy efficient and in turn, allowing you to reap the monetary and lifestyle benefits in the process.

Right in your own home, you have the power to save money and energy – good for your wallet and for the environment. This guide shows you how easy it is to cut your energy use at home and also on the road. The easy, practical solutions for saving energy include tips you can use today—from the roof and landscaping to appliances and lights.

Whether it’s home energy and money savings tips on things such as insulation, weatherization, heating, cooling, water heating, energy efficient windows, landscaping, lighting, and energy efficient appliances, they’re all here assembled for your use.

Take a look, put it in action, get the family involved, take these tips to the classroom, and let us know which tips worked the best for you!

Download EnergySavers – Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home: and find even more information about saving money and energy at home by visiting

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Vampire Energy – Ah, Ah, Ah

Beware! Vampire energy could be lurking behind every corner in your house. You might ask yourself “What is vampire energy and how can I protect myself?”

Vampire energy is electrical power used by appliances and equipment while switched off or not performing their primary function, often waiting to be activated. This loss of energy is known as standby or vampire energy, it’s fairly small but increasing in households across the globe.

Modern appliances and electronic devices that have lights or digital displays receive signals continuously and act like vampires sucking energy even when they are turned off!

Listed are a few simple things you can do at home to cut down on vampire energy.

  • unplug your appliances and portable chargers when not in use
  • use a power strip for things like your computer, fax machine and printer and then turn the power strip off.
  • Purchase appliances that use less energy, look for the Energy Star labels

Some of the biggest culprits that waste energy in our homes are the adapters that come with rechargeable or battery-powered devices such as cordless phones, cell phones, digital cameras, music players, and power tools. They can draw power when plugged in whether the device is fully charged or connected.

By doing these simple tasks at home, you can save energy, save money, and take a bite out of vampire energy!

Learn more ways to save energy!

Participate in America’s Home Energy Education Challenge!

Guest Author – Matthew Maguire Inman, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, United States Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

It’s that time again: Back to school season is officially here! Time for students to prepare for the new experiences and challenges that they will encounter throughout the upcoming school year.

One such challenge—from the Department of Energy in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association—aims to tap into the creativity and enthusiasm of students across the country.

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is designed to educate students in grades 3-8 about the benefits of energy efficiency, and motivate them to encourage their families and communities to put energy and money-saving ideas learned in the classroom into action at home.

“This exciting competition is designed to inspire the next generation of energy leaders to take simple and affordable steps today that will save money and get them thinking about energy issues at an early age,” said Energy Secretary Chu.

There are two ways for teachers, students and families to participate: The first is through the Home Energy Challenge and the second is through the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage learning about science and energy with the added benefit of saving money by saving energy. The Home Energy Challenge encourages students to work with their families to reduce home energy use—monitoring energy savings over a three-month period. Schools with the highest number of points earned for reducing household energy usage, student participation, creativity and overall quality of their local energy savings program qualify for awards.

The Energy Fitness Award is a separate individualized educational challenge scheduled to begin September 20, 2011. Modeled after the President’s Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award encourages students to complete specific tasks, such as interpreting a home energy bill and learning how to conduct a home energy assessment, and then demonstrate their learning and proficiency. The Energy Fitness Award will challenge students to become smart energy users. Each student who successfully completes the components of the Energy Fitness Award will receive an Energy Fitness Badge.

Participating schools and classrooms, as well as Home School networks, will compete within 11 regions for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels. Official registration for the Home Energy Education Challenge began August 15, and ends on October 7, 2011. Students are encouraged to register with their teachers by September 30, 2011 to take advantage of the full energy savings period.

For more information, visit the Home Energy Education Challenge website. And for more on how saving energy saves you money, visit the Energy Savers and Kids Saving Energy pages. Also, visit for tips on how you can save more energy at home!

The Ambassadors for Pakistan have done it again!

For the second year in a row, the “Ambassadors for Pakistan” have made several visits in their community presenting energy awareness and making an impact! The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) NED University Student Chapter in Karachi, Pakistan, conducted five Energy4me presentations this year in secondary schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan.

The student-run program promotes SPE and educates the surrounding schools about the oil and gas industry and the challenges facing it today.

The schools they visited

  1. Abdullah Government College
  2. The Fahim’s A-Levels School System
  3. CharterHouse Public School
  4. A.M.S.B Al-Madrast-us-Saifyat-ul-Burhaniya
  5. Jinnah University For Women

Energy4me and SPE would like to express our thanks to the commitment and continued efforts of this student chapter!

Ambassadors for Pakistan Team (2009-present)

  • Hernan Buijs- SPE Student Development Committee Officer (mentor, motivator, and visit sponsor)
  • M Turab Mehdi – Ambassadors for Pakistan – Team Executive Head & Planner
  • Tabinda Saeed – HR Manager
  • Syeda Hasan- Team Manager

New presenters added this year.

  • Sidra Chughtai – Presenter
  • Omer Ashan – Presenter
  • Shahzeb Barber – Presenter
  • Eijaz Danish – Presenter
  • Mufaddal Murtaza – Presenter

Energy4me encourages young industry leaders to get involved in their community by giving classroom presentations or holding educational outreach programs like the SPE NED student chapter. These presentations make a huge impact and inspire future generations!

Share with us your contributions and outreach efforts in your community that you are already making with Energy4me and email us at or read more on how you can get involved in your community!

Again, thank you to the SPE NED University Student Chapter on your continued education outreach efforts in Pakistan!

Energy Education Materials are a Hit!

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)

Energy4Me materials developed in partnership with NEED are a huge hit and will be used by NEED’s trainers throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

Throughout the year, The NEED Project ( and Energy4me, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) energy education program, work together on many energy education activities including the Teacher and Student Workshop at the Offshore Technology Conference and the Teacher and Student Workshop at SPE’s ATCE.  Each summer though, NEED’s energy programs get bigger and faster paced with so many kids and teachers to reach in only a few short weeks.  This June and July were no exception with over 550 kids and teachers in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 31st Annual NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement.  This event recognizes school groups who commit to learning about energy and to sharing their knowledge with their peers, their teachers and their communities.  Students submit portfolios of  their energy programming in April for review at the state and national level, and the winning schools come spend 4 days in the Nation’s Capital sharing their energy work, touring our monuments and museums, and meeting with elected and appointed officials.

On a sleepy Sunday morning during the conference – the kids are up early and working on hands-on activities featuring the lessons provided by Energy4Me and some lessons that NEED and Energy4Me created together.  The students are learning about porosity and permeability, and the work needed to bring oil and natural gas to market.  They learn about transportation efficiency too and consider ways to make the vehicles of tomorrow and their own driving habits more efficient too.  The activities from Energy4Me are engaging, fun, and provide students with the background they need to really understand the oil and natural gas resources we use each day.  They leave with big smiles, new friends, and new activities to take home to their communities and share.

As soon as the Youth Awards wraps up, NEED’s training team heads out to the NEED National Energy Conference for Educators.  This year’s conference in Denver, Colorado hosted 150 educators from across the country and from Thailand and the Saipan.  For a week, the educators were like students at summer camp – learning about each other and about energy so they could return to their classrooms and teach energy with excitement and fun.  The Energy4Me activities and the presentation resources allow students and teachers alike to look more deeply into oil and natural gas development and use.  This year’s opening speaker was Don McClure, Vice President for Community Relations, Legal and Finance at EnCana, one of America’s largest natural gas producers.  Don’s extensive background in energy provided teachers with a look at how diverse the industry is, the number of jobs available for all types of students, and the challenges and opportunities that abound in developing natural gas in America.  In the days that followed, teachers learned about density, drilling technologies, properties of oil and natural gas and are prepared to take the lessons home and open up the oil and natural gas world to their students.

But that’s not all.  After Denver, the team packed up and traveled to La Quinta, California for NEED’s Facilitator Training Conference.  This conference is hosted every few years and brings together teachers, NEED’s training staff, and energy professionals from many companies and  agencies to sharpen their facilitation skills, to train on new content and new materials, and to learn how to deliver energy curriculum and training to teachers in NEED’s 600+ energy trainings each year.  This year’s group of 40 trainers rolled up their sleeves and researched and presented about America’s leading energy sources, they debated the advantages and disadvantages of the energy sources we use today, and they developed methods to share energy information with teachers and students nationwide. The It is a busy (but fun!) summer and together with SPE, NEED is reaching thousands of teachers and students each year.  As America’s teachers head back to school this month, let’s take a minute to thank them and to encourage them to teach about energy as often as possible in class!

For the 2011-2012 NEED curriculum guides or to register for a NEED workshop near you visit!


Is there really such a thing as a clean energy source?

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)

In my work, I am often asked if there is really any such thing as clean energy.  Every day there is a news story, a press release from a company or government agency talking about clean energy.  Even President Obama talked about clean energy in the 2011 State of the Union Speech.  In the 600 or so workshops the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) provides for teachers each year, we field constant questions about what clean energy is and how can we define it. 

Truthfully, energy is complex.  Energy is complicated.  But there are some things about energy that are simple.  Energy cannot be created nor destroyed.  It can be transformed.  It is in that transformation that we harness the energy we use to heat and cool our homes, to generate electricity to power our houses, apartment buildings, office buildings, and factories, and to fuel our vehicles to move products and ourselves from place to place.  All of the energy we use requires that transformation to make it do work.  That’s what energy is – the ability to do work. 

The use of energy requires us to make some pretty complicated decisions.  For over 20 years, my experience with NEED and the people with whom we work has shown me that although some energy decisions may seem to be simple, they can be very complex.  Each decision must take into account economic, environmental, public perception and, often, available technologies and capabilities.  With all of this as background, is it really possible to say that there is a perfectly clean energy source?  Perhaps it is possible to say that an energy source is CLEANER than another, but saying that any energy source is clean really doesn’t tell the full story.  All energy sources have advantages and disadvantages.  That is why energy decisions require a deep understanding of energy. 

Development of oil and natural gas requires drilling into the earth on land, or below our oceans, refining and processing the oil and gas, and moving the resulting products to markets to use them. (pipeline, tanker truck, tanker ship, barge and more)  When we use oil and natural gas we burn it releasing carbon dioxide and other emissions.  Developing wind requires decisions on land use, the mining and development of materials to build wind turbines, the trucking and shipping of the components (the tower, nacelles, blades) to the site for installation and the running of power lines to be able to move the electricity generated from the wind to market.  Solar requires tools to capture the radiant and thermal energy. Photovoltaic cells are made from mined materials that must be manufactured into the solar cells we see on our houses, road-side signage, and elsewhere.  Large-scale solar takes a lot of land to produce large amounts of electricity.  Then power lines must be put in place to move that electricity too.

I often hear representatives of one energy source saying how different their energy source is from others.  In reality, some of the fundamentals are the same.  We have to move the energy we need to where we need it, electricity over power lines (needed equipment to harness the wind or the sun) or pipelines to move oil and natural gas.  That movement has an impact on the environment too.  When wind developers plan a wind farm, they often run into the same challenges that oil and gas developers deal with and that’s how best to use the land and to return it to as close to its original state as possible.  When native species of plants and animals are considered, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, coal, uranium, oil and natural gas, all can have an impact on local plants and animals.  So, all decisions have to take that impact into consideration during the planning process. 

Certainly, some energy sources do not have to be mined or drilled for, but the equipment needed to harness them comes from mined and drilled resources.   Some energy sources really are better for certain needs like bringing more work per unit of energy than others.  Some sources require us to overhaul our energy infrastructure like the power grid and pipelines or even the cars we choose and how we power them.  Some require us to find plenty of land to install the equipment and then the power lines to move the electricity to where we need it. 

Making a clean energy decision is making the choice, when possible, to use less energy by conserving it and being more efficient.    When you choose to turn the lights off when you leave the room, walk or carpool instead of driving alone, you choose to make the cleanest energy decision possible.  Energy – how we produce it, use it, and conserve it are based on our personal energy decisions. 

 If students in today’s classrooms can understand two things it would be, one, that all energy sources have advantages and disadvantages and that a specific energy need may be best met by one specific energy source and, two, that the decision making process requires energy knowledge, an understanding of technological capabilities, and the willingness to always look for a better way, a cleaner way, to meet our energy needs.

Learn more about energy and energy sources.

Santa Maria students place in the Santa Barbara County Science Fair!

Guest Authors – By Gayle Pratt and Kevin Yung, Santa Maria Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

Since 2009, The Central Coast Education Collaborative – a project of the Santa Maria Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Oil & Gas Industry – has partnered with local high schools to provide 4-8 students with a five-week summer engineering internship. The purpose of the internship is to engage and provide students with a contextual view of how engineering is used to develop innovative solutions for “real world” problems.  SPE members of the Santa Maria Section and professionals within the Oil & Gas Industry mentor the students on a daily basis throughout the duration of the project.

In 2010, the engineering experience was shared with the students by having them design, build and test an ocean wave energy extraction device.  Secondarily, the students were asked to consider the potential environmental impact of placing the device into service.  Field testing was conducted at the Venoco Pier in Carpinteria, California used to support their offshore platforms.  Guest speakers provided the students with context for the project including:  “Alphabet Soup – The Regulatory Agencies, Codes and Permitting”.  The students were also challenged to research the field of wave energy and the market viability of their device using The Marine & Hydrokinetic Technology Database housed on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.  The final stage of the internship required the students to prepare a presentation summarizing their project.  The students made the presentation at a number of venues – including SPE Santa Maria functions, school board meetings, energy-related conferences and established academic competitions.

The work of the students and support of the members of the Santa Maria Section of Society of Petroleum Engineers was well documented in 3 newspaper articles – most recently a 3rd place victory and a purse of $250.00 at the Santa Barbara County Science Fair.

Plans are already underway for the 2011 internship which includes expansion of students, mentors and projects as well as the opportunity for one team to secure college scholarships.

Learn more about this project or a career in engineering!

SPE Pittsburgh Petroleum Section Participating in Engineers Week at Carnegie Science Center

Guest Author – By Donna Marcotte, SPE Pittsburgh Petroleum Section, Board Member

Student and professional members from the Pittsburgh Petroleum Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will present demonstrations, exhibits, and hands-on activities at the Carnegie Science Center Engineers Week event on February 18 and 19.

SPE Pittsburgh has been participating in this event for more than 10 years and is a contributing sponsor this year.

The SPE booth will feature petroleum engineering students from Pennsylvania State University (PSU), the SPE student chapter affiliate of the Pittsburgh professional section. The PSU SPE members will engage Pittsburgh area students in various activities and exhibits, developed by the students and contributed by various SPE Pittsburgh members and companies.

Booth activities will include various materials, samples, experiments and games—with lots of prizes and give-ways. Professional SPE members from the greater Pittsburgh area will also be on hand to help students with the materials and answer questions.

Companies contributing to the success of this event include: Baker Hughes, Burnett Oil, Centric Performance, EKT Interactive, EQT, EXCO Resources, Range Resources, Schlumberger, and Superior Well Services.

This year’s co-chairs for the SPE Pittsburgh booth are area residents and SPE members, Melissa Ramirez, a petroleum engineer at EXCO Resources, Inc. and Bill Thomas, a consultant with Centric Performance, LLC and member of the Marcellus Resource Group.

“This industry offers so much opportunity for anyone interested in any kind of engineering or earth science, such as geology,” explains Ramirez, also a PSU graduate. “It’s a chance to contribute daily to solving the world’s energy problems.”

“We want to get the word out to area students, so they can get the right education and take advantage of these exciting career opportunities, which are now right in their own backyards,” states Thomas.

Petroleum Industry Full Circle in Pennsylvania

Many credit Titusville, Pa., just north of Pittsburgh, as the birthplace of the modern oil and gas industry, when in 1859 Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well. Oil production in Pennsylvania peaked in the early 20th century, and oil and gas production has continued over the years without a lot of fanfare. Since 2005, however, the industry has seen resurgence in the area with exploration and development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, a vast geological formation that spans six states, including a large portion of Pennsylvania.

New technologies—developed and deployed by engineers from many different disciplines—have made extracting natural gas from shale technologically and economically feasible. Many experts believe that the Marcellus Shale will provide a huge natural gas source for Northeast U.S. markets and a vital boost to the local economy in increased tax revenue, business activity, and good-paying jobs.

About Engineers Week

The Engineers Week event at the Carnegie Science Center celebrates engineering achievements and provides an opportunity to reach out to students K-12th grade and introduce them to exciting careers in engineering.

For more information about the Carnegie Science Center Engineers Week event, visit their website at

For more information about Engineers Week, visit the National Engineers Week Foundation website at

About SPE

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a not-for-profit professional association whose members are engaged in energy resources development and production. SPE serves 88,000-plus members in 118 countries worldwide. SPE is a key resource for technical knowledge related to the oil and gas exploration and production industry and provides services through its publications, conferences, workshops, forums, and website. Learn more about SPE and its energy education program Energy4me.

With more than 700 professional and student members throughout Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Petroleum Section is one of the many affiliated sections and chapters of SPE International, which is headquartered in Richardson, Texas.

One of the primary roles of SPE and the local section is to raise and award scholarships for college students. This year, SPE Pittsburgh will award $15,000 in scholarships to area students. For more information about SPE Pittsburgh, visit

Why would students want to become an engineer?

Guest Author – Marva Morrow, Energy Education Consultant

As students are moving from the classroom to the real world, the biggest question is, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  Becoming an engineer might be the right career for you if you want to have a career that’s exciting, flexible, and where you can really make a difference!

Did you know that engineering is one of the few fields where you can earn a good salary after only four years of college? In the US, engineers’ starting salary can range from USD 52,048 – USD 83,121 a year depending on which type of engineering field you pursue, according to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Engineering salaries have been higher than average salaries for the last 40 years and according to the US Department of Labor, engineers starting salaries are among the highest of all college graduates.

Top-Paid Majors for 2009-10 Bachelor’s Degree Graduates (Source: NACE)

Major Average Salary Offer
Petroleum Engineer USD 77,278
Chemical Engineer USD 64,889
Mining and Mineral Engineer USD 63,207
Computer Science USD 60,473
Computer Engineering USD 60,396

Engineers are well-paid globally, though salaries will vary depending on the country. For example, typical starting salaries for petroleum engineers in the UK range from £29,000 – £36,500, according to salary data collected August 2009 (USD 36,000-USD 49,000). The Society of Petroleum Engineers has just published its 2010 salary survey that shows salaries based on years of experience in different parts of the world.

Besides earning a great salary, engineers can choose to work in the field or in the office. In certain industries, some engineers travel around the world working from one site to another. Since science and technology are constantly advancing, there will always be new problems to solve making a career as an engineer always exciting! Engineers are constantly challenged to “think outside of the box” and to explore new possibilities, making our lives better.

Science and technology are the gateway to tomorrow and someone will be engineering it. WHY NOT YOU!

Learn more about engineering careers.