Energy-efficiency Electronics Hardware A bridge Fuel To The Future

Demand for energy continues to be a major topic around the world. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro power are increasingly being utilized to provide for that demand. Many States have even recently passed laws raising the minimum renewable usage cap that utility companies must implement into their overall supply. But … we still require escalating amounts of energy for agriculture, industry, and to heat our homes and offices. Emerging as a “bridge fuel” to clean energy and renewable resources, the power electronics industry is poised to span that gap with hardware solutions needed to build intelligent power systems.

The Obama administration plans to spend billions of dollars on power conservation and sustainable energy projects as part of a $787 billion stimulus package which is has focused on energy efficiency. Andrew Fanara, of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program has famously said. “Energy efficiency is the bridge fuel we must build on and must invest in” he stresses “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest way to act.”

In part, the administration’s strategy is to use improved energy efficiency as a method of buying time to invest in and explore emerging and clean energy options. With initiatives like the smart power grid gaining traction, the power electronics hardware that makes it all work and its new designs aimed at increasing energy efficiency will be at the core of the plan.

Already, there is huge demand for power efficiency by consumers found an industry survey. And, consumers are willingly paying a premium for electronic hardware that delivers energy efficiency. This trend anticipates a growing number of electronic hardware devices will be utilized, which lowers costs and drives improved energy efficiency. Measured in dollars per watt this high volume of hardware deployment forecasts the efficiency for power electronics may drop to as low as 12 cents per watt by 2013.

The focal point of “smart power” systems and a national smart energy grid has clearly been on the hardware side of the equation. To be successful, in the not to distant future, engineers will also make use of the intelligence provided by software so that the hardware components communicate most effectively to accomplish maximum reduction of power consumption. The know-how exists now for this integrated software, but it is still far from widespread.

Power Profiling is a valuable energy-efficiency tool that granularly identifies the power consumed specifically by HVAC, appliances, networks, lighting etc. and communicates this information to users. A user profile is developed by use of proprietary algorithms that calculate information regarding a structure’s overall usage, and several data points such as the time of day and its energy consumption history.

The purpose of power profiling is to enable users to know exactly what activities or systems are consuming the most power, including how much, and how that consumption is affected by actions they take. Most HVAC and appliances are not yet enabled so numerous hardware metering devices are used throughout the structure, at least an adequate number to demonstrate to the user what the largest power users are and how to limit consumption.

Home Area Networks (HAN) are increasingly communicating with utilities in addition to the traditional media centers and computers. Both utilities and consumer electronics companies are offering and assortment of hardware solutions with methods of pre-programming and remotely controlling home systems such as water usage, heating & cooling, and appliances. With the arrival of “smart” appliances and new wireless network protocols designed specifically for energy-efficiency, many of these hardware solutions communicate to users and utilities over one or more wireless systems.

ZWave for media and home automation

ZigBee chosen by utility companies because of it’s secure protocol, and

EnOcean a European self-powered energy harvesting technology that powers devices without the use of batteries.

Hardware using these wireless protocols can all be controlled from a single point building management system, or a homeowner’s computer. Even though these technologies are still on the leading edge, trends indicates they are very near to wide-scale adoption, enabling buildings to connect to smart grid applications that exponentially increase energy-efficiency.

Advances in alternative energy sources have provided greener ways of producing electricity and the burgeoning energy-efficiency industry is providing a plethora of energy saving hardware devices to help users re-tool . We can reduce energy consumption with these advances and make strides toward energy independence. Consider what T. Boone Pickens says “In additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations, we spent $475 billion on foreign oil in 2008 alone. That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to foreign nations, and it will continue to drain the life from our economy for as long as we fail to stop the bleeding.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

“By investing in renewable energy and conservation, we can create millions of new jobs. Developing new alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation; securing our economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping more money at home to pay for the whole thing.”

Moving forward with renewables is a must, but it is also a documented fact that this increased capacity will not be enough to meet upcoming demands and provide energy independence. The tremendous strides being made in energy efficiency technologies are to help stem the tide, bridging the gap.

Metal Sunscreen Fabrication Options To Enhance Your Commercial Building

Looking for ways to set your building apart? What if those enhancements could even save you money? Metal sunscreens not only add an element of design to any building facade, they also add many benefits to your building that may result in tremendous financial savings. They help reduce heat, glare and overall energy costs. They provide energy savings by minimizing direct solar gain through windows (requires less costly glazing) and reducing peak electricity demand. Studies also show that buildings utilizing these products increase worker productivity, lowers absenteeism and increases employee comfort. West Coast Metal Systems designs, fabricates, and ships quality horizontal and vertical metal sunscreens to anywhere in the western United States. We can also provide a variety of outrigger, blade, and attachment options for your unique aesthetic design. With in-house design and fabrication, we can produce custom products, at a fair price and deliver them in a fraction of the time of other fabricators.

Blades

Metal sunscreens are available with a variety of different blade options including flat, tube, ovals, round, square, crescent, tear-drop, perforated, rectangles, zee shape and “C” shape. Depending on the look and functionality you desire, West Coast Metal Systems can suggest a blade shape, size, and design appropriate for your project. With in-house design and fabrication, West Coast can create custom products at a fraction of the time and cost of other industry players.

Attachment Options

Metal sunscreens can attach to a variety of materials including wood structures, steel and masonry. Typical attachment options include expansion anchors through bolts, tapped and thread cutting fasteners as well as welded connections. West Coast Metal Systems will help you select the right attachment option for your sunscreen.

Fabrication Options

The metal sunscreen fabrication options at West Coast Metal Systems are virtually endless. West Coast can produce 12 inch to 10 foot cantilevers with rectangular and curved options in a wide variety of depths and sizes. From color and size to style and design, West Coast will provide you variety of fabrication options unmatched by anyone in the industry.

Design Customization

West Coasts metal sunscreens come with a variety of color and design customization options. West Coast can supply powder coating, kynar and anodize options to match whatever adjacent materials are required. West Coast Metal Systems provides limitless design customization options to meet all your sunscreen needs.

According to a 2007 D.O.E. Sun Control Study, Sunscreens can save up to 22% in total energy costs. Metal sunscreens make a functional and attractive addition to any building or residence and can save you money down the road. West Coast Metal Systems offers a wide range of horizontal and vertical sunscreens custom fitted for your design needs that can positively impact the energy efficiency and LEED classification of any building. West Coasts metal sunscreens are available in any size, color/finish blade, or mounting option. All sunscreens are fully customizable and engineered for each project. Since all sunscreens are designed and fabricated in house, West Coast Metal Systems offers the best lead times in the industry. No job is too large or too small. West Coast can cover all your metal sunscreen needs.

Architectural metal offers many benefits to your building and with so many quality products on the market, why not enhance its appearance for many years to come? West Coast Metal Systems is a one-stop shop for all your architectural metal needs. From rainscreen, flush caulk joint, dry seal, and composite metal panel infill systems to any type of sunscreen possible, West Coast Metal Systems can design, fabricate, and ship any product to your building, oftentimes at a fraction of the cost and time of other companies.

The Mountain Biking Benefits Of Clipless Pedals

If you’re a mountain biking and are riding in sneakers and toe clips, you may want to consider making the upgrade to mountain biking shoes and clipless pedals. Here are three reasons why clipless pedals will make your next ride safer, more efficient and more comfortable.

You’ll notice instant efficiency gains when moving to a clipless system. While most mountain biking shoes don’t have soles as stiff as road cycling shoes, they are much stiffer than a running shoe. The more a shoe flexes, the more energy from the legs is lost. A clipless system allows better energy transfer through a more rigid platform and more precise foot placement. You don’t have to worry about your feet being properly positioned on the pedals because the cleats force you into the optimal position.

Once you get the hang of clipping-in and clipping-out, you’ll find clipless pedals to be safer than toe clips. Toe clips have a tendency to snag your feet in a fall and are difficult to get out of in a pinch. That said, there is a learning curve with clipless pedals and you’ll probably fall a few times before you get the feel of twisting your foot to clip-out. However, once you’ve become accustomed to that motion, it becomes second nature when you have to bail at the last second. If for some reason you don’t have time to clip-out before a crash, you’ll probably disengage from the force of fall if you don’t have the cleat tension set too high. If you’re nervous about a tricky section of trail, you can also use the pedal platform without clipping in. Some pedals have wider platforms specifically for this use.

If you’ve ever hammered the pedals for an hour or so in sneakers, you’ve probably felt some soreness and fatigue in your feet. This can result from the constant flexing of the foot and improper positioning of the foot on the pedal. Mountain bike shoes are made for this very specific foot motion and are built to keep your feet comfortable pedal stroke after pedal stroke. You wouldn’t run five miles in stiff mountain bike shoes, so why would you hit the single-track in running shoes?

If most of your rides are two and from the coffee shop and are less than two miles, it may not make sense to go with clipless pedals. However, with the discussed considerations in mind, it makes sense for many recreational mountain bikers to ditch the sneakers and toe clips in favor of mountain bike shoes and clipless pedals.

Creating An Outdoor Oasis Under Retractable Awnings

The last few years saw a surge in home interior design, and that transitioned gracefully into an interest in designing a backyard with the same thoughtfulness and attention to comfort. Outdoor designs enhance the earthiness and roughness of nature, with the comfort and detail of indoors. This blend is integral to creating a polished, usable environment: the influence of indoor design brings structure and unity to the outdoor space.

Structure defines the space through construction like fences, patios, or gazebos, or through vegetation, like borders or shrubs. Modern retractable awnings are an uncomplicated and inexpensive method to introduce definition to an outdoor space without the high cost of construction or the high maintenance of complicated landscaping.

Define the Space with Retractable Awnings
Design is based on cohesion between decorating elements. For outdoor spaces, cohesion is predicated on structure, an outline for the area. With retractable awnings, the natural flow between the interior space and the new exterior space depends on the size and location of the retractable awnings:
Outdoor access, such as sliding doors
Shade needs for interior rooms; retractable awnings block heat, UV rays, glare, and sunlight, which makes them an asset for overly bright rooms or rooms with UV-susceptible elements, like paintings and photographs.
Sun orientation; retractable awnings which shade west and south facing rooms can reduce indoor temperature gains by 77%, so they are ideal for passive energy efficiency in sunny rooms
Size. The width of retractable awnings can be custom-sized by the inch, so it is possible to scale the retractable awning perfectly to match the desired location.

Incorporate drop screens to provide a natural fluidity to the area. Drop screens are mounted vertically and are lowered down. In areas around pools or for existing gazebos, stairways, or decks, drop screens mark pathways and create an enclosed feeling. Drop screens also have functional benefits, such as rain, UV, glare, pollen, and bug protection for exposed sitting areas.

Basic Design Ideas
Outdoor design is tied to the senses, and the primary sense is visual. First, retractable awnings provide a visual structure to the unordered outdoors. Second, retractable awnings create a color patter; the fabric and colors in the retractable awning define the overarching palette for the rest of the space and diffuse the ambient light, creating a subtle pervasive color.

This makes selecting the retractable awning fabric vitally important. Decide the mood or the natural element to emphasize.
Bright greens for lush vegetation.
Subtle patterns in dark greens and browns or woodlands.
Light blues, turquoises, and golds for waters and beaches.
Bright oranges, reds, and yellows for tropical or desert colors.

Subtle retractable awning features, like different colored frames, tie into the overall theme and contrast with the retractable awning fabric for visual depth. Valances for traditional lateral arm (flat extension) retractable awnings can have a dozen different patterns. For smooth and fluid environments, like beach themes, look for valances with movement to them, like scallops, with sharp angles to echo the rigidity of woods. Other distinct styles can be used throughout the space, such as fluttery sheets of fabric called butterfly awnings or fan-shaped awnings which can fit in corners.

The rest of the backyard space fall into place according to the core elements defined in the retractable awnings. The key is to pay attention to the details:
Seating, particularly with coordinating colors, luxurious pillows and throw blankets. The style of furniture is important, depending on the size of the area delineated by the retractable awning and the functional flow of traffic.
Plants. Retractable awnings cool temperatures as much as 20 degrees and provide protection from the harshest light, so it is possible to fill in the outdoor area with potted plants or types of plants which are prone to drying and heat damage in full sunlight, including ferns, some kinds of palms, flowers, and fresh herbs.
Lighting. Solar lights, strings of lights, and side lamps all provide safe and mild outdoor lighting, which can make the outdoor space enjoyable even after twilight. The retractable awning itself can support very light objects, like Chinese paper lanterns or Christmas lights, but its generally a bad idea to hang things from the retractable awning since that impedes its ability to retract.
Heating and fans. Free standing fans or outdoor heaters carry the seasonal life of the outdoor space from early spring well into early winter. Other heating options, like chimeneas, should be placed slightly outside the retractable awning, to prevent damage to the fabric from the smoke.

Retractable awnings are an interesting alternative for interesting spaces. Retractable awnings make a huge visual impact and provide the core structure and definition for planning an outdoor living space, while being a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself project. Retractable awnings turn any outdoor space into a canvas for expression.

How To Improve Your Drafting Abilities Perfect Your Best Skills Or Decrease Your Weaknesses

Even if you are on pension like most of my educatees, you’ve only limited free hours and energy for your drawing hobby. And if you are making art professionally then time and energy might be almost more constricted and of value to you!

So you may be asking yourself: what should I concentrate on when drawing? You could work on improving your abilitiesor you could invest time in getting rid of your weaknesses.

Quite a difficult question. It is crucial to think some time on the question into what to put your hours and energy.

On one hand you should concentrate on your best skills. Let us say for instance you are outstanding in sketching fluent and realistic looking shadings. So you should invest more of your efforts in additional honing these abilities. Some more energy will bring your skill-level from “great” to “superb”.

On the other hand you should invest your energy in fixing your weaker skills. Let us take for granted you need a lot of more praxis in drawing proportions and perspective more accurately. Putting effort you would move your skill in this area to at least medium levels.

But a second! If you concentrate alone on compensating your weaknesses, you will commit many effort to transmute these shortcomings into just average skills. Ultimately that implies you’ll wind up with all but mediocre powers, the result is only averageness.

You read there are both advantages and disfavors to both options be it building upon your strengths or be it fighting your weaknesses.

Many artists will try to tell you: forget your weaknesses and focus on your top abilities. That’s a great advice but as you’ll understand only half the truth.

So what to do?

First it’s crucial you know your weaknesses and you need to know how much your weaknesses affect your drawing results. An example: Whilst creating many pencil sketches, weak skills in perspective and proportions will hinder you much more than missing abilities in the use of colours. In fact these skills are utterly useless as long as you stay with creating black and white pencil drawings.

And that’s the important thing: only forget these weaknesses that don’t handicap your projects and sketches. But invest a fair part of your energy and time into those weaknesses that handicap you from creating better drawings and sketches. Work on compensating these weaknesses – and exclusively these!

And so you’ll have lot of hours left to try improving your existing skills even farther. And that’s what you ought to do, too. If you follow this scheme you’ll have the best outcomes imaginable for your time and effort.

One closing addition: these tips may look a little like those efficiency stuff taught in management courses. And yes it’s quite similar. But it’s not proposing to pressing the last bubble of creative thinking out of you! It is only for doing the right things in the right order that help you improve your sketching skills most.

And of course please don’t forget the entertaining part of sketching. So if you prefer to test new techniques since it’s entertaining then just do it! (and don’t ask yourself whether it will help you or not …)

Illuminating The Future Of Kitchen Lighting Energy Efficiency By Capitol Lighting

It doesn’t matter if you live in a home with a modern kitchen that has all the fancy upgrades, or one that just has a single overhead light in the center of the room. If you’re not using the latest generation of energy-efficient bulbs, it’s time for a lighting upgrade.

“Kitchen lighting has made great strides in the past couple of years, not just from a design standpoint, but with regards to energy efficiency. So upgrades are definitely worth looking into,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design. He travels the country tracking trends, and one he’s noticed lately is the focus on energy conservation.

“Lighting manufacturers are spending a considerable amount of time, and dedicating a lot of resources to developing fixtures capable of using more energy-efficient light sources than the standard incandescent,” Rey-Barreau says. “And it’s no coincidence that this trend is growing in popularity at a time when energy costs are on the rise,” he says.

As recently as two years ago, the only fixtures available for the kitchen that used the most energy-efficient light sources available today – fluorescents and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – were not aesthetically pleasing. In today’s marketplace, however, decorative energy-efficient fixtures are available in every product category, whether you’re looking for something traditional, modern or artsy.

“We know consumers want to capitalize on the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs are approximately three to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs can be three to 10 times more efficient, so we’ve dedicated a lot of resources to developing new fixtures that utilize the technology,” says Scott Roos, vice president of product design for Juno Lighting Group. “We’ll be introducing an LED under-cabinet unit in the fall that requires just eight watts of energy to provide the same illumination as an 80-watt halogen light source. Our new LED down light will be 40 percent more energy efficient than a compact fluorescent and 75 percent more energy efficient than an incandescent.”

Holtkoetter International, Inc., a manufacturer of residential lighting fixtures based in St. Paul, Minn., plans to release several models of fixtures that use LEDs early next year. But energy-saving products are nothing new for Holtkoetter. “We’ve been offering fixtures that take halogen IRC bulbs, capable of improving energy efficiency by 50 percent, for the last five years,” says company president Paul Eusterbrock.

Infra Red Coating (IRC) bulbs are designed in such a way that the heat they generate can be recycled and turned into light.

Hubbardton Forge, a lighting manufacturer out of Chandler, Vt., meantime has concentrated its efforts on developing decorative fixtures that take compact fluorescents. “We have offerings in every category for decorative fixtures that really enhance what you get out of a compact fluorescent,” says George Chandler, president of Hubbardton Forge.

No matter which of the new technologies you choose to go with, when shopping for energy-efficient fixtures, Rey-Barreau says it is important to look for the Energy Star label. In order to qualify for the Energy Star designation, the product must meet specific performance criteria for energy-efficient performance set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As for concerns people may have about the quality of light given off by compact fluorescents and LEDs, Rey-Barreau says that “while in the past color rendering may have been a concern, it is no longer a problem. Consumers can rest assured the quality closely matches that of incandescents.”

Today’s advancements are quite impressive, but what does the future hold? Rey-Barreau expects the lighting industry to work hard at getting more products on the shelves that use the most energy-efficient technology developed to date – LEDs. “Right now LEDs are still kind of expensive, but once they become more readily available, the cost will come down significantly,” he says.

How to Install Underfloor Insulation

Installing underfloor insulation in your house can save you money each year on your energy bills. You can usually save at least 60 pounds per year in heating and cooling, but some estimates indicate that you may save as much as 90 pounds per year. In any case, you can save money on your insulation by installing it yourself. Because a professional installation costs several hundred pounds, if not more, it will take a long time for your insulation to pay itself off if you must pay a professional to put it in. If you decide to undertake the process of putting in underfloor insulation, here are some quick tips to keep the job efficient and safe.

Use a Sealant Gun

A sealant gun and the necessary flooring sealant can be purchased at just about any do it yourself store. The total cost for materials will be around 20 pounds, or possibly less, and can make a big difference in your energy costs. To insulate your floor with a sealant gun, go around the perimeter of the rooms, installing the joint between the floorboards and skirting board. If you have carpet, it will need to be lifted up during this process. Fill in any gaps or spaces with the sealant and let it dry. You can also seal any gaps you see underneath the floor from a cellar.

Inspect the Floorboards

Insulation, whether installed via a sealant gun or fiber insulation sheet, should only be applied to dry and stable floorboards. If the joints are wet or damaged, you need to conduct repairs before you add insulation to your floors. When insulation is applied to wet floors, it will soak up the moisture and you may put yourself at risk of getting mold or mildew in your home. If you have a cellar from which you can view your floorboards, go over every inch of the boards and joints looking for wet spots or cracked wood that need to be reinforced.

Choose the Right Materials

You should use a fibrous material to insulate your flooring. A material like sheeps wool or mineral wool will allow for thermal movement, but stop air movement. This means that your floors will stay warm but air cant circulate between floors when the insulation is in place. Look at the thermal bypass factor of any insulation; this is the degree to which the insulation can stop moisture and air from circulating through the openings in a building. Dont buy the cheapest material, but rather the insulation that is designed for the temperatures in your area and the easiest to install as a homeowner.

Install and Fire Proof

As a homeowner, the most reasonable time to install the insulation yourself is when you have access to the underside of your floors via a cellar or basement. If you dont have cellar access, you will need to install the insulation on top of your floorboards and then install another level of boards. This essentially raises your ground level floors by several inches. Raising your floors is a complicated process that should be left to professionals. To install insulation from beneath the ground floor via a cellar, you should stable or secure the insulation between joints, making sure not to cover necessary air flows or vents. You will sometimes need to use netting beneath the insulation to hold it in place. If you dont already have a plasterboard in place to afford fire resistance, apply one under the insulation.

Underfloor insulation is an investment in your home. Not only can you save on your own energy expenses, but it might make your home more attractive to a buyer when you eventually hand over the keys to a new owner. While the installation process is not meant for every home owner, it can certainly save you quite a few pounds. To start, use the sealant gun to fill any obvious gaps, and then move on to fiber insulation only when you still feel obvious drafts or your energy costs have not decreased to your liking. Always consult with a professional when you think that you may be in over your head, or you might wind up wasting your time or even causing a fire hazard in your cellar.

Advances In Dishwasher Technology

Prior to the purchase of kitchen appliances for your home you should always think about your family and lifestyle. The list of selected few will change the entire setting of the home. For every remodeling or refurnishing the designers will want this data first as this will be the foundation of every home. In the tech savvy world there are trends that are fast changing and you can select one depending on your budget. Buying a gadget means making a huge investment and it should be well thought that is durable in the long run.
Dishwashers have undergone changes over the years, replacing loud, clunky and noisy with incognito models that are so quiet it is difficult to tell if they are on. Look for home appliances that feature concealed control panels built into the top of the door and stylized paneling that keep this appliance from standing out. Humans today have a zero tolerance of noise; hence these gadgets are inbuilt with quieter motors and stainless-steel interiors that can sustain any amount of high temperature. This heat is generated by the water heat used to disinfectant the entire pile of dishes. A very essential feature for places with nearby theaters or if you have kids around then the more less the sound it makes the better it is.
You will be amazed at the number of people who are looking into the possibility of buying two or more dishwashers. This is a trend that is catching up in major kitchens and kitchen remodels for anyhome appliance fixtures. Certified designers all over the city are saying this is the ideal option for larger families or homes that like to entertain, one dishwasher can be cleaning while the other is being filled with new dirty dishes. Companies like Kitchen Aid and Fisher at Canada appliances have also come up with dishwasher drawers, essentially two independent dishwashing drawers that are stacked on top of one another to accommodate single or double-drawer loads. Homeowners interested in cutting-edge technology should be on the lookout for energy-efficiency, shorter cycles, and advanced features designed to cut time and fuss over dishes.
Purchasing this home appliance under one roof is possible only by Toronto appliances. This site gives the user all the information regarding which appliances are best suited for your needs. Under this Toronto appliances offers you all the latest brands available in the market all over the world in one place. Buying from place can be beneficial to the user in many ways, such as you can get the appliance at an affordable price. The online portals make you’re purchasing so easy and pleasurable then you could not ask for more right from the comfort of your home. The appliances from Canada appliances chosen are shipped to your address and all the repairs if any are taken care for within in warranty period.

Cool Sleek Styling And Hot Features Make Arctic Spas Like No Other

If you’re considering purchasing a hot tub that encompasses style, durability, quality and comfort – look no farther than Arctic Spas. Arctic Spas hot tubs are designed for optimal hot tub usability. Arctic Spas offer water goers a huge selection of hot tub designs to choose from in 7″ and 8″, as well as portable hot tubs like the Bandit and Outlaw. Every Arctic Spas hot tub has unique features to fit any lifestyle, budget and family. Explore what makes Arctic Spas like no other.

Arctic Spas hot tubs are filled with advantages

Each Arctic Spa comes with our Perimeter HeatLock Insulation System, designed to minimize heat loss and to maximize energy efficiency. Arctic Spas hot tubs work to hold heat differently than other manufacturers. Arctic Spas hot tubs uses a central system by applying foam to the floor, cabinet walls and spa rim underside which all work to trap heat and keep it in the core. This heat collaborates with Arctic Spas Perimeter HeatLock Insulation System and together, ensures your hot tub can stand the outdoors – even at the freezing mark.

The Arctic Spas heating system also acts as a sound barrier, so you can enjoy your spa time quietly, with no irritating mechanical noises from pumps or motors. Any heat that is created from the motors is directed inward so every part of your Arctic Spas hot tub is working hard to give you the most heat possible. By maintaining a steady flow of heat, these hot tubs are more energy efficient.

How Arctic Spas compares to the rest

Choosing the right hot tub for your familys pleasure can be a tricky decision. Thats why its important to have as much information about different brands and what they offer. Heres a look at Arctic Spas hot tub components to some of their competitors.

Arctic Spas hot tubs come with a self-supporting acrylic fiber that includes Microban and a 100% resin fiber glass backing. Beachcomber hot tubs come with an Acuralux cast acrylic, and Dynasty Spas hot tubs offer an acrylic with vinyl ester resin fiberglass with optional Microban. Arctic Spas hot tubs are equipped with its exclusive Perimeter HeatLock Insulation System, while other competitors such as Beachcomber, Coast, Hot Springs and Caldera use full foam for their insulation. Beachcomber hot tubs and others such as Coast, Dynasty, and Sundance all have limited doors and no access to plumbing. Arctic Spas offer 6-8 access doors on all four sides of every hot tub. Arctic Spas covers are also the largest at 5″-4″ while other competitor hot tubs such as Beachcomber range from 4″-3″ or 3″-2″ and Coast Spas from 5″-3″ or 4″-2″.

Invest in a hot tub that is going to provide you and your family with happiness and good health for years. Arctic Spas are known for their top of the line design and first-class quality. They will help you choose the right design to match your price point. All you need to do is relax.

Year-End Tax Extenders Wheres The Patch

Every year at about this time Congress starts thinking about what tax laws will expire on December 31, and what it really needs to be doing about these. Of the 65 various tax provisions that will expire, one of the big ones is the annual “Patch” for the Alternative Minimum Tax. Without the Patch, nearly 30 million new taxpayers will wake up on New Years Day with a lot more than the usual hangover, and the 4 million already in the AMT had better get their checkbooks out for the additional taxes theyll owe. In addition to this one item, however, there are several other extenders that also can have a direct impact on AMT payers.

What is The Patch and what does it mean to AMT payers?

The Patch is the annual adjustment to the exemption amount allowed in computing each individuals AMT. Using the married filing jointly example, the exemption for 2011 is $74,450. If the Patch is not enacted for 2012, this amount would drop to $45,000, meaning that the couples taxable income subject to the AMT would increase by $29,450 – the difference between these two numbers. This could mean an additional $8,000 in Alternative Minimum Tax due in 2012!

Personal tax credits allowed against the AMT

The tax law is replete with what are known as “tax credits.” A tax credit is distinguished from a tax deduction in that it is a direct reduction of your tax liability instead of a reduction of your taxable income in computing your tax liability. For example, if you are in the 26% AMT bracket a $100 tax deduction would save you $26 in taxes. Compare this with a $100 tax credit, which would reduce your taxes by the full $100. One example of a credit that a taxpayer might be eligible is that allowed for making certain energy-efficient improvements to ones personal residence.

A significant number of tax credits are allowed only to individuals paying the Regular Tax, denying those stuck in the AMT a similar benefit. On occasion, however, Congress has seen fit to extend these benefits to AMT payers, but only for one year at a time. A number of these types of credits are on the tax extenders list.

State and local sales tax deduction

For individuals living in a state with no personal income tax, Congress has on occasion allowed these folks a deduction for state and local sales tax paid. This deduction currently is on the list of extenders that are needed in 2012. Just like other state and local taxes property taxes and income taxes, for example a deduction for state sales tax is allowed for Regular Tax purposes but not for Alternative Minimum Tax payers. Thus, for individuals in these states the extension or not of this as an allowable deduction can have a direct impact on their AMT paid.

Small business stock

Gains from the sale of qualifying “small business stock” may not need to be fully reported for purposes of the Regular Tax. For the AMT, however, a portion of the gain needs to be added back into taxable income. Some of the special rules that apply to small business stock are on one-year extenders, so an AMT payer with this item will be affected by these extenders.

Percentage depletion

For investors and operators in the oil and gas business, the use of percentage depletion can trigger the AMT. Percentage depletion computations are complex, with several limitations imposed in the various steps of the calculations. The extension of one of these items, knows as the 100%-of-net-income limitation, could have a direct impact on affected AMT payers.

Conclusion

Politics being politics, one never knows with any certainty what Congress is going to do or when they are going to do it. Historically, however, these extenders including The Patch – have been enacted, although more often than not well past the deadline but on a retroactive basis. Readers are advised to keep an eye on developments on this important topic.