Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trash to Treasure

"One person's junk is another person's treasure."  It's something I heard a lot growing up. Meaning just because you no longer want it, doesn't mean that the item won't mean a lot to someone else.  The implication, of course, was meant towards used furniture or perhaps donating clothing.  But how about literally turning someones junk, or garbage, into a necessity - energy?  (Remember - energy cannot be created or destroyed - it can only change forms.)

Yep, your dirty tissue, mismatched sock, even that nasty old ______.

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So who thinks your husbands old gym sock is a treasure? The people of Northern Europe! According to the NYT "Across Northern Europe, where the practice of burning garbage to generate heat and electricity has exploded in recent decades, demand for trash far outstrips supply. "

They are even running short on garbage.  The plants have stated they might even take some from the United States because sea transport is cheap enough.

Can you imagine the US turning our landfills into energy? What turning the garbage at the curb into energy to run your TV?

The good news is all electricity that comes into your home smells the same. It doesn't matter if it's made from garbage or from walking or if you buy it from your utility or an energy supplier like IDT Energy. It all smells and works the same.

Looking for more energy fun fact? Check out the IDT Energy Pinterest!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Energy Generated by Green Slime

Growing in your fish tanks and slimming up the rocks at the beach lies your next energy source.  It's green, it's mean, it's algae! (No, the energy geeks have not lost their mind.)

An apartment building in Hamburg, Germany has developed a net-zero energy structure - derived from the building's 'siding.'  Taking three years and $3.4 million euros to build, it was designed for the International Building Exposition (IBA).

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Alternative Energy - Algae via

From the IBA's website:
"The sides of the building that face the sun have a second outer shell that is set into the facade itself. Microalgae – tiny plants, most no larger than bacteria – are produced within this shell. They enable the house to supply its own energy. The only thing that the algae have to do is simply to grow. They are continuously supplied with liquid nutrients and carbon dioxide via a separate water circuit running through the facade  With the aid of sunlight, the algae can photosynthesis and grow."

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Net-Zero Energy Via
So what do you think? Time to cover your home in algae and start farming your own energy?

No? Not ready for that? IDT Energy offers electricity from green energy sources if you think that might be a better option! 

Check out the IDT Energy Facebook and IDT Energy Pinterest for more crazy energy ideas!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Earth Day! With Love from IDT Energy Geeks

Earth Day turned 43 today! Happy Birthday Earth Day!

How many countries do you think celebrate Earth Day?

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Earth Day via
Did you guess 192 countries? If so, you are correct! That is 98% of the world.

According to www.earthday.org "the idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara."

Over 20 million American's took part in the first Earth Day. "The first Earth Day lead to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts."  The focus was about air and water pollution.

In 1990, there was a big push to go global and it reached 200 million people in 141 countries.  This gave a huge boost to recycling efforts.

Ten years later, in 2000, there was another push for Earth Day.  This year the focus on the need for more clean energy.

What can you do to make the world a more clean and green place?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

IDT Energy's CEO on Boston Marathon

A message from IDT Energy, Inc. CEO, Geoff Rochwarger

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Geoff Rochwarger

Our hearts go out to everyone in Boston dealing with the bombings at the Boston Marathon earlier this week and our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this horrific tragedy. In response to the impact felt in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, IDT Energy set up a donation portal supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross. As many of you know, the American Red Cross in Boston has a long history of supporting the marathon with volunteers and first aid stations all along the marathon route. Since the explosions, the Red Cross has provided both blood and support to several area hospitals to help meet the needs of those injured and will continue to assist whenever and wherever necessary in the days and weeks to come. We encourage everyone to join us in acknowledging the Boston City Police and Fire departments, first responders and volunteers, and would like to once again call attention to the wonderful work of the American Red Cross.  Please click here or visit www.idtenergy.com/in-your-community. You can make a donation directly, or continue on to the American Red Cross website to explore more ways to get involved. Thank you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Developments in Genie Energy Stock

In a recent article for Seeking Alpha, a leading trader offered his insight on Genie Energy and its subsidiaries, including IDT Energy.
He wrote, “Last year in June I profiled this stock and argued Genie Energy was a microcap value stock with a theoretical free call option attached. The stock is up over 70% since my article but most of that move has come in the last few weeks….
“I would argue that this company’s story is even better than it was last year although now you do have to pay slightly for the “call option” since the stock has moved higher.”
The expert went on to explain that although he is not necessarily making a purchase recommendation, he is “laying out the facts of why I have been long and the upside potential I see.”
He explained that he believes the company has the potential to be worth $100 per share over the next few years.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Supplying Energy: One Step at a Time

"Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another." - Albert Einstein
Finding ways to store energy from everyday tasks to be usable in other parts of your life would be ideal.  No energy wasted.

To the marathon runners in Paris, France this could not be a more true statement. The Paris Marathon organizers laid tiles that harvest energy across the road.  These tiles were made from recycled tires. Recycled products producing clean energy - what could be more green?

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Created by Pavegen Systems Ltd has created this new type of energy technology to go off-grid and "make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of weather." (source)

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Each footfall creates 8 watts of electricity.  How does that compare to the usage in your house?  Well an average household uses about 8,000 kilowatt hours each month.  It takes 1,000 watts to get a kilowatt. So 80,000 watts need to be generated to supply your house with electricity. That equates to 100,000 steps.

That may sound like a lot. But according to TheWalkingSite.com you should walk 10,000 steps in a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn't it be neat if they could harness the energy from everyday walking to power your house? It would take 10 days of walking the recommended amount. (Of course this will change depending on your household usage)

Can you imagine if we could put the foot traffic of NYC to work to generate power to light  up the night?

It looks like the US Army is already cultivating this type of technology with infantrymen.

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As technology develops and is used more in the field, soldiers must carry that battery power to operate the devices.  Carrying that much energy storage can become very cumbersome on an already heavy load.  This technology would allow a solider to charge two AA batteries after walking 85 minutes.  In an emergency situation more energy could be generated by doing knee bends.

Of course because walking is not always continuous, the power generated comes in burst   The team working on this have built a "capacitor circuit that filters these energy spikes into a usable form for recharging AA batteries.  The energy is then stored around the ankle.  (source)

In case you don't have the technology to supply your own energy buy walking - IDT Energy still has your back! Happy to be your energy nerds, buying green and conventional energy to supply your home with the power it needs to keep working!

Find more bright energy ideas on Facebook and Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Energy Supply - Changing the Form of Energy

Energy wakes you up in the morning, it keeps you going during the day, and sometimes it even keeps you up at night.  There are many different forms of energy - "all of which measure the ability of an object or system to do work on another object or system."

So what forms of energy is there?

  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Gravitational
  • Heat (thermal)
  • Light
  • Magnetic
  • Mechanical
  • Nuclear
  • Sound
This energy is then harnessed and sold - companies like IDT Energy then buy it to supply to your homes!

Can you think of all the ways you use energy in a day?

Friday, April 05, 2013

Vegetable Electricity: Potato Power

Can your everyday vegetable power a light?  How about a clock?  You betcha.  Looking for a fun weekend project with the kids that just might 'jolt' some excitement into learning?  We gotcha covered.

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Electricity generated at power plant is generally generated from burning fossil fuels.  The heat from the fuel heats up water and the water becomes steam.  This steam then spins turbines which turns a generator (or magnet) and unbalances the charges in atoms and supplies a current of electricity. That electricity then flows through the utilities lines and into our homes.

Batteries are able to generate electricity through a chemical reaction between two types of electrodes (like zinc and copper) and an electrolyte.  The connection of these substances creates a circuit that allows a flowing path of electricity.

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Here's how you do it:

2 Potatoes
2 Short pieces of copper wire
2 Galvanized nails
3 Alligator clips
1 Piece of sand paper
1 Low voltage clock


  1. Remove the battery from the clock
  2. Number the potatoes "1" and "2"
  3. Insert one nail into each of the potatoes
  4. Insert one piece of wire into each of the potatoes
  5. Connect one alligator clip to the copper wire in potato #1 to the positive (+) terminal in the clocks battery compartment
  6. Connect the other alligator clip to the nail in potato #2 and the negative (-) terminal in the clocks battery compartment
  7. Connect the last alligator clip to connect the nail in potato #1 to the copper wire in potato #2
A pretty neat alternative energy supply right? Talk about going green!

Now, of course, this method of electricity is not that reliable. So we suggest keeping your utility and an energy supplier like IDT Energy for a more reliable source of electricity.

Check out more cool energy related projects on our Pinterest.

Sources: Education.com and teachengineering.org/ 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Electricity Insulators

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Have you ever seen these little glass beauties? Perhaps sitting atop a pole? Or perhaps at a garage sale grouped with a number of other random things? Or did you see our post on Facebook?

In 1844 the first telegraph line was installed between Baltimore and Washington. Glass was used to contain the charge made of  copper, carbon, or zinc electrodes. When attaching lines directly to the wooden poles the moisture in the wood and air gave poor results.  Hence the glass insulator pictured above. Similar insulators were used to transmit both telegraph and electricity, however the bigger the insulator, the more voltage it could handle.

Of course, there were many iterations throughout the years, but a type of glass insulator like this was used all the way until the 1970s.  (At some points of history they even used ceramic, a wood/glass combination, and  insulators made from animal parts.)

Energy history is neat-o.  But since these little delights are no longer helping to support our electricity infrastructure, what can we do with them? Well some of them are quite valuable - check out this one, it's worth close to $500!! Or look at the IDT Energy Pinterest to see some awesome ideas that other energy nuts (or just regular crafty people) have come up with.

As a supplier of electricity, IDT Energy doesn't have anything to do with the lines and meters to your house (your utility still takes care of that).  But as energy nerds, we sure to find the history fascinating!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Is Your Garden Water Efficient?

Spring is finally here! It's time to start planning your garden and making your yard beautiful.  We have been scouring the internet, looking for ways to help you make your garden more energy efficient! Water is the most important natural resource that garden needs (well that and sun), reducing the drain on the water supply is very important.

Here are some neat ideas on conserving water:

Install a rain barrel to collect water for your garden. Make sure you water early in the morning before gets to hot. This mitigates evaporation and encourages the roots to grow deeper.

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In fact, mulch your gardens to reduce the amount of moisture needed by helping the soil retain the water.

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So many colors. Via
Using plants native to your area also helps reduce the need to water them!