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Supporting Local Businesses

Supporting Local Businesses

 

Independent vs. National Chain 
  • Small, local businesses trade only locally, national chain businesses trade from all over the country and multi-national businesses operate in other countries and major cities around the world.
  • Local businesses  have the ability to adapt to market changes quickly and continue to serve customers the same way they always have whereas a national chain will create policy, and the customer may have no resource to get what they need.
  • Customers are most drawn to a business with the ability to give personal customer service with a positive attitude and with similar values. National chains may advertise good customer service, but may not have the ability to make sure the thousands of employees are actually giving the best customer service.
  • Small business owners usually live locally, making it easier to support or sponsor local causes connected to community events and fundraisers. Locals are more likely to support these small businesses, in return, becoming loyal customers. National chains may not be able to do this quickly and effectively.
  • Promotional products, which can feature a company’s name, logo or other information, can also be more personal when they are offered by a local business, because a large chain will need to make them more generic to appeal to people throughout the country.
  • Small businesses also have more of an advantage when it comes to using social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, to create local engagements with its customers. Posts and updates can relate to local celebrations sporting events and other activities. In general, large chains don’t use social media to their advantage. Bigger businesses do still use social media, but don’t always have the same ability to be as productive about answering individual comments and concerns posted on the page.

When making your purchases at a small, local business it pays off in a far greater way than spending your money at a chain. You’re helping to make it possible for employees-your neighbors-to live and work without relying on government programs paid for by you, by supporting small businesses.

Why Buy Local

Local businesses rely less on taxpayer money than large corporations. Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services. A study shows that big chains like Wal-Mart and Target force large numbers of their employees to rely on government for health insurance, while small business that provide health insurance, do so at a significantly high cost-as much as $24, 000 a year for a small bike shop in Colorado with 4 employees. These big chains are gaining an unfair financial advantage over smaller and more responsible businesses by leaning on taxpayers. It has been reported that Democratic staffers in the House, roughly estimate, on average, that Wal-Mart employees require about $3,000 a year in public assistance. That works out to be roughly $900,000 per supercenter, equaling more than $4 billion annually in public costs nationwide.

Shopping locally does not necessarily mean purchasing from a neighborhood store. It’s a way of supporting a community and lowering costs and environmental impact of purchasing an item  from across the country or the globe, helping to reduce gas emissions and environmental damage. Since local businesses tend to purchase from other local businesses, supporting them helps minimize the environmental impact of transporting out-of-town goods. Independent local businesses employ a wide array of supporting services including architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors. Opportunities grow for local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies and others to help run it. Local retailers and distributors also carry a higher percentage of locally-made goods than the chains, creating more jobs for local producers.

It is also mutually beneficial to both the consumer and the businesses because it is a way for customers to be more aware of the product they are buying and for owners to personally know more about their customers. Local businesses cater to their local communities and have the ability to focus on the needs of their consumers and tailor their services accordingly, and because they hire local people, their employees have a better sense of the community and have more of a personal connection with customers. Big chains often have to answer to large stockholders or corporate partners, giving them less flexibility in how they operate and the type of service they offer.

Small businesses provide 75% of new U.S. jobs and are the backbone of our economy.

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Supporting small, independent businesses helps keep your community unique and encourages people to visit.

If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy. Several studies show that when you buy from an independent business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, helping to support the local economy as a whole. Studies also show that if residents of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending to local businesses from chains, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy.

Because local businesses are generally owned by people in the community, they are less likely to leave and are more invested in the future prosperity of the community. Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, frequently serving on local boards, and supporting a variety of causes. Approximately 64.8% of revenue is reinvested into the community and only about 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community throughout the United States. Local businesses also make more charitable donations within the community than large businesses do. Non-profit organizations receive an average of about 250% more support from smaller businesses.

Small, Local businesses are the largest employer nationally and provide the highest number of new jobs. When small businesses thrive, they can hire more people within the community. The introduction of national chains to a community often brings loss of employment. Studies have shown that the opening of a Wal-Mart reduces retail employment by an average of 150 jobs in the county of its location.

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Breaking Down the Energy Factor

Breaking Down the Energy Factor

 

Water heaters come with labels and information for consumers to use when purchasing a new one. These labels provide facts on how energy efficient the unit is with an energy factor label and Energy Guide. Be sure to understand which type and size of water heater that is required and will be most beneficial in your home and use the labels on the water heaters to compare the purchase price and cost to use each unit. If you have questions or live within the Northern Colorado area and need to schedule a repair or installation, Call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We provide 24/7 emergency services in Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Johnstown, Milliken, Greeley and Estes park.

 

What is Thermal Efficiency?

In thermodynamics, the thermal efficiency () is a dimensionless performance measure of a device that uses thermal energy, such as an internal combustions engine. Some examples would include

  • a refrigerator,
  • a furnace,
  • a boiler or
  • a water heater.

Efficiency indicates how well an energy conversion or transfer process is accomplished.

For a device that converts energy from another form into thermal energy, the thermal efficiency is

where the  quantities are heat-equivalent values. For instance, a boiler that produces 210 kW, or 700,000 BTU/h output for each 300 kW, or 1,000,000 BTU/h heat equivalent input, its thermal efficiency is

This means that 30% of the energy is lost to the environment.

An electric resistance heater has a thermal efficiency close to 100%. when Comparing heating units, such as a high efficiency electric resistance heater to a natural gas-fueled furnace with an 80% efficiency, an economic analysis is needed to determine the most cost-effective choice.

What is Energy Efficiency?

The thermal efficiency is sometimes called the energy efficiency, which is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide services and products. In the U.S., in everyday usage, the SEER is the more common measure of energy efficiency for cooling devices, as well as for heat pumps when in their heating mode. For energy-conversion heating devices, their peak steady-state thermal efficiency is often stated, for example, “the efficiency rating for this furnace is 90%”. There is a more detailed measure of seasonal energy effectiveness called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. For example, a 90% AFUE rating for a gas furnace means it outputs 90 BTUs of useful heating for every 100 BTUs of natural gas input. A higher AFUE means higher efficiency. Energy efficiency of a water heater is measured by its energy factor.

Water Heater Energy Factor

The energy factor (EF) indicates a water heater’s overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. This includes the following

  • Recovery efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water
  • Standby losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water this is most common in conventional storage water heaters
  • Cycling losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through a water heater tank, and/or inlet and outlet pipes

The energy factor is what’s shown on the Energy Guide label which shows the unit’s overall operating costs, taking into account the burner and the heat exchanger efficiencies, as well as heat losses from the water tank. Most home appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers and clothes washers, display the prominent yellow-and-black Energy Guide which can be a valuable tool when purchasing theses types of products. The Energy Guide compares the average yearly operating costs of different water heaters, using the same criteria for all models tested. It lets you see which one would probably cost the less to run, which can also safe you money in the long run. Keep in mind that these figures are only estimates as the disclaimer at the bottom of the sticker explains; “Your cost will depend on your utility rates and use.”

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The higher the energy factor number, the higher the energy efficiency of the water heater. Electric water heaters have an average energy factor between .75 and .95, while gas water heaters range between .50 and .70.

Does this mean that electric water heaters are more energy efficient?

Electric models make better use of energy, while gas water heaters lose some of their energy up the vent. Although electric models may be more energy efficient, electric energy usually costs three times more than gas, so if you have a choice, it is still cheaper to use natural gas.

Electricity is created and delivered, which uses energy. One must take into account the entire picture and when doing so, you will find that in most places, gas is more efficient since it usually uses less energy to mine and deliver natural gas than to acquire some other energy source, convert it into electricity and deliver it. You should also take into consideration the energy used building and maintaining the infrastructure to produce and deliver the energy.

If you are going to buy an electric water heater, it’s recommended that you look for one with an Energy Factor equal to .93 or greater. This represents a 5 to 10 percent savings compared to a standard efficiency electric water heater. This higher efficiency is achieved by better tank insulation to reduce standby losses, and a device to block cooler water from adjacent water pipes from sinking into the tank where it needs to be reheated. The savings pay for the slightly higher costs of these heaters within a year or two.

A standard efficiency 40 gallon natural gas water heater typically has an Energy factor of about .55 due to inefficiencies of combustion, a central flue carrying heat away with combustion exhaust, and a continuous gas pilot light, as well as standby losses through insulation and thermo-siphoning. A gas water heater with an Energy factor of .62 or greater represents a 10% savings compared to a standard efficiency gas water heater.

In addition to reducing standby losses with added insulation and anti-thermo–siphon device, or heat traps, these improved efficiencies can be achieved for very little added cost by using electronic ignition instead of a pilot light, having automatic draft dampers, and reducing losses out of the flue by recovering more of the heat first.

 

WARNING:

Never attempt to repair or replace the unit unless you know exactly what you are doing. Remember, you are dealing with dangers including scalding hot water, natural gas flames, heavy lifting and risk of electrocution. If you have any questions concerning your water heater, call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We have experienced technicians and offer top quality service at an affordable price.