Influences in a changing world – MSWALE

I believe alternative energy will continue to grow in multiple forms not only for the sake of creating electricity but to also run “off-the-grid” type equipment such as aquaponics (for food), turbine powered water purifiers, solar sills, geothermal power plants, etc. I don’t believe decentralization will ever get to a point that stops electrical utility companies from having a monopoly but I do think alternative resources will continue to grow as more people understand the importance in protecting the environment and consequences to nonrenewable resources (higher costs in the future). Currently there are utility companies that do have “green” options available so you can choose energy created for renewable resources rather than coal or natural gas, but of course you pay a little more for it.

For me I plan on being in a business that utilizes all natural and sustainable resources available to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. After my masters in architecture I plan to design LEED certified residential homes that utilize the resources around it, use green and energy efficient material, etc. I hope to change the way people view homes and communities, but that’s a few years down the road. 🙂


Every business needs to have a plan, not only a general business plan but a financial and marketing plan as well. The financial plan is essential to understanding how the business is going to survive and hopefully expand. Without knowing the financial aspects of the business means not knowing how to explain how the business is going to be successful to a potential funder of the venture. The financial plan of course gives you more than just the basic knowledge of how the business will work but helps the owner understand what needs to be done on a month to month, semi-annual, or annual bases to keep the company operating or even looking at a future expansion. Being able to measure the ROI and for a more in-depth analysis ROE helps people understand how the company is doing. This helps determine if the company is meeting the financial objectives set for them. Calculating the NPV also gives another view on the company’s financial stance by comparing the inflow and outflow of funds.

Residential Home Improvement & SMART Grid – MSWALE

I agree with the statement that a lot of the technology we have available today can help reduce waste and improve our energy efficiency significantly. Unfortunately, I do not think technology is the reason for our slow transition to more energy-efficient ways of production, distribution, and end use. I believe it has to do more with the cost of implementing such systems.

As a residential example, homes of all ages could use newer materials and hardware to improve their homes insulation which in return makes their home more energy-efficient and saves them on energy costs. They can increase the r-value in the homes by adding or improving the type of insulation of the walls, roof, doors and windows. Buy new energy-efficient appliances including a tankless water heater or even doing a geothermal heat pump, but in the end it comes down to cost. Some homes being developed are to achieve zero-emissions or all the material in the home are to be eco-friendly, so there are many opportunities available it’s just a matter of how much a homeowner is willing to spend in the upfront costs.

Another opportunity that has been a slow transition is the smart-grid. Some areas already have it up and running, while other cities and states are expected to have it completed by 2018. I have learned a lot about this system over the last year and it’s amazing in what it will achieve but it will cost a lot of money. Below are some links to give more information on the smart-grid.

Searching for the Entrepreneurial Niche – MSWALE

I believe this has to do with nuclear being a complex subject, in many ways nuclear is talked about more often due to the health and safety concerns people have with them. Because of this I believe this renewable resource gets more public attention but nonetheless it does not change the fact that this is a renewable energy with little to no pollution and is very efficient. Which is why I think it has more support from the financial community and the government. They believe nuclear is the way to go to provide environmentally friendly, greener energy and know there are risks involved with this type of energy so they still implement stricter regulations for nuclear plants to follow. This isn’t really the case with solar, geothermal, or hydro so often they are less talked about. Solar for example has improved over the years and has gained some attention in recent years but still holds a small share of producing electricity. I believe solar has not been able to gain much support for a couple of reasons, the first being the lifespan of them. The lifespan is expected to be around 30-40 years, however the efficiency of the solar panel goes down a certain percentage each year, so even though their total life is 30-40 years they may be 90% efficient in the first couple years but closer to 30 years may only be 30-40% efficient. This also depends on what type of material the solar panel is made of for example, monocrystalline will be more efficient and last longer than a thin-film solar panel. The second reason is the price of solar panels, they are still fairly expensive to get and install. However, there is government and state incentives for getting solar panels on residential and commercial building and some areas can even get paid by utility companies for have a renewable energy. Overall, I believe nuclear gets more attention than other renewable resources because of how much they can generate, nuclear plants can take over the production of a coal or natural gas plant and be more efficient and cleaner. When we talk about solar or geothermal, often times they are referred to for residential use (single system for one home, versus nuclear can cover 100’s of homes).

Hello fellow classmates! :)

Hello, my name is Maryann Swale & I am a senior at Penn State working on a bachelors in business with a concentration in energy & finance. I currently live in Albany, New York (for about 3 years now) but I am originally from California & Arizona. I have an associates in fine art with a concentration in welding & woodworking & after I graduate in the spring 15′ I will go on to pursue a masters in architecture. My passion is to open my own architecture firm & design & build self-sustainable, green buildings and homes.

In my spare time I love doing anything art related, lately I have been into restoration of old, antique furniture. I also love being outdoors and playing with our adorable puppy Hazel. I look forward to getting to know & work with everyone in this class! Good luck this semester!