Great White North May Be Key to Promoting Energy Efficiency

The War of 1812 is long forgotten.

Few other than history buffs and students know much of the series of bloody battles which pitted what is now Canada against its southern neighbor. Those included the slow slaughter of Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend by then-Col. Andrew Jackson or the Battle of Bladensburg during which British forces captured and torched Washington, D.C.

Now Canada is good buddies with the United States. The country mostly surfaces in the news as being the source of Justin Bieber or, energy-wise, for its rich oil sands in the Athabasca-Wabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake reserves in Alberta. Estimates vary but Oil Sands InfoMine puts the recoverable deposits at about 170 billion barrels, placing Canada just behind Saudi Arabia. That oil is being extracted at a rate of about 1 million barrels a day and is expected to grow to about 4 million barrels by 2020.

Canada’s energy rep

Canada’s hardly known for its energy efficiency or its embrace of renewables like solar, wind and geothermal. Just ask activist and author Bill McKibben, one of the chief opponents of the Keystone Pipeline, which would send all that “tar” sands oil to the Gulf Coast.

But that could change. On June 21, 2012, Environment Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy released the second part of an ambitious plan outlining how the two countries will jointly advance clean energy technologies. The effort has possibly the least sexy name in clean energy history, dubbed the “U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan II,” or CED for short.

The plan renews a 2009 commitment between the United States and Canada to work together on carbon capture and storage technologies, clean and smart electrical grids and clean energy research and development. It also places “a greater emphasis on energy efficiency.”

A shift in sentiment?

Peter Kent, Canada’s minister of the environment, hailed the move from Rio de Janeiro where led the Canadian delegation at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. “It is our hope that the transformation of our economies and our joint work will identify clean energy solutions that will contribute to making sustainable energy a reality for all,” he said.

Tyler Hamilton, a columnist with the Toronto Star, underlines the importance for his country of increasing clean energy investment in a piece about the pro-sustainability stand by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven calls for bold policies that radically transform the world’s energy systems and says: “If significant policy action is taken, we can still achieve the huge potential for these technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and boost energy security.”

An IEA statement that the alternative is the potential of “locking in high-carbon infrastructure” appears to irk Hamilton. “That’s what many people are worried about, and not just environmentalists,” he writes. “They know that the decisions we make today will have a profound impact on the quality of life of our children and their children tomorrow.”

Hamilton says certain Canadian cabinet ministers may deem the move to embrace sustainability radical, but “most common sense folk would call it risk management.”

Big gains in efficiency

Canada’s policy direction — should it go even a pale green — likely will have a profound effect on the United States, especially in energy efficiency. Colder Canada can make tremendous progress on improving its existing commercial and industrial buildings and save energy.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released a report that amplifies the importance for utilities of improving building performance. The report, “Three Decades and Counting: A Historical Review and Current Assessment of Electric Utility Energy Efficiency Activity in the States,” says the initial concept that energy utilities should pursue electricity savings was a major departure from policies of the past.

“From these early roots, energy efficiency programs for electric utility customers have grown rapidly” to total budgets in 2010 of $4.6 billion for U.S.-based programs, the study says.

ACEEE says new policies and programs have driven down energy consumption, shown the environmental and economic benefits and demonstrated a “new era of energy efficiency… marked by continued expansion and innovation.”

Green gas in BC

That would be good for Canada, especially in light of the recent controversy caused by British Columbia Premier Christy Clark when she “redefined” three liquified natural gas plants in the northern region of her province as green energy. “This is consistent with our comprehensive natural gas strategy and it’s also consistent with our efforts to use renewable energy,” she said, according to Tamsyn Burgmann of the Canadian Press.

Gordon Hamilton of the Vancouver Sun reports that Clark’s ruling means “gas-fired power plants used to make LNG or to propel gas along pipelines will be considered green energy, a move that will enable the oil and gas industry to produce cheap electricity without compromising the requirements of the Clean Energy Act.”

All the more reason to focus on energy efficiency while that issue works itself out. Maybe renewables will get more attention, too.

In the meantime, Canadian businesses and local governments will likely be hiring energy managers, instituting energy audits and carrying out a number of energy efficiency-related savings programs.

Nothing says warm like efficiency

Say a guy in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, adds a premium efficiency heater, bolsters insulation, upgrades his ducting and eliminates all air leaks in his business. In addition, he installs other measures recommended by his energy auditors. His workers and customers feel the effects and say how great they are, especially when the thermometer dips to 40 or 50 below zero.

Changing attitudes and policies would work wonders to cut down the immense heating bills that many in more northern latitudes face every month. And lower operating costs can translate into additional profits (or continued existence) during tough economic times.

Anecdotes of successful retrofits and programs in the land of the maple leaf will leak down south, and that would benefit both regions.

Bob and Doug

So, eh? The reason I got into this post had very little to do with anything serious. I just had Bob and Doug McKenzie on the brain. I blame it on Canada Day. That devolved into thinking about Geddy Lee joining the two comedians on the song “Take Off” and wearing woolies in the winter.

Cold is something I’m very familiar with. Now I’m a pro at dealing with extreme heat, too. And I’ll tell you, I’d take the cold any day. Maybe not 40 below. That just bites any way you look at it.

Bob and Doug of SCTV fame had their streak of popularity. One skit involved a game of beer hunter. They did drink a lot of beer. But anyway, here’s a bit.

Seeing as it has been 200 years since that little dispute between the States and former UK territories, it’s possible this next era will be one of prosperity and clean air. Sounds like a good reason to fry up some backbacon.

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Travel Checklist for Overseas Travel Plans

For many traveling is a hobby; for some, it is a passion! Well, if you are a travel bug, you know what to do and how to prepare for a local travel plan. But, things are not the same when it comes to planning a trip abroad, to a new destination.

So, let us proceed to take a look at a basic travel checklist you need to follow to avoid any kind of inconvenience or unpleasant experiences. Focus on:

• Getting ready all of the travel documents needed for a safe and comfortable travel, such as passport, visas or any other proof you will be required to produce in the country you are planning to visit.

• Try to start planning early and have enough time for ticket bookings; travel agencies come in handy in this job.

• Collect information about the currency used in that country so that you can be prepared to spend easily while shopping or sightseeing.

• In case you are not aware of the language spoken there, you can take the help of travel guides or local travel agencies.

• Calculate your expenditures in advance and take enough money with you. In this, you need to include travel insurance, food and accommodation, any kind of emergency, and so on.

• Avoid the common mistake that most tourists commit- never dress up like a typical foreigner or a newly landed tourist- this can create problems for you. For example, you may be cheated or even looted if you pose yourself as an affluent visitor.

• Note down essential contact numbers to get the help in case of an emergency like cash or credit cards stolen or lost.

• Try to get prior information about the local laws of the place to avoid facing any kind of legal action at any time during your trip.

Apart from these guidelines, certain fundamental tips are given by experts to make your trip not only comfortable but also a memorable and joyous one. They are:

i. Make your baggage light and convenient to carry

ii. In case you are traveling with a kid or an elderly person, then don’t forget to carry their specific items- you never know when and where you might need them!

iii. Put an identification tag on your entire luggage to retrieve them in case of theft or misplacement.

The essence of a pleasant overseas travel plan lies in early planning and diligent preparation.

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Improve Your Poor Credit Score and Secure Yourself a Loan

So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.

Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?

One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.

An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.

There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.

Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.

Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.

Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.

What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.

Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.

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Payment Options for Shopping All the Way

Everyone is busy. Busy in shopping online and in the malls. Popular online portals are breaking and making new sale records! All thanks to the convenience and the availability of easy payment options and funds!

Here are few of the factors that are making online businesses a success

Credit Cards: A credit card is plastic money. It is one of the easiest form in which a person gets a personal loan.

All online portals as well as retailers in malls accept credit cards issued by various banks.
Online payment becomes very simple and safe, thanks to the one time passwords generated for such transactions.
A PIN is sufficient for shopping using a credit card at any retail store.

Personal loans for shopping: When we apply for a personal loan, we don’t have to provide the financier with the details of what we want the loan for.

Thus these days’ personal loans are being used to finance shopping.
They can also be used as wedding loans, vacation loans and educational loans.

Payment Processing: As far as payment processing is concerned, the following factors matter to both the consumer and the online retailer.

Uncomplicated manoeuvring on website: It is important for the payment process to be step-by-step and easy to understand. Most websites work on this section very carefully and thus the online shopping experience is satisfactory.

Processing Costs: Processing costs matter to the retailers. More the processing fees they have to pay to providers of payment gateways like Visa, the lesser are their margins. So to have an effective business the processing costs need to be low.
Number of payment options: Multiple payment options should be available for the customer to make payment. This makes the shopping a convenient proposition.
Time taken to process transactions: Processing time not only tests your patience but sometimes also the strength of your internet connection!

Cash on Delivery: This is also known as “collection on delivery.” This is a very popular mode of making payments for shopping in the developing world.

It enhances impulse purchases.
A credit card is not an essential possession for the buyer.
The buyer can check the quality of the product and then pay

So this festive season, do not hesitate to shop and to gift! The availability of funds for shopping is not difficult anymore. Also the convenience of online shopping has brought various retailers to our doorstep. So let us shop all the way!

An easy way of shopping is using a credit card. It forms an integral part of most people’s financial planning. When used in the right manner, it helps reduce financial liability and optimizes financial resources.

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Are Online Personal Loans Good For People With Bad Credit?

While the rise of online lending in itself makes it more convenient for people to apply for finance, is this development a good thing for those who are already struggling? There are companies out there who charge expensive annual percentage rates (APRs), leaving many people in more trouble than when they first started.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, online lending has earned itself a bad reputation. The internet leaves many people vulnerable to fraud, so you should always exercise caution when inputting your financial details. The best way to make sure your information remains safe is to find a secure, reliable lending platform.

There is an unfair irony attached to lending today. Those with bad credit are often led to believe they have no financial options if they have made mistakes in the past, often making their situations seem more desperate than they actually are. This can result in people making bad decisions and can lead to borrowing through unstable sources.

Meanwhile, any lenders that do accept you with bad credit will charge extortionate interest rates because of your history, making it more difficult for you to meet your monthly repayment obligations – thus worsening your situation. This is a trap that many people fall into, and it gives online installment lenders a bad name.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you can find yourself a reliable lending platform, you will be connected to a secure network of trustworthy lenders who can offer sensible solutions to your borrowing needs. Many of these lenders will assess your application, even if your credit file isn’t perfect or your income is lower than average.

Instead of (or in some cases, as well as) running credit checks, these lenders will take other factors into consideration, including your income and employment circumstances, and how long you have lived at your current address. They may even ask for references they can contact who will vouch for your character personally.

Even those who receive benefits as a form of income will be able to apply, giving everyone a fair and carefully considered chance of borrowing money. In these cases, applicants won’t be accepted for higher loans than they can afford to pay back, and interest rates will be low, meaning there is a better chance of managing repayments.

If you have poor credit and need to borrow money, consider a personal installment loan, but make sure the APR is advertised between 5.99% and 35.99%. There should also be a number of options in terms of flexible repayment, offering you the chance to pay the money back anywhere between six months and six years, depending on what you can afford to pay per month.

Small, carefully considered personal loans could actually help you build a financial profile making you eligible for better future borrowing. As long as the lender is responsible, and offers reasonable interest rates, online lending platforms can actually give people with more opportunities than many other lenders in terms of improving their situation.

With this in mind, personal loans can be beneficial to those hoping to improve their credit score, but only if some caution is exercised by both parties, and you only apply to borrow an amount you can afford to pay back.

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Five Reasons for Refusal of a Personal Loan

Don’t you wish personal finance were a mandatory course in college? Unfortunately, too many of us learn by mistake. When you need a personal loan and are rejected, you might be baffled as to what went wrong- and how to fix it. Here are some clues.

NO CREDIT

No credit is a situation where you have never used credit and therefore have no credit history for the bank to review. They have no way of making an educated decision on whether or not you will pay back a personal loan based on your credit history. No credit is worse than bad credit. Qualifying for and making regular payments on these types of introductory forms of credit can overcome a “no credit” score:

· Student Loans

· Secured credit card (includes a down payment amount)

· Being added to a parent’s or spouses good credit: card, car loan, etc.

LOW CREDIT

Low credit takes on several forms. If you’re using more than 30% of your allowable debt, it can negatively impact your score. Too many inquiries from shopping around for loans will also hit you hard. Lapses in payment, defaults, or bankruptcies are giant red flags and can take a long time to rebuild from.

Other things that lenders may look at are whether or not you have sizeable assets should you default on the loan. They also check to see if your debts are diversified or if you are only carrying one type of debt.

INCOME

Proof of income is generally required when applying for a personal loan. If you are unemployed or underemployed, it can work against you in the loan approval process. Lenders may also require a work history to see how long you have been with your current employer, and to determine if you typically have job stability. Frequent job loss or change will tell a creditor that your payments may not be reliable.

PURPOSE OF THE LOAN

Believe it or not, your application can be rejected due to your proposed purpose for the loan. Financial institutions have the right to set up the parameters surrounding their disbursements and can accept or reject your application based on what you want to use the money for.

BLACKLISTING

If you’ve defaulted on debt before, your name may be put on a list of whom not to loan to,’ also known as a “Blacklist.” This will follow you around for a long time and is difficult to erase. If you do resolve the debt issues, get documents to prove the resolution.

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How Can A Personal Loan Improve Your Credit Score?

When it comes to a personal loan, you have to first learn to use it responsibly. Because if you miss a repayment, your credit score will be impacted adversely. And remember, that a credit score is an indicator of how well you manage your personal finances. Also, it plays a defining role when you apply for any kind of loan – secured and unsecured. It is suggested to apply for a loan slightly larger than what is needed so that you will be assured to have enough money to pay all bills necessary and still have some money left over to ensure that your bank account stays current.

A credit score can be defined as a number which reflects the financial situation of a person. If the person is well-off when it comes to financial matters, then he or she is said to have a high credit score. On the other hand, if a person is the exact opposite of this, then they possess a low credit score. There are a lot of factors that are considered by financial institutions for the purpose of evaluating a person’s credit score – usually, the credit scores of people vary from 300 to about 850.

A personal loan is a type of loan that is given by digital lenders, banks and credit unions to aid you in your plans, be it starting a small business, or making a big purchase. Personal loans tend to have an interest rate(s) lower than the credit cards; however, they can also be put to use for combining several credit card debts together into one monthly lower-cost payment.

Now, your credit score is built by keeping in mind various parameters from your credit reports. These reports serve the purpose of trailing your history of utilization of the credit across the duration of seven years. These credit reports are comprised of information, including how much credit you have utilized to date, the type of credit in your possession, the age of one’s credit accounts, whether one has put in for bankruptcy or liens filed against them, actions of debt collections taken against them, one’s total open lines of credit as well as recent inquiries for hard credit.

Like any other type of credit, personal loans are very capable of affecting your credit score. This can be done through the process of applying and withdrawing a personal loan. If you are curious as to how personal loans can end up affecting your credit, then read on to find out more about the context. There are many ways in which your credit can be affected by personal loans and some of them are listed below:

The ratio of your debt-to-income and loan

Debt-to-income ratio is considered to be the measure of your amount of income that you spend on the debt repayments. In the case of lenders, the amount of income that you receive is said to be one of the major factors proving that you are able to repay your loan.

Some of the lenders have come up with their own debt-to-income ratio so that their proprietary credit scores may make use of it in the form of a credit consideration. Do not fall into the kind of mindset that possessing a high amount of a loan would hurt your credit. The most damage it can do is raise the ratio of your debt-to-income so that you won’t be able to apply for loans anymore without it getting rejected or denied.

Paying loans on time will make credit scores soar

The moment your loan is approved, you have to make sure that you settle the payments of each month on time and in full. Delay in repayment may significantly impact the state of your credit score. However, on the other hand, if you make the payments on time every month, then your credit score will soar high, leading to an overall good score. This will not only make your name to the preferred borrower’s list, but it will prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.

Since your payment history is comprised of almost 35% of your credit score, paying loans on time is essential in cases like these so that your credit score can maintain a positive status.

Variety is built into your credit type

There are about five factors that are responsible for determining your credit score. These are composed of the payment history, the length of the credit history, the utilization ratio of the credit, the credit mix and new inquiries of the credit in accordance with FICO®.

The credit mix only accounts for about 35% of your total credit score, whereas when it comes to a personal loan you can have a varying mix of the credit types. This mix of all types of credit is viewed at a high level of approval by the creditors and lenders.

Origination fee charged by loans

Most of the lenders end up charging you an origination fee. This fee cannot be avoided at any cost and is instantly taken off from the amount of the loan payment. The amount of origination fees depends upon the amount of the loan you are about to borrow. Late payments can lead to an overdraft of fees and late expenses. Therefore, make sure that you pay complete repayment for each month before the deadline.

Avoiding penalties when it comes to payments

Some of the credit lenders tend to charge an additional fee if you end up paying your part of the loan earlier than the agreed date. This is because they are looking for moderate amounts of interest on your loan. Now, seeing that you have paid off your part of the loan before time, they will miss out on that interest that they could have possibly made if you had not cleared the debt soon enough before the deadline.

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