Wichita Falls May Find Savings for Customers With New Water Meters
Apr25

Wichita Falls May Find Savings for Customers With New Water Meters

It has been just over one year since water meters in Wichita Falls were replaced with advanced watering infrastructure (AMI smart meters), and the city reports that they are very happy with the results. Jim Dockery, Deputy City Manager, said that the new system is performing exactly as they had hoped. “We continue to work on fine tuning the system to make it even more efficient, but overall it has done what it was intended to do,” he said. The annual cost of the new system was offset by the elimination of five meter-reader positions in the utility billing department. This helped the city replace more than 34,000 water meters over the course of a few months. The new features included in the system are things like highly detailed information that is available to customers and utility-billing staff. The information shows water usage down to hourly increments. “It takes out the guessing game of saying to them, ‘The water went through the meter sometime during that month, but we don’t know when or why,'” Dockery said. The new system helps customers and the city be more proactive in catching things like damage, leaks, or running water in a home. Roughly 10% of homes have leaks that can waste up to 90 gallons of water or more per day. Catching these issues early can save residents a lot of money. According to the city, they expect to save $400,000 from water collection, $115,640 from sewer collection, $133,261 from low-flow water capture, $220,524 from operations, and $175,000 from maintenance. Because it is so early in the process, the city can only generally predict an increase in things like revenue. “It is a little difficult to prove that these new meters are generating the revenue that was estimated when the system was installed because that additional revenue was only expected to be an increase by a fraction systemwide,” Dockery...

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Considering Investing in A Shipping Container Home? Here’s What You Need To Know

Durable, steel shipping containers average a 25-year lifespan and require minimal maintenance. That’s just one reason why many resourceful homeowners have transformed shipping containers into their humble abode. “They’re sleek. They’re innovative. They’re metal. They’re eco-conscious and sustainable…It’s little wonder that shipping container homes have become a national obsession, threatening even to overtake traditional tiny homes in the hearts and imaginations of new home buyers looking for something way out of the ordinary,” writes Angela Colley on Realtor.com. Though shipping container home are highly versatile and customizable, they do require a significant level of planning and maintenance to construct — a level of maintenance that many people underestimate. But with that in mind, shipping container homes are also a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional housing. A 2017 Unilever study found that 33% of consumers prefer to choose brands that support social or environmental causes, so it’s no surprise that shipping container homes are growing in popularity. But before you invest in a shipping container home of your own, it’s important to have realistic expectations regarding cost and maintenance. Here are just a few points to keep in mind if you’re considering investing in a shipping container home of your very own. Avoiding Rust and Roof Corrosion Experts say that rust is one of the primary elements you’ll have to worry about after getting your shipping container home. Shipping containers homes near the ocean are more prone to rust, so expect to have to paint and de-rust more frequently. “Special attention is required if you live near the ocean and the salt air becomes a concern. The ocean dwellers must inspect their container homes a few times a year and in most cases are required to de-rust and paint more often,” writes Jimmy Lee on ContainerHomes.net. Similarly, you should be aware of the potential for roof damage during transportation and construction of your shipping container home. Many containers sustain roof damage when being transported by lower quality companies, especially when the containers are being shipped overseas. Plus, an inch of summer rainfall pours nearly 1,500 gallons of water onto your roof, and most shipping container roofs have dents around the sides that collect rainwater and corrode the roof over time. Experts say the dents sustained during transportation should be repaired prior to construction, and all rust and corrosion should be treated with high-quality rust and corrosion prevention paint. Getting Financial Help Through Grants If you’ve looked into the maintenance involved with a container home and are committed to keeping up with it, you can move onto looking into opportunities to receive federal grants for help with your container home...

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Iceberg! Global Warming Causing Icebergs that Threaten Shipping Lanes
Apr03

Iceberg! Global Warming Causing Icebergs that Threaten Shipping Lanes

Global warming is causing problems in an unexpected place: the melting polar ice caps have let loose an unusual number of icebergs, which are now affecting global sea shipping lanes! While massive container ships may be able to handle collisions with icebergs better than the Titanic did in April 1912, the icebergs are causing serious problems. They may even be convincing some companies to skip sea shipping for air cargo instead. Each year the global aviation industry transports more than $6.4 trillion worth of cargo. Overall, aviation is on the rise. In the U.S. alone, commercial airlines carried more than 3.8 billion passengers and generated global revenue of $501 billion as of 2016. According to Mashable writer Mark Kaufman, “In the spring of 2017, a thick-hulled icebreaking research vessel, the Amundsen, had left its Quebec port en route to a research cruise in Hudson Bay. But the scientists aboard never made it to their destination: The Amundsen was diverted to rescue unsuspecting ships that had become entrapped by Arctic ice floes that moved into North Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes.” Due to increasing temperatures, these masses of Arctic ice are beginning to melt and opening the channels between the Arctic and the North Atlantic. On March 15, scientists aboard the Amundsen published their research in the Geophysical Research Letter journal to issue a warning that this treat could become more common. University of Manitoba ice researcher Dave Babb explains that increased ice movement is a sign that the Arctic climate is expected to drastically change over the next few decades. Because of the ice movements, boats are now running into trouble because the sea ice is getting flushed into the Arctic. According to Babb, “The warming in the Arctic and decline in ice cover is increasing the ability of this ice to be transported out of the Arctic, to areas that typically don’t have these large pieces of ice.” Last year, there were numerous rescue efforts for trapped, punctured, or sinking ships in the ocean area north of Newfoundland. Two ships were sunk by the ice and other ships had to be guided to ice-free waters. So while ice levels are at a record low, the movement of the ice is causing more harm than good. This spring, researchers will head out on the Amundsen once again and hope to gather more data. They hope to have more icebreaking vessels in the area to assist if a surge of ice should come down again from the Arctic and cause trouble for...

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