Archive for the ‘Electricity Use’ Category

Are you ready for some football?

September 11, 2014

Football fans chearing on their team

It is official, we have begun another season of football.  Last Thursday, the 4th was the official kick off to the NFL season between the Seahawks and the Packers.  26.9 million people tuned into to watch these two teams battle for victory.  As the season progresses we can only expect those numbers to climb.  As those in your home tune into football, make sure you aren’t wasting money at the hands of your TV.  Our friends at ENERGY STAR have developed a list of the most energy efficient televisions in 2014 in three different categories:  Televisions under 35 inches, Televisions from 35 inches to 50 inches and Televisions over 50 inches.  Go ahead and check them out.  Whether your team wins or loses, at least you are saving money through it all.

While your TV can provide some relief on your utility bills, try other energy saving techniques like changing out your incandescent light bulbs or getting a home energy audit.

And, best of luck to your team this season.

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

Fans Only Cool People… what?

July 17, 2014

My House - New Orleans - Kitchen 2010.jpg
In these hot summer months we love our fans of all kinds, desk fans, ceiling fans, clip on fans, the list goes on.  Naturally, if we are in a warm room we turn on the ceiling fan to help cool the room.  When we leave the room, we leave the fan on so it can continue cooling.  If it cools us, it will cool the room, right?  Wrong.  Fans have fooled us all.  The U.S. Department of Energy reminds us that fans cool people, not rooms.  How?  They create a wind chill effect by moving air over our skin.  As far as the room goes, the fan will actually create more heat in the room because of its motor.  Not only that, but by leaving it on, you are increasing your electric bill.  Sounds pretty counterproductive, doesn’t it?

You aren’t without options though.  Sure, cool off with a fan while you are in the room and turn it off when you leave.  That would be using fans efficiently.  Or, get an energy audit to see why that room is so warm in the first place.  This would help you to use your home more efficiently.

Feel free to share with your fellow homeowners, we can’t let anyone else get fooled by the fan.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

 

Picture Source:  “My House – New Orleans – Kitchen 2010” by Alex CastroFlickr: My House – New Orleans – 2010. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

A Modern Day Swords into Plowshares

January 29, 2014

How do you turn a nuclear warhead into a source of power that lights your living room? The answer came from Dr.  Thomas L. Neff who conceived of, and carried out, the atomic recycling program called Megatons to Megawatts. You can read more about Dr. Neff in this The New York Times article.  It’s quite poetic if you ask me, cold war era weapons meant to destroy our American cities if need be, in the end powering them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love hearing stories of triumph and ingenuity, embracing adversity and making the best of it.   The “sword” of nuclear warheads being repurposed into “plowshares” we could harvest light heat and cooling from in our homes, should inspire all of us. While we don’t often encounter “swords” like this in our daily energy life, we do have the opportunity to make a change.  Reduce. From the same NYT article Dr. Neff was quoted, “The lesson of the story, he remarked in an interview, is that ‘private citizens can actually do something’”.  You can too, right at home.

Reducing the need for any energy source by creating a home that is energy efficient does a few things.  It creates more affordable energy bills, makes you more comfortable and it allows our limited resources to last that much longer. The Megatons to Megawatts program expired in 2013, although there are other programs on a smaller scale in the works.  We can run out of warheads, oil, gas, coal, or any other non-renewable resource. Do something at home, we can help.

Thanks,

Jason

 

Picture from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swords-Plowshares.jpg

Lights! Home! Action!

December 17, 2013

light tree

The days are shorter, it’s darker, and what kind of season would it be without lights!  Here are some tips from us at GreenHomes America to make your season a bright and efficient one!

  • Switch to smaller and newer lights, consider LED lighting in particular.  There are significant savings with this newer lighting technology.  If you must have the big bulbs, switching to a smaller wattage may help (this works with all the lighting in your home).
  • Use a timer! It is good to turn off the lights when you don’t need them and much easier if you set them up on a timer.
  • Make sure lights have a (UL) label which means they Underwriters Laboratory safety requirements. (we follow BPI requirements for your home)
  • Use the right set for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Safety Check! Just like we perform on your home! New or old check all light sets for frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation. If you find any defects, replace the entire set (if we find defects in your home we can fix them, you don’t have to throw it away).
  • All outdoor cords, plugs and sockets must be weatherproof. Keep electrical connections off the ground, and make sure wiring is kept clear of drainpipes and railings to prevent any risk of shock.  Water can cause all sorts of problems and not just with electricity.
  • Don’t overload your electrical circuits. Circuits in older homes carry a maximum of 1800 watts each. Most newer homes can handle 2400 watts each. While our friends over at CurrentSafe can speak to this, be safe!

Thanks,

Jason

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HD_Baum01.jpg

Home Energy Makeover: In their own words

October 2, 2013

The home’s air conditioning had not worked for quite some time. Because of their son’s condition, air conditioning & heating are a priority. But as any good home performance job should go, the whole house was part of the work.  Air sealing the home, wall and attic insulation, new heating & cooling system including ductwork, were all done.  In addition some roof repairs, minor plumbing and electrical repairs were done too.  The video captured from the Fresno Bee really tells the story best.

 

 

Distributors and local companies that Allbritten works with have stepped up by providing equipment or services at little to no cost including Sigler (a distributor of Carrier), FASCO, Trust-All Roofing, Roth Crane, Tinch Howard Sheet Metal, and others,  allowing Allbritten to do more for the family committing additional money to the project.

It’s a great group of employees in a great company doing the right thing.  Not too much more can be said, they’ve said it themselves.

Thanks,

Jason

Set Phasors on Stun! Scottie, Warp Power Up to Full Capacity!

September 20, 2013

phasor

It was reported recently  that some bright folks have figured out that if you watch the current of the power grid with phasor measurement units (picture colorful layers of EKG displays),it will reveal potential disruptions in the power supply nationwide and help us catch a problem before it gets too big, like it did in the summer of 2003 when 50 million people lost power.

Knowing when trouble is coming is great but if we tax the grid with cooling and lighting, watching re runs of Star Trek, and running blenders for margaritas’ in the summer, what do we do about it?

Either generate more power (Que Scottish accent shouting “I dannae is she can’t take any more captain!”) or we change our behavior (put the blender away)  We may have escaped this summer unscathed, but reducing our electircal load year round is a great idea.

Here’s one more option:  Energy efficient appliances, lighting and homes!  When you replace appliances or lighting, make sure it EnergyStar rated or is a LED or CFL for lighting.  As for our homes, increasing your comfort can mean reducing your bills as well and using less from the grid at the same time.  Air sealing and insulation makes a big difference on the cooling bill.  Consider a home performance assessment, that way your shields will be up and ready for anything.

Thanks,

Jason

Money, Good Health and a Comfortable Home, We Have Solutions!

September 3, 2013

Why Get an Energy Audit?  Watch this Video….

NIMBY, no wait YIMBY!

July 26, 2013

Sun_PylonWe need power. We heat and cool our homes, run our devices with it, and what we use is limited to what we produce or generate.  Energy use in the summer often puts a strain on the grid, and we are redlining at times.

Some forms of power generation are less desirable than others, they come at a cost.  Nuclear power for example is great stuff, until things go wrong, or we have to find a place for the waste.  That’s when some folks cry “Not in My Back Yard”.

Fracking, the process of injecting high pressure liquids deep in the ground to release natural gas, could produce 15 million barrels of oil a day by 2050 the U.S., mentioned in this article according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.   This certainly helps liberate us from foreign oil dependency, but it has also been criticized by the NIMBY crowd.

My intentions are not to judge good or bad, or right or wrong here but I will weigh in on this from the same article:  Investing in already available technologies to increase energy efficiency can save 23 million barrels of oil a day.  This is the stuff we love.  Better Insulation, more efficient appliances, more efficient homes!   That sounds a lot like Home Performance.

Yes in my back yard. Please!

Thanks,

Jason

Sun picture from Stefan Wernli

GreenHomes Parent Company installs EV Charging Station

April 2, 2013

ABM, GreenHomes America’s parent company, helped the US Navy celebrate the 1st EV Charging Station to be installed at a US NAVY site on the West Coast.

Great to see charging stations going up in all areas. Vroom!

Thanks,

Jason

Fall Clean Up!

November 16, 2012

In New England it is easy to see the seasons change. It’s a time of harvest and preparation for our comfort through the coldest part of the year.   There’s plenty to do outside the home never mind on the inside. 

 For one thing it is time to tune up the furnace or boiler before the heating season begins.    Preventative maintenance is a good thing and worth the minor expense to ward of a major one in the middle of the heating season.  With a contractor you trust, that clean and tune may be part of a service agreement and can save you even more.

Your heating system is not the only thing that should get a tune up though.  For many of us, it’s the home too!   Even with the cleanest running furnace or boiler in your home, it is important to consider how well the building is insulated, resists air leakage, deals with moisture and provides indoor air quality.   

Since heating systems and buildings interact with each other, it’s a great idea to consider treating them together.  Seek out certified and experienced heating and cooling technicians, and the same for your home.  Consider a BPI accredited contractor that will look at your home as a system and help you prepare for the coming season making it healthier, safer and more energy efficient.

Thanks,

Jason


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