Archive for the ‘Lighting and Appliances’ Category

Stop Heating your Home this Summer

July 31, 2014

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, out of the total household’s energy usage, 6% is devoted to air conditioning.  Each homeowner is spending around $11 billion to power their air conditioner.  That is quite an investment.  Too easily we cost ourselves more money trying to cool our homes by what appliances we use.  Here are a few tips on how to avoid heating your home in the summer:
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  • Cook outside. Ovens and stoves create extra heat in your house.
  • Get rid of those incandescents. They are producing heat with 75% of the electricity they consume.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Take short showers, no baths.
  • Turn off computers, curling irons, hair dryers, stereos and televisions. They are all generating heat.

Our homes are where we should be most comfortable.  We can increase our comfort and decrease our utility bills by eliminating some of the heat we produce.  Your AC is already working overtime for you.  Give it a break and leave the heat generation to the sun.

Share this post with a neighbor and help them cool off this summer.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

It’s vacation time!

June 24, 2014

If you have plans to travel this summer, ensure your home will be in good shape when you go. The sun is out and you should be too, but keeping your home safe and energy costs down is important. Vacation Here are a few tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat.  Depending on where you live, programmable thermostats can help regulate the temperature and humidity in your home.  When programming it, remember you don’t need to cool your home as much when you are away and no one is home.
  • Check your insulation.  Believe it or not, having enough insulation and duct work that works properly can help reduce your energy costs.  Let us explain, watch this short video.
  • Leave a light on, but only if it’s a CFL or LED.  It’s good to leave a light on or two maintain the appearance of being home.   Save money and energy by using CFL’s or LED’s.  Changing your lightbulbs is an easy thing to do.  More facts about lightbulbs can be found here.
  • If no one’s using hot water, turn it off.  If you plan on being gone for a while, think twice about leaving your electric water heater on.  Turning it off at the breaker will help you reduce energy costs.  Your water heater might even have a vacation setting too.

Have a safe trip!

 

Photo from MrJack  on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sonnenaufgang_Frankreich.JPG

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

September 20, 2013

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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

Equipment: Reach for the stars!

September 18, 2013

I’ve been talking about the demonstration home at one of our locations lately, and ASI installed some great upgrades including a high efficiency water heater and HVAC system, Energy star appliances, and LED lighting.  We’ve discussed many of these things in the past because they make sense, especially when electric rates can be high.

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It’s a great idea to reduce the wattage of lights but who wants to read in the dark?  Lighting is like comfort, you don’t need to compromise in order to be more efficient.  When it comes to lighting, Lower wattage CFL’s and LED’s allow us the best of both worlds just like high efficiency equipment.  As an added bonus, the LED lighting that we install has a life of over 50,000 hours. That’s a lifetime for most people.

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They say HVAC is the heart of home performance and good equipment goes hand and hand with good buildings, these are stars that are both within your reach.

Thanks,

Jason

 

Can the LED Mean no More Excuses?

June 14, 2013

We have written about LED lighting in the past, and there are lots of good reasons to consider it in your home.  The recessed lighting options out there can help with energy savings as well as tackling a troublesome air sealing dilemma.

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But the big hurdle for me is the light bulb. We use them everywhere in our homes and in places where we really need them like to read or get down the stairs.  There have a number of bulbs making their way to market, and one of them is CREE.

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It did cost me $12, but my biggest complaint is that I may have to keep the receipt for 10 years if it fails under warranty.  If it only lasts 10 years, it will have been a $1.20 a year investment and I expect to spend that much a year to keep it on about 6 hours a day since it uses only 9.5 watts produces 800 lumens.  An incandescent might cost $8 a year to burn the same hours and it sure won’t last 10 years.

What does it look like though, since nostalgia and good looks matter and have kept some of us from changing standard light bulbs to compact fluorescents.    Go figure, I think it looks like a light bulb.  I’m running out of excuses. Even with antique fixtures, something crying for an old Edison bulb I think it looks pretty good.

Thanks,

Jason

 

The Power of Infrared: In the Study of Reindeer Seeing is Believing!

December 24, 2012

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Thanks to the hard work of a team of researchers in Norway (near the North Pole) and the Netherlands, Rudolph’s red nose has been explained.  The recently published, observational study: Why Rudolph’s Nose is Red, involved both human subjects as well as two reindeer. The study shed light on Reindeer’s nasal structure, and how it is ideal for sleigh pulling while flying and facing extreme temperatures.

rodolf red nose 

These sure are great images!  I can’t help but think of the insight we get when looking at homes under infrared.  Missing insulation, uncontrolled air flow patterns, moisture issues, and electrical concerns are all problems identified by a skilled technician.  Maybe our advisors at GreenHomes America don’t understand the microvasculature of the nasal septal mucosa of reindeer, but they do know homes!   

May you all have a safe, warm, healthy and happy holiday.  

From each and every one of us, Merry Christmas!

Jason

Images from:   http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e8311

Homeowners save money making home more efficient

October 23, 2012

Nothing new here! But here is a news report featuring our very own A. Johnson Heating Cooling and Plumbing on an energy assessment in a home in eastern New York.

Video Link:

http://cbs6albany.com/news/top-stories/stories/homeowners-save-money-making-home-more-efficient-3498.shtml

 

If they cover your area give them a call if not, find a location near you.

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

 

Boy has it been a busy year for GreenHomes America!

October 1, 2012

Young’s Air Conditioning of Los Banos, California came on board before the start of the New Year.  Young’s is a family business with strong roots in Los Banos and a reputation as the area’s leading provider of energy efficient heating and cooling services.

In the early part of the winter, we added three locations with Carolina Green Energy Systems.  CGES is one of South Carolina’s oldest and largest comprehensive Home Performance Contractors, and we are proud to include them in the GreenHomes Network.

Also new in town is Air Rescue Air Conditioning of Tampa, Florida. This is our first partner from the Sunshine state.   Air Rescue started in 1965, and is one of the oldest and largest residential HVAC contractors in the Tampa Bay Metro area.   Air Rescue will service customers in over seven counties.

This is only the beginning as GreenHomes grows to better serve you nationally!  Stay tuned for more!

Thanks,

Jason.

In home electric monitoring, Real Time Data and Age Old Adages

May 24, 2012

By U.S. Air Force photo by Edward Aspera Jr. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

NYT reported last month that although there are some early adopters of monitors of electric use in our homes, it is predicted that more than half will have them in the next ten years.    Notable in the Times article is a quote from Dan Yates, CEO of Opower: “Simply making energy usage visible can have an impact”.   I can believe that; after all, “knowledge is power”, right?

Blending physics, and metaphor, with this age old adage (I can’t resist throwing in some physics), power implies transformation.  It is a function of using energy to do work.  My point is that energy monitors aren’t worth squat unless we change our behavior based on what they tell us.  In fact, since you plug them in, they use electricity, they don’t save it.

Local utilities are offering energy data with things like the green button which we’ve written about in the past. Changing light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs can make a big impact with electric loads.  When you use electricity—for A/C or to heat water for example—more efficient systems can make a difference; and so can improving the home in other ways.   The gains in insulating and air sealing, proper shading, and good windows can really make an impact on your energy usage as well as your comfort.

I wonder if the adage “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is relevant?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to keep an eye on your electrical usage, but don’t get caught watching and not acting. Or maybe, “a fool and his money will soon part” fits too.

Thanks,

Jason

LED Lighting Facts: New Consumer Label for Lighting

February 13, 2012

 

Expect to see LED light bulb packaging sport a new label this summer.  The intent is to introduce some transparency in the market and guard against exaggerated claims in lighting performance.  

This should lend some clarity on lumens, (a measure of the light output) how many lumens per watt, helping us better understand the bulb’s efficiency as well as the light color.  One of the arguments against migrating away from incandescent has been the quality of the light.   Hopeful labeling will help shed some light on this subject (sorry I couldn’t resist). More here at lightingfacts.com

Thanks,

Jason


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