Posts Tagged ‘Energy Efficency’

The Heart of the Matter

February 14, 2014

Since this month is  American Heart Month and it seems an appropriate metaphor for our homes. I’ve mentioned some of the similarities already, but here is a big one…
512px-BuscemiHeart

Think of your heating and cooling system as your home’s heart. The ductwork or piping can be like arteries and when it all works well, you stay comfortable.
But there’s a lot more to it than that, the body is a system where all the parts work well together. Homes are like that too. Heating, cooling, distribution, ventilation, roofing, siding, air sealing and insulation all come together and when it works great things can happen. We stay warm or cool comfortable and healthy.
Clearly it can be a complicated system, and I won’t say our advisors are doctors, but they sure know homes and how to make them work at their best. One thing’s for sure, we make house calls!

Thanks,
Jason

Image By Chernface141 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, 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

Energy Efficient Candles?

December 23, 2013

In the rapid fire rush of holidays this time of year, we often forget to pay attention to some of the smaller details.  Like how dark it’s getting!  When the days are shorter we tend to turn on the lights sooner.  It’s no wonder a number of holidays this time of year are focused on lights!

candle

Since I’ve recently weathered an ice storm and power outages here in the Northeast, this thought is fresh in my mind:  one candle may produce tens or a maybe hundreds of Btu’s of energy depending on its size and wax make up.  But what does this little light and the few Btu’s produced mean?

An average household in the U.S. uses 90 million Btu’s for lighting, heating and cooling.  During this time of year a lot of this is lighting!  Think of all those tens or hundreds of Btu’s you use in your home no matter what the “candle” really is!

While I’m not sure there is a more energy efficient candle, (makes me think of a more efficient Flintstone’s car), we can change light bulbs and strings of lights that offer safety and savings all in one.  This is a festive time of year, turn on the lights, keep yourself warm and give yourself the gift of energy efficient “candles” whatever they may really be.

Happy Holidays from all of us at GreenHomes America!

Jason

Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Einzelne_Kerze.JPG

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.

P1050845 P1050846P1050874 P1050856

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.

P1050842

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

 

Welcome WESCO, the latest addition to the GreenHomes Team!

November 14, 2012

As promised, it has been a busy year and here’s one more!  There has been a great deal of activity over this last year here at GreenHomes America.  Our latest partner is Washington Energy Services Company from Western Washington State.

This family run business is celebrating 55 years of residential service, helping homeowners as they say, “Save money. Live better.”  They offer residential services out of three locations in Seattle, Tacoma, and Lynnwood, such as HVAC, insulation, windows, doors and siding as well. 

Committed to producing guaranteed energy savings for homeowners, Washington Energy Services is a five time recipient of the Energy Efficiency Action Award given by Puget Sound Energy to organizations, demonstrating outstanding performance in helping Washington’s residential customers save electricity and natural gas.

Great to have them aboard! Find out more about Washington Energy Services

Thanks,

Jason

New Year Resolutions in New York

December 27, 2011

We have a number of GreenHomes America locations in New York State.  Recently NYSERDA suggested some New Year resolutions for this coming year. You can read all of the resolutions here, but here are some highlights I like, and surprise, surprise;  they can work in other states too!

Watch out for build up: One of the easiest things to do is remove build-up in your clothes dryer’s lint trap before every load. Removing built up lint not only reduces the risk of fire but also will increase drying efficiency and could save you up to $34 per year.

Keep your bills out of hot water: Identify-and fix-any water leaks in your home. Leaky faucets and showerheads, for example, can be a big source of waste. Repairing these fixtures can save you up to $100 per year. And, don’t forget to inspect your hot water heater for leakage. At a rate of one drip per second, your home can waste gallons of water in a short time, costing you money.

Seal the gaps: Air leaks can occur in some unusual and out-of-the-way places-crawl spaces, attics, overhangs, garages, porches and other architectural features, to name a few. Be sure to have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor investigate these problem areas and make recommendations on how to make your home’s openings air-tight. By sealing and insulating your home, you could increase your home’s energy efficiency by up to 20 percent.

Turn it off: Make a conscious effort to turn off electronics or appliances when they are not in use. If no one is watching TV—turn it off. Try using a power strip as a central “turn off” point for easy access in powering down multiple pieces of equipment—such as a DVD player, a Blu-RayTM player and a television—all at once. Once you develop this simple habit, you’ll achieve savings the rest of the year.

Look for the star: If you are thinking about replacing electronics or appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These units have advanced features that improve energy efficiency. For more information on ENERGY STAR appliances, visit http://www.energystar.gov 

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®: For more ways to save energy, ask an accredited Home Performance contractor to conduct a comprehensive home energy assessment, which is free for most New York homeowners. The contractor will discuss the energy improvements you can do in 2012 to save more on your utility bills, along with the incentives and financing available to make these improvements more affordable.

An energy assesment from GreenHomes America can help you sort out some New Year’s resolutions of your own and help you stick to them! And, un-like the going to the gym for some parts of January, it won’t hurt I promise.

Thanks and Happy New Year,

Jason


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