Posts Tagged ‘energy star appliances’

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

September 20, 2013


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.



Moisture in the Home: Sometimes you need a dehumidifier

July 16, 2012

Despite what some might think, bigger isn’t always better. We talk about the right size furnace or air conditioner for our homes, it makes sense that a dehumidifier should be sized right too.

First of all, I suggest you take care of everything you can to reduce moisture in the first place. (Home as microbiology experiment? Moisture, keep it reasonable and stay safe) This is a lot like what I suggest in terms of heating and cooling in a home. Air seal and insulate first to make the home more efficient, then change the HVAC system.  The same principle applies to choosing a dehumidifier:  reduce the need first, and this will allow for a smaller unit.  It might be smaller, but it will use less energy.

Since basements and other spaces sometimes need some dehumidification, consider the following chart:

Picking a dehumidifier

ENERGY STAR® qualified models are better since they use less energy, and you can check the EnergyGuide sticker to see what yearly energy consumption a model has.



Where does it all go?

November 28, 2011


If you still have a dollar to your name after a rough (at times too rough!) shopping weekend, you might want to take a look at this nifty info-graphic which helps explains an average household’s energy use, and naturally where the rest of the money goes!

High on the list of energy use in a home is, as it might be expected, heating and hot water.  Cooling is up there as well.  It does depend on where you live as to which is a bigger drain on your finances but this is precisely the reason we spend so much time talking about and fixing,  these areas.

Appliances are a much smaller part of the overall picture, but not to be ignored, of course.  If part of your Black Friday battle included fist-fighting (whew, there was some craziness out there—sort of reminds me of that zombie discussion last month!) for a brand new Energy Star dishwasher, more power to you.  It may even have been worth it if what you had was over ten years old.

Clearly as the picture suggests, heating and cooling equipment—that is your furnace, air-conditioner, or heat pump—should be in top notch shape performing their best if you are going to avoid burning money.   But what if the attic insulation doesn’t keep the heat in?  What if the duct work leaks and pumps conditioned air into the great outdoors?  What this picture tells me is that the important things in a home are being warm or cool, having hot water when we want it, the creature comforts.

You can buy the best coffee maker in the world to make a great cup of coffee, but a cracked cup with a hole in it won’t keep the coffee around or warm long enough for you to enjoy it.   Homes can just be like that.  Consider a gift for you and your family this season, one without the bruises or pepper spray dangers of holiday shopping, a comprehensive home assessment so you know where it all goes and can do something about it!



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