Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Take control of your Home’s Energy Usage during the Holidays

November 25, 2014

title-ghaWow, the holiday season is here.  It seems to come quicker every year.  This week as you celebrate Thanksgiving, don’t forget to save some energy.  It turns out that the kitchen accounts for about 15% of the home’s energy.  With holiday traditions often including extra baking and entertaining, your kitchen will be getting quite the work out.  Here are a few tips to keep your energy costs down:

Reuse the heat.  Using the stove and oven will generate more heat in your house.  To offset the cost, turn down your thermostat.  And, with the extra heat from the kitchen, you won’t need the thermostat up so high.

Stock the fridge with leftovers.  Don’t be afraid to pack your fridge tight with leftovers.  Having a full fridge helps reduce the energy it needs to keep your foods cool.

Keep your burners clean.  Clean burners mean less grime and less grime means less energy needed to heat the burner.  Regular maintenance might be a pain, but it will pay off in the long run.

Just a few small changes can go a long way in saving energy and of course, money, all without compromising your holiday.  Enjoy your time with family and friends.  Give thanks for the many blessings that surround you.  And, if you need help saving even more energy in your home, give us a call.  We are happy to help.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

A Worldwide Energy Transition

November 6, 2014

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Last month, as we celebrated Energy Action month, we took a look at the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.  It showed that we are using more energy than ever before.  Efforts are being made not only nationwide, but worldwide to improve that number.  The Energiewende is what they are calling it and Germany is leading the push.  The New York Times writes, “Germany will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources.  Many smaller countries are beating that, but Germany is by far the largest industrial power to reach that level in the modern era.  It is more than twice the percentage in the United States.”

It sounds like we have some catching up to do and we, at GreenHomes, couldn’t agree more.  There’s no better place to start saving energy than our homes.  Making your home more energy efficient whether that’s through proper air sealing and insulation, a right-sized AC or furnace, or even solar panels, can all help decrease our energy consumption.  And, if it helps, saving energy in your home will leave you more comfortable and lower your utility bills.

Read the full New York Times article referenced above, here:  http://goo.gl/5wYV37

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

Home Energy Saving Tips

October 9, 2014

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This month, with the focus on energy, we want to encourage every homeowner to take action no matter how big or how small to conserve energy.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Cooking is like a puzzle. Match your pot to the size of your stovetop burner.  Using smaller pots waste heat when used on large burners.
  2. Don’t soak. Take short showers instead of baths.  If you want to save even more energy, use a low-flow showerhead.
  3. Power off, completely. If you aren’t in the room, turn off lights, TVs, computers, etc.
  4. Unplug battery chargers when not in use. Many chargers continue to burn energy even when the device isn’t plugged into the charger.
  5. Slow down. Drive safe and slow down.  Not only is speeding dangerous, it wastes fuel too.
  6. Upgrade your thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat may save you an estimated $180 a year.  It saves energy, too.
  7. Use cold water. Washing clothes with cold water can save you 40 cents per load.
  8. Forget the dryer. Dry your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack and save an estimated $252 a year.
  9. Ditch the incandescents. CFLs and LEDs are more energy-efficient and give off the same amount of light.  More information can be found on our fact sheet.
  10. Get an energy audit. Find out where your home is using and losing energy.  More than likely that lost energy is also costing you money.  Learn more in this video.

Sources:  Duke Energy, ENERGY STAR, Energy Information Administration, Choice Home Warranty

Energy Action Month, our favorite!

October 2, 2014

shutterstock_46711030Every October, we celebrate, along with the nation, Energy Action Month.  Its call on us is simple, take action.  With all the energy we use on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to step back from time to time and see where we can save energy for future generations.  We don’t want to use up all of our resources before our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids get to enjoy them.  From what the Residential Energy Consumption Survey tells us, we are using more energy than we ever have before!  Here at GreenHomes America, we focus primarily on home energy.  Each homeowner has an opportunity to not only save energy, but also save money.  For example, if you use a programmable thermostat, you will save energy and  an estimated $180 a year.  There are more examples like this one on our Energy Action Month fact sheet.

The first step, though, is to find out where your home is using and losing energy with a home energy audit.  From there, you can join the forces in saving energy and save money while you’re at it.

Share this post with anyone who owns a home.  Help save energy and help them save money.

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

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

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

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

Ghosts and other Horrors!

October 28, 2013

Its Energy Action month this month and soon will be Halloween.   In the past we’ve talked about zombies, and vampires , witchcraft, and Trick or Treat but never about ghosts!

Armed with ghost buster-esque diagnostic equipment our advisors go from home to home looking for abnormal signs as part every energy assessment.

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Sometimes we don’t need fancy equipment, but usually need a strong understanding of building science.  Seeing patterns on walls revealing the framing are great signs. So are spider webs. Spider webs can reveal air flow.  Spiders, looking for a meal, often set up shop where dinner might fly by.  Leaks to the outside can be doorways and death traps for insects.

The ghosting pattern in the picture is often caused by a lack of insulation and moisture in the home.  With the right conditions, dirt collects on these under insulated surfaces.  Not only is there an insulation issue, the moisture can lead to more than dirt, there could be mold growth eventually.

Don’t be too scared, we’ve got some good solutions.  Give us a call we can help bust those ghosts, as well as other creatures lurking in your home!

Thanks,

Jason

photo courtesy of Energy Efficent Solutions http://www.greenhomesamerica.com/locations/172-energy-audit-and-energy-assessments.aspx

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

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


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