Posts Tagged ‘environment’

GreenHomes wins a Century Club Award, again!

November 5, 2012

It’s nice to be recognized.  This is the third year in a row in fact.   The EPA and the DOE have recognized GreenHomes America –  Syracuse with the Century Club Award.   An award that goes to the contractor that has improved the energy efficiency of more than 100 homes in the past year through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.  Home Performance with ENERGY STAR offers homeowners a comprehensive whole house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort while saving money on utility bills and helping to protect the environment. 

Our Syracuse location, a leading contractor in central New York and part of the national GreenHomes America network, improved well over 400 homes last year!

Congratulations to Syracuse!  It is great to know that as a network we are charging along across the country in states that participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program as well as states that don’t.  Look for a GreenHomes America location near you! 



Better Resale value from “Green” Homes

September 28, 2012

A recent study this summer from UC Berkeley and UCLA looked at homes that were certified as green from a few different organizations.  Although the certification standards varied, the homes needed to have details such as well-insulated ceilings and walls and energy-efficient lighting.  These are just some of the basics of making a home “green”, as well as efficient appliances, proper HVAC equipment and good indoor air quality.  These things unfortunately don’t always happen in new homes, even those with the green label.  However, they can and should happen in every home, and that’s why we do what we do.

This study comes from a state with a very nice incentive system in place for energy efficiency retrofits.  Energy upgrade California is a good place to start if you are a resident of CA.  For residents of other states, you can find some incentive programs from DSIREThe full study can be found here.

You can also contact one of our locations to learn more about how you can make your home safer, energy efficient, more valuable, and of course, green!




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.



Earth Hour 2010

March 26, 2010

In roughly 24 hours, Earth Hour 2010 will begin, and people across the globe will shut off their lights for one hour in order to make a statement.  However you feel about global warming, everyone can agree that conserving resources, and turning off lights when we don’t need them, is good for our society and our world.
Tomorrow night, the centers and capitals of over 4,000 towns and cities will go dark in order to remind us of the importance of conservation in our daily lives. From Lima to Las Vegas, from the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower, cities large and small across the globe will be declaring their dedication to protecting the environment we inhabit.  
I support Earth Hour 2010 because reducing energy waste is a great idea—and Earth Hour helps call attention to it. It’s easy in the modern world to forget about where energy comes from when you can illuminate your house with the flick of a finger, but each minute that a light bulb is burning unnecessarily is a minute that fuel is being wasted.  And in the U.S. more than 50% of our electricity comes from dirty coal.  By cutting down on our energy waste, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve our air quality, and decrease the load that energy companies are facing on a daily basis, all while helping homeowners save money on their energy bills. Who isn’t in favor of that?
Last year over 1 billion people participated in Earth Hour 2009, check out this video to see some of the cities that joined in:

If you want to join us in supporting Earth Hour 2010, turn off your lights today, Saturday, March 27th, at 8:30 PM EDT.  Remember, though, the value here is educational and inspiration.  To really get lasting energy savings, and have a long-term impact, you need to make bigger changes with bigger impacts in your home, the type of energy-efficiency improvements we discuss here at the time.

Green Collar Jobs

November 3, 2008

At a meeting in Pittsburgh recently, we talked a lot of green collar jobs.  This has been a subject of discussion from Business Week to the New York Times to politicians of all stripes over the past several months.
And it makes great sense for this country and for individuals.  Rather than send our money directly overseas to oil and gas producers—and then watch the product burn and fly out our chimneys, we can improve our homes, create jobs, help the economy, and help our own pocket books.  While the arena of green collar jobs is broader than just homes—and includes windmills, large-scale solar and geothermal, and even transportation—let me use home improvement as an example.
The individual economics are clear.  If someone is spending $2,000 per year to heat their home with gas or oil (maybe more than that this year!), and we can save them $1,000 per year (or more if prices continue to rise—which they will in the long run) with a $5,000 project, then in 5 years, they’ll have recovered the cost of the project and be saving a lot of money every single year.  Actually, with good financing, you can in many cases have payments less than the savings so you have extra cash throughout the loan period, too.  Of course, you also get a more comfortable house and protection against rising energy prices.
How does this create green jobs?  Well, someone has to install that insulation or furnace.  And if they do it properly—the only way you’ll actually get the savings you deserve, it takes more time.  Multiply this by tens of thousands of homes in your area or millions of homes nationally, and it’s clear we need a lot more people out there doing the work.  It’s not just installations technicians—we’ll need to support them with office staff, they’ll need tools and equipment and materials, most of which means more manufacturing here in this country.  These installation and related positions cannot be shipped overseas.  The work needs to been done onsite in more than 100 million homes in this country.
And there’s a multiplier effect.  Think what happens when someone has a local job.  They buy groceries and clothes and visit the dentist and picnic at the lake and do a lot of other things that boost the local economy.  $50,000 spent weatherizing a group of homes stays in the community are gets spent again and again.  Compare that with $50,000 spent on oil which disappears instantly.
Green collar jobs is just another reason why energy-efficiency makes sense for you in your home—and for you in your community.

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