Posts Tagged ‘home energy audit’

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

Whatever you do, do it well

November 18, 2014
Screenshot from Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 1. (Timecode 00:00:04 of main feature). DVD issued by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, December 2003. DVD © Disney. Film copyright MCMXXIX (1929) DISNEY.

Screenshot from Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 1. (Timecode 00:00:04 of main feature). DVD issued by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, December 2003. DVD © Disney.
Film copyright MCMXXIX (1929) DISNEY.

“Whatever you do, do it well.  Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney

Today, in 1928, Walt Disney took the cartoon world by storm with Steamboat Willie.  It was the first cartoon with synchronized sound.  Then, again, in 1937 Disney continued with creating the first sound and color animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It’s safe to say he did animated cartoons and he did them well, so well that people continue to come back again and again.

Following Walt Disney’s lead, what we do we want to do it well, not for us, but for you.  We specialize in home energy audits.  You may have heard of it before.  It’s a service that can help you live more comfortably, safely, and affordably, all while reducing your carbon footprint.  Like cartoons, there are different versions out there of a home energy audit but only some may be of worth.  Ours is different.  For one, it’s comprehensive.  It takes more than just a clipboard to do our audit.  Our advisors are certified and equipped with tools to test your entire home’s performance.  After we do the audit and the improvements on your home, we come back and run a test just to make sure everything is at its optimal performance.

Find a location near you and see us do it well.  So well that we know you will want to bring others in to show them just how well we did.  And, whatever field you may be in, we offer the same advice to you, whatever you do, do it well.

Thanks for stopping by!
April

Sources:
http://patriciahysell.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/6314/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animated_cartoon

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

Desperate for a Cool Down?

July 10, 2014

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As summer continues to heat up, we all end up desperate for a cool down.  Nothing is more frustrating than running the AC constantly and still having hotspots in our homes or hot rooms!  I won’t even mention those high utility bills.  Good news!  There are options to look into that can help even out the temperatures in your home, reduce your utility bill and give you that cool down you are looking for.

  1. Get an energy audit – Here’s a video to help explain.
  2. Do the improvements – We usually start with Air Sealing.  You could save 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades that a home energy audit can identify.  (U.S. Department of Energy)
  3. Enjoy your comfortable home – Go ahead, picture it.

We all need a break from the heat, sometimes a cool drink or a scoop of ice cream just doesn’t cut it.  Give yourself a more lasting cool down, keep the heat outside.  Relax, save money and be cool in the comfort of your own home.

Feel free to share this post with your fellow homeowners.  Let’s not leave anyone desperate for a cool down.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

Summer is here. Be safe!

June 17, 2014

Summer SafetySafety is a top priority for us in the work we do in your home. We stress it every day.  In fact an energy audit is only partially about saving you money.  It is also about keeping you and your family safe.  As part of our audit, we check for gas leaks on the combustion equipment in your home like your furnace or gas stove.

While we keep you safe inside, here are a few tips to keep you safe outside as summer closes in:

  • Watch out for Bugs!  Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common.  Repellants are helpful for both.  If ticks are an issue in your area there are some simple landscaping efforts you can do to help deter them.
  • Enjoy the sunshine, but cover up! Hats, sunscreen and shade are encouraged.
  • If it gets too hot inside your home and even hotter oustide, maybe energy efficiency improvements are what you need for safety’s sake!

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Photo by Steffen Flor  from wikimedia commons

Do you drive with the windows down or blast the AC?

June 12, 2014

This summer you might be spending some time on the road.  It’s a great time to vacation.  Seeking fuel efficiency in your vehicle means going easy on the pedal, but how do we keep cool on the hot summer road trips?  Do we drive with the windows down or blast the AC? Road Trip Efficiently Apparently keeping your windows down is more efficient  than blasting the AC.  We can safely argue that it is not as efficient as keeping the windows up and not using the AC.   I wouldn’t recommend this for a summer trip unless you want to know what that bug feels like under the magnifying glass! Cranking up the AC at home means comfort of course, and for some it’s a matter of health and safety especially when it gets hot.   We wouldn’t think of not using the AC when the temperature is soaring outside, but like your car, you can run your home more efficiently. How?  Keep your AC tuned up!  Regular maintenance helps avoid unexpected repairs.  While you are at it, tune up your house too.  Recommendations from an energy audit help you keep the cool where you want it, inside and the hot where you like it, outside.  In fact air sealing and insulation improvements can reduce the amount of cooling you need. Thanks, Jason Photo from Nicholas A. Tonelli under  creative commons license

Home is where the Heart is: Helping a home, Helping a Family

September 9, 2013

I often make the parallel between the “health” of our homes, to the health of ourselves.   A cooling or heating system can be like our hearts, and the ductwork like the arteries branching out.   The need for a physical, making sure things are working fine, applies to our homes.   Our bodies are systems and so are our homes, its the treatment that makes a difference.

Albritten’s choice for the Home Energy Makeover is particularly touching because they have helped a family battling with health problems, a family with more than their fair share on their plate.

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Steve and Rhonda live with four of their six children, in a home built in the 1950’s. Their son 28-year old J.J. is special needs with both physical disabilities that keep him in a wheelchair, and cognitive disabilities.  AC and heat are important for them because of his and the entire family’s comfort and unfortunately it has not worked for some time.

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Steve, battles with a rare type of cancer referred to as carcinoid, and has injections every two weeks.  He still continues to go to work even though he spends time in the hospital when his symptoms worsen.  In fact Steve, not in the pictures, was hospitalized on the day the Makeover was announced lasting a few weeks.  Providing for his family is clearly important.

This Energy Makeover has allowed Allbritten to provide something for them which serves well as a reminder for all of us to take care of our families, ourselves and to lend a hand in helping others.  Now that is having a healthy heart!

Thanks,

Jason

Building Science Principles: consider going PRO?

January 15, 2013

bpi logoSome of you out there may know builders, home inspectors, Realtors, Bankers and Students, or may be one yourself.  Well, we all have something in common, “homes!” We live in them, own them, rent them, some work on them and we sure know when they are not working right.

Making a home comfortable safe and healthy takes a lot of work, and I think it only helps if we share that knowledge.  That is why we help educate homeowners on how they work and don’t work and how we can make them better.

Maybe you, or someone you know, is in a profession that could benifit from a little insight into building science.  Maybe you are looking to explore new career opportunities.  This could be a first step towards great things.  The certificate is a preview of some of the things one needs to know for the professional level certification our advisors obtain and we live by here at GreenHomes America.

At GreenHomes we pride ourselves in the training and certifications our employees will attain as well as sharing their knowledge with our customers. The study guide for the certificate is over 200 pages.  And more information can be found here:  http://www.bpi.org/professionals_certificate.aspx

Even if you are not interested in a certificate in building science, BPI has some good information for homeowners and explains why we do what we do, check it out!

Thanks,

Jason.

 

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

December 24, 2012

 rudolf 2

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

The Six P’s, and some more!

December 11, 2012

Some may have heard the expression before:  “Proper Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance” or possibly a less pleasant version, but I will leave that to your imagination.  Permutations previewed in this photo provide possibilities for a plethora of problems, primarily CO poisoning!

Please provide proper ventilation for atmospheric combustion equipment such as the water heater shown here. VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200This is common configuration for a water heater, drawing combustion air from its surroundings, but it can create problems!

Pressures in a house can change and affect equipment like this.  Our predecessors discovered that it was more pleasant when smoke from the fire went up the chimney.  It’s more than pleasant but imperative! 

This chimney shown is going downhill before it goes up, the primary problem! Our heating equipment needs to be vented properly or those gasses enter our homes.  Consider having your combustion equipment checked as part of a whole house assessment

Please, a plug, poke, or paltry plea, proper planning provides prime performance, and prevents poisoning (CO that is!).

Pthanks,

Jason

 


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