Posts Tagged ‘insulation’

Are summer allergies keeping you inside?

August 7, 2014

House-Infiltration

August is a rough month for summer allergies, especially those allergic to mold spores.   Peaking during hot and humid weather, mold spores are on the attack.  The best solution is to stay indoors when the count is very high.  The problem we all have though, is outdoor air gets into our homes with all of its allergens and pollutants.  The tricky thing is this isn’t always because a window or a door is open.  We at GreenHomes call it infiltration.  It’s a fancy word that basically means that the outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, ceilings and around windows and doors.

When your house was built, holes were made for pipes and wires that may have never been sealed.  We know this because of what we do: home energy audits.  It is a comprehensive test that includes a focus on indoor air quality.  Because of this test, we can identify where air is coming into your home and seal it up.  This will keep that outdoor air where it belongs, outside, and possibly give  you some relief from all of that sneezing.

Share this post with family or a friend who are suffering from allergies.

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

It’s vacation time!

June 24, 2014

If you have plans to travel this summer, ensure your home will be in good shape when you go. The sun is out and you should be too, but keeping your home safe and energy costs down is important. Vacation Here are a few tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat.  Depending on where you live, programmable thermostats can help regulate the temperature and humidity in your home.  When programming it, remember you don’t need to cool your home as much when you are away and no one is home.
  • Check your insulation.  Believe it or not, having enough insulation and duct work that works properly can help reduce your energy costs.  Let us explain, watch this short video.
  • Leave a light on, but only if it’s a CFL or LED.  It’s good to leave a light on or two maintain the appearance of being home.   Save money and energy by using CFL’s or LED’s.  Changing your lightbulbs is an easy thing to do.  More facts about lightbulbs can be found here.
  • If no one’s using hot water, turn it off.  If you plan on being gone for a while, think twice about leaving your electric water heater on.  Turning it off at the breaker will help you reduce energy costs.  Your water heater might even have a vacation setting too.

Have a safe trip!

 

Photo from MrJack  on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sonnenaufgang_Frankreich.JPG

Quality time indoors isn’t quality for some

May 15, 2014

We spend much of our time indoors in this country. For those who suffer from Asthma this can be a problem especially when our indoor air can trigger attacks. I’ve been talking about Asthma Awareness this month, and  I want to draw attention to some triggers in more detail.

trucks outside home

Improving a home with insulation and air sealing brings more than comfort and energy savings.   It can reduce the amount of dust generated as well. Shutting down pathways to the outside can help reduce other pests and the influence of the outside as well. Sometimes the great outdoors isn’t so great for those of us who suffer from Asthma.

Air sealing can reduce connections to other spaces as well, such as your garage where chemicals and fuels are kept.   It can also reduce connections to crawlspaces and basements where things can get moldy.

Consider an energy audit as a way to help increase the quality of your indoor air.

Thanks,

Jason

Low Hanging Fruit and Big Watermelons

April 18, 2014

That was how Philippe Benoit, the head of the International Energy Agency, described the perception of achieving energy efficiency versus what it’s often like. Suggesting that people feel they are not plucking a ripe apple off a tree but having to lift a heavy watermelon when it comes to fixing their homes in order to make them energy efficient. Alfred_Sisley_031
The BusinessWeek article also quoted him as saying “It’s perceived as boring and intangible, and the combination of the two makes it more difficult to understand. It’s much easier for people to understand putting solar panels on their roof and seeing the kilowatt-hours they generate than putting insulation in their home and noting the savings in energy consumption.”
My great grandfather was a farmer in the Midwest. As a kid, my father would visit the farm with siblings and cousins and they would all go out to the fields with grandpa where the watermelons were. I imagine it seemed like quite a walk when you were young. The mission was to bring melons back for later, to share with the family, but somehow, my great grandfather managed to drop every time on the walk back. “Well…” I can imagine him saying, “guess we’ll have to eat that one here.”
Solar panels are a great technology and for many make sense, but they are only part of a larger solution for you at home. At the risk of adding another food metaphor, they should be the icing on top of the cake, the cake being a well insulated and air-sealed home, designed to provide the fresh air you need, and having efficient heating and cooling systems inside.

Watermelons are only big and unwieldy when they are whole. Breaking them up makes light work of what seemed like a big task. And there’s nothing more satisfying with sharing the rewards of your labor with your family immediately. Maybe we can’t make energy efficiency flashy and exciting, but the fruits are worth the effort, GreenHomes can help.

 

Thanks,

Jason

Image of Alfred Sisley painting from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alfred_Sisley_041.jpg

Bills on the Rise? Freezing, Overheating? Take a Clue from Survival on the High Seas

February 28, 2014

Nobody wants to hear about rising energy costs. For utility customers in New York, prices have going up this winter. Some of it was an accounting error, but increased demand for Natural Gas due to the swerving polar vortex helped.
Propane costs have gone up too, article from Kansas Cityreferences pricing as high as $5 a gallon. ship at seaAll of this reminds me of the days when crude oil prices were all over the proverbial road, never mind a little swerving polar vortex.
It’s not just about heating and cold winters. California is experiencing a lack of winter which sounds kind of nice coming from the Northeast. They are also seeing a drought and I’d expect a long hot summer which means an expensive cooling season ahead.
We can’t control fuel prices, but we can take control of our homes. There’s a great thing in being able to “weather the storm”. In our homes, that means comfort, but also peace of mind that we are protected from the elements. Integrating resilience, in our homes is as simple as insulating a home well and air sealing it properly. It is like preparing for a long voyage across the sea, and helps when weather or high fuel costs hit us broadside. Batten down the hatches!

Thanks,
Jason

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan_Aivazovsky_-_Ship_in_the_Stormy_Sea.jpg

A Healthy Heart is like a Healthy Home!

February 7, 2014

Heart disease is a significant issue for many Americans and encompasses a number of conditions.   The American Heart Association is a great resource to start with if you have concerns.  February is American Heart Month and you may ask what that could possibly have to do with a home.  heart

Where do you start when it comes to a healthy heart? Your doctor is a good place.  Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease means a change, but it is change you won’t be working at alone, that’s why we visit one doctor for physicals and see a specialist if need be.

We take the same type of scientific approach to diagnosing homes and making recommendations.  We start out as a general practitioner would in your home looking at everything.   When we find something that needs special attention we can bring in the specialists.   It might be the ductwork or the cooling system.  Maybe it’s the insulation in the attic.  But you won’t know until you get that physical and you won’t get better until you take action!

We know Home is Where the Heart is and this month help yourself and your family to a check up for your heart’s sake and also for your home!

Thanks,

Jason

What really happened? And is that cabin insulated? The energy audit of 1623.

November 22, 2013

800px-The_First_Thanksgiving_cph_3g04961

This image is a classic one, and even though it’s titled the First Thanksgiving, it wasn’t called that then or immediately afterwards. The Pilgrims likely didn’t dress like that nor did the Wampanoag wear feather headdresses as shown.  Those Europeans were likely in rough shape happy with a first harvest, but they were by all accounts outnumbered almost two to one by their guests.  The holiday as we know it came to be under the Lincoln Presidency in the 1800’s not 1623 as portrayed in this painting from 1914.

This holiday is one of my favorites because of the food and family, and I encourage all to enjoy it to its fullest  The painting is lovely but doesn’t really tell the story, its much like other ways we sell ourselves short.

A clip board energy audit done in 15 minutes or a form can be filled out online.  This is sort of like this painting,  it might look nice, but it might be wrong or misleading.  To really know what is going on you need to be there, which is exactly why we like to spend time in your home inspecting the attic, the heating and cooling system and other areas up close and personal.

I’m sure there wasn’t an energy audit done while they were celebrating for three days.  It’s likely they ate well, largely thanks to their guests.  But I bet they wished there was someone that could really help with comfort issues.

Stay warm,

Jason

footnote

Photo in the public domain from the Library of Congress

Reduce first!

October 30, 2013

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the call for environmental responsibility, is well known.

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The demonstration home in San Diego, I’ve been discussing over in the last few months, has been a great success allowing GreenHomes America partner ASI Hastings to show, as well as tell, their community of the great work that can be done in their homes tackling these R’s in particular the first one Reduce.

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We’ve talked about some of the high efficiency equipment they installed, some of the exterior improvements which helped to reduce water usage, but a homeowner can reduce their usage simply by improving the building itself.  GreenHomes America locations combine building improvements with equipment improvements for a win-win situation.

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This is exactly what ASI Hastings did, they insulated the walls, attic and air sealed the home. By insulating and reducing the amount of uncontrolled airflow in the home they reduced what the home’s systems needed to produce for comfort.

Thanks,

Jason

Oh No, Here Comes Another Learning Experience!

October 24, 2013

energy action

Nothing like learning from our experiences or mistakes is there?  Becoming aware of our energy use, naturally leads to finding ways to reduce that usage.  In celebration of Energy Action month you could really geek out on some resources out there like this from the National Academy of Sciences, But to make it relevant and to “bring it home” consider a  home energy assessment.

A good energy advisor will be able to help you in your energy awareness right where it matters most.  Look for an assessment of your home that also provides solutions you can act on, not just a list of problems.  Awareness is a great start,  and embracing the learning experience with action is putting the right foot forward and that is what October is all about.

 

Thanks,

Jason

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


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