Posts Tagged ‘Syracuse’

Spring time! New Siding, New Windows, New Extreme Retrofit?

April 3, 2013

Winter is past and we are gearing up for round two of our exterior insulation Deep Energy Retrofit project in New York. there was a feature in the NEWS , check it out!


As the weather gets nicer, we often consider new siding and new windows, it also may be time to consider new insulation. Any time is a good time to improve R values and reduce air leaks. If going extreme is not what you are prepared to do with a full exterior retrofit, consider that if siding is being replaced it is a great time to blow in dense packed fiber insulation.

If you are in the Syracuse, NY area and want to know more about what we are doing call us!   315-474-6549  or check out our website



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! 



The R House: even the best intentions can use a little home performance

November 22, 2011

Our very own Maggie Mauer form the Syracuse branch of GreenHomes America was recently featured in a Syracuse article on the R House  that she now calls home.  The R-House as it is called is a result of a design competition by local non-profit and University groups.

The home was built to Passivhaus standards.  Very little heat is needed since it is so well insulated, and in Syracuse NY that is impressive.     Passivhaus is an extreme example (and typically applied to new construction) of what we do with homes everyday: excellent insulation and air-sealing, reducing the heating loads, and controlling ventilation.  

Maggie’s house was designed to include big windows which allows for the sun to heat the space quite well.  It’s called passive solar and has been worked into design for many years…and is the reason you can usually find a cat sitting in a window on a sunny day.  But in the R-House there was one oversight, those big windows help in the winter but It sure gets hot in the summer.  Unbearably hot.  

Home Performance can be needed even for high performers.  To keep it cool, we installed a ductless mini split to air condition the space in the summer time, maybe not the usual approach, but it’s an unusual home!

There were a few other design and installation details that we had to correct, including a heating system that didn’t really shut off fully, inefficient lighting, and some leaky doors that allowed the cold winter winds to whistle through.  And this is an award-winning house! 

This goes to show, the the details matter.  A lot!  And it highlights why we’re called out not just to fix 100 year old homes, but those that are only a year or two old, too.  (Maybe the should have called us in during the construction phase to help get it right the first time!)

photo from

Report from the frontlines: Know Air Flow (or Seal for the Real Deal)

October 10, 2011

Riding along on a few comprehensive home assessments with some of the team in our Syracuse office, I was once again reminded of the importance of air sealing and how it can still be a mystery even for folks who are savvy to the inner-workings of a home.

The fist home was older and although solidly built, suffered over the years a lack of insulation as well as a great deal of air-leakage.  The homeowner, a retired fireman who was remodeling the place, called us because he wanted insulation and a new heating system.  

Attic airleaks filtered through insulation

Firemen know about homes, and they know about the importance of airflow.  It’s a key component in combustion after all.  So it was easy to explain why it was necessary to tackle air leaks before adding insulation.  But really the evidence was laid out before us.

The turned over fiberglass lying on top of loose blown in insulation was blackened from airflow all over the attic.  Essentially, lot’s of air was moving through the ceiling and into the attic.  From the chimney, from open walls from wires and pipes, everywhere this attic could leak it did.   And the fiberglass didn’t stop the air—that’s not what it was designed to do.  It did clean the air a bit as the air raced through.  So, this home really didn’t have effective insulation, but rather a big air filter up in the attic.  How nice to clean the air that you’re throwing away to the outside right along with the heat that it carries!

Being a fairly old leaky home with no insulation in the walls it had more heating than necessary. Baseboard and radiators were laid out everywhere! The homeowner joked he was going to turn the boiler downstairs into a camper it was so big!  After we properly air seal and insulate, and then size a new boiler appropriately, he won’t be burning through heating fuel so quickly this coming year.

The second home was a modern one built more recently.  This tri level home was well taken care of and the homeowner, being quite handy had recently spent a great deal of time adding some nice finishing touches here and there. 

Their son was off at college but came home for his final year and they offered to turn the heat up since they were keeping it low to save money.   For him the rental home on campus was leaky and un-insulated, anything was better!  Certainly this new home should be a comfortable home for the most part but they were sacrificing comfort to save money, they knew there was room to improve.   

Again the request was for more insulation and here’s another savvy homeowner asking.    Their concern was comfort and high energy bills, and since he’d crawled around in the attic a few times, he knew more insulation wouldn’t hurt.   And he’s right, kind of.  More insulation would be good, especially covering the bare spots like the one below.  But, again, only AFTER air-sealing.   

Big opening in an attic that leaks inside air

He had put gaskets over the light switch plates and had new windows installed.  What he was missing were sealing the big holes in the attic, and these are the ones that cause a great deal of heat loss, not just in this home, but in most.  With the various levels of the home all connected in the attic, we find the worst offenders, the stuff that needs sealing shut before more insulation is added.   Even for such a modern home our testing revealed that that home was twice as leaky as it should have been even though it looked like it was in good shape.

In these homes, and in the majority that we see, comfort is a big sacrifice on top of too-high heating bills. The good news is they’re we’re able to find the problems.  And we’ll be sending out crew to make the fixes in the next couple of weeks.     And new or old, most homes  need some buttoning up.  Does yours?  For both of these savvy homeowners, this winter should feel a whole lot better with no air flow…now they know.

Visit our video library to learn more about the importance of attic air sealing and other topics that will help you save money and be more comfortable.

More than 10,000 reasons why I love my job!

August 15, 2011

It’s Monday morning, and I get to glance at some of the feedback from our customers—and we have a lot of them!   It’s heartwarming.  We put in long hours here trying to live up to our ideals, and it’s nice to see that it pays off.  Indeed, it’s why it’s worth it.  And seeing the results and the happy customers is a great way to start my week. 

From San Diego, Charles H. recently said that his house sounds much more sound proof, it doesn’t sound hollow inside anymore with his hardwood floors, he also said that in the recent heat wave his air conditioner only came on a few times.  He listened to his neighbor’s air conditioner cycle on and off all night.

Bob C. said that his house has been maintaining a nice temperature of about 72 – 74 degrees without running either the heater or the air conditioner, everything that we promised that home performance would do for him happened.

Across the country in Syracuse, Ben B., whose project we just finished said,  “ The crews never left a scrap, or screw, or piece of cardboard “ and  “The crews were always professional, and cared about what they were doing “.

Thanks to our customers for giving us the opportunity.  And thanks to all the GreenHomes employees and partners for delivering!


GreenHomes is hiring in New York, California, and Virginia

April 20, 2011
We Are Hiring!

With more people concerned about making their homes more comfortable and concerned about rising energy costs, we’re seeing strong demand for quality home improvements.  To continue to grow and serve these homeowners, GreenHomes America needs to add to our top-notch staff.  

Currently, we’re hiring Energy Advisors and installers in Syracuse, NY, the Capital District of New York, and several California and Virginia locations.  Knowledge and experience in the home performance arena is strongly preferred, but we also have an industry leading in-house training program.  If you’re committed to excellence and customer satisfaction and you  like seeing happy homeowners after we’ve solved their comfort and energy problems, contact us for more information.  [Note–we do background checks, reference checks, and drug-testing.]

Our partner, Energy Efficient Solutions, in Yorktown, VA, is also hiring.


It’s official–Monday was COLD!!

January 25, 2011

Monday’s temperatures in the Northeast with numbing.  In some places, the mercury droped so low it almost disappeared.  Why the temperature was so low it could sit on a dime and dangle its feet.  The temp was so low it could crawl under the belly of a snake–although the snake would have been frozen solid in this case.   Here’s a sampling of locations where they probably didn’t go through a lot of ice cream yesterday:

  • -36  Saranac Lake, NY
  • -35  North Troy, VT
  • -28 Fryeburg, ME
  • -20 Burlington, VT  (as measured on my back porch)
  • -13  Syracuse, NY
  • and a relatively mild -1 in Providence, R.I.

Syracuse is on a pace that might challenge a couple records for snowfall–already 111 inches this year–and cold.  And folks in the Northeast, brace yourselves.  Although it’s warming up into the 20s and 30s, there are forecasts pointing to more subzero weather this weekend.

Stay warm and safe.

GreenHomes America’s “Biggest, Baddest Icicles” Photo Contest

January 18, 2011

Win a Free Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment and $1,000 Worth of Attic Insulation and Air Sealing!

They’re BIG and they’re BAD. Icicles may make pretty ornaments for your home, but they are actually telltale signs of valuable heat and energy escaping through your home’s roof! Chances are, your heating bill is going through the roof, too.

Inadequate insulation in the attic and air leaks around fixtures, vents, attic stairs and other spots causes heat to travel up through your roof, melting the snow and ice. Those strange snow-melt patterns on your roof – squares, rectangles, etc. – those are hot spots where heat is leaking out as well! Adding insulation and air sealing will help keep heat in your home where it belongs, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. Icicles and ice buildup can also cause ice damming, which leads to leaks and can cause structural damage in your home.

GreenHomes America is offering a free comprehensive home energy assessment and $1,000 worth of attic insulation and air sealing to the person who shows us their biggest and baddest icicles photo by 2/28/11! Please visit the contest page for more details and to submit your icicle photo!

Or, learn more about ice damming at:

Ah, Syracuse, snow brings problems with roof ice.

January 15, 2011

Driving down Court Street and the surrounding area in Syracuse yesterday, I saw literally hundreds of homes with tell-tale snow melt patterns on roofs and some monster icicles, some as long as 20 feet.  I didn’t have time to stop and take pictures–you you can search this site for examples of what this looks like and why it isn’t a good thing.  But it’s clear we’ve got to reach thousands more homes in Syracuse.  How can we spread the word?


Syracuse pounded by snow–and roof ice problems follow

December 13, 2010

Normally snowy Syracuse was hammered with snow over the past week.  And there’s more snow on the way.  The weather service has issued a lake effect watch, and estimates are as high as 2 feet of new snow by Thursday.

With the snow, comes the potential for big ice problems, icicles and ice damming.  And it’s started already, as evidenced by the pictures from Syracuse Advisor Ed Nedell.

We’ve discussed earlier about how poor air-sealing and insulation can lead to ice problems.  And we’ll renew that conversation.  Bottom line:   While nothing can totally prevent ice and icicles on your roof under these conditions, good insulation and air-sealing details can drastically reduce the problem. 

If you’re in Syracuse or central New York, and you’re experiencing this, you’ve got a clear sign that your home isn’t performing like it should, and the energy problems may lead to structural problems from ice damage.  Give us a call (315-474-6549) and we’ll get an Advisor out as soon as possible to help determine help to prevent this in the future.


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