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Alternative Energy for Tomorrow, Today?

solar panels capture energy from sunlight, a renewable energy resource

There are a few houses being built across the US that are “off grid” where they produce all of the energy they need for electricity, heating, cooling and hot water. These passive houses combine super insulation building techniques with one or more alternative energy technologies.

This article provides an overview of these emerging energy sources, the ones covered by the 2013 Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency, to motivate more homeowners to invest in energy sources that are considered renewable, meaning they are continually replenished – water, wind, the sun, the earth (geothermal) and biomass energy from energy crops like... 

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Smart Thermostats Easier to Use (No Programming)

smart thermostats replace programmable thermostats

Are you still turning your thermostats up and down each day? Have you learned how to program your … programmable thermostats?

There’s a lot more emphasis on saving energy — our homes are getting more airtight, our heating and cooling systems are getting more efficient, and new, smarter thermostats are learning what temperature we like so in case you don’t program or adjust your temperature, these smart thermostats will do it for you.

Like our light bulbs which took a 100 years before Thomas Edison’s design was replaced by new CFL and LED bulbs, we’ve got some new products on the market... 

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Insulation Choices Are Expanding

rolls of fiberglass insulation are the most common

Insulation is a hidden but critical building material that makes today’s homes energy efficient. Over the years building codes have gotten more stringent so today’s homes framed with 2 x 6s have wall cavities that hold more insulation than earlier homes built with 2 x 4 lumber, and some older homes may not have any insulation.

It’s common to add insulation to existing homes to improve your home’s comfort and lower energy bills. You can do this by adding insulation in the attic and the best time to add insulation to your walls is when you’re replacing your siding.

This article reviews... 

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Attic Insulation to Stay Warm this Winter

attic insulation slows loss of heat between your home & outdoors

Attic insulation is something many homeowners consider as winter approaches. It’s like getting out your winter coats, as you know it’s going to get cold and you’d like to keep your home comfortable without excessive heating bills.

While attic insulation is very important in lowering your heating bills, you also want to look at sealing gaps letting heat into your attic and making sure that you have adequate attic ventilation too.

The Basics of Attic Insulation

Attic insulation like the insulation in your walls does a good job of reducing the unwanted flow of heat between your home and the outdoors. In the... 

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Tips for Buying & Storing Firewood

lots of firewood stacked

You probably don’t notice the stacks of firewood until the leaves start changing and the days grow cooler. As we move towards winter, it’s time to think about your heating strategy for the winter, unless you use your fireplace, for it’s warm, cozy atmosphere.

Yes, even people in warm climates, i.e. Florida, have fireplaces as many people have memories of nights spent sitting around a campfire, with friends and family during summer vacations.

For those who now have a fireplace but didn’t grow up with one, it take time to find the right strategy for buying (or cutting down) your firewood. There are... 

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Making Our Homes More Airtight

Many types of insulation to pick from

As energy costs rise, there’s a lot more focus on making our homes more airtight to reduce energy consumption.You can save money when your heating and air conditioning systems run less. At the same time you’ll need to use mechanical ventilation similar to your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, to remove stale air and replace it with fresh air from outside.

You’re going to start hearing more about Indoor Air Quality or IAQ. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE) is the organization identified most often with respect to air quality. The first term you’ll want to get... 

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Trends in Heating & Cooling

Spray foarm insulation is the latest technology to keep homes airtight

We’re used to buying new tires or even a new car but when it’s time to buy a new furnace or boiler… help! Tires are like furnace filters, needing replacement after filtering so many cubic feet but there’s no odometer to measure air flow so we change filters monthly. You might buy a new car every 4 to 10 years but a furnace gets replaced every 20 to 25 years (boilers 30 to 40 years).

If you’ve looked a new cars recently, there are a lot of changes like CD players or now they’ve got USB ports for your iPod. We... 

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Tips to Stay Safe During Extreme Heat

Children love palying with water, especially when it

Sometimes our kids are smarter than we are, like playing in cool water when it’s too hot to do anything else. With the extreme heat waves we’re having this summer, it’s hard to stay cool. Our bodies normally cool by sweating.  but if a person’s body temperature rises too quickly, there can be damage to the brain or other vital organs. Everyone must pay more attention to the heat and help others, as young children and older people aren’t always able to identify when they’re too hot.

The extreme heat we’re having means temperatures are significantly hotter than usual, along with... 

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Insulation Facts & Figures

Learn where you can/should install insulation in your house

The US government has included insulation on the list of eligible home improvements for the 2009-2010 energy tax credit. The question then is why does the government want home owners to add insulation?

Insulation Reduces Air Flow Insulation Saves Energy

Whether you live where there are cold winters or in the south where you’re running the air conditioner for several months each year, you are using energy. With more insulation you will use less energy because less “conditioned air” will be lost to the outside or unconditioned spaces in your home. It’s easy to understand that heated air rises and will flow into... 

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Easy Heating Fuel Calculator

fuel_cost_calculator

When school starts, people start to think about getting their homes ready for winter. If your heating bill was too high last year or you’d like to reduce your impact on the environment, you might consider using your fireplace more or possibly a wood stove.  These choices will take more time on your part so maybe you’d like to know how much you’re going to save for the time invested.

Here’s a simple calculator to compare the cost of various heating fuels. Just plug in your local fuel costs and click “compare”.

It won’t surprise anyone that electric heat is... 

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