Energy Star Certified Appliances and Money Savings for the Homeowner

Designing a new home is the perfect time to take advantage of the savings Energy Star appliances will offer you. By choosing Energy Star rated appliances you will see a substantial savings in your energy bills. The federal government also offers rebates for homeowners that choose Energy Star appliances, and this adds to the savings you will reap. Not only will you save money, but your new home will use less energy and that is good for the environment. Here are some ways Energy Start appliances can save you money.

Savings in the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of many new homes and it is one of the rooms in the house which consumes a lot of energy. A new Energy Star certified refrigerator uses 20 percent less energy than models which are not certified. According to the Energy Star website this can save you over $125 over the life of your refrigerator. Another appliance that uses a lot of energy is a dishwasher. An Energy Star certified dishwasher will save you approximately $40 per year on your electric bill, and will save 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime. If you plan on having a standalone freezer, a certified freezer can save you 10 percent on your energy bills compared to a non-certified model.

Laundry Room Savings

Washers and dryers are in almost constant use in most homes. On average the typical American home does 300 loads of laundry each year. By choosing certified appliances you can save money and use less water and energy while doing laundry. Certified washers use 20 percent less energy, and 35 percent less water. Energy Star certified dryers also use 20 percent less energy, and are more efficient at drying your clothes in a shorter amount of time.

HVAC Savings

According the Energy Star website more than 50 percent of your home’s energy consumption is used for heating and cooling. By choosing a certified HVAC system you can save almost $200 a year on your energy bills. There are many HVAC options and configurations available for a new home build. The choice you make will depend upon the type of fuel available and the area of the country in which you live. For example in warmer states you may not need a furnace, but a heat pump which uses less energy. Combined with adequate insulation and energy efficient building practices you can save money and have a more comfortable home.

Federal Energy Rebates

The government offers Federal Tax credits for homeowners who choose Energy Star certified appliances. While some rebates are not available for new builds, there are rebates you may qualify for as a new homeowner. For example you could receive 30 percent of the purchase price for certified heat pumps and solar energy systems.

When you are planning your new home, include Energy Star certified appliances. You will not only save money over the life of your appliance, but you’ll use less energy and that is a great plus for the environment. With the saving and tax rebates certified appliances just make good sense for today’s new homeowner.

Government Insulation Grants – How To Apply

An idiot’s guide to applying for Government insulation grants in the UK.

Government grants for free loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are again available in England, Scotland and Wales as many homes in the UK still fall short of the required levels of loft and wall insulation.

A new Government home energy grant scheme which provides financial help to install energy saving measures including roof / loft insulation and cavity wall insulation is being funded by the major energy companies (British Gas, NPower, Eon, SSE, EDF & Scottish Power).

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) has been designed to save energy and help to meet the rising cost of domestic gas and electric bills.

Roof & Loft Grants

Around 25% of the heat generated by your heating escapes through your attic and out through your roof. Loft insulation is a man-made fiber which is placed between and over the joists in your loft or attic.

This prevents heat escaping from your home, which stays warm for longer. This means a reduction indomestic energy bills as it costs less to heat your home as your central heating or fire can be on for less time or set at a lower level.

Benefits of insulating your home

Insulating your roof and walls in can save around £500 per year on domestic heating bills. (These are estimated figures based on insulating a gas-heated, detached home with three bedrooms.) Energy Savings Trust.

Home Insulation Grants

Why Install Loft Insulation?

With no loft insulation 25% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, and around 35% escapes through the outer walls. This means that a huge percentage of your heating costs are unnecessary.

Loft insulation stops heat escaping

This means you spend less heating your home. By taking simple yet effective steps such as installing Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation you can save £100′s each year on unnecessarily high fuel bills. You will also be helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

Loft Insulation FAQ’s

In most cases installers take less than two hours to complete the installation, depending on the amount of loft insulation needed. The current recommended level for most roofs and buildings is 270mm (11 Inches).

Applying for a Government insulation grant?

The process for claiming free home energy grant is quite simple. Leave a few details about your home and heating etc. This will only take a few minutes. You will then be contacted by a Home Energy Grant Assessor who will arrange a time to visit you and discuss the grants which are available to you

Loft or cavity wall Survey

If you qualify for free Government insulation the verified Energy Grant Assessor will contact you, usually within 24 hours, to arrange a quick visit to your home. He /She will check a few things like the depth of any existing loft insulation if you have any.

Should you require cavity wall insulation he will check inside your walls to see if your walls are already insulated.

The next stage is to fill in a few details on a Government grant application form. The Surveyor will advise you on this. It is a straightforward form and you are only asked to provide a few details including some information about your home and your energy supplier etc.

You should have any verification documents ready. You will be told what you need during the initial telephone conversation when the home insulation survey is arranged.

Why Choose Far Infrared Heating?

There was a time when darker days and longer nights were not the only dreads of winter approaching; the anticipation of the oncoming energy bill arrival was a much bigger threat. It was a time when we wrapped ourselves up in every item of clothing we owned and cradled hot water bottles in a desperate bid to delay turning the heating on until it was truly a necessity…

But fear winter no more with the new, cutting-edge means of heating your home without breaking the bank. Far infrared heaters give you the opportunity to make massive savings on your energy bills where traditional electric heating methods have robbed you. There is no longer a need to waddle around your home in layer upon layer of clothing; these specially designed heaters are created to heat the interior of your house, including you and your furniture(instead of just the air like other heaters do), which promises long lasting warmth. You are in total control when your heater is connected to the timer and thermostat so you can be sure of your energy efficiency and confident that staying warm is saving you money, and so much more.

So, why choose Far Infrared Heaters?

  • Contemporary and stylish; there’s a wide variety of far infrared heaters to choose from to suit your particular needs and taste.
  • Designed to drastically decrease heating expenses while preserving the desired heat.
  • 100% Energy Efficient.
  • Easy to install with no maintenance needed.
  • Free of all carbon emissions and reduces the output of damaging greenhouse gasses.
  • Say goodbye to mould and dampness as this revolutionary heater heats the building; not the air.
  • Thermal heating creates fewer toxins; ideal for people with allergies and/or asthma.
  • Perfect for your home, work place or even outside; these amazing heaters are versatile and invaluable.

Far infrared heaters do not have the obtrusive orange glow of the traditional infrared heaters, but instead they discreetly dissipate heat into the walls, fixtures, furniture and people in the room. The heat then releases back from the objects which creates a stable, comfortable temperature level. This revolutionary technology works on surface area rather than the size of the room, which traditional heating systems relied on, so the far infrared heater is able to use a much lower level of wattage in comparison, which means far greater energy savings for you. Furthermore, far infrared heaters will cause zero damage to your eyes; in fact, far infrared technology has been proved to be beneficial to health and is often utilised in saunas and care homes. The human body actually radiates far infrared waves naturally, so it is willingly absorbed and creates a natural comforting warmth. The benefits of far infrared are clearly abundant; so stay warm and wealthy this winter with far infrared heating.

What Are the Environmental and Cost Saving Benefits of UPVC Doors and Windows?

So how can uPVC help you lower your energy bills and keep you warmer? It’s simple really. It’s all to do with insulation. During the winter time you’ll find that switching to uPVC windows and doors will allow you to keep the thermostat lower than you previously did, and this alone can save you a few pennies. They simply provide more useful thermal insulation than their counterparts, wood and aluminium. Paying the heating bill can be a source of stress and anxiety for many people these days, especially as the cost of fossil fuel heating spirals forever upwards. So taking steps to ensure maximum insulation in the winter (as well an energy efficient heating solution) are great ways to take control of the situation and minimise the strain on your wallet.

They’ll keep more heat inside and keep your home warmer for longer, but they’ll also keep heat out too! This may sound a little backwards, but keeping heat out is extremely useful in the summer. Having uPVC doors and windows installed will help reflect that burning hot sun outwards, hopefully keeping you at a nice, cool and comfortable temperature while you’re indoors.

Okay, so we’ve covered the energy efficiency benefits in terms of home heating and temperature management. These perhaps seemed rather obvious but did you know that there are other benefits to uPVC doors and windows when it comes to the environment? One such benefit is its recyclable nature. If you decide to replace your uPVC window for example, it can be recycled. If we all used uPVC doors or windows the eco-friendly impact on the environment would be dramatic.

So, let’s recap. With uPVC windows and doors you have added insulation which has obvious money saving benefits when it comes to keeping heat indoors. There’s also the peace of mind factor you get from using an eco friendly solution to your windows and doors, perfect for those with an eye on the environment. We live in an economic climate where many people are trying to cut back and save as much as they can, and sometimes a short term outlay of cash can pay back dividends in the long run. Of course, it’s important to be frugal and extremely careful when comes to purchases of this nature – they’ll have a lasting impact on your home and hit your wallet harder than you’d perhaps like, but on balance they could be one of the best things you ever parted with money for.

LED Lights Can Be a Savior For Overall Energy Cost Savings

LED lights have become a major player in the electrical lighting industry and this is most likely to grow with the ever improving range of light bulbs that are becoming available on a daily basis. There have been massive changes already and some commercial companies have made it a major part of their future thinking to commit totally to LED lighting within their offices and factories. The Sentry Equipment Company in Wisconsin, USA started the trend in 2008 when its new factory used 100% LED lamps throughout its factory complex and offices. The cost was 3 times that of the typical mixture of incandescent and fluorescent lamps that would have been traditionally used in the construction of such a building but the company was paid fully for the decision in 2 years from savings obtained in power savings against what they would have paid if using traditional bulbs. The advantage of this great saving is that the lamps are expected to last another 20 years before they require changing. In this case the initial larger expenditure will reap massive rewards in cash savings over the life of the bulbs.

There is a company called I-Gate, an IT company, with an branch in Manapakkam, Chennai in India which used LED lamps throughout their offices in 2009 and although the total cost was some $80,000 they claim they were on target to break even within just five years. There are many examples of what and where LED lamps can be used and whilst there is some problems with directionality with these lights there is almost always a way of solving the problem. The lights are now almost always used in an exterior light application such as gardens and parks (As they are good for security in public places as the light is instantly on with no warm up period) and there are now examples of LED lighting systems being used on motorways as the LED takes over from the large floodlight systems. It is also possible to source LED lamps that have replaced the fluorescent tube.

A good energy saving light bulb supplier will have a full range of LED lamps on their website that will enable a good electrician or electrical designer to convert any light application to their usage which will then give a power saving of around 80% and a life cycle of 20,000 to 50,000 hours.

Have You Checked Your Attic Insulation Lately?

Everyone knows that insulation is a key ingredient to making a home comfortable and energy-efficient. I can still remember the lake house my parents rented in the off-season because it was the most economical thing they could find. The advertisement had stated, “winterized.” It took only that very first icy wind blowing in off the lake to let us know we were in for a long cold winter. If the house had any insulation at all, it had long since lost usefulness.

The purpose of insulation is of course to impede the transferance of outside and inside air. In other words, you want your heated air to stay inside the walls of your home and keep you warm and you want to keep the cold outside air right where it belongs, outside. Or when the thermometer starts edging toward that ninety and hundred degree mark, you want that hot air kept outside and your cool, comfortable, conditioned air inside where you need it. Insulation is the most effective remedy for this problem.

It only makes since therefore, that the most critical places for insulation is within the exterior walls, the ceiling or roof-deck and beneath the floor, if you happen to live in a home with a pier and beam type foundation. And common since will tell you that the best insulation will be the one that does the best job of keeping the outside air and the inside air from trading places.

Now out of all the places deemed necessary to insulate, there is one which is by far the most important. Yes, you guessed it, “the attic.” And you most likely, already know or have figured out why this is the case. You’re right, the heated air inside rises to the ceiling, into the attic and then outside, if there is nothing there to stop it.

This is exactly why a trip into your attic can be a real money-saver for many home-owners. The older the home, the more likely you are to need an up-grade in your insulation. The traditional fiberglass or cellulose, at least twelve inches, will help a great deal. However, if you want to see an amazing difference, not only in the comfort of your home, but also in your average monthly utility bill, polyurethane spray foam insulation is definitely the way to go.

Polyurethane foam is proven to be the most energy-efficient type of insulation on the market today. It is air-tight and because it is installed against the underside of the roof-deck rather than the cieling, that outside air really does stay out.

So, the decision is yours, leave that attic door tightly closed and pretend that everything is fine or take that long over look. You will be happy you did.

New Septic Tank Regulations

Regulations for sewage treatment plants, of which includes septic tanks, are vital for the continued health and safety of all those who own, work with or assess these works. Since 2000, there have been several new regulations put in place to ensure that the correct provisions are maintained with regards to septic tanks and treatment plants.

Considered first are those coming from the Drainage and Waste Disposal edition in 2002. Within this, it states that the sewage treatment plant has to be located more than 7 metres away from a property that is inhabited.

Another point is that the soak-away from the septic tank has to be 15 metres from a building and 10 metres from a watercourse. The point of discharge must also be 10 metres from the property and a chamber has to be in place before the soak-away as a result.

The reason why these kinds of regulations relating to soak-aways are enforced is because of the pollutants that can affect the groundwater in the nearby areas. This can run off and get into the rivers and lakes that can harm wildlife and get into the water system as a whole, including our drinking water. This must be avoided at all costs, so septic tank controls are inevitable and crucial to our local environment.

The types of buildings that the discharges must be a distance form have changed as legislation has itself evolved over the years. Permits are needed even if the building is secluded and all septic tanks may need to be have a registration by next year.

The simple fact is that the wastewater that is taken from the septic tank can cause great dangers to the surrounding landscape, as well as emit unpleasant smells. This health hazard is now being rectified by the new regulations that are in place. This affects discharges from homes that have a septic tank and are not linked to a public sewerage.

The Water Services Act of 2012 not only states that all septic tanks and water treatment installations must be registered but that they should be inspected within a given time frame too. A central system whereby registration can be easily achieved is being designed to make it a fast and straightforward process. This can be done via a website or through contacting the local water service.

Given the environmental implications that is only natural with wastewater treatment systems, tight regulations are always necessary. To keep the public, wildlife and surrounding landscape healthy is of the greatest priority.

Less Energy

Less energy! Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? How many times have you asked yourself “I wonder if the thermostat is working correctly”! I know I have asked myself this a time or two! Or maybe you don’t think energy loss is an issue because your home is only a couple years old. Think again! Energy loss is an issue, even today with energy codes as restrictive as they are. It wasn’t until the last ten years or so that energy codes started addressing the real issues such as air balancing, equipment sizing, duct sizing, and air leakage. These are some of the problems that hide within!

We are all for using less energy, and for the most part I believe homeowners, and home buyers are pretty well versed, and do their homework when it comes to energy efficiency. After all, how can we avoid it, energy is everywhere! We see it in the stores with high efficacy light bulbs consuming the shelves, wind turbines spread out along the plains, stickers on all of our appliances, and a political agenda that’s out of this world, which is an entirely different conversation in itself.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are very energy efficient homes being built today. But let’s not beat around the bush… it all comes down to the quality of the builder, the thoroughness of the third party inspection company and the local inspection authority. As long as they are all doing their part, the consumer is getting a quality product. There are many builders now that focus on “Energy Star” homes. Why? They use less energy and they know how important energy efficiency is to the consumer. But even Energy Star means nothing if the three parties are not doing adequate installation, testing, and inspections. Energy Star is basically a step above and beyond minimum codes. In addition, there is more testing involved with Energy Star. This is why it’s critical that testing and inspections are thorough and accurate. My point is, regardless of the age of your home, energy loss could be an issue.

So there are several different steps you can take to address energy loss and use less energy. Of course the more money you are willing to spend, the more efficient you can make your home. If you are looking at spending some real money, you can cover two big areas of energy loss with a furnace and window upgrade. In today’s construction windows are generally very efficient. Minimum code today requires a 0.35 U-Value, which is a pretty good window. This can change in different areas of the country. You can do better than this, but it will cost you.

High efficient furnaces are a very positive upgrade for using less energy. We are seeing a lot of these installed in new homes today, even though code does not require them. As a code official I see a lot of upgrades to high efficient furnaces. High efficient means 90%+ efficiency direct vent appliance. These are very efficient, and I hear costs for installation runs about $3,500.00 to $4,000.00. This is a cost you will recover.

Now that we’ve covered the expensive upgrades, let’s look at some inexpensive steps you can take to cut energy loss.

  • If water heater is located in the garage, keep garage door closed. Make sure your water heater is set to no lower than 130 degrees. Legionairre disease could be an issue at temperatures lower than 130 degrees.
  • Check weather-stripping around doors. Replace ALL areas where air can intrude or escape.
  • Check all electrical receptacles on the exterior walls for air intrusion. Install gaskets behind face plate. If possible, pull recepticle and wires out and caulk the knockouts in the back of the box.
  • Check for air intrusion around windows and sliding glass doors. Pull trim around windows or doors and caulk around the perimeter.
  • Verify insulation levels in the floor and ceiling. The ceiling should have no less than an R-38, vaulted ceilings R-30, and the floor an R-30. DO NOT use kraft faced insulation in these areas!
  • Install a programmable thermostat.

These are small things that can improve the efficiency of your home dramatically. Why, because the leading cause of energy loss is air leakage. When I say air leakage, I am also referring to duct leakage. Have you ever noticed one room is colder than the others? This is common, and is caused from three different things, duct leakage, improper balancing, and inadequately sized equipment. All three of which are now addressed heavily in the energy codes. In addition to the list above, you should include a duct blaster test, and an air balancing test. This can be done fairly reasonable by a local HVAC or energy retrofit company. You can also have your equipment sized, though improperly sized equipment isn’t going to help you unless you replace it. So this will depend on your budget.

Keep Your Wallet Full by Switching to Solar Panels

With energy costs reaching new highs in the past decade, there is a new market trend in utilizing alternative energy. This trend lessens the reliance on crude oil and combustion, as well as takes stress off of major power grids. The leading trend in alternative energy is the utilization of solar panels. There are many benefits to solar energy and not just monetary.

Saves You Money

OK, while there ARE many reasons to use solar panels that do not involve money, it is still a very important factor. Building solar panels and converting your home can save you and average of $1,000 a year. Your geographic location comes into play here as well. If you live in region with long, sunny seasons like California or Hawaii, it is projected that you could save almost $65,000 over a twenty-year period.

Reduce Grid Reliance

The most consistent energy source on the planet is the sun. You could almost set your watch by. In addition to that consistency, the sun also is not for sale. There is no risk of someone creating a monopoly on the sun.

Reduces Carbon Footprint

As a source of clean energy, the use of solar panels greatly reduces the amount of damage done to the environment. You can have your home fully powered with none of the pollution.

Solar Energy Creates Jobs

While this may not directly affect you, solar energy could greatly help the economy. Solar panels need to be constructed; engineering is needed for conversion, there is a whole workforce to be created in this industry. It is estimated that for every one million dollars invested, there is approximately fourteen jobs are created. For comparison, that same amount of investment only creates five jobs in natural gas.

Solar energy is not all upside. The sun does set, so you would not be completely free of your local power company and their rates, but you would save immensely. There is also the issue of natural obstruction, such as clouds. Then there is the upkeep and maintenance of the solar panels themselves. Electric energy is a very passive source for most. The average customer does not check their gauges or knows the wattage they may use, and the switch to solar may seem a little intimidating. If you can get past the initial hurdles, solar energy is definitely a worthwhile investment. It saves money and the environment, and helps the economy.

Why Is Energy Efficiency In The Home Important?

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy efficiency basically means to use less energy whilst still providing the same outcomes.

How is this translated into Home Heating?

There is a wide variety of home heating systems available on the market; some energy efficient, and some not at all. By choosing an energy efficient heating system you will not only be saving yourself money, but also contributing to the improvement of the economy, the welfare of the environment and your very own quality of life.

How can you be energy efficient with your home heating?

No matter what heating system you have, it is sometimes easy to overheat your home in winter. This results in a huge increase in your energy bills. An easy method to keep your heating costs down is to remember the H.E.A.T approach;

H – Hold in the heat in your home. Heat is easily lost through windows, so remember to close curtains and blinds to maintain the warmth. Draught stoppers for under doors and windowsills help keep your home insulated during cold weather. Insulating your house is very energy efficient as it keeps your home cool during summer and warm during winter, and by insulating your home, your heater will be much more efficient.

E – Evaluate your heating options. Make sure you choose a heater that is right for you and your home. If you have young children and animals, then a storage heater may be unsuitable as it is large, intrusive and has the ability to cause serious burns. However, the storage heater is ideal for people who are at home all day, such as an elderly person. Heating panels may be perfect for a serious asthma sufferer, whereas an electric radiator is very beneficial for people who are away from the house all day. Take your time and select an option right for you.

A – Action to become energy efficient. You must use common sense sometimes and instead of cranking up the heat if you’re a little chilly; put a jumper on and throw an extra blanket on your bed. Central heating is widely used; yet it is incredibly energy wasteful and highly expensive as it heats the entire house. It is recommended to try to only heat the room/s that you are using and keep windows and doors closed to keep the warmth inside whilst saving you money.

T – Thermostats, timers and temperature checks. Save money and energy by putting your heating system on a timer so that you are in total control of your homes heat. If your heating is on during the day whilst you are at work, or at night when you’re sleeping; expect a massive heating bill. There’s no need to crank the temperature above 21 degrees either; did you know that for every degree above this temperature can add about 10% to your energy costs?!

Do you part for the planet, and your pocket; start being energy efficient with your home heating today.