Posts Tagged ‘savings’

Drive for Free

May 14, 2012

A few weeks back I touched on some of the hidden costs in our home (  There is a tie between our houses and our cars and energy use.

Fixing up your home could even help you drive for free.  The Florida solar energy center created this great video:

The benefits of home performance improvements are clear and widespread.  You can be more comfortable, safer, and healthier and save money.   Money you can put elsewhere, such as towards the expense of driving with an electric vehicle.  What I think is important here is that this isn’t just for Florida.  Florida is of course a great place for solar power being the “Sunshine State”, but this isn’t really part of the formula for most homeowners.  Generating electricity can be done in many ways, and energy efficient homes are the key to being able to drive for free.

Wave that Geek Flag! It’s not Flowers, Peace and Love Anymore

May 2, 2012

Many Americans love their TVs, and it must be “love” otherwise why would we spend so much on something that takes up so much real estate on the living room wall!   Until recently they used a lot of energy too.

According to a recent posting from the NYT, “Incorporating LED and laser technology has helped slash the energy consumption of new TV models by nearly 50 percent within the last three years.”   But really it’s not efficiency claims selling these sets in some parts of the country, its “technology” or “better picture quality”.

What sets these TVs apart is the Energy Forward label which identifies a small group of the most efficient Energy Star appliances.  The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a utility supported non-profit organization based in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, is behind the label and they have taken an interesting approach.  Since TV watchers are prone to “geek out” by wanting the best set, it seems leveraging this “weakness” and making the best sets energy efficient is a win-win situation.

Collectively, small savings add up when everyone tunes in to the evening news on a high efficiency TV.  The important shift recognized here is that comfort and efficiency don’t have to conflict.  We fix homes to make them more comfortable.  It just so happens that is a wonderful side effect of reducing energy usage as well!



What is Green?

August 7, 2008

Here’s one to start some debate.  “Green” means a lot of different things to different people. At the heart of it though, green is about helping protect the environment so that we, and our children, have a healthy, safe, and comfortable place to live.

When we talk about green buildings, we mean buildings that are healthy, durable, and energy efficient. The greenest thing you can do with your home is to make sure it performs as efficiently as possible so that it keeps you healthier, safer, and more comfortable without wasting energy and creating unnecessary pollution.  This is before you think about bamboo, recycled tiles, or organic drapes.

The very ambitious can push for a zero energy home . But you can also start out more simply.  Here’s a list of five things you can easily do right now to be green and save money on your utility bills:

  1. Get a home energy assessment and use its recommendations to reduce energy use by at least 25% and as much as 50% or more.  The assessment won’t save you anything by itself, but it will identify the right steps, and installing the recommended measures can save you big!
  2. Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (just three CFL bulbs will save 300 lbs of carbon dioxide and $80.00 a year)
  3. Adjust your thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat that turns itself down while you’re away and at night. (save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 – $200 a year)
  4. Buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances (save hundreds of lbs of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars a year)
  5. Insulate your walls and ceilings (save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $245 a year).  Remember, that like a loose fleece in the wind without a shell jacket (or wind blocking membrane) that insulation doesn’t work well without air-sealing.

So make your home a “green home.” It will last longer, cost less to operate and maintain, and as an added benefit, you’ll be more comfortable, too!



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