Cellular Shades And Other Window Treatments Proven To Save Energy Costs

With the rising costs of fuel in the United States people’s wallets aren’t only taking hits at the gas pump, but they are also taking hits on their home or apartment utility bills. However, there is good news for the energy consumer. The United States Department of Energy has reported that window treatments such as cellular shades can reduce energy waste and therefore energy costs by some 20 percent each year. The average family can save around $325 per year on energy costs by using energy efficient window coverings.

Nowadays you have to save as much money as possible to pay for the rising costs of fuel, says Harry Delp, an expert on window shades and window treatments. It only makes sense to install shades that have been proven by the United States Department of Energy to save you money.

Not all window coverings are created equal in their ability to reduce energy consumption and waste. Window Quilts are the most energy efficient but have functional styling limitations. Bamboo blinds, wood blinds, and mini blinds offer varying degrees of insulation, but without some kind of privacy liner attached the insulating value offered is minimal.

Cellular shades on the other hand are aesthetically appealing, offer a wide variety of hardware upgrades, and offer the highest level of insulation second only to window quilts.

Cellular shades are available in room darkening, light filtering, and complete blackout. They are available in 3/8, 12 and 34 cells. Cellular shades have air pockets between the layers of fabric which trap air and prevent escape. The more cells, the higher the R-value.

In an attempt to increase the energy efficiency level of their cellular shades, Comfortex Window Fashions based in New York, developed a unique upgrade called the ComfortTrack’ Energy Saving Sidetrack System.

When a cellular shade is combined with this energy efficient sidetrack system a tough barrier is formed between the frame and the fabric resulting in an increased level of privacy and a thermal performance ranking as high as five times higher than that of a regular pane window. This treatment has been successful for even the most uneconomical windows in the windiest conditions.

Cellular shades can be purchased conveniently through the Internet which will save you even more with the rising costs of fuel. Some websites selling cellular shades and other window coverings offer free shipping on all orders within the main 48 states.

Insulated Vinyl Siding For Increased Energy Efficiency

Vinyl siding is the choice of many homeowners and builders due to its durability, long life, and ease of installation. Unlike painted siding, it does not require repainting every four to five years, making it an essentially maintenance-free and economical choice over a long term. Simple cleaning or power washing on a yearly basis is all that is needed to keep this siding looking like new for many years.

Vinyl siding has improved greatly from its beginnings, resisting fading and warping like the earlier products were known to do. It is also now available in a vast range of colors and patterns, including wood, stone, and metal faux veneers that appear identical to these real materials from even short distances when expertly installed. For those who love the look of stone or cedar but not the expensive price tags, vinyl siding can offer the ideal solution.

One of the drawbacks of standard vinyl siding is that it doesn’t offer additional insulation. This issue has been addressed with the introduction of insulated siding that is now available from a number of manufacturers. It offers all of the advantages of other vinyl siding, plus many more.

Insulated vinyl siding can significantly reduce energy costs by increasing the home’s energy efficiency by four to five times over that of traditional vinyl. These savings can effectively pay for the siding in just a few years making insulated vinyl an even more economical siding choice.

The appearance and feel of insulated vinyl is more like wood siding due to increased firmness and stiffness. Traditional vinyl is flexible, following a structure’s bends and bumps that are ultimately highlighted by the material rather than masked. Insulated vinyl is inflexible, offering a smooth appearance like that of wood siding. It also offers greater protection from impact damage such as hail, storm debris, and accidental impacts from golf balls or baseballs that can so easily happen with busy, active families.

The thermal insulation that improves a home’s energy efficiency also has significant acoustical advantages, reducing the levels of noise from the outside. This results in an interior that is much more quiet and comfortable, especially for homes located near busy streets or intersections.

Of all the siding options available, it is little wonder that vinyl siding is the most popular for its beauty, durability, and maintenance-free advantages. Though it costs more up front than traditional vinyl, insulated vinyl offers even greater advantages with the significant money savings in energy costs. When considering siding choices, put insulated vinyl at the top of the list for economy and quality.

Saving Money With Energy Efficiency

A home should be an environment that is comfortable in both the hot, summer months and the frigid, cold temperatures of winter. However, heating and cooling your home so that it is comfortable during these extreme temperature periods can get to be quite expensive. If you aren’t careful, you can rack up a huge energy bill during the winter or summer months without even realizing it. Heating and cooling a home requires so much energy, so sometimes consumers can become devastated at the amount they pay at the end of the month.

However, there are ways to save money on heating and cooling your home. These ways often have a less harmful impact on the environment and a less harmful impact on your pocketbook. While these methods may require an initial investment to make them operational, the money you save over time in heating and cooling your home will be worth the initial investment.

Insulate Your Home

The first and easiest way to make heating and cooling your home more energy efficient is to ensure that air is not escaping from your home or seeping in from the outdoor environment. Poor insulation is often the number one culprit in homes that use energy inefficiently.

You can improve the insulation in your home by installing energy efficient windows that are double paned, or you can have the cracks and gaps sealed around the windows with insulating material. You can also add insulation to your attic and prevent warm air from seeping out through your roof. These small home improvement fixes can help you save a lot of money on your energy bill at the end of each month.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Another great way to make your home more energy efficient is to install a geothermal heating and cooling system in your home. Geothermal systems rely on the heat that is generated from the ground in order to make your home more comfortable.

The earth is a wealth of energy, but many consumers don’t know how to tap into the energy that is right below their feet. A geothermal heating and cooling system taps into the heat sources and uses them to power an HVAC system. This type of system is expensive initially, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the course of a lifetime.

Solar Heating and Cooling

Solar power is another great way to save money on your energy bills each month. The energy from the sun is completely free and is abundant almost all year round. If you live in an area of the world that does not have a lot of rainfall, solar heating and cooling systems may be perfect for your area.

A solar heating and cooling system uses huge solar panels to absorb the energy from the sun and convert that energy into a usable energy that can help to power an HVAC system. With the energy from the sun powering the heating and cooling system in your home, you won’t have to shell out so much money each month to an energy company.

Ac Buying Guide-energy Efficiency In Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioners are some of the home appliances that homeowners need to keep their homes comfortable. However, they are also some of the home appliances that raise the energy bills in your home. Buying an energy efficient air conditioning unit is therefore necessary if you want to keep your energy bills at a manageable level and still keep your home cooled. The following is a short buying guide for buying an air conditioner.

First, decide whether a ducted air conditioning unit or a split wall hung air conditioner best suits your home. Ducted air conditioners best suit large houses with multiple rooms. Split systems are best suited for small rooms.

Second, start by looking at your home before going shopping. This will allow you decide what sizing of the air conditioner is required for your home. The sizing of the air conditioning unit doesnt mean its physical size. Rather, it means its capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU). To determine the air conditioner size you will need for your home, there are a number of features to look at. The most basic feature is the size of the rooms. In addition to this; look at the insulation in the rooms, window orientation, number of occupants in each room, artificial lighting and, appliances and furniture in the room among other features.

Third, look at additional components in each air conditioner and how useful they can be in making the air conditioning unit more energy efficient. For example, an air conditioner with a programmable thermostat will enable you set the unit to switch on and off at predetermined times. Most air conditioners with additional components will be on the high end. The best way to determine whether they are worth investing in or not is looking at what value they are adding in terms of reducing the energy consumption of the air conditioning unit.

Fourth, look for alternative air conditioners. Common air conditioners are plugged onto the electricity outlets in the house. Today, there are green air conditioners which are solar powered. These will enable you save on up to half the energy consumption in your home.

Fifth, look at the manufacturers warranties placed on the air conditioners. Like other electrical appliances, an air conditioning unit is prone to ear and tear. The warranty on the parts guarantees that the manufacturer will replace or repair worn out parts within the warranty period. Since the average air conditioner will last between 5 and 20 years, its best to look for an air conditioner with a longer warranty period to ensure that worn out and broken parts are replaced on time ensuring efficiency.

Finally, look at the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value of the air conditioning unit. A higher value indicates that the air conditioning unit is energy efficient.

Energy Efficiency of Cooktops

How energy efficient is the various types of cooktops? This is a question that everyone wants the answer to when they are shopping for cooktops. While most of the newer models of induction, electric and gas cooktops have acquired the Energy Star rating, some are still more eco-friendly than others. The key is to find the balance between your needs and those of the environment when shopping for cooktops. An appliance is not truly efficient if your productivity is decreased.

Induction cooktops are some of the very energy efficient types of cooktops on the market today. Because induction cooktops use the transfer of electromagnetic energy to heat the cookware rather than the cooktop, there is virtually no loss of energy. Approximately 90 percent of the energy produced is used. This means that induction cooktops may help you to save money on your electric bill each month as they offer some great energy saving benefits. Your kitchen will also stay cooler using these cooktops, thus reducing your monthly utility bills even more. If your primary concern is reducing your carbon footprint, then induction cooktops are probably the best choice for you.

Electric cooktops are another type of cooktops that help with energy efficiency. Today’s electric cooktops boast a number of features to reduce the loss of energy. Many models have duel size burners, reducing energy wasted from pans sitting on heating elements that are too big. Some electric cooktops also have an automatic shut-off feature if you accidentally leave the burner on. Many do not require as high of a voltage of electricity as induction cooktops, making the monthly operating costs slightly lower in some cases. If the green in your wallet is just as important as the green in the environment, electric cooktops may be the correct answer for you.

Gas cooktops are preferred by many as it offers a different cooking style. They are still a favorite among professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts. Gas cooktops may give you more control over the heat than induction cooktops or electric cooktops and, as a result, cook food more evenly. If cooking with gas is important to you, you can slightly increase the energy efficiency of gas cooktops by choosing a model with a lower BTU. Gas cooktops may cost less to operate each month depending on your rates for natural gas. With the cost of electricity on the rise, gas cooktops are definitely the gourmet, budget friendly choice for those looking for energy saving cooktops.

Once you decide whether induction cooktops, electric cooktops or gas cooktops best fit your needs, you should consider some of the durability factors of the various models within that category. Is the appliance insulated? Is it vented? The answer to these questions will help you to pick the cooktops that will work best for you and your situation.

cooktops

Effecting Greater Energy Efficiency

A recent paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy listed ten programs that spurred companies and customers to economize energy. The findings certainly show that behavioural programs can be astonishingly effective.

Improving energy efficiency is an important topic on the program of most organisations these days. The benefits are numerous, from lowering carbon footprint to the most outstanding of all cutting down on costs with energy. So million dollar question is: How to enhance business energy efficiency?

There are many ways to do so but this is not quite what I want to talk about in this column. I wont be recommending you change all the lights in your concern to LED lights, even though that is one the most cost effective ways to enhance your business’ energy efficiency.

In this paper I’d like to contest what is more effective consumer education or infrastructure updates. One could say that by bringing together both you could achieve greater results but that you will have to adjudge once you have finished reading this article.

Purchaser education has proven to be an effective way to better energy efficiency of households and businesses alike. When combined with programs that apply social science to energy conservation it can incite individuals to beat down consumption and make decisions that will enable their businesses to save as well.

Such programmes are an attractive way to reduce energy consumption since they have low upfront cost and require little change to existing business processes / lifestyles.

Nevertheless, simply relying on consumer/employee education might not be adequate. There is a real danger that energy efficiency gains seen from consumer/employee behaviour will go away over time.

That is when infrastructural upgrades come into the picture. Even though they require a greater upfront investment if evaluated properly and done right such upgrades could generate better benefits. The downside is that most of these benefits will only be noticed in the long term.

But there isn’t a better time to start upgrading your company with more energy efficient machinery. With many governments around the world creating funds to subsidise these changes. For instance here in the United kingdom the Government is creating the Green Investment Bank.

If you are unsure of which route to take in order to save energy. Why not ask for specialist help. Hire an energy consultant or an independent energy broker to inspect your premises and offer the best and most effective options for you company.

Energy Efficiency And Roof Design

As a roofing contractor in the state of Wisconsin, I continually field requests for light colored (reflective) roofing for the purpose of energy efficiency. A white or light colored roof will reflect sunlight, keep the building cooler, and reduce energy consumptionCorrect?

It depends on where you live and the insulation value of the building.

Most roofing material comes in a variety of colors. EPDM (rubber) membrane, for instance, is a very common low slope roofing material that comes in black or white. In the case of EPDM, the white color is much more expensive. Many consumers will justify spending more on white instead of black EPDM since they believe that there will be energy savings. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of different colors from light to dark. Some shingle manufacturers, such as GAF, have marketed Cool Series asphalt shingles that are designed to be more reflective of sunlight.

Significant studies have been conducted to study the effect of roof color on energy consumption. Heat transfer will occur from the roof into the interior of the building if there is a low level of insulation and resulting low R-Value (thermal resistance). As R-value and thermal resistance increases with better insulation systems, the type and color of roofing material becomes less and less important. In general, an R-value of 30 or more negates any energy efficiency gains from white or light colored roofing material in hot climates. It stands to reason the most effective way to decrease a buildings energy consumption is to increase insulation levels.

There are situations in which the building structure itself cannot be insulated more effectively and a low R-value cannot be avoided. What color of roofing material would be best in this situation? It depends on where you live and the climate. Do you have more heating degree days or cooling degree days? Here in Wisconsin, we definitely have more heating degree days. Therefore, a dark colored roof will help heat interior building spaces and decrease energy consumption over time. In colder climates, dark colored roofs are the most energy efficient. The opposite is true for hot climates. It would be well worth the extra investment in purchasing white roofing material in Southern Florida. Central regions of the United States are considered color-neutral. In these areas, studies have shown that energy efficiency is not impacted by roof color.

With the increase in roofing material choices, it has become increasingly important that roof designers, contractors, and facilities managers consider the right roofing material for the right situation. Reflective roofing has become a knee-jerk reaction for some designers and contractors who do not take climate zones or insulation levels into consideration. Focus should remain on insulation systems and improving insulation value when optimizing energy efficiency. Advances in insulation technology have created opportunities to increase insulation value in almost any circumstance. Spray-on foam insulation and plywood manufactured with imbedded rigid foam insulation have become popular and effective systems to increase R-value in tight spaces.

Every building and every roof system is different. Roof design for energy efficiency must take into consideration climate zone and insulation value. With sufficient insulation, roof color becomes insignificant in the energy efficiency equation.

A Biofriendly Approach to Energy Efficiency

Few of us will deny that being dependent on foreign oil supplies is undesirable. But it is not widely known that available oil supplies worldwide are dwindling, which drives the need for alternative ways of meeting our energy needs. While there is still a lot of oil in the ground, much of this is becoming harder and more costly to extract.

The term “peak oil” describes the concept that oil is a limited resource and at some point the available oil supplies will become less and less. According to some sources global oil consumption already outstrips viable new oil sources.

While we are not likely to completely run out of oil, newly discovered supplies will become less accessible and/or of lower quality, making it progressively more costly to extract. In addition, oil consumption is also on the increase as developing nations like China and India become more industrialized. Oil prices are therefore likely to keep rising.

The bottom line is that it is in everyones interest to become less fossil fuel dependent. A first step in that direction is to become more energy efficient. Saving energy means a lessened dependency on fossil fuels, fewer pollutants, as well as saving money.

Greater energy efficiency can be achieved in many ways. For example, homes can be made more energy efficient with weatherizing and improved insulation, saving on heating and cooling costs. In the transportation arena, biofuels and fuel efficient hybrid cars are becoming more popular. Meanwhile, the Green Plus liquid fuel catalyst from Biofriendly Corporation makes internal combustion engines more efficient by causing the fuel to burn more completely and thus reducing fuel consumption and harmful emissions.

References:

(1)http://www.energybulletin.net/primer.php

(2)http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/20things.htm

Best Practices On Energy Efficiency For The Home With Electric Fireplaces

There is nothing as comforting as a toasty fire on a cold winter night. Frigid, outstretched fingers absorb the heat emanating from the fireplace. While most homes offer heat in one form or another, energy costs may make you think twice before turning up the thermostat. You can improve your comfort and make your home more energy efficient this winter by checking for air leaks and inspecting your heating system to ensure it is working properly. In addition, you can improve your energy efficiency by using electric fireplaces with an electric fireplace insert featuring patented flame technology. Look for highly efficient heaters and fans inside efficient fireboxes and furniture quality mantels that provide heat exactly when and where you want it.

As much as most people enjoy a good fire, most homes do not offer fireplaces for a variety of reasons. Many people living in apartments and condos didn’t even have the option for a fireplace until now. Today’s technology has created an electric solution that provides all of the heat and ambiance of a traditional, masonry style fireplace, but without the mess, the fire hazards, or the lumber requirements traditionally associated with fireplaces.

Save Money with Supplemental Heat

Most homes use central heat, a furnace, or radiant heaters to provide the heat they need in winter, but these can quickly become prohibitively expensive. Heating and cooling your home represents approximately 56% of your annual energy bill, which is why these fireplaces are worth your consideration. Checking the insulation of your home, caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows, maintaining an efficient heating system by changing filters regularly, and having the system maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions are also important.

One way to significantly reduce your heating bill is by making use of supplemental heat. Supplemental heat allows you to only heat the areas of your home that are being used. Instead of heating your entire home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can keep your thermostat at a lower temperature and use supplemental heat sources to keep specific areas of your home warmer when you need it. Electric fireplaces with an electric fireplace insert can generate enough heat to maintain 400 square feet at a comfortable temperature for only pennies a day.

Selective Heating Saves Money

While electricity rates vary by region, the efficiency of various heat sources is relatively constant. Gas fireplaces generally operate at a cost of 17 to 24 cents per hour, while electric fireplaces provide realistic looking flames for about 3 cents per hour and flames with heat for around 8 to 12 cents an hour. Instead of heating your entire home, you can save money and energy by supplementing your heat needs, allowing you to maintain a lower, overall temperature while staying comfortably warm even on the coldest winter days and nights.

An electric fireplace insert allows you to get the best of both worlds: a traditional fireplace hearth and mantel with the convenience, efficiency and low maintenance aspect of an electric fireplace. Each electric fireplace insert can provide clean, inexpensive heat that only takes the touch of a button to start heating your room. Instead of adding to the problems of air pollution and creating a mess to clean up, you can easily install an electric fireplace insert as a replacement for your existing grate and enjoy 4700 BTUs of heat each hour for far less than most other heat sources.

Suit Your Style with Mobile Heat

Electric fireplaces use patented flame technology to give the appearance of a genuine fire, complete with logs and embers, without any of the negatives associated with a real fire. Another advantage to using an electric fireplace with an electric fireplace insert is the variety of styles available. Whether your current decor is modern, colonial, or anything in between, there is an electric fireplace specifically designed to meet your needs.

The mobility of these fireplaces makes them especially useful in only heating the rooms being used. If you select an Amish electric fireplace, all you have to do to heat a different room is wheel the unit to where you want it. Easy to maneuver, the quality craftsmanship that goes into making these premium Amish electric fireplaces explains their furniture quality design and their attractive appearance.

Keeping your home well insulated, eliminating leaks, and making use of supplemental heat from electric fireplaces and electric fireplace inserts can mean the difference between a miserable winter spent fighting off colds and aching joints or the cozy comfort of a well heated home that doesn’t break your bank account.

Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill On Verge Of Senate Breakthrough

While many in Washington still warn about the dangers of carbon emissions and climate change, the reality and perhaps the one thing that experts on both sides agree on, is that Americans are paying less attention to global warming than they have in the past. To end this uncertainty, the Senate after months of behind the scenes maneuvering will begin the debate on the critically important legislation which could help American consumers, businesses and the federal government to save millions of dollars each year by using less energy, and using less energy will be a step forward in the fight against climate change in the U.S.
The new energy efficiency legislation introduced by Senators Shaheen and Portman could come up before the U.S. Senate for approval. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman Bill will help to reduce the energy bill of U.S., improve its economic competitiveness, create new American jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. The bill has been endorsed by more than 200 businesses, trade associations and advocacy groups.
What is the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act?
The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a 19-3 vote, it includes provisions that will directly improve energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and federal agencies, the provisions in the bill include strengthening energy efficiency requirements in building energy codes, incentivizing energy efficiency using rebates and for certain equipment, encouraging energy efficiency supply chains through a new supply star program.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found implementation of the bill would save about 9.5 quadrillion btus (british thermal units) between 2014 and 2030, or nearly one tenth of the annual energy use in the U.S. As the second largest consumer of energy in the world and the worlds biggest economy it is critically important for the United States to improve energy efficiency, the bill has received bipartisan support with seven Republicans and twelve Democrats in favor of the bill. It contains a variety of policies and programs to reduce residential, commercial and industrial energy use and focusing on sectors and areas with energy savings potential such as the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, the bill also restricts inefficient energy practices that will cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. One of the components of the bill also requires the Federal Government- which is the largest user of energy adopt energy saving techniques and best practices to operate efficiently.
Commenting on the bill Senator Portman said Washington can seem pretty divided these days, but there are some things on which we all can agree. This bill is one of them it is good for the economy and good for the environment. By making it easier for employers to use energy efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings towards expanding their companies and hiring new workers.
The bill has received positive feedback and widespread support, the only constraint halting the success of the bill are the amendments lawmakers are trying to attach to it. The successful passing of this bill will not only help in mitigating climate change in the U.S. and reduce carbon emissions but also be a trendsetter for other countries to follow suit.

http://www.internationalfinancemagazine.com/article/Bipartisan-Energy-Efficiency-Bill-Verge-Senate-Breakthrough.html