Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

As the summer months roll on through, we are faced with the dilemma of creating the perfect indoor environment. In some regions the sun blazes hot, while other areas of the country enjoy more temperate summer days and nights. Whatever the case, our cooling habits always change this time of year, and it’s important to consider the usage, impact and alternatives to summer cooling.

Did you know that according to EnergyStar, if just one in ten households used EnergyStar Certified cooling and heating equipment, we could prevent the equivalent of 1.1 million cars’ emissions? That’s a big difference. But if you’re not ready or willing to replace your cooling system just yet, here are some other ways to lighten your impact during the summer heat.

1. Replace the air filter. Forced-air heating and cooling systems really require you to swap the air filter every 3 months. Remember, if you’re working on a project at home, or doing some remodeling, it may need replacing more frequently until the dust settles. A dirty air filter can decrease the efficiency of your cooling system by two percent. That’s energy use you’re paying for without getting the benefit of the most efficient cooling to your home.

2. Install a programmable thermostat. This corner of the market is evolving very quickly. Keep an eye out for the system that’s right for your household. If you’re not one to take the time to set a program, consider a learning thermostat that uses smart technology to sense movement so the energy savings are abundant while you’re out of the house or resting. Another tip – setting the thermostat between 4 and 7 degrees higher at night can save you about $180 annually.

3. “Summerize” your home. We frequently talk about winterizing our homes by sealing cracks and air leaks. We check insulation before the winter months to make sure we’ll stay warm enough, but consider the opposite is also true. A tighter home not only keeps the cold winter air out, but also keeps the cool, conditioned air in! Grab a caulk gun and do a few simple tests to seal and sure up leaks around windows and door. According to the Energy Star site, sealing leaks in air ducts can improve your cooling system by 20 percent!

 

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Energy-Efficient Roofs – What to Consider

Energy-Efficient Roofs – What to Consider

Energy-efficient roofs are a great way to keep your home cool, reduce your carbon footprint, and save energy all at once. If your roof is getting to the point where it needs to be maintained anyway, getting energy-efficient roofing could turn out to be a very positive and wise investment.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re getting energy-efficient roofs:

Rebates and Tax Cuts

At the moment, PG&E is offering a $200 rebate for every 1,000 square foot of energy-efficient roof installations. Various states also offer tax breaks.

You may also qualify for the Energy Efficient Tax Breaks with energy-efficient roofing.

The tax incentives vary from state to state. If you’re on a different utility provider, talk to them about potential rebates. These can go a long way towards offsetting the cost of the roofing.

The Different Types of Energy-Efficient Roofs

There are a few different common types of energy-efficient roofs.

First you have metal roofing. These metal roofs are reflective and will divert the sun’s rays from your house, effectively cooling your home without taking up any energy.

They’re also extremely durable and can survive even in harsh weather conditions.

Next you have clay tiling. Clay tiles aren’t as reflective as metal, but a special coating can be added to increase their heat reflecting capabilities.

Often times clay tiles can be made in a sustainable manner to help reduce your environmental footprint even further.

Finally you have membranes. Membrane installation is much easier than the other types and can even be done without a contractor. Unfortunately, the material is much more expensive than other types.

Membranes are often used on commercial buildings rather than residential buildings.

The Process of Getting Energy-Efficient Roofs

The best way to get top-notch energy-efficient roofs at a good price is to talk to several contractors before making your decision.

Get at least three different bids for the job before you make your pick. Make sure you talk to the contractor about what roof type will work best for your house.

Do you get the sense that this contractor is really knowledgeable about their craft? Remember, doing a roof is a big project. Only hire someone that you really feel you can trust.

Try to negotiate a per-job rate rather than a per-hour rate. Per-hour projects almost always go over budget.

In summary, getting energy-efficient roofs can be a great way to help conserve energy and save money. There is a significant upfront investment, but it’ll more than pay for itself in the long run. This is especially true if your roofing needs to be replaced anyway. If you’re getting a new roof, seriously consider making the extra investment to help your planet and conserve energy.

 

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Energy Saving Tips for Kids – Teaching Your Kids To Be Energy Efficient

Energy Saving Tips for Kids – Teaching Your Kids To Be Energy Efficient

Saving energy and saving money should not be your sole responsibility as parents. Your kids must also learn to contribute in keeping the electric bills down. This way, your effort will not get wasted and at the same time, your kids will learn good values while growing up.

Because teaching your kids to be energy efficient requires some effort, here are easy to follow suggestions you can do:

Education

Teaching your kids the importance of saving energy should be your first goal. Take note that making them understand the value of being energy efficient is more effective than enumerating the ways to save energy and leaving it at that. Teach them how conserving energy helps the environment. Tell them stories or read educational books about the importance of energy.

Lead by example

You know very well that kids tend to follow what elders do. Practice what you preach. You may have listed and posted a litany of things-to-do to conserve energy but if you donít follow them yourself, you cannot expect your kids to follow it too. Do not just tell them to turn the lights off before leaving their room; show them by always turning the lights off every time you leave a room in your house. Education and leading by example are a good combination if you want to make good habits stick.

Make it fun

Find educational materials where your kids will learn the value of conserving energy as well as the ways on how to save it. Computer software, educational websites, books and television shows that educate and entertain kids would really make a difference on how well they will respond. This is especially applicable to kids from 5 to 10 years old.

Get your kids involved

Family activities should not limit to eating, playing and entertainment. Chores can also be a good way to bond with your kids. Manually wash the car, water the plants, clean the table, wash the dishes, clean the house etc. These are some of the things you can do with your kids while conserving energy.

Teach your kids according to their age.

Kids of different ages have different attitude on things around them. If your 5-year son doesnít know how to turn off the lights before leaving the room, all you need to do is to talk to him well about its importance and showing him that you practice what you teach.

Your 10-year old daughter may require different approach like showing her your electric bill and explaining to her that it will greatly help if she will change her bad habits. You are teaching your 5-year old good habits while you are teaching and emphasizing your 10-year old good habits and responsibility.

Same thing applies to kids of different ages. The point is, make sure that you teach your kids proper ways to conserve energy using an approach suited to their ages.

Energy saving tips for kids

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Always turn the lights off before leaving the room.
  • Turn the computer off after use.
  • Do not hold the refrigerator open.
  • Unplug unnecessary appliance.
  • Use natural light if possible.

Saving energy is not so hard if your kids are involved. And just like any family activities you do, energy conservation should be fun, educational and driven by good motivation.

 

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