Energy

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity production generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (roughly 30%) because nearly 70% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. We all know we can reduce energy use through simple behavior changes like turning off lights and electronics when not in use, but building or renovating an energy efficient home offers far bigger opportunities for savings.

  • ENERGY STAR PRODUCTS: ENERGY STAR is a certification program run by the EPA that applies to everything from appliances and electronics to building materials and lighting. Products certified by this program use considerably less energy than their traditional counterparts. For example, a water heater is the 2nd biggest energy user in the home, but an ENERGY STAR certified electric storage water heater uses half the energy of a standard model. ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs use 75-90% less energy and last 10-25 times longer. That’s smart design!
  • ENERGY-EFFICIENT DESIGN: The way a home is designed can reap massive rewards when it comes to reducing energy use. For example, LEED homes can save anywhere from 30-60%, a Passive home performs 60-85% better, and a Net-Zero House produces the same amount of electricity that it needs to run – or in some cases, more electricity than is needed! That’s incredible home energy savings!
  • ENERGY SOURCES: The variety of options for renewable energy grows every year as new technologies continue to be developed. No longer are giant panels the only option for home solar energy, now solar shingles are an easier, more ‘eye-friendly’ alternative. Do you have a stream running through your property? With micro-hydro power machines, even a small stream can generate consistent, clean, dam-free, renewable electricity at a price per Watt lower than solar or wind!

In addition to monthly utility savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions, energy-efficient products and projects qualify for a variety of tax incentives and rebates at the local, state, and federal levels. For example, the Energy Investment Tax Credit, also called the Solar Investment Tax Credit, provides a 30% federal tax credit that goes towards solar panels for home.

Zero Energy Upgrades Could Cost Zero Dollars

A simple calculation shows how you can have a zero energy home for the same price as a conventional one, and keep the monthly savings in your pocket. Here’s how it worked for Bruce.

Induction Cooks Better than Gas

There is no doubt that induction uses less energy than an electric resistance burner, but comparing it to a gas burner is more complicated. Here’s how it breaks down.

Six Steps to Success with Heat Recovery Ventilation

While HRV equipment is well-design and durable, the technology has been plagued by poor installation practices that reduce their value. “In all my many years in the HVAC industry,” says Manclark. “I have never seen anything screwed up as much as HRVs.” Here are the six steps to success for selecting and installing HRVs.

A Roadmap to Building Affordable Zero Energy Homes

To achieve zero energy, designers and builders everywhere are employing an array of design concepts, product choices, and financing approaches. Because there are so many ideas, it seems appropriate to offer a quick rundown of the most cost-effective measures for getting to zero energy.

Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

When designing, building or even remodeling a home to be very energy efficient, much time is spent on the building envelope, electrical systems and appliances. But did you know that exterior landscaping can affect the energy performance of your home?

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