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The Basics of Energy Efficient Lighting

By on Nov 6, 2017 in energy efficiency |

Did you remember to set your clocks back this weekend? Daylight savings ended early yesterday morning, so you’ll now notice a much darker sky earlier in the late afternoon/evening. And, this means when you’ll be getting home from work you’ll be flipping those light switches right away to see your way around without bumping into furniture or stepping on your cat. If you’re still using some of those old, incandescent light bulbs, it’s time to consider swapping them out to more energy-efficient options. In fact, according to more than 70 percent of homes in the country are still using inefficient bulbs, and 5 percent of the average household’s energy budget is dedicated to lighting. By making the switch to energy-efficient options like halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LED lightbulbs, you might notice a saving of as much as 75 dollars a year! As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment. Top Options for Energy-Efficient Lighting Since 2012, traditional incandescent lightbulbs have been phased out and replaced with more energy-efficient choices. Let’s take a look at each of the energy-efficient lightbulb options available today that will help save you some money on your monthly energy bill: Halogen Incandescent Lightbulbs Halogen incandescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than the traditional incandescent bulb, but of the energy-efficient lighting options, they actually only meet the federal minimum energy efficient standards. Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, they contain a capsule that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) You know those long tube lightbulbs you may have in your office building? CFLs are smaller, curly versions of those. They’re a little pricier than the traditional incandescent bulbs, but after about nine months you’ll have saved enough on your energy bill for them to have paid for themselves, and they’ll also last ten times longer than your old bulbs. And then the real savings kicks in. Compared to halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs save around a third of the energy of those. LED Lightbulbs Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they’re much more commonly known as, use only about 20-25 percent of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb...

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Biggest Myths about Energy Usage

By on Sep 4, 2017 in energy efficiency |

We all want a home that’s as energy efficient as possible. However, many homes waste energy on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. You might have drafty old windows and doors, an old HVAC system, or old appliances that not only use a lot of energy, but also cost you a lot of money on your monthly utility bills. That said, there’s also a lot of confusion around home energy usage. From 2008 to 2030, world energy consumption is expected to increase by more than 55 percent. This is why it’s vital to understand the facts about energy usage and how to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked Some of the common myths about home energy usage include: Myth #1: Don’t turn out the lights. Do you remember your parents yelling at you to turn off the light when you left your bedroom? It turns out they were right. You might think leaving the light on instead of constantly switching them off and back on does not actually take up more energy, but leaving lights on draws more energy than the small burst needed to turn them on and off. Myth #2: Ceiling fans cool the air effectively. While the wind produced by ceiling fans cools your skin, it does not actually cool down the air in your home. And, this might allow you to turn off the air conditioning for a time, however, in the long run, leaving a ceiling fan running nonstop will waste energy, too. Myth #3: Unplugging appliances doesn’t save energy. There’s been some confusion about “phantom” energy and whether it actually exists. We’re here to assure you that yes, this is actually a thing. While turning off appliances when you’re done using them helps cut energy usage, when they’re left plugged in they’re still drawing electricity. Consider using a power strip for small kitchen appliances, as you can easily power all of them off at once with a single switch. Myth #4: Home energy use is largely consumed by your HVAC system. HVAC systems are becoming more and more energy efficient, and an efficient system is responsible for about 48 percent of your home’s energy usage....

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Selling Your Home? Upgrading Your HVAC System Can Help

By on Mar 20, 2017 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Furnaces |

When you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, there are often a lot of questions about how you can ask and receive the highest price possible. Many buyers today are looking for a house that’s move-in ready; updated kitchen and bathrooms, gleaming hardwood floors, and a fresh coat of paint tend to go a long way in increasing home value. However, there’s another thing to consider too: Upgrading your current HVAC system. How an HVAC Upgrade Helps Ensure a Quick Sale Generally speaking, if your current system is less than ten years old and is in fine working order, you don’t need to worry about replacing it to appeal to those potential buyers. Obviously, upgrading an HVAC system is major investment, and as the saying goes – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, potential buyers do like to know that all the mechanicals in the home are working properly, and many buyers are also concerned with energy efficiency. If your current furnace and air conditioning unit are getting up there in years, there may be worries that they’ll have to replace it themselves in the next year or two. Plus, the system probably isn’t running as efficiently as today’s newer versions. Prospective homebuyers are well aware that HVAC systems are not designed to last forever. And, while you might be somewhat hesitant to make such a large investment in a home you’ll be leaving, remember that the cost of the new system can be built into the sale price. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 by the National Association of Realtors, called the Remodeling Impact Report, revealed that sellers can expect to recoup 71% of the cost of replacing their HVAC system. In other words, if the system cost $7,000 to replace, sellers will recover up to $5,000 of the costs when they put their home on the market. Another great reason to upgrade your HVAC system is to increase home energy efficiency, which as mentioned before is something a lot of potential buyers are looking for in a new home. Today’s homebuyers are more financially savvy than those of the past, and they’ll be not only evaluating the cost of your home,...

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How Better Insulation Can Lower Utility Bills

By on Dec 5, 2016 in energy efficiency |

According to, in the average American home, heating and cooling account for 50-70 percent of all energy used.  Even if you’ve recently upgraded to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, keeping your home warm and toasty throughout the frigid winter months can be expensive. This is especially true if you live in an older home, but even if your home is new, there’s one fairly simply way to reduce your energy bills this winter: adding or upgrading your insulation.                   Why Should You Upgrade Your Insulation? Newer homes should be better insulated than older homes, as new building energy codes have gotten stricter over the past several years. However, many homes today are still not insulated to optimal levels. In fact, some experts estimate that as many as 40 million single-family homes in the United States could use more insulation. However, adding insulation to your attic can provide some easy results. Since hot air rises, you’ll want to make sure the top floor that meets the attic space is sealed and insulated. You should also check for other places around the home where warm air may be escaping, like around windows and doors or anywhere you have vents or outlets. Even a ceiling fan or lighting fixture that was improperly installed could be allowing warm air to escape! These small leaks can be closed up with inexpensive insulation like spray foam, caulk or weather-stripping. If you find that heat is escaping through your walls and or roof (and these types of leaks can be found by purchasing a leak detector from a hardware store) adding more, or better, insulation can help. The type of insulation you use will depend on how extensive the project itself is; if you’re adding insulation to unfinished walls in between the studs, you’ll have far more choices than if you need to add insulation behind already existing drywall. As mentioned above, adding new insulation to your attic and/or basement is one of the easiest routes to take to help stop all that warm air from escaping throughout the winter months. Head up to your attic and take note of the current insulation. If the insulation is lower than the floor joists or just...

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5 Easy Steps to a Greener Home

By on Apr 4, 2016 in energy efficiency |

Creating a home that’s green is important for a variety of reasons. According to, 40% of the energy consumed in the United States is used by homes and commercial buildings, and the majority of this energy comes from fossil fuels. Plus, our homes can have a major impact on the environment, with pollutants coming from our fertilizers, automobile fluids, trash, pesticides, animal waste, paint, and more. These pollutants can end up in storm drains and later, in our streams, lakes and oceans. It’s important to be aware of the effect the way we live our lives will have on the earth in the years to come, and there are a few easy things you can do to make your home more environmentally-friendly. Creating a Greener Home in 5 Steps Creating an eco-friendly home can be done by making some smaller changes that won’t even cost you a thing. Of course, going to the extreme like adding solar panels to your home and purchasing all brand new, energy-efficient appliance are also great steps to take if they are realistic for you! But here are 5 steps to a greener home that the average person can take part in: Leave the shoes at the front door. Did you know your shoes track in all sorts of pollutants and toxins? It can be pretty scary to think about! Things like pesticides, anti-freeze, oil and fertilizers stick to the bottom of your shoes and can easy end up on your floors and carpets. Leave your shoes and boots by the entryway so these pollutants don’t end up tracked into your house and into the air. Install energy-efficient lighting. LED (light emitting diode) or CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs use up to 75% less energy than your standard incandescent bulbs, plus they can last 10-25 times longer! That means you’ll be saving money on your monthly energy bills and also reducing the amount of bulbs that end up in the trash and landfills. Fix those leaky faucets. The average household leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. It’s time fix that drippy faucet or running toilet, even if it means you have to contact a plumber. This will...

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Is Your Home Properly Winterized?

By on Feb 8, 2016 in energy efficiency, Furnaces |

You might be getting ready to start thinking about spring, but here in Northeast Ohio, you know that winter can last well into April. Keeping your home comfortable throughout these colder months sometimes can be difficult if you haven’t taken the proper steps in winterizing your home before the snow started falling. However, it’s not too late to make some adjustments and get your home as cozy and warm as possible for the remainder of the winter. Winterizing Your Home – Steps You Can Take to Increase Comfort When the wind is howling outside and the temperatures are frigid, it’s time to hunker down inside with a movie and some hot chocolate, probably nestled under a blanket on your couch. If you forgot to take some time to winterize your home before those temps dropped, however, you might feel chilly inside no matter how many blankets you pile on! Here are the steps you need to take to winterize your home until those spring flowers start blooming: Seal up any leaks. Go around your home and feel for drafts around windows and doors. Add weather-stripping or plastic around windows and sliding glass doors you won’t be opening until it warms up outside. Even a small leak can affect your home’s energy efficiency by 5% to 30% as your furnace has to work that much harder to heat your home. Check your attic insulation. Making sure your attic is well-insulated is an easy way to increase your energy savings and stay warmer this winter. In fact, a properly insulated attic can save you up to 50% on your heating costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy! If the insulation levels in your attic seem low, it’s time to increase it. Change your furnace filters. You should change your furnace filter every month, and this is very important to remember to do throughout the winter! A dirty filter will restrict the airflow and increase the energy your furnace needs to properly heat your home. Put ceiling fans on reverse. Did you know you should continue to use your ceiling fans throughout the winter? Keep them on low but make sure you reverse the direction of the blades. They should be...

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