Homes Realty Inc. Offers
The USA represents only 5% of the world's
population; but we consume 25% of the world's energy supplies! As
you can see the facts tell us that our energy consumption needs a
diet! A little truthful humor reminds us of the yester year when we
didn't know the Green Movement (click
enjoy). Click here for more
food for thought!
Our efforts will help our own
bottom line and our planet. There are
two way major ways in which we, as individuals, can GO GREENER and
achieve personal cost savings. 1) conserving energy ie. lowering
our own usage; and 2) utilize our energy more efficiently. Go
Green, isn't just installing bamboo flooring, or new windows; but
rather a overall approach.
By using a 'whole system'
approach, you can detect greener ways to retrofit and power your
home. A salesperson might sell you the
top-of-the-line E window, but if the sills leak like a sieve, you
aren't going to recognize any cost savings or any energy
conservation (remember, someone had to build those windows and use
more of nature's raw materials). Below are some tips and tools to
help you to GO Greener. Better yet! Get an Energy Audit!
We highly recommend a personal Energy Audit. Some energy companies
and municipalities offer free home energy audit programs; but if
not, the cost of such an audit will easy provide returns for the
homeowner and, of course, add value to your home. An Energy
Certification* home is one way to win over a buyer!
What is an Energy Audit?
An Energy Auditor
can identify the size, condition, type ad rate of energy consumption
of each energy using devise in the household; recommend appropriate
energy maintenance, operation and conservation procedures; estimate
materials and labor costs associated with energy retrofits; and
project the savings to be received; note any current or potential
health and/or safety issues and how they can be avoided or minimized
by the energy retrofits; review consumer behaviors changes that can
be made to save energy waste; and provide a diagnostic tests results
in written form to suggest a course of action for energy reduction.
That audit report is a like a whole house energy manual.
our planet with being energy efficient
(using less energy to provide the same
services we enjoy) and energy conservation (reducing the
consumption on nonrenewable resources and emissions).
First let's start at the home
Some usual home causes of wasted energy an
Energy Auditor may find:
(Disclosure: below are highlights, but a certified EA can analyze
your specific home and provide the best plan for you. DIY is a good
start; but the pros are the GREENER way to go!!!)
- an auditor can actually
measure the thermal heat escaping a home. Closed cell spray form is
an excellent way to retrofit an older home; and if you are using
your attic, open cell foam on the roof rafters is a great way to
keep that attic cooler while keeping the home warm below
- make sure all duct are clean and free of mold, check for leaks and
that the seals between joints. Make sure the vents are the correct
type for the home and positioned correctly within the insulation
envelope. Think of the home as a envelope. Are your ducts
outside the envelope going through cold air? Or is your cooling
ducts in the hot attic? Keep the transportation of that energy
external air leakage -
The EPA states that 25 to 40% of the energy used for heating is
wasted due to air leads around the building envelope. Plug the
holes. It isn't just about adding insulation because if it it's
installed wrong, you can actually decrease your R value you are
attempting to achieve. If your Energy Audit does recommend window
replacement, the southern windows capture the solar rays. Aluminum
and wood are great thermal heat transfers materials, so Vinyl or
insulated Energy Star Windows are worth the expense; verse
repurposing old windows. The whole approach review from the Auditor
will determine if insulation is best need before window replacement;
and what type of window works best for your site.
- is your HVAC unit in the attic roasting in 120 degree? Time for
some property insulation above to seal the building envelope.
- The sun is our earth's radiator. Correct eves on the
house, can make the different in correct shading. A front porch
protects the first level from the sun's rays. A metal bright roof
reflects the heat so your attic will be cooler. BTW, where is your
HVAC unit? Is it in the attic working OT?
your own habits and behaviors at home)
Lighting - Did you know
that incandesce bulbs are 90% and 10% light? Compact fluoresce
bulbs save you 70%; LED saves 85%; and halogen 30%? Did you know
that your refrigerator alone can use up to 12% of your home
electrical use? Definitely time to upgrade your light bulbs and
when you need to upgrade your appliances go "Energy Star" rating.
All Energy Star are not alike, so read your labels!
Lower your phantom loads
(i.e. electronic appliances use
energy even when
switched off or in standby mode so why not add a power switch to
really turn off).
Hot water heaters
- check with your Energy
Auditor to see if a wrapping, or isolating the area the heater is
placed is a better course than replacement first. Spending hundreds
of dollars to put your new heater in a cold basement doesn't solve
all your problems. Thinking of a waterless tank? Have your auditor
review the facts of the energy used to instantly heat the water, the
cost of the unit itself, before going off shopping. Again, this may
not be the best whole approach. Perhaps a simple aerator shower
head retrofit and less lengthily showers are a better approach. The
correct tankless water heater can save 50% of your costs.
- watch the phantom loads, and
consider putting a power strip to truly shut off the power.
Bedrooms - simple motion
detectors can save up to 54% of the energy for the room.
have high water usage,
consider employing aerator faucets. Shower use 17% of all indoor
water usage, and a typical shower head uses 2.5 gpm. Utilizing a
low flow shower head saves about 2,300 gallons a year! There are
low gallon water saving commode on the market as well to add to your
upgrades and save 30% water use. Did you know that running a
regular faucet for 5 minutes is equal to a 60 watt bulb for 14
hours? Faucet are 15% of all water used in the home and can
can consume 1.5 gallons
a minute while an aerator faucet consumes 1.25 gallons a minute,
saving you up to 30% without sacrificing performance.
Living Rooms and
Family Rooms - in addition
to changing the bulb types, adding a light sensor can increase your
efficiency. up to 30%. Traditional wood fireplaces pull more air
out of the house than heat the house! Fire need air, so it will
pull the heated air from your room. 80% of the heat you gain from
the fireplace is pulled from the room; and get get about a 20%
return of thermal heat from your fireplace. Historically rooms with
fireplaces were small compartments, large enough for the fireplace
to heat the residents; but the air quality was always low.
The simple addition of a
programmable thermostat is a quick, cheap and easy retrofit that
will save you energy costs. There is no need to heat the area when
no one is there to enjoy it.
consider when upgrading your
next appliance to make it a goal to get your appliances up to
"Energy Star" ratings. Start with your refrigerator that uses up to
12% of your total electric bill! Do you find yourself walking away
a running faucet to get another supply? You aren't alone. Perhaps
a foot pedal water saver is your cup of tea? Kitchen use on
average $52/month on your water bill.
gardens are important to us, in both esthetics, food production, and
adding value to our homes. Proper irrigation
recycling of the rain water goes a long way (ie. gutter rain chain,
rain barrels, soaking lines for our gardens).
the popular sprinkler systems, 20% is evaporated; 20% falls on
non-porous land. so much is lost before it us use.
out to a soaking system with mulch is a big saver at a low cost.
Did you know? A common 200 s/f roof can capture 1,200 gallons of
water with 1" of rainfall in a hour. The average family uses 400
gallons a day. 1% of all the planets
portable? Grey water systems can be simple to elaborate.
Landscaping Tips - Trees and shrubs
planted on wind side for protection; plants indigenous to the area
and drought tolerant
Ideas - There are hundreds of web sites to
help you repurpose your own materials. YouTube is a great source of
teaching you to upholstering your old chair from outgrown jeans; or
transforming a jar into a beautiful vase. Not only are you saving
your own funds; but the conserving our planets resources and saving
the energy it take to make a new product. Also, next time you think
about buying a non-recycled trivet - rethink "do I need this" or
"can I get it at a second hand shop"? If you don't need it, avoid
the purchase; and when others avoid the purchase as well, perhaps
the vendor will fail to make more useless items and thus save our
resources. It takes the 'whole approach' for the planet to be well
Syndrome (SBS) - with
tighter homes being achieved with better products, one should look
at the whole building approach. Furniture, carpet, fabrics,
cabinets, and adhesives are a few items that produce 'off gassing".
Meaning, they will emit toxic gases and often for years. Paint,
believe it or not is the quickest to release its toxins; but we
recommend going zero VOC paint, or low VOC. When making choices of
new cabinets, thing about the glues utilized, or those fresh
smelling carpets? The fresh smell is anything but good for you and
probably the reason why many children are having early health
concerns. It's not certain; but reducing the toxin gas in our homes
needs to be considered. Choose your materials well. Look for the
"Green Guard" label when purchasing your next carpet choice.
Utilize Medium Dense Fiber board with no added formaldehyde for your
next trim project. Strain woven bamboo flooring is 3 times stronger
than oak and 2 times of maple with a 25 year warrant and zero VOC's!
Repurpose building materials is an obvious.
Grey water systems - Employing a grey
water system (simple or elaborate) saves our planet resources and
utilizes those resources efficiently. Our US water and treatment
plants use enough electrical power uses enough electric to power 5
million homes for a year! Some simple techniques along can save on
your water bill; and a grey water system can save tremendous water
bills and save on our planet resources. Why do we need fresh
drinking portable water to flush our toilets?
Food for Thought
Did you know
that the average s/f of a US home is 2,100 s/f? We are
first place! The UK is 2nd place at 1,000 s/f.
1% of all the
planet's water is portable.
Below the frost
line, the earth is between 45 - 52 degrees? The Romans were
the first to use the geothermal value of the earth to heat
In 200 BC China
and the Mid East used the first windmills to pump water and
grind grain. We proud to say that the US is 3rd in the
utilization of the windmill technology; but it still
accounts for only 1% of the worlds energy source! The
Department of Energy believes wind power can solve our power
needs for the entire country.
150 years ago,
wood (a biomass renewable source) served at 90% of our
energy sources; today we utilize only 7% of our energy
consumption from renewable sources, and wood is only 55% of
Our sun is our
best radiator. 41% of the sun's ray are visible light, 9%
ultra violet and 50% infra red.
Every hour the
earth surfaces falls enough solar energy to heat the word
energy for one year! SO WHY WE CONSUMING SO MUCH FOSSIL
FUEL? (hint: $$)
Did you know? EPA states indoor air pollution is in the top
5 environmental dangers to the public, and 2 to 5 times
more polluted that outside. Americans spend 90% of their
time indoors! Think about that next time you plan an
Adirondack hiking trip or adventure.
A Great Energy Team consist of:
LEED Accredited Professionals
Professionals knowledgeable with LEEDS and NABH
carpenters, contractors for HVAC, roofing, windows,
insulation specialist, tile/granite, carpet installer,
contractors, mold inspectors & remediation company, lead
inspector and remediation companies, radon inspector, and
asbestos removal company (search
Retrofitting your purchase? ACHR agents can help you will
finding all of the above! We even have a log & timber frame model
home builder on our
team. Our full service
Concierge Info Site
also can help you discover what part of the Adirondacks is best for
- Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (www.usgbc.org)
- Residential Energy Services Network (www.resnet.us)
- Home Energy Rating System - ERS raters establishes home
energy usage of cooling, lighting, heating, pumps, hot
water, range, ceiling fans, refrigeration, dishwasher,
Photovoltaic, dryers and miscellaneous appliances.
Association of Home Builders (www.nahb.org)
is based on energy rates from HERS (www.energystar.gov)
- United States Green Building Council - a non-profit
organization that establishes guidelines for building new
homes. They established a point system used in the LEED
- Environmental Protection agency, created in 1934 as the
goal to improve housing standards and condition, and to
provide adequate home financing system through loan programs
FSC - Forest
Stewardship Council, a non profit organization to encourage
responsible management of forest.
State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
Power - energy
saving tips (www.fypower.org)
- International Energy Conservation Code designed to provide
energy conservation provisions for residential and
- measurement of thermal (heat) resistance. A higher
R-value of windows or insulation indicates a greater
resistance to heat flow
- Measures how well a
product prevents heat from escaping. The rate of heat loss
is indicated in terms of the U-factor of a window assembly.
U-factor ratings generally fall between .20 and 1.20 with
the lower conserving more energy.
Star Energy products -
an International standard for energy efficient consumer
Efficient Mortgages - these
types of mortgages uses energy savings from a new energy
efficient home to increase the home buying power of the consumer
and capitalizes on the energy savings in the appraisal.
Energy Improvement Mortgage
the energy upgrades of an existing home in the mortgage loan
using the monthly energy savings.
Mortgage - FHA allows
homebuyers to finance the cost of adding energy efficient
upgrades to existing homes with restrictions.
VA Energy Mortgage
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
insures energy mortgages used in conjunction with VA mortgage
Energy Mortgage Program -
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allows homebuyers to borrow a % of
your home's appraised value for improvements documented by a
HERS rater. (www.freddiemac.com)
Energy and EPA Energy Mortgage Programs -
help in reducing your energy costs as your Ambit Energy
Sign up today
and get started on your savings (click
All it takes is 10
LEEDS certification classes include 1) Certified, 2) Bronze,
3) Gold and the highest rating of Platinum. THE NABH
certification has four levels of certification as well: 1)
Certified, 2) Silver, 3) Gold and the highest is Emerald.
Energy Star ratings actually mean you are 85% efficient over
today's building codes. NOT all certifications are equal!
Adding either a LEEDS or a NAHB increases the efficient
level of the home, with the Emerald and Platinum being the
king of energy!