As energy prices rise, the idea of implementing green materials and technologies in home renovation projects are becoming increasingly popular. Many savvy homeowners are keen to use materials that are sustainable, and energy efficient. If you are planning a renovation and would like it to be green, here are a few tips.
Use sustainable materials such as bamboo, or wood from sustainably managed forests. Look for products with the FSC stamp on them. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, has 10 key principles that encourage environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Products with their mark adhere to the principles and practices they espouse.
When picking paint, opt for low or zero volatile organic compounds instead of the more common paints. Low or zero VOC’s improve the air quality in your home. Generally, more expensive, low VOC paints are less toxic making them a better choice for the environment. They clean up much more easily with just soap and water, eliminating the need for toxic cleaning solutions. Despite the heftier price tag, these paints will last a lot longer, making the price well worth it.
The heating and cooling is the largest contributor to the rising cost of energy in a home. By updating your heating and cooling system along with installing an extra layer of insulation, you can significantly reduce your costs. Many of the top heating and cooling companies offer highly technologically advanced programmable systems to suit your lifestyle, further allowing for cost savings.
Other energy zappers include inefficient lighting, such as incandescent bulbs and fixtures. You can help the environment and save money by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or try the new LED fixtures.
If possible, reuse the old kitchen cabinets. Hang them in a garage for extra storage or donate them to Habitat for Humanity where they will be recycled. By finding new uses for them, it saves space in the landfills, which is ultimately an environmentally friendly move.
Going green is good for the environment and your pocket at the end of the day. If you are serious about using green principles when planning your renovation, speak to your contractor about it. Contractors today are well versed in environmentally friendly building techniques.
Photo by sackerman519
This is a guest post by Fares of Vancouver General Contractors. Like VGC on Facebook
No matter how new your HVAC system may be, if your home is not energy efficient you are going to be paying more than you should on your energy bills. For this reason, you need to think long and hard about any changes you can make.
Does your home need new windows? How about a new entry door? What about more insulation in the attic? These are three of the most common things to consider when looking for a way to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
However, there is one other idea you may want to look into: new garage doors. Obviously, this is not a change that everybody will consider. For example, if you have new doors you are already set in this department.
When it comes to the energy efficiency of your home, you may not think much about the foundation. Instead, you pay most attention to things such as the HVAC system, windows, and garage doors. While there is nothing wrong with these details, you need to keep in mind that a well built foundation can improve the energy efficiency of any home.
When buying a central AC system for your home, there are many details to consider. Do you know what you are doing? Do you know which air conditioner is right for your property? If not, you are in a similar position as many others. Fortunately, there is a solution: contact a local HVAC company that specializes in maintenance and installation.
When shopping for a new air conditioner, you may have one thing on your mind: size and power. After all, a bigger unit has to be better, right? While it is easy to believe this to be true, you don’t want to make a decision you will regret in the long run.
Sure, it feels like spring time in San Antonio these days. Highs around the 80-degree mark will do that to you. But this is just a gentle reminder that your heating system likely isn’t done for the season just yet.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo starts today. If you’ve lived in San Antonio for a while, you know we normally see a freeze during the rodeo. This isn’t a scientific method, by any means – but it’s a reminder that freezes during this time of year are common. A look at the different 7-day forecasts from the TV stations show our low temperatures will be dropping back into the 40s by this weekend. Not exactly a freeze by any means, but still fairly chilly.
So don’t be surprised if the heater still gets some use over the next couple of weeks. You know that old saying about Texas weather: If you don’t like it, just wait 15 minutes.
Air conditioning companies across the country have spent the past couple of weeks trying to alert homeowners about the 25C tax credit. At Champion AC, we’ve tried to do our part with blogs about the 25C tax credit and specifics of the AC systems that qualify. In case you haven’t heard about it, this is a tax credit of up to $500 for energy-efficiency home improvement projects made during 2012. This tax credit originally expired at the end of 2011, but it was reinstated a few weeks ago as part of the deal to avoid going off the ‘fiscal cliff.’
Here’s the update. This week the IRS released the form homeowners will file to claim the tax credit. You can click here to download and print Form 5695.
There’s both good and bad news when it comes to mountain cedar in San Antonio.
The good news is we’re about halfway through the typical allergy season. Cedar counts usually die down in mid-late February, so we have a couple more weeks to expect counts to spike.
The bad news is of no consolation to my sinuses, eyes and nose at the current moment. The allergy reports released each day by Dr. Paul Ratner show mountain cedar has remained at a steady count in the “High” range for the past couple of weeks. We spiked in the 27,000 range for a couple of days after the big rain storms blew through this month. That count is about 10 times higher than a typical “High” count for cedar.
For the time being, just remember to make sure your air filter is clean, and make sure you’re using a high-quality filter with a MERV rating in the 9-12 range. And keep those tissues ready. The sneezing and sniffling has another couple of weeks to go.
Did you make an energy-efficient home improvement in 2012? That means you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $500. That’s because the 25C Tax Credit, which originally expired at the end of 2011, was reinstated as part of the bill to avoid going over the so-called ‘Fiscal Cliff.’ The decision means qualifying home improvements retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012 are eligible for the tax credit.
I know what you’re asking – which home improvements are eligible? For an air conditioner to qualify, it must:
A split system central air conditioner must meet or exceed 16 SEER and 13 EER.
Package system central air conditioners must meet or exceed 14 SEER and 12 EER.
An air source heat pump must meet or exceed 15 SEER and 12.5 EER and 8.5 HSPF, in order to qualify for the tax credit.
Package heat pump systems must meet or exceed 14 SEER and 12 SEER and 8 HSPF.
Information Courtesy: Air Conditioning Contractors of America
Other projects possibly eligible for the tax credit include new roofs, windows, doors, insulation and hot water equipment, just to name a few. Click here to read more about the 25C Tax Credit. The IRS will release information in the coming weeks on how to apply.
You often hear about how important it is to keep your air filter clean during the summer months. The last thing you want when your AC is working overtime to keep your home cool is for a dirty filter to clog up the air flow.
The same is true for your heating system during the winter months, as well.
Champion AC recommends that homeowners check their filter once a month. If you notice signs of dirt, change it out for a fresh filter.
Why is this so important? Dirty air filters cost you money and waste energy. In the short term, dirty air filters cost about $5 a month in extra energy use (according to Energy Star). Long term, the cost is even greater. Dirty filters can cause your air conditioning and heating equipment to fail, leading to costly repairs or replacements.
I try to make it easy to remember to change my filter. I have a reminder set up in my phone for the 1st of the month. That way, I get a pop-up reminder every 30 days or so to check my filter. I’ve heard of others using the day each month to pay their bills to also check their air filter. Whatever works for you, remember to do it!