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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogEnergy costs make up a significant portion of household costs in the US. In fact, some households spend as much as 7% of their annual income on energy costs. These trends aren’t helped by the ever-growing number of electronic devices we all use daily. In light of that, there’s a growing interest in ways to reduce household energy waste. Repairs If your house isn’t brand new, it’s probably already started settling. That settling process creates numerous gaps and cracks around your house that drive up heating and cooling costs. You usually notice it in the form of drafts near doors and windows. Gaps also show up around your foundation and where the walls meet the roof. A tube of caulk will make short work of small gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Installing new weather stripping around your doors and windows helps as well. Expanding foam can pick up the slack on larger gaps and around pipes. If your furnace or AC unit seems to be straining, make an appointment for heating/cooling repairs or maintenance. Behavioral Changes Most people don’t realize it, but they own behaviors actually generate a lot of energy waste. You can slash that waste with some basic changes in behavior. Push heat-generating activities like laundry drying and baking into the late evening during the summer. Electricity often costs less in the evening and it takes pressure off your A/C unit. Wash small loads of dishes by hand. Water heating typically costs less than running a dishwasher for an hour. Unplug electronic devices you aren’t actually using, like computers and TVs. They often leach power by going into a standby mode. Upgrades You can also use upgrades to cut energy waste. Look for the Energy Star emblem on new appliances, computers, and even televisions. They often use substantially less power than similar appliances and electronics. You can also upgrade to smart power strips that turn off power to devices that you aren’t using. Another area where most houses can use an upgrade is the insulation. Dropping another layer of insulation in the attic improves how well the living spaces hold heat or cool air. Consider throwing an insulation jacket on your water heater and foam insulation on your water pipes. It cuts down unnecessary radiant heating and helps protect pipes from freezing. Energy waste isn’t something you must accept. You can take small steps with behavior changes and basic repairs. You take things up a notch with extra insulation and upgrades to appliances and electronics. Big or small, every change reduces your energy waste.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogThere is no question that the world is ready for solar energy. In the United States, the Office of Energy Efficiency estimates that the growth of major solar energy installations has grown by more than 1,700 percent since 2008. While most installations have been of the utility, industrial and commercial kinds, residential systems are expected to grow exponentially through the end of this decade. In 2017, electrical vehicle manufacturer Tesla announced its intention to start taking deposits on residential installations of an advanced solar roof panel system complete with transformers and batteries; this announcement has sparked considerable interest from homeowners who are now looking up at their roofs and wondering what they would need to do in order to get some panels installed. In essence, there are three important things for you to consider before weighing the possibility of going fully solar: Roof Inspection When was the last time you had your roof inspected by a professional company like Burke’s Roofing ? Unfortunately, many homeowners wait until they spot a leak or an ugly brown stain on their ceiling panels before they resolve to call technicians for roof repair services; this is about the only time an inspection is conducted, and on many occasions, the findings are not pleasant. A roof inspection is a must before installing heavy solar energy panels on top of your house; in fact, you may want to do this now before the next winter or rainy season so that you can budget for repairs accordingly. Ventilation Your current roof system has a particular ventilation arrangement that may not be fully compatible with the intended roof panel installation. The vents may need to be relocated and tested so that they preserve the level of energy efficiency your household requires. Roof Leaks In rainy climate regions such as South Florida, some homeowners will notice a roof leak during a heavy tropical storm or when a hurricane makes landfall. In many cases, the leak seems to be manageable because it is limited to a drip and does not seem to spread across the ceiling; in other words, these leaks are nothing that a pan or bucket will not solve, and they tend to not be an issue until the next hurricane or spectacular rainstorm arrives. The problem with this nonchalant approach is that it could be ignoring serious issues such as missing shingles or damaged flashing, which would certainly need to be repaired before solar panel installations. In the end, the state of your roof will determine whether you can really take advantage of solar energy production. Do not attempt to forego roof inspections and repairs before solar panels are installed.