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Posts Tagged: energy saving home products

Top 10 summer energy savers

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on Top 10 summer energy savers

 

Top ways to save energy

We recommend you start with the easiest, lowest-cost, highest-value options at the top of this list. Then, as your budget, schedule, and inclinations allow, you can move down the list to more involved energy-saving options requiring a higher investment.

  • Keep your home cool without cranking up the A/C by opening windows and doors in the evening and early morning when it’s cooler outside. Opening a window high on the warm side of the house and a lower window on the cool side creates cross ventilation to keep your home cool and breezy.
  • Clothes dryers waste a lot of energy and there are currently no energy-efficient models on the market. A clothes line and the sun’s warming rays will do the job without shrinking or wearing out your clothes. That summer fresh scent on your towels and linens is another added bonus.
  • Refrigerators are already one of the biggest energy-wasting appliances in a home so standing in front of one to cool yourself, in addition to warming your milk and eggs, isn’t the best idea. Leaving the door open for a long time means additional energy will be required to re-cool your food later.
  • A hot dishwasher or preheating oven sends heat throughout your home. On hot days stick to outdoor BBQs or nice summer salads and run only full loads of dishes with the “no heat” option selected for your drying cycle.
  • Incandescent light bulbs get warm and can generate enough heat to raise the temperature of a room. Replace them with ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and fixtures – they use up to 75 percent less energy and can last up to 10 times longer. PSE offers instant discounts at participating retailers and showrooms.
  • The kind of plants you choose and where you place them in your yard can have a dramatic effect on how cool your home stays in the summer. Plant leafy trees in front of western facing windows and siding to shade your home on hot summer days.
  • Install a programmable thermostat for home heating. It can save lots of energy while you’re sleeping or away from home – and will re-warm your house shortly before you wake up or return home.
  • Seal up air leaks around doors and windows with weather-stripping, caulking, and door sweeps to keep cold air in so you can enjoy it longer. We recommend a home energy audit to uncover the hidden air leaks in your home and duct work.
  • Have your cooling system inspected and tuned every two to three years by a professional and clean or replace the air filters regularly.
  • If you’re shopping for a new air conditioner, look for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on the Energy Guide label and select the highest number rating you can afford (the higher the number, the more efficient the unit). PSE and ENERGY STAR recommend a SEER of 14 or higher. Schedule a free estimate to make sure the equipment is sized correctly for your space.

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Reasons to upgrade your Seattle home to cellulose insulation

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit, Insulation No Comments on Reasons to upgrade your Seattle home to cellulose insulation

 

Whether your home has insufficient insulation or your current insulation has experienced damage due to flooding, pests, or other factors, upgrading your insulation can help you save money and enjoy greater comfort and improved soundproofing in every area of your home. Cellulose insulation is an insulation product made from plant fibers; this insulation is blown into place and can be used to insulate new homes, as well as to retrofit older homes for improved performance. There are several excellent reasons to consider upgrading your home’s existing insulation with a cellulose product today.

Cellulose insulation is environmentally friendly.

Because it is made from plant fibers, cellulose insulation is an environmentally-friendly and sustainable product. Cellulose insulation contains as much as 85% recycled paper by volume, drastically reducing the impact of new insulation production on the availability of natural resources. Furthermore, cellulose insulation requires very little energy to produce, while the local production of cellulose products is associated with lower carbon emissions due to transportation requirements. Despite the fact that cellulose is a natural product, it will still protect your home from smoke and fire if a disaster occurs. Cellulose insulation products are treated for a Class 1 or Class A fire rating, meaning they will not catch fire or spread flames quickly, nor will they produce excessive smoke when heated or during combustion.

Cellulose insulation is energy efficient.

The R-value of your insulation has a significant impact on its performance; the higher your insulation’s R-value, the more effectively it will prevent the transfer of heat or cold through your walls. Dense-packed cellulose insulation has an average R-value of 4.0, which is the highest R-value per inch of any blown-in insulation product; this R-value is also higher than many other insulation options, including fiberglass insulation. The high R-value offered by cellulose insulation means that if you’re planning to upgrade your home’s insulation by choosing a blown-in product to supplement your existing insulation, cellulose is the best insulation for the money you’ll spend on this project.

Cellulose insulation won’t appeal to rodents.

Many home insulation products are laid in bats, which are like solid blankets that hold their shape, even when damaged or removed from your walls. These products leave your home vulnerable to pests, such as mice and rats, which like to burrow into the insulation to create safe, comfortable nests in the hollows left behind. However, because cellulose insulation is made up of small particles that are blown into your walls, it will not hold its shape when disturbed. This property makes it extremely unattractive to rodents, which will not find a place to nest in your home and instead move on, reducing your risk of a rodent infestation.

Are you ready to discover the benefits of upgrading your home’s insulation to a cellulose-based product? Not only will you receive better performance from your insulation, you could quality for a local utility rebate after you’ve made this smart home upgrade. Check out cellulose insulation and other types of home insulation from Washington Energy Services online.

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What is the importance of a home energy audit?

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 2 Comments on What is the importance of a home energy audit?

Additionally, greater home energy usage has an impact on the local and global environment. When more energy is required to maintain your lifestyle, more waste and greenhouse gases are generated in the overall production of the energy you use. A home energy audit is a complete evaluation of your home and the areas where energy is used or lost. The results of this audit are valuable in many ways, helping you to achieve a more comfortable, energy-efficient, and cost-effective household for you and your family in Seattle.

A More Efficient Home

Your home’s energy usage is a direct reflection of its overall efficiency. When your home is drafty and your HVAC or plumbing system is poorly matched to your needs or in poor repair, it will take more energy to heat and cool your air and provide hot water throughout your home. The more energy your home uses, the less efficient it becomes, causing energy and resource waste as well as high costs over time. A home energy audit is designed to evaluate the overall efficiency of your home, as well as the factors that could be improved to increase efficiency and lower or eliminate energy waste. These factors include poor weather sealing that allows conditioned air to leak outside, dirty or damaged HVAC and plumbing appliances, and insufficient or deteriorating insulation that doesn’t help your home resist changes in indoor temperature due to weather and other influences. When these and other issues are identified and eliminated as the result of a home energy audit, your home will become more efficient and waste less energy to achieve the comfort and convenience you want, also lowering the waste associated with your home and your monthly utility bills.

A More Comfortable Home

temperature-swings-hea

Many of the factors that affect home efficiency also impact home comfort as well. Whether your home is losing conditioned air to uninsulated spaces or even the outdoors, or your Seattle home’s HVAC system is working much harder than necessary to provide the heating and cooling you want, your comfort levels inside your house will suffer. By identifying the areas that need attention to eliminate energy loss, a home energy audit also paves the way toward a home that is more comfortable in terms of temperature, humidity, and air quality. When holes or cracks in your home’s exterior and ducts are sealed, you won’t feel cold drafts during the winter or a weak flow of air from your registers. A more efficient water heater means you’ll enjoy cleaner, faster hot water from every tap, reducing the amount of time it takes to bathe or perform other tasks. Improved insulation and more efficient HVAC appliances mean feeling comfortable in every single room of your home, rather than experiencing hot and cold spots; furthermore, a clean HVAC system and duct work allows you to breathe in cleaner, healthier air as well, which reduces respiratory discomfort, allergies, and asthma.

Your family can benefit from a professional home energy audit, identifying areas where your home comfort and energy usage can be improved. Contact us today to schedule your own personal home energy audit and for 24/7 HVAC service and repairs, always choose Washington Energy Services.

We also invite you to click through our blog for additional tips, information, and news.

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2015 top home trends for a green makeover

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Insulation No Comments on 2015 top home trends for a green makeover

 

Bright bold rooms

One of this year’s top home trends is to add a blast of color. But can stinky paint really be environmentally friendly? The smell of fresh paint in a renovated home or apartment can bring back memories… of headaches. Traditional interior house paints give off strong airborne chemicals not only while you are doing the painting, but for years afterwards. These are called volatile organic compounds or VOC’s. They are known to cause headaches, dizziness and other illnesses, and contribute to indoor air pollution.

Over the past few years, major paint brands such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have developed lines of “no” or “low” VOC paints. These are water based paints with less than half of the VOC’s of regular paint (0-200 grams vs regular paint at approx. 400). Benjamin Moore’s Natura® paint line claims zero VOCs which would make it the greenest paint. To learn more about VOC’s and find safer paints, go to the handy Greenguard Certification site. GreenGuard helps consumers to “identify interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air”. It is a division of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), the non-profit who tests and certifies US appliances and equipment for safety.

 

Insulate with plants

Adding insulation to save energy is great for conservation as it is, but that benefit increases when using cellulose insulation. Cellulose is the most eco-friendly insulation because it is made of up to 85% recycled paper.

Instead of harmful chemical fire retardants and insecticides, it is typically treated with borate, a natural compound (from boron), that does the job. Boron is safe and is an essential micronutrient used by plants to enable them to grow and flower. Borates are now commonly used in wood building materials, including decks, siding, furniture, and in this insulation. As an additional eco-benefit, cellulose insulation is “blown in”, literally hose fed into your space, so there is no waste created in the install process.

Insulation being blown in through a hose

 

Lighting inspired by nature

Decorative fixtures can transform the look of your home. Many designers and lighting retailers highlight natural styles and functional art derived from the world around us. These styles from nature use wood, shells, mica, rattan or wicker, and glass. They are both beautiful and promote the use of renewable materials.

Rattan Lamp for natural lighting

Whether its wall sconces, chandeliers, recessed spot lights or lamps, energy saving can also come from the bulbs you choose. All of today’s bulb choices are more energy efficient than the old incandescent bulb. LEDs are the most efficient at 75% energy savings and also the longest lasting, lighting your way for 25 years. LED light is a different color, and can seem brighter and cooler than the old 60, 75 or 100 watt bulb. Manufacturers now put helpful labels on them such as “equivalent to a 75 watt bulb” but that only refers to wattage, not light color. If you prefer the traditional warmer light of incandescent bulbs, try eco-incandescent light bulbs. These have 28% energy savings vs old incandescent bulbs, but have the same color, sizes and price point.

 

Recycled or renewable doors

Recycled Fiberglass Door

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 study, replacing your entry door is the number one home upgrade to increase resale value . There are several eco-friendly replacement door options, starting with fiberglass doors. Fiberglass is made of a combination of vinyl, which is a plastic, and silica from sand, which is natural. This makes for a partially green but really strong, long lasting door. One that is ready for our Northwest weather.

Wood is a beautiful, renewable door material but wood doors are not always 100% green. ‘Solid–core’ doors have a fiber composite or non-wood core inside of a wood veneer exterior. This makes the door less prone to warping, but the tradeoff is that the core materials may include chemical adhesives or plastics. ‘Solid-wood’ doors are typically made up of wood panels that are glued together. Recently, zero VOC and formaldehyde free glues, plus water-based insect and rot treatments have become available, increasing the benefit from choosing wood. Rogue Valley wood doors are made from sustainably managed forests, adding an additional layer of environmental conscientiousness.

Looking for a DIY project? Vintage wood doors can be beautifully refinished. Used wood doors with classic hardware can be found at local Seattle resale retailers such as Second Use Building Materials, Earthwise Salvage, Ballard Reuse, and at Re-Store, which is now located in Bellingham.

Washington Energy offers energy saving products and services including insulation and doors. Contact us to learn more.

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Top of your wish list for 2015 – What you told us!

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Windows, Heating, Cooling No Comments on Top of your wish list for 2015 – What you told us!

 

And the # 1 energy saving project for 2015 is…Upgraded windows or doors, with 13% of you selecting that answer. Closely followed by Water heater upgrade and Efficient heating & cooling.

In order, drumroll please… your top 10 energy saving wish list projects of 2015 are:

1. Upgraded windows or doors

Energy efficient windows and doors with LowE glass do more than save on your utility bills. They enhance overall comfort, protect furniture from harmful UV rays and make the place look great.

dreamstime_m_11460565

 

2. Water heater upgrade

Water heater efficiency has been steadily increasing but if you are not home, you are still wasting energy keeping water hot in the tank. A tankless water heater can save 15% of your cost to heat water and saves space too.

 

3. Efficient heating & cooling

Twenty years ago a brand new gas furnace was 80% efficient. Today’s gas furnaces are 98% efficient, an 18% savings in energy use. Heat pumps can also dramatically lower heating costs, especially for electrically heated homes.

Bryant Thermostat for Furnace or Heat Pump

4. LED lighting

LED bulbs use 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than a standard bulb, making them the most efficient on the market. EnergyStar says changing out 15 standard bulbs for these will save up $50 per year on your electric bill.

energy efficient seattle home

5. Insulating & sealing

Leaky ducts, air leak spots and low insulation let heat flow out of the house, leaving it drafty, cold and costly to heat. Not as sexy as new windows, this improvement packs an energy saving punch.

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6. Home energy audit

We’ve saved our customers an average of 21% on their energy costs by performing a home energy audit and then taking steps to improve their home performance. Plus it’s cool science!

home-audit-collage

7. Solar panels

Gaining in popularity, even in cloudy Washington State, some estimates say solar can cut electric bills between 50-90%. State rebates and incentives can help payback for the upfront expense.

solar panels on seattle home

8. Rain water collection and use

Save money and energy providing rainwater to your garden. Your plants will like the fact that it’s not chlorinated and you will always have an emergency water supply too.

seattle rainwater collection

9. Water saving plumbing fixtures

Saving water is only going to get more important as the century goes on. When you replace an old high flow toilet with a new low flow one you can reduce water use by 20% and save up to $200 per year.

plumbing fixture in kitchen

10. Native plant landscaping

Native Western Washington plants require less water once they are established than non-native plants reducing water usage. Some Washington native plants:

 

For more information about these energy saving projects, please contact us at 800-398-4663 or visit us at booth 613 at the Seattle Home Show. 

And don’t miss out on this month’s special financing offer for your window, door, water heater, heating & cooling, or insulation project. 

Source: WES Home Wish List Survey, 2015 (responses under “other” were each less than 1%).

Wish List Survey

 

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