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R-Value + Air Sealing = Energy Efficiency

R-value is a big talking point these days. When people talk about energy efficiency, the first question that comes up is “What’s the R-value?”

What R-Value Means For Energy Efficiency

To put it simply, the R-value is a measure of how well an insulating material slows heat loss through the walls of a building. Eventually, all the heat we put into a building will end up leaving the building – much like how a cup of hot coffee will cool when it is left on a table. Buildings with higher R-values will lose heat more slowly, in the same way that coffee in a thermos will lose heat more slowly.

Energy Efficiency Is More Than Just The R-Value

There is more to heat transfer than R-values. It is only half of the equation – the other half is air sealing. So not just stopping the hot or cold air from leaving your house, but stopping the air outside from coming in. When a building isn’t well sealed, it will keep your furnace running full-tilt for longer than it should.

Holes In Your Wall = Holes In Your Wallet

The problem is that most buildings are full of holes! They’re in all kinds of places you might not think of – in the bathroom under the toilet or tub, where holes were cut to put in piping. There are holes in your drywall where the electrician punched a hole to put in the wiring for your chandelier. There is air leaking through the cracks between the plywood strips that form the outside of your home. And there is almost always air lost around recessed lighting. Air lost through leaks can increase your heating and cooling bills by up to 40%

Seal It For Energy Efficiency

The good news is that that there is a simple way to make your home more airtight and more energy efficient – seal it!

Start With A Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit can help you figure out exactly where the most pressing air leaks are, and will make recommendations for what you can do to help seal the leaks in the most efficient and cost-effective way to help you start saving money now.

But keep in mind that with making your home air-tight, you run the risk of having the air inside your home become stale and polluted. What can be done?

Ventilation Maximizes Comfort and Efficiency

The solution is to bring in fresh-air ventilation. This means controlling the air flow into and out of your home to maximize energy efficiency while keeping the air in your home fresh and clean.

Solve Both Problems To Save Money And Maximize Energy Efficiency

There are lots of ways that your home is losing heat. A higher R-value solves the conduction problem, while air sealing will help minimize heat lost with moving air. Both are important for energy efficiency.

To find out about how much heat you’re losing in your home, and how you can fix the problem to save money, contact Greenmark Home Performance by contacting us.

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The White House Goes Green

Late last year, the Obama Administration announced that they are installing a new set of solar panels on the roof of the White House.

Solar Panels At The White House

This isn't the first time the White House has taken steps to harness the sun's energy. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House during his administration in 1979, but President Regan took them down in 1986.

Energy Savings At College

Those solar panels didn't go to waste. They ended up at Unity College in Maine, and had been used to hear water in the cafeteria for many years. When this news came to light, a petition was signed by over 50,000 people asking President Obama to put solar panels back on the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And though it took several years, the President is finally following through.

Commitment to Energy Savings

This move by the President highlights his commitment to renewable energy in the United States, and leading by example is the best way he can show the American people that conservation, renewable energy and thinking green is the way of the future for the country.

Solar Panels Across the U.S.

And solar energy isn't just for the White House. What was essentially an experiment for Jimmy Carter in 1979 has now gone mainstream, with almost two million homes in the United States now boasting solar panels on their roofs and lower energy bills in their mailboxes. And the U.S. doesn't even lead the pack on this one – Germany is closing in on ten million residential solar panels installed!

The Growing Market

The growth in the market is evident if you look at how many providers there are for solar panels in the U.S. In 2000, there were 21 companies manufacturing solar panels in the States. In 2009, that number had jumped by 5 times to 101!

Save Money

Why the huge jump? Because as energy consumption increased, energy bills increased. And a lot of people have realized that a small outlay of money up front can save them a lot of money on their energy bills in the long run.

Solar panels aren't just for other people, and the President of the United States. They are for you too! Contact Greenmark Home Performance today for more information.

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Get Your Energy Bill Guaranteed

The Bonded Builders Warranty Group (BBWG) is paving the way in the energy efficiency market with their new Residential Energy Guarantee Program. The program offers an energy bill guarantee to homeowners based on the HERS Index Score of their home.

The Standard For Energy Efficiency

The HERS Index is the industry standard for measuring the energy efficiency of a home. It is a RESNET Home Energy Rating, and the lower the HERS Index Score, the more energy efficient the home is.

Get Your Bills Paid By BBWG

The BBWG now offers a program where they will pay a homeowner’s natural gas and electric bills that go over the home’s HERS projection. The warranty is offered in 2, 3 or 5 year terms.

Good For Energy Efficient Consumers and Builders

For consumers, this is an added level of confidence in their HERS rated homes. For builders, it’s a tool they can use to guarantee the energy performance of the HERS rated homes they build.

This guarantee is great for three groups:

  1. Money-conscious homeowners
  2. Green builders
  3. Everyone interested in conserving resources

A Program To Guarantee Energy Efficiency

As one of the largest national private warranty corporations in the country, BBWG is taking on this program because of the confidence they have in the accuracy and validity of the HERS Index Score. They know the value of the HERS score, and they feel confident in putting their name behind it.

To find out how you can be part of this program, contact Greenmark Home Performance.

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Small Buildings Should Focus On Energy Efficiency

Given the push towards energy efficiency over the past few years, we have seen a huge increase in the upgrades and retrofits being done in both residential homes and large commercial buildings. But during this time, small commercial buildings haven’t done much more than what was required by the building code.

Small Buildings Projects On The Rise

This is because tenants have often only considered the cost of rent, not the cost of utilities, when looking for a commercial space. This has allowed owners of these buildings to turn a blind eye to the energy efficiency of their buildings, because they don’t pay for the utilities anyway. All of this makes small buildings ideal candidates for projects that increase energy efficiency.

Energy Star Buildings Save Energy And Money

Of course, making retrofits after the fact is costly and time consuming, and even though it has been proven that that Energy Star certified buildings use 35 percent less energy than similar buildings and cost 50 cents per square foot less to operate, getting buy-in to make the changes takes some effort.

Energy Efficiency From The Start

The better solution is to build energy efficiency into the property from the get-go. Changing building code standards so that energy-efficiency is addressed in the design and construction of a building results in long-term savings over the life of the building. Constructing a building to be energy efficient is more cost effective, and saves tenants money in the long run, and can be a great selling feature for building owner looking to find tenants for the space.

Easy Implementation With New Projects

Efficient lighting, insulation and using reflective glass are examples of projects that may be deemed too costly to take on during a retrofit project, but could easily be implemented into the design and construction of a new small commercial property.

Certified Contractors Ready To Work For You

As more and more commercial properties take on energy efficient building and retrofit projects, they will need contractors who know about green building practices, and what will work best for their business and their environment. Home Energy Team has these contractors ready to go and work for you.

Call your local Home Energy Team affiliate, or call Home Energy Team at 1-800-309-6006 or visit www.HomeEnergyTeam.com to find out about getting the right contractor and the right retrofits for you small business.

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Energy Efficient Homes That Can MAKE You Money!

Boston is taking the lead amongst major US cities by building ultra-energy efficient homes that generate twice as much power as they consume.

More Houses Under Construction

A pilot project was recently completed in Roxbury, and Mayor Thomas M. Merino’s housing chief Sheila Dillon said that the city intends to approve construction of another 40 houses in Mission Hill.

Energy Efficient Homes

The homes are built using efficient materials, they are double-insulated, and they use solar power to generate more energy than they use. The first homes built in Roxbury are part of a new wave of energy efficient homes being built across the United States, with similar projects happening everywhere from Seattle to Sarasota.

New Jobs In Energy Efficiency

Housing chief Dillon acknowledges that there is no downside to building these types of homes. They generate jobs in construction, home energy auditing, retrofitting and more in the communities where they are built. And the technologies that are used save money for the homeowners, and the energy savings are good for the city and good for the environment. Everybody wins!

Save Money and Make Money

While these homes do come with lower energy bills – homeowners are estimated to save about $130 a month on their utility bills – the houses are not cheap to buy. The Roxbury houses are selling for around $550,000 each, plus the cost of the solar equipment. But with the utility savings every month, plus tax credits provided by local and federal governments, investment in the equipment can be paid off in five to six years. And after that, homeowners can make money by selling power back to the energy grid.

Energy Efficient Features

The homes built in Boston are about 2000 square feet and include energy-efficient features like triple-glazed windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures and an air-filtration system that pumps clean air into the home. The size and features of homes in different cities may not be identical to these, but the idea is the same: build energy-efficient, money-saving homes. Generate jobs. Save people money. Do better for ourselves and our environment.

Improve YOUR Home's Energy Efficiency

To find out about energy efficient homes in your area, or about how to make your home more energy efficient, contact Greenmark Home Performance.

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