Sustainable Improvements https://www.sustainable-improvements.com Sustainable Improvements Fri, 26 May 2017 22:01:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Conservation Pyramid And A Denver Home Energy Audit https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/the-conservation-pyramid-and-a-denver-home-energy-audit/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:41:39 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=790 The food pyramid is the familiar triangle with grains at the bottom, fats and sugars at the top. Modeled on the food pyramid, the conservation pyramid is a guide for home improvements that will conserve energy and save you money. Like the food pyramid, the conservation pyramid reads from the bottom up, so start at the lowest level and work your way up because the improvements at the bottom of the pyramid are far more cost-effective than those at the top. Don’t proceed to a higher level until you’ve made the simpler improvements below that level. You will save money by starting at the bottom rung because the measures at the top of the pyramid include the most expensive improvements. Remember that the rules of the energy conservation pyramid are flexible — they are not set in stone because every house is different. Different climates, for example, call for different strategies in energy conservation. Here are the ten steps to the basic hierarchy of the conservation pyramid, with number 1 being the bottom:

1. Denver home energy audit
The information you need is best obtained through a certified home energy audit. This determines your current energy usage. It then figures your energy waste with state-of-the-art technology for blower-door testing, combustion area zone testing and infrared thermal imaging. The next step is to reduce energy waste wherever possible before improvements are made, then a recommendation is made as to which improvements should be made and in what order.

2. Low-cost measures 
Turn things off! Most wasted energy is due to inattention and laziness, but this step can yield significant savings. If you want a lower electric bill:

  • Turn off the lights every single time you leave a room.
  • Turn off all appliances unless you’re using them.
  • Always unplug chargers for cell phones and other gadgets when you’re not using them.
  • Put televisions and other appliances on a plug strip, and to turn off the plug strip when you’re not using that appliance.

3. Lighting
This is simple and the most cost-effective: make sure your house is free of incandescent lighting. In kitchens and basements, instal fixtures for linear fluorescent tubes.

4. Identify drafts
Air-sealing is best done by an experienced contractor equipped with a blower-door test apparatus for air sealing. Remember, air sealing work is not the same as caulking.

5. Appliances
Now you should move on to your appliances. Are your major appliances — your refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine — are more than ten years old? It’s time to replace them with more efficient models.

6. Insulation 
Find out the R-value of your insulation. It is well worth improving, especially in colder climates. Install R-60 insulation in your attic, or ask your contractor about dense-packed cellulose insulation. For basements the walls can be insulated with rigid foam insulation.

7. Water heater  If you have an old water heater, consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency water heater.

8. Heating and cooling equipment
If your home’s heating and cooling equipment is old enough to replace, it is wise to invest in the most efficient equipment on the market. BUT, energy-efficiency experts advise having a home energy audit completed first. If you replace the equipment before air sealing and insulation improvements are made, you could easily waste money on oversized heating or cooling equipment.

9. New windows
We are now nearing the top of the pyramid. New windows will reduce energy consumption, but they are unlikely to be cost-effective if you haven’t taken the previous measures at the bottom of the pyramid to conserve energy. Storm windows are actually more cost-effective than installing brand new windows, but if cost is not an issue be sure that your new windows have low-e glazing.

10. Renewable energy equipment
At the top of the pyramid is the installation of a photovoltaic system (solar panels), or a wind turbine. There are many reasons to have PV panels or a wind turbine installed, but it makes no sense to invest in an expensive solar panel system until after you have made the other improvements listed on the pyramid.

To develop a concrete plan of action to lower your energy bills, first contact a certified professional and schedule an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Savings, Is A New Washing Machine Worth It? https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-savings-is-a-new-washing-machine-worth-it/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:38:15 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=788 The answer is yes. Unlike other household items, major appliances in the last twenty years have gone UP in energy efficiency, DOWN in price. Research shows that between 1980 and 2001, the energy efficiency of refrigerators improved by approximately sixty percent while consumer prices dropped by forty percent. To improve your home energy savings, upgrade to Energy Star rated products for appliances and electronics. You may also consider a conversion to solar electric, solar hot water and fuel cell products that drastically reduce your home’s energy consumption. Furthermore, there are often federal and local tax incentives and rebates to promote improvements that increase your home’s energy efficiency. Making your home more energy efficient is a wise choice for homes in most regions of the United States not only because you reduce high energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment, but it is an important first step for homeowners interested in green remodeling. To develop a plan of action for Denver home energy savings, contact a certified professional about scheduling an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Audit, How It Works https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-audit-how-it-works/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:36:31 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=786 You want to lower your energy bills but you don’t want to drain your bank account, so which home improvements can accomplish this objective? What design modifications would actually lower your bills? With low cost and highest savings being the goal, a certified home energy audit will first determine your current energy usage and energy waste with state-of-the-art technology for blower-door testing, combustion area zone testing and infrared thermal imaging. The next step is to reduce energy waste wherever possible before improvements are made. Finally, a recommendation is made as to which improvements should be made and in what order. Furthermore, with a certified Denver home energy audit you will learn which incentives, rebates or tax credits you may qualify for at the local or federal level. Remember that each home is unique and improvements are made based on past energy usage, current and projected energy prices as well as your home’s specific features (do you have an older home or is it newly constructed?). To develop a concrete plan of action to lower your energy bills, first contact a certified professional about scheduling an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

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Denver Home Energy Rebates For Solar Water Heaters https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-rebates-for-solar-water-heaters/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:33:39 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=782 Using the sun’s thermal energy to heat water, solar-powered water heaters come in a variety of designs, all of which include a collector and storage tank. These state-of-the-art heaters are described based upon its design and type of collector and circulation system. In order for existing homes and new construction to qualify for a tax credit or rebate, certain requirements must be met. In Colorado, for example, the water must be used in the dwelling; the residence must depend upon a photovoltaic system (solar panels) for electricity and must meet fire and electrical code requirements. The Tax Credit generally applies to installation costs for Solar Water Heat, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Photovoltaics and other Solar Electric Technologies. As a homeowner you may qualify for an energy efficient mortgage (EEM) to either finance improvements for energy efficiency to your existing home or to strengthen your buying power when purchasing a new energy efficient home. To have all of your questions answered about Denver home energy rebates, contact us today. Schedule a consultation to find out if you qualify for rebates, incentives or tax credits. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. It is our mission to put you in a better financial position by helping you to conserve energy.

 

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Rebates, The Time Is Now https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-rebates-the-time-is-now/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:31:31 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=780 The time is now for better home energy efficiency. Energy rates are increasing 7 percent each year, expected to double in 9 years. If you are a homeowner, you cannot afford to wait to make improvements and upgrades in order to reduce your family’s energy consumption. Now is the time to prevent unwanted energy loss, improve the quality of your indoor air, lower your carbon footprint and….save money. For newly constructed homes and retrofits to an existing home, Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Program offers incentives to customers who install photovoltaic (PV) systems, or solar panels, that are connected or “tied in” to the utility grid. There is a somewhat simple process to qualify for a solar rebate — an application for approval from Xcel, warranty requirements for the equipment and other factors that determine qualification. To have all of your questions answered about Denver home energy rebates, contact us today. Schedule a consultation to find out if you qualify for rebates, incentives or tax credits. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. It is our mission to put you in a better financial position by helping you to conserve energy.

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Savings Exposed With Infrared Thermal Imaging https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-savings-exposed-with-infrared-thermal-imaging/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:30:21 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=777 The first step to saving energy in your home is to request a certified energy audit. The use of infrared cameras will diagnose home-performance problems such as air leaks, indoor air quality, insulation inefficiency and combustion safety issues. Audit specialists mainly use an infrared camera to make heat leaks visible. These cameras are also known as thermographic scanners or thermal imaging devices. The camera produces an image called a thermogram, and a thermographer is the trained specialist who operates the device. There is a common assumption that infrared cameras measure surface temperatures which isn’t actually how the tool works. Infrared thermal imaging measures the intensity of radiant energy (heat) being emitted by the surface that the camera is aimed at. An energy audit will ultimately find specific areas of your home where improvements or upgrades could save you lots of money. The audit itself won’t save you any energy, but following through with the recommended improvements will. Remember that each home is unique and improvements are made based on past energy usage, current and projected energy prices as well as your home’s specific features (do you have an older home or is it newly constructed?). To develop a concrete plan of action for Denver home energy savings, contact a certified professional about scheduling an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Audit, How Does It Work? https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-audit-how-does-it-work/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:28:31 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=775 You want to lower your energy bills but you don’t want to drain your bank account, so which home improvements can accomplish this objective? What design modifications would actually lower your bills? With low cost and highest savings being the goal, a certified home energy audit will first determine your current energy usage and energy waste with state-of-the-art technology for blower-door testing, combustion area zone testing and infrared thermal imaging. The next step is to reduce energy waste wherever possible before improvements are made. Finally, a recommendation is made as to which improvements should be made and in what order. Furthermore, with a certified Denver home energy audit you will learn which incentives, rebates or tax credits you may qualify for at the local or federal level. Remember that each home is unique and improvements are made based on past energy usage, current and projected energy prices as well as your home’s specific features (do you have an older home or is it newly constructed?). To develop a concrete plan of action to lower your energy bills, first contact a certified professional about scheduling an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Savings, Are New Appliances Worth It? https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-savings-are-new-appliances-worth-it/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:27:13 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=772 The answer is yes. Unlike other household items, major appliances in the last twenty years have gone UP in energy efficiency, DOWN in price. Research shows that between 1980 and 2001, the energy efficiency of refrigerators improved by approximately sixty percent while consumer prices dropped by forty percent. To improve your home energy savings, upgrade to Energy Star rated products for appliances and electronics. You may also consider a conversion to solar electric, solar hot water and fuel cell products that drastically reduce your home’s energy consumption. Furthermore, there are often federal and local tax incentives and rebates to promote improvements that increase your home’s energy efficiency. Making your home more energy efficient is a wise choice for homes in most regions of the United States not only because you reduce high energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment, but it is an important first step for homeowners interested in green remodeling. To develop a plan of action for Denver home energy savings, contact a certified professional about scheduling an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

 

 

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Denver Home Energy Audit And The Conservation Pyramid https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/denver-home-energy-audit-and-the-conservation-pyramid/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:22:31 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=770 The food pyramid is the familiar triangle with grains at the bottom, fats and sugars at the top. Modeled on the food pyramid, the conservation pyramid is a guide for home improvements that will conserve energy and save you money. Like the food pyramid, the conservation pyramid reads from the bottom up, so start at the lowest level and work your way up because the improvements at the bottom of the pyramid are far more cost-effective than those at the top. Don’t proceed to a higher level until you’ve made the simpler improvements below that level. You will save money by starting at the bottom rung because the measures at the top of the pyramid include the most expensive improvements. Remember that the rules of the energy conservation pyramid are flexible — they are not set in stone because every house is different. Different climates, for example, call for different strategies in energy conservation. Here are the ten steps to the basic hierarchy of the conservation pyramid, with number 1 being the bottom:

1. Denver home energy audit
The information you need is best obtained through a certified home energy audit. This determines your current energy usage. It then figures your energy waste with state-of-the-art technology for blower-door testing, combustion area zone testing and infrared thermal imaging. The next step is to reduce energy waste wherever possible before improvements are made, then a recommendation is made as to which improvements should be made and in what order.

2. Low-cost measures
Turn things off! Most wasted energy is due to inattention and laziness, but this step can yield significant savings. If you want a lower electric bill:

  • Turn off the lights every single time you leave a room.
  • Turn off all appliances unless you’re using them.
  • Always unplug chargers for cell phones and other gadgets when you’re not using them.
  • Put televisions and other appliances on a plug strip, and to turn off the plug strip when you’re not using that appliance.

3. Lighting
This is simple and the most cost-effective: make sure your house is free of incandescent lighting. In kitchens and basements, instal fixtures for linear fluorescent tubes.

4. Identify drafts
Air-sealing is best done by an experienced contractor equipped with a blower-door test apparatus for air sealing. Remember, air sealing work is not the same as caulking.

5. Appliances
Now you should move on to your appliances. Are your major appliances — your refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine — are more than ten years old? It’s time to replace them with more efficient models.

6. Insulation
Find out the R-value of your insulation. It is well worth improving, especially in colder climates. Install R-60 insulation in your attic, or ask your contractor about dense-packed cellulose insulation. For basements the walls can be insulated with rigid foam insulation.

7. Water heater

If you have an old water heater, consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency water heater.

8. Heating and cooling equipment
If your home’s heating and cooling equipment is old enough to replace, it is wise to invest in the most efficient equipment on the market. BUT, energy-efficiency experts advise having a home energy audit completed first. If you replace the equipment before air sealing and insulation improvements are made, you could easily waste money on oversized heating or cooling equipment.

9. New windows
We are now nearing the top of the pyramid. New windows will reduce energy consumption, but they are unlikely to be cost-effective if you haven’t taken the previous measures at the bottom of the pyramid to conserve energy. Storm windows are actually more cost-effective than installing brand new windows, but if cost is not an issue be sure that your new windows have low-e glazing.

10. Renewable energy equipment
At the top of the pyramid is the installation of a photovoltaic system (solar panels), or a wind turbine. There are many reasons to have PV panels or a wind turbine installed, but it makes no sense to invest in an expensive solar panel system until after you have made the other improvements listed on the pyramid.

To develop a concrete plan of action to lower your energy bills, first contact a certified professional and schedule an energy audit. Not only are we experts in the industry, but we are Colorado’s best energy audit specialists. Call us today to request a consultation!

 

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The Cost Of Denver Home Solar Panels https://www.sustainable-improvements.com/blog/the-cost-of-denver-home-solar-panels/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:20:36 +0000 http://www.sustainable-improvements.com/?p=768 How much money will you save by having a solar system installed in your home? Well, what was your electrical bill last month? Generally, a solar panel system will provide seventy percent of your electrical usage. Let’s do the math: if you spent $200 on electricity last month and a solar panel system can save you 70%, then you will save $140 each month. That’s $1,680 per year. Plus, remember that electricity costs historically go up 2 to 3 percent each year, so by the year 2020 you will save approximately $2260 annually on your electric bill. Typically, when your system is properly sized, it will produce so much energy during the summer that you will pay next to nothing for those months. Still, keep in mind that some solar systems save more and some save less, so get a detailed estimate. The first step in deciding if solar power is right for your home is to talk with a certified professional about Denver home solar panels. We are experts in the industry and will objectively answer all of your questions about area-specific incentives, energy rebates and financing programs available at the local, state or federal level. Call us today to request a free solar consultation!

 

 

 

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