Energy Savings Tips to Prepare Your Home for Solar Power

When you invest in solar panels for your home, you are making a commitment to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money on your monthly energy usage. In order to get the most out of your solar panels, you will want to take a few steps to reduce your overall energy usage every month. Following these simple steps will help you to create a more energy efficient home, allowing you to get the maximum benefit from your solar panels.

Replace Your Old Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use less energy, making them a great alternative to traditional light bulbs. On average, CFL units last up to eight times as long as your existing light bulbs, so you can save money on replacements and electricity usage at the same time. Use these energy-savers wherever you can in your home to reduce the amount of electricity used when you flip your light switches.

Weatherproof Your Home

Heat can escape from older windows and doors, which can increase the amount of energy needed to heat your home. Replacing your single-pane windows with more efficient units can help to reduce your overall energy usage. Weather stripping and door seals should also be checked and replaced to prevent drafts from coming into your home.

Replace Older Appliances

Appliances made twenty years ago are not as efficient as those made today, and they can use a considerable amount of energy. By replacing these old units with more efficient models, you can instantly reduce your energy consumption while modernizing your home.

Use Strip Surge Protectors

Power strips, or strip surge protectors, can help you to reduce the energy your home electronics consume. With the flip of one switch, you can turn off the power going to each of these energy-draining devices. This allows you to keep all of the programmed functions on your devices to stay in place while still saving energy. Be sure to turn the power off before bed each night and when these items are not in use during the day.

Use Your Appliances More Efficiently

Even with new models, washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can use a lot of electricity. There are some simple things you can do to improve the energy usage for these major appliances. Washing clothes in cold water uses less electricity than using warm or hot water. Running your dishwasher during the day when your solar panels are working at maximum capacity gives you better usage rates than running it at night when you may have to use power from the grid.
Keeping your refrigerator or freezer set to the highest safe food storage temperature helps save money and energy while still keeping your food preserved.

Check Your Heating Ductwork

For homes that have central heating and cooling systems, checking your ductwork is a key to saving energy. Clogged or leaking ducts can make your system work overtime, which consumes more energy and leads to less efficient heating and cooling. If you are unsure how to do this yourself, you can hire a licensed contractor to take this task on for you.

Solar panels allow you to begin saving money on your monthly utility costs while having a better impact on the environment. You will need to change your energy consumption habits, but each of these simple steps are designed to allow you to change your habits with minimal impact on how you lead your daily life. When you are ready to install solar panels for your home, be sure to take these tips into account to maximize your energy and monetary savings.

Julianconstruction.com Increasing Energy Efficiency With Solar Panels

Solar panels make homes more energy efficient. The electricity that is generated by the panels is not only good for the environment, it can reduce your energy costs. The amount of money you can save by installing solar electrical systems is determined by how much electricity is used in your home.

Another benefit of installing solar panels is net metering, a term used to describe the policy of contributing any unused electricity back to the utility grid. Net metering was implemented to promote private investment in renewable energy. In California, it is a special billing arrangement that provides credits to customers with solar PV systems. How does net metering work? Solar panel systems generate most of their electricity during the middle of the day when the sun is shining. If your home produces more electricity than what is required, it goes back to the main utility grid. Homeowners receive credits at full retail rates for this excess electricity.

In addition to energy savings, installing a solar electric system helps reduce CO2, NOX and SO2 emissions. In a poll conducted by USA Today, 91% of survey respondents preferred solar power compared to other sources of power.

Solar panels do not make any noise and require very little maintenance. They can be installed when a home is being re-roofed and will add significant value to the property. The state and federal government also offers homeowners special tax benefits and rebates for using clean energy solutions. For example, California residents (and business owners) will receive cash back incentives under the states Go Solar program.

Do you want to know more about your current energy usage? The EPA has several tools that can help homeowners evaluate their energy usage and find out the best way to become more energy efficient. These EPA tools include the Home Energy Yardstick:
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_yardstick.showgetstarted

and Home Energy Advisor:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_advisor.showGetInput&__utma=172919287.1213405742.1380054400.1380054400.1380054400.1&__utmb=172919287.8.9.1380055517445&__utmc=172919287&__utmx=-&__utmz=172919287.1380054400.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn

The Home Energy Yardstick is an assessment of how much energy your home used during the past 12 months compared to similar types of homes. The data that is used to conduct the assessment comes from your utility bill. The tool uses an algorithm based on the size of your home, number of occupants and the weather in your area. Scoring is on a 1 to 10 scale. A home that scores 10 is performing well compared to other similar homes, while a home that scores 1 is performing poorly when compared to similar types of residences. To use the tool, you will need to provide your zip code, the square footage of your house, the number of occupants and utility bill data for the past 12 months.

The Home Energy Advisor is an online service that gives you free advice on improvements that can increase the energy efficiency of your home. To receive your recommendations, you will need to provide your zip code, data on how your home is cooled and heated, and information on the type of water heater that you use.

If you want to decrease energy costs and are considering installing solar panels, general contractors with experience in solar panel installations should be contacted to discuss your specific needs and options.

Achieving Greater Business Energy Efficiency

A recent article by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy listed 10 programs that spurred organisations and customers to save energy. The findings acutely show that behavioural programs can be especially effective.

Improving energy efficiency is an important topic on the timetable of most organisations these days. The benefits are numerous, from lowering carbon footprint to the most outstanding of all cutting down on costs with energy. So million dollar question is: How to enhance business energy efficiency?

There are many ways to do so but this is not quite what I want to talk about in this column. I wont be propounding you change all the lights in your company to LED lights, even though that is one the most cost effective ways to enhance your business’ energy efficiency.

In this item I’d like to contest what is more effective consumer education or infrastructure updates. One could say that by combining both you could achieve greater results but that you will have to adjudge once you have finished reading this article.

Purchaser education has proven to be an effective way to better energy efficiency of households and businesses alike. When combined with programs that apply social science to energy conservation it can incite individuals to reduce consumption and make choices that will enable their companies to save as well.

Such programmes are an attractive way to reduce energy consumption since they have low initial cost and require little change to existing business processes / lifestyles.

However, simply relying on consumer/employee education might not be adequate. There is a real danger that energy efficiency gains seen from consumer/employee behaviour will go away over time.

That is when infrastructural upgrades come into the picture. Even though they necessitate a greater upfront investment if evaluated properly and done right such upgrades could generate better benefits. The down side is that most of these benefits will only be noticed in the long run.

But there is no better time to start upgrading your business with more energy efficient machinery. With many governments around the globe offering funds to subsidise these changes. For instance here in the UK the Government is creating the Green Investment Bank.

If you are unsure of which route to take in order to save energy. Why not ask for professional help. Hire an energy consultancy or an independent energy broker to inspect your premises and suggest the best and most effective options for you business.

Energy Efficiency Competency Is Necessary While Appointing A Heating Contractor Madison

Appointing the right HVAC contractor in Madison requires considering various aspects. You want to make sure that the heating and cooling circulation at your home is functioning properly. Since winter is only a few months far, this is the right time to look after the heating systems. A professional service is the best solution. You need to confirm aspects like availability of yearly maintenance contact. In addition, you have to see whether the company can suggest a suitable heating system. The company must be able to install eco friendly HVAC systems. Look for a company that can install the latest geothermal heating system.

Existing systems maintenance

You can save on a new machine by repairing the old one. You need to find a heating contractor service that can look after any HVAC equipment. Look for a company with considerable experience. The present machines at households are not more than 15 years old. That is the optimum life span of these machines. Therefore, look for a company with over 20 years of experience. This way, you can be sure that they can repair any appliance make and model. They must be able to prolong the life of your heating and cooling appliances.

Installing new systems

If you decide to install a new heating system, they must be helpful. Look for a heating contractor Madison who can help you select from leading heat system manufacturers. Check out the availability of eco friendly geothermal systems. They must be able to provide cost effective solutions in choosing new appliances. Confirm the availability of new cooling systems too. The current season sees high demand for air conditioners. You may also want to have a new one. See whether the company can assist you with this.

Considering these aspects can lead you to the right services in Madison. You have to verify any other point that comes to your mind. It can be confusing to decide between buying new and repairing old. Ask about the cost of a new system and the cost of repairing the old one. Repairing may require costly replacement parts. In addition, consider the need for yearly maintenance of the existing system. You can easily compare the charges and reach a decision. Do not forget to confirm the availability of yearly maintenance services. You may also need emergency repairs. See whether they are up to that. Ask about any discounts or promotional offers that can benefit you. The right company can clear all your confusions regarding repairs and installation of HVAC appliances.

Experienced heating contractors Madison can ensure professional care of your HVAC system. You need to confirm certain key aspects before choosing a suitable service. Make sure the service can provide energy efficient solutions in a budget.

Ac Buying Guide-energy Efficiency In Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioners are some of the home appliances that homeowners need to keep their homes comfortable. However, they are also some of the home appliances that raise the energy bills in your home. Buying an energy efficient air conditioning unit is therefore necessary if you want to keep your energy bills at a manageable level and still keep your home cooled. The following is a short buying guide for buying an air conditioner.

First, decide whether a ducted air conditioning unit or a split wall hung air conditioner best suits your home. Ducted air conditioners best suit large houses with multiple rooms. Split systems are best suited for small rooms.

Second, start by looking at your home before going shopping. This will allow you decide what sizing of the air conditioner is required for your home. The sizing of the air conditioning unit doesnt mean its physical size. Rather, it means its capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU). To determine the air conditioner size you will need for your home, there are a number of features to look at. The most basic feature is the size of the rooms. In addition to this; look at the insulation in the rooms, window orientation, number of occupants in each room, artificial lighting and, appliances and furniture in the room among other features.

Third, look at additional components in each air conditioner and how useful they can be in making the air conditioning unit more energy efficient. For example, an air conditioner with a programmable thermostat will enable you set the unit to switch on and off at predetermined times. Most air conditioners with additional components will be on the high end. The best way to determine whether they are worth investing in or not is looking at what value they are adding in terms of reducing the energy consumption of the air conditioning unit.

Fourth, look for alternative air conditioners. Common air conditioners are plugged onto the electricity outlets in the house. Today, there are green air conditioners which are solar powered. These will enable you save on up to half the energy consumption in your home.

Fifth, look at the manufacturers warranties placed on the air conditioners. Like other electrical appliances, an air conditioning unit is prone to ear and tear. The warranty on the parts guarantees that the manufacturer will replace or repair worn out parts within the warranty period. Since the average air conditioner will last between 5 and 20 years, its best to look for an air conditioner with a longer warranty period to ensure that worn out and broken parts are replaced on time ensuring efficiency.

Finally, look at the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value of the air conditioning unit. A higher value indicates that the air conditioning unit is energy efficient.

IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-14 Energy efficiency and claiming the 179D deduction

The 179D tax deduction came about as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). Congress wanted to incentivize the utilization of energy-efficiency components in a building to one of the following parties:

1.The owner of the building
2.The tenant
3.The primary designer of an energy-efficient government building. (Architect, engineer, contractor etc.)

The deduction available is up to $.60 per sq./ft. for lighting, HVAC and building envelope, creating potential for $1.80 per sq./ft. if all three components qualify. These deductions are applicable to buildings that were either built or retrofitted after 12/31/2005.

Since EPAct came into effect, the IRS has provided interim guidance on EPAct deductions through several additional notices. IRS Notice 2006-52 describes in detail the rules and how to ensure a building qualifies if it was a new build or a retrofit. It requires the taxpayer to obtain certification that the property satisfies the energy efficiency requirements of 179D and specifies the software that must be used to calculate energy and power consumption. To further the cause, the IRS issued Notice 2008-40, which allowed a government building (non-taxpaying entity) to pass the deduction to the “primary designer” of the qualifying assets.

Until recently, taxpayers looking to claim the 179D deduction were limited by the three year statute of limitations for filing amended income tax returns for a particular tax year. That has changed with the issuance of Revenue Procedure 2011-14, which will allow some taxpayers to bypass this statute of limitations and claim this deduction all the way back to 1/1/2006 without filing one single amended income tax return. Taxpayers who wish to take the deduction without amending any returns will file a Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method) and will get to take the entire “catch up” deduction on the return that is being filed. This means that a taxpayer could potentially claim deductions from 2006-2010 (or 2011) all on one return and significantly reduce their tax burden, if not eliminate it altogether.

Deciding whether or not to amend returns or file for a Change in Accounting Method (Form 3115) is entirely dependent upon each taxpayers situation. If taxable income was higher in open years and therefore the taxpayer was in a higher tax bracket, it still may make sense to amend those returns. The impact of Revenue Procedure 2011-14 will also depend on whether or not any deductions have already been claimed or returns have been amended. A thorough analysis of each taxpayers scenario by an advisor experienced in 179D is advantageous to determining the best approach and claiming the maximum deduction allowed under the law.

Energy Efficiency – An Issue Of Extreme Importance

Energy is day by day becoming costly because prime sources are gradually depleting. Our energy requirement is continuously on the rise. Our life is totally bounded by the use of energy. There is much kind of energy sources, some are conventional and some are unconventional. We consume more of conventional energy such as fossil fuel, solid fuel and of course electrical energy. Such kind of fuel is stored energy and we have right kind of technology to use them. Such fuels are the gift of nature and resulted out of volcanic eruption in its origin. They are not usually in the process of continuous generation. But we are so used to these fuels that it is gradually becoming an uncontrollable situation. This kind of energy sources is convenient from use point of view. Our entire transportation and industrial technology largely depend on fossil fuel. Electrical energy is also obtained largely from burning coal, a solid fuel. Day by day extensive research has been intensified to develop renewal kind of energy sources. Whatever be the kind of energy sources, energy efficiency is the most important issue today. We now give much stress on Technologies which are energy efficient. To get more work done with reduced energy is the prime objective behind technology development.

Energy bill substantially increases unless we avail the latest technologies and sufficiently careful in spending energy in appropriate ways. To cut down production cost, energy efficiency measures are extremely important for any business houses. There is some conventional loss of energy such as poor insulation, unproductive heat generation, over use of machineries and so on. Energy efficiency can be well achieved by turning our attention to all these things by careful observation and planning. Ways and means are available to make the devices of our daily use more energy efficient. Energy efficiency is truly an outcome of right kind of awareness and practices. To get enriched with relevant kind of Information and to orient our life style is a result giving approach to reach to energy efficiency. It is more or less an attitude linked benefit. It is not only a cost saving measures but also an attempt to check the depleting source of conventional energy. Energy efficiency measures are necessity for our own and global benefits. Without sacrificing our basic comfort, we can well achieve it only by turning our attention to save energy in scientific ways.

Conventional energy being depleted over extensive use, enough attention is now being paid to develop renewable kind of energy such as solar energy. Initial investment cost for solar energy is little high but in long run it is extremely economical. It is of course limited to a specific area of use. The technology of generation of solar energy and its application is itself energy efficient. In spite of all these efforts still electrical energy and energy from fossil fuel dominate the consumption front. This necessitates innovation in multiple kinds of their uses with an eye on energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency In Power Generation

With natural gas prices being steadily on the rise, EIA reports indicate an expected decline in the usage of natural gas for power generation. The increasing costs of fossilized fuel resources, their limited availability and steady demand now make it mandatory for countries to consider energy saving means to utilise these resources for power generation.

Energy efficiency in power generation enables countries to harness precious natural resources in a sustainable manner. It has been observed and reported that conventional power plants generating electricity from natural resources tend to lose a major part of it during different stages of the process itself. For example, just 1% of the electricity generated at a conventional power plant is available for end use, in the case of domestic lighting. There are consistent energy losses at each stage of power generation, apart from losses during transmission and conversion at the end-user point.

Fossilized fuel sources theoretically offer high electricity generation efficiencies when compared to renewable or clean energy sources, except for water, as large scale hydro-electric power generation facilities tend to efficiently harness the power of water. The energy harnessed, however, should be fully utilised to justify the costs and efforts put into the process. Steam turbine-based power production results in approximately 65 % wastage in terms of heat generated during the process, while the type of fuel used also influences the energy efficiency of the system.

Cogeneration is an energy saving, sustainable alternative to conventional power production. The concept or technique involves an efficient power generation system that also utilises the heat or thermal energy generated from the system to heat spaces or water, or even to power adsorption chillers used for refrigeration purposes. This heat is otherwise rendered waste, resulting inefficient fuel usage. Gas turbines are extremely efficient in reclaiming heat lost in power production and are widely used in combined heat and power plants, and combined cycle power plants that are based on the concept of cogeneration.

With countries, such as Japan, set to decommission their ageing nuclear reactors to comply with standard safety protocols, demand for fossil fuels is certainly expected to be on the rise, making them even more costly. Efficient utilisation of these fuels, especially for power generation, is the only way to make the process sustainable and cost-efficient.

Green Deal – The Biggest Energy Efficiency Drive In The Uk

The Green Deal UK aims to reduce CO2 emission and boost energy efficiency in the country. It has great potential to save large amount of money for householders and businesses, as well as to secure energy supplies for the future generation.

In December, 2010, the UK Government introduced the Energy Bill in the Parliament. The bill proposed ‘Green Deal’, that aims to revolutionise the energy efficiency in UK homes and businesses. The most ambitious energy efficiency drive in the UK to date, it enables private firms to offer green improvements to the residents and businesses at no upfront cost, and to recoup payments in instalments on the energy bill. The deal is an attempt by the UK Government to tackle the climate change and secure future energy supplies in the country.

The Green Deal is designed to encourage households and businesses in the UK to retrofit energy saving measures. The government has attempted to create a framework that allows selected private firms to provide energy saving measures to households and businesses without bringing additional costs to them. The policy makers consider it a long-term solution to energy related problems. It is expected to minimise the energy wastage, and help households and business-owners to save money when it comes to boost their energy efficiency. The Green Deal is the biggest ever shake-up in UK energy efficiency history.

Once it comes into force, the Green Deal will allow people to take out loans to improve the energy efficiency of their properties including insulation, heating and lighting. The loans which are to be attached to the property, will be paid back over a fixed period through the savings made on energy bills. As per the estimates, an average house will have 6000 of measures installed, that will be repaid in a time period of more than 25 years. The household will not be required to pay up-front installation cost. Since the repayment will be attached with the electricity meter, the scheme is open to all, without any inspection for credit history and employment status.

Under the Green Deal, people will be provided with financial support to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Though the deal seems quite beneficial, government will have to take initiative to make it more effective. It’s needed to deliver the policies which encourage the public to take-up Green Deal. Additionally, the financial model must be attractive to the investors, i.e. the default risk should be minimum. In short, the government will have to establish a strong, recognisable Green Deal system that could create confidence and trust, both among potential consumers and service providers. However, the full detail could be available after the launch of Green Deal in 2012.

The Green Deal is open to all, homeowners, tenants, businessmen. If implemented properly, it will surely cut down the CO2 emission, and improve the energy efficiency in the country. If you’re also interested in this deal, and want to opt it, you can register your interest with a reputed company that provides this facility. Using Internet, you can find some reliable websites which help you apply for green deal. Considering your buying criteria, you can choose the best among them, and ensure a reduced energy bill and improved energy efficiency for your premise.

Energy Efficiency of Cooktops

How energy efficient is the various types of cooktops? This is a question that everyone wants the answer to when they are shopping for cooktops. While most of the newer models of induction, electric and gas cooktops have acquired the Energy Star rating, some are still more eco-friendly than others. The key is to find the balance between your needs and those of the environment when shopping for cooktops. An appliance is not truly efficient if your productivity is decreased.

Induction cooktops are some of the very energy efficient types of cooktops on the market today. Because induction cooktops use the transfer of electromagnetic energy to heat the cookware rather than the cooktop, there is virtually no loss of energy. Approximately 90 percent of the energy produced is used. This means that induction cooktops may help you to save money on your electric bill each month as they offer some great energy saving benefits. Your kitchen will also stay cooler using these cooktops, thus reducing your monthly utility bills even more. If your primary concern is reducing your carbon footprint, then induction cooktops are probably the best choice for you.

Electric cooktops are another type of cooktops that help with energy efficiency. Today’s electric cooktops boast a number of features to reduce the loss of energy. Many models have duel size burners, reducing energy wasted from pans sitting on heating elements that are too big. Some electric cooktops also have an automatic shut-off feature if you accidentally leave the burner on. Many do not require as high of a voltage of electricity as induction cooktops, making the monthly operating costs slightly lower in some cases. If the green in your wallet is just as important as the green in the environment, electric cooktops may be the correct answer for you.

Gas cooktops are preferred by many as it offers a different cooking style. They are still a favorite among professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts. Gas cooktops may give you more control over the heat than induction cooktops or electric cooktops and, as a result, cook food more evenly. If cooking with gas is important to you, you can slightly increase the energy efficiency of gas cooktops by choosing a model with a lower BTU. Gas cooktops may cost less to operate each month depending on your rates for natural gas. With the cost of electricity on the rise, gas cooktops are definitely the gourmet, budget friendly choice for those looking for energy saving cooktops.

Once you decide whether induction cooktops, electric cooktops or gas cooktops best fit your needs, you should consider some of the durability factors of the various models within that category. Is the appliance insulated? Is it vented? The answer to these questions will help you to pick the cooktops that will work best for you and your situation.

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