Posted by Jansen Neff on August 2, 2017

Which Window Protection Is Right For Your Home?

Summer has more than arrived, and you’re wondering how you’ll manage to pay that high energy bill each month – one that’s started to rival your mortgage payments. So rather than accepting that you’ll be broke throughout the hot months, or sweaty the entire time, it’s time to talk about your home’s windows and how a few, relatively inexpensive steps can help you achieve a cooler home.

Windows are a significant pathway for heat to enter your home and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, contribute to as much as one third of your summer cooling costs. So, what’s the solution?

Protection You Shouldn’t Use

Block them out with ugly sheets of tin foil? No way! Your home’s windows keep your place brightly lit, saving on lighting costs, as well as offer you that perfect garden view. Let’s face it; nobody wants to live in a cave with no windows. So blacking out the glass is not an option.

Of course, who wouldn’t want new energy-efficient windows installed? Unfortunately, those can be pretty pricey.

Sun-blocking window films or sun-blocking window screens are the answer. But which is best for you?

Window Film

Similar to what is applied on your car’s tinted windows, semi-permanent stick-on films can be applied to your home windows. They will significantly reduce sun glare and heat levels and will also block out light, which may slightly increase your interior lighting costs. Window films minimally obscure the view from within your home and have a low profile so they will not interfere with your home’s curb appeal.

Window Screens


Similar to regular window screens that keep out bugs, solar window screens are often made of a heavier material that is stretched over a frame and covers your entire window. These can be in various thicknesses, according to how much solar energy you choose to block, and are applied to the exterior of your home.

However, many homeowners do not like the aesthetic view they give to their home. They require hanging hardware to be attached your windows’ outside trim boards. They can also become easily damaged by storms.

If you’d like to learn more, contact the experts at FOR Energy to help you reduce your energy costs and make your home more energy efficient.

Posted by Jansen Neff on August 1, 2017

How Solar Water Heaters Can Reduce Your Utility Bill

It doesn’t take much digging to see the growing popularity of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Generating energy from the sun helps reduce reliance on traditional energy and makes for more efficient and affordable energy usage in the home. Solar panels are relatively easy to install and quickly pay for themselves in the vast majority of cases. Solar Water Heaters are also growing in popularity because of their ability to significantly reduce your electricity bill. Here are the facts you need to know so you can make this decision for yourself and your family.

How Much Is Installation and Maintenance?

The cost of solar water heaters is one of the biggest concerns homeowners have and the initial expense involved with installation can vary depending on the size, make and model of the unit, as well as how much it will be used on average each month. The unit and installation can cost several thousand dollars. There are many federal and state stipends and tax breaks offered for installing solar panels and equipment, which can help offset the initial cost of installation, sometimes by as much as 50 percent! Most of the solar water heaters for the home of today last 20 years or more with good care and maintenance. Simply checking for leaks and minor issues with connections and system operations is enough to ensure good operation of the water heater for years to come.  Compared with traditional heating systems, they are much easier to install and maintain!

How Much Reduction is There on Utility Bills?

Again, the amount of savings to be enjoyed will depend on the size and capacity of the system you choose as well as your home’s typical water usage right now. A family of five will see more savings than a family of two simply because they use more water. Solar water heaters can reduce your water heating costs by up to 90%. With savings like that, solar water heaters can pay for themselves very quickly. Another good factor to keep in mind when looking at the savings from solar water heaters is that you will be safe from ever-rising energy bills.

More Reasons Why Solar Water Heating Makes Sense

  • Immediate savings and reductions in energy consumption for your family
  • A smaller carbon footprint and less impact on the environment
  • Increased property value and sales appeal when the time comes to sell your home
  • More reliable source of energy for water heating and usage

Ready to take advantage of the natural power of solar energy? Contact us today and let us help you take the first step towards embracing the future of solar energy!

Posted by Jansen Neff on July 25, 2017

Instantly Increase Your Home’s Value

 

When it comes to finding energy upgrades for the home, there are many choices available to homeowners, but the industry leader is ENERGY STAR®. These products get this special designation by following tight guidelines that were created by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The reason ENERGY STAR products are so popular is that the little bit of extra money spent on these higher quality products is more than compensated in reduced energy bills and increased home value. Here is how this line of products make energy upgrades for the home simple and easy!


Increase Home Value

By creating an energy-efficient home, you can increase the value of your home and at times by quite a bit.  While studies vary, data suggests in increase of 2-9% in home sales price with an ENERGY STAR certification. According to ENERGY STAR, certified buildings are more attractive because they:

  •  Have lower operating costs
  •  Are more marketable
  •  Contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the environment
  •  Command higher rental rates
  •  Have increased asset value

If you are looking for energy upgrades for the home these are some of the great ways to get started:

Upgrade Insulation. According to Energy.govheating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.” Improving the insulation in your home with quality, approved, energy-efficient insulation is one of the best ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home.


Windows. If your home is 10-15 years old, it is likely time for new windows. Poorly sealed windows, damaged window systems, and uninsulated windows can account for one-third of a home’s total energy loss. There are many types of windows and styles to choose from so finding energy-efficient windows for your home should be a piece of cake.  Check out MI Windows for some great options.


Appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make energy upgrades for the home work. From washers and dryers to refrigerators and TVs, there are many appliances that bear the Energy Star seal of approval. Using these in your home is a great way to conserve energy and increase the value of your home!

 

As an ENERGY STAR partner, we would love to discuss ways to improve your home!

Posted by Jansen Neff on July 25, 2017

How is LED the Best in Lighting Technology?

LED lights are one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve energy-efficiency in your home.  Many people are familiar with them, but haven’t taken the time to truly understand what these lights are and how exactly they can help save money. LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes and these types of lights are among the most energy efficient and safest of all lighting options.

Special Features of LED Lights

One of the things people first notice about LED is that the bulbs tend to be much more brilliant and vibrant in their color. This is because the bulbs emit light in a single direction rather than diffusing the light out in all directions like traditional bulbs. “With many fixture types, including recessed downlights, troffers, and undercabinet fixtures, it is not uncommon for only 50 to 60% of the total light produced to be emitted” (Energy.gov). An additional benefit is that LED can be dimmed and controlled to create the perfect level of light.

How Energy Efficient Are LEDs?

The amount electricity consumed depends on the LED bulb, as well as the fixture. Maximum LED lighting benefits can only be attained with they are used as they were designed to be used and in a system that supports them. “The efficiency of a poorly designed fixture that uses even the best LEDs will be only a fraction of what it would be if the fixture were well-designed, and the design can also affect lumen maintenance” (Energy.gov). Using the right fixture and electrical system with your LED bulbs you can lead to much better energy ratings more lighting power- a trade off that is well worth any investment required for updating to such fixtures!

LIFESPAN OF LED BULBS

“LED luminaire useful life is often described by the number of operating hours until the LED luminaire is emitting 70 percent of its initial light output. Good-quality white LED lighting products are expected to have a useful life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours or even longer. A typical incandescent lamp lasts about 1,000 hours; a comparable CFL, 8,000 to 10,000 hours; and the best linear fluorescent lamps, more than 30,000 hours” (Energy.gov). LED lighting benefits more than pay for the initial cost of purchase and installation. You get more lighting hours, less heat, less energy output, and less waste, thereby saving you money on lighting costs year after year. This is why many people are choosing to invest upfront with these lights and fixtures in their homes and then reap the LED lighting benefits for years to come. LED may be the right choice for you so check it out and decide for yourself!

Questions?  Our Energy Pros are always here to help!

Posted by Jansen Neff on July 24, 2017

Dramatically Reduce Your Garage Temperature

Garages are used to park your car and for so much more – a work area, storage space, or just a junk room. While your garage may not be at the forefront of your mind when considering your home’s energy use, keeping it properly insulated can help you keep the rest of your home cooled and heated efficiently all year long. For the best tips when it comes to insulation for the garage, read on:

  • Insulate garage door – this can be a relatively easy do-it-yourself project. Home improvement stores have kits depending on the size of your door, which you can cut for a perfect it.
  • Insulate the crawl space – if you garage has a storage area in the ceiling, make sure you have it insulated. Depending on the size of the space you could use roll insulation, loose fill insulation, or foam insulation to cover the area.
  • Insulate pipes – pipes often run along the walls of the garage on their way to the main house. It is important to insulate these pipes so cold water stays cold and warm water stays warms as it travels through the pipes on the way to the sink or shower!
  • Insulate walls – depending on the materials used in the walls, you can add wall insulation to help guard against the inside and outside air exchange and limit energy waste. Insulate windows and doors- any windows or regular doors in the garage area needs to be insulated with insulation strips or door sweeps or caulk. Homeowners are often surprised to learn how much air can be lost through window and door seals!
  • Insulate cracks and gaps- for the best insulation for the garage, you need to mind the cracks and gaps. Sealing cracks in the wall or gaps around doors, pipes, and wires and come in and out of the garage will reduce heat and cold loss dramatically and save you big!

Think of your garage as another room of your home and care for it accordingly. To learn more and to prepare for any weather and temperatures that the year holds, contact us today and let us help you with all of your insulation needs.