Switching to Energy-Efficient Bulbs Greatly Reduces Energy Costs

Shedding light on energy-efficient bulbs

Article by Woodrow Aames, Improvement Center Expert

If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, it’s time to see the light about how much energy you waste. According to Smart Energy Living, 90 percent of the energy used to power an old-fashioned light bulb is given off as heat. You might as well burn cash to illuminate your home, you could look at other energy providers to find the best rate as well as looking for such things like cirro energy reviews.

Sealing the thermal envelope with additional insulation and completing a window replacement project can slice utility costs by 30 percent. You could even take a look at using someone like MWT Windows to help you with your window replacements. But don’t overlook new bulbs.

Here are four more surprising claims from the U.S. Department of Energy:

If every American family replaced a single incandescent bulb with a an energy-saving one, enough energy would be saved to power three million homes a year.

Each bulb meeting the ENERGY STAR standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can save homeowners $6 a year in energy costs, adding up to $40 during its service life.

LED or CFL bulbs last at least six times as long as incandescents and use 75 percent less energy to emit the same amount of light.

Full adoption of LED lighting by 2027 could save $265 billion in energy costs and eliminate the need for 40 new power plants.

Shopping for replacements

Forget about buying light bulbs based on the amount of watts they use. Today’s energy savers are measured in lumens — the amount of light they give off. More lumens means brighter light.

Energy Savers suggests that you replace incandescent bulbs along the following lines:

A CFL or LED with 1,600 lumens to replace a 100-watt incandescent

1,100 lumens for the standard 75W bulb

800 lumens to replace a 60W bulb

450 lumens matches a 40W bulb.

Remember, not all CFL bulbs work with dimmer switches. But there are plenty of LEDs and halogen bulbs that do.

The new generation of bulbs

Don’t panic when it takes between 30 seconds and several minutes for your new CFL bulb to completely illuminate a space. They’re designed that way. CFLs work better in open fixtures; installing them indoors in an enclosed cover – such as you find in a ceiling fan – heats up the bulb, thus requiring more energy to produce light. For the effect you want, choose colors rated in Kelvin numbers: 2,700-3,000K for warm light, 3,500-4,100K for cool white hues, 5,000-6,500K for daylight tones.

Accordingly, if you have any Ceiling Fans in your home, then switching to energy-efficient bulbs is strongly recommended. Not only will your bulbs typically last longer, but you will also be able to save money on your utility bills.

LED bulbs are solid-state lighting products that can last as long as 22 years, delivering consistent lumens as long as they’re switched on. They illuminate instantly. Cool to the touch, LEDs emit a very low amount of heat.

Record energy costs may drive us to energy efficiency. Keep new bulbs in mind when you’re evaluating other upgrades, such as window replacements – visit https://www.bordnerinstall.com/kansas-city/window-replacement to learn more, adding insulation and weather stripping. These are all long-term investments that begin to reduce your energy bills immediately.

How Healthy is Your Home?

Article from Earth Advantage Institute

10 Problem Areas and Ways to Fix Them

PORTLAND, Ore., February 02, 2010

The inside of your home may not be as healthy as you think. Recent facts suggest that people, especially children, are sicker today than ever before. For example, 1 in 8 children has asthma and 1 in 6 has a neurological disorder. In 1989, 1 in 2,500 children was diagnosed with autism. Today, 1 in 150 children is autistic. Instances of leukemia are up 30% since the 1970s. Unfortunately, most of these statistics are significantly higher for low-income families. Although other factors such as diet and exercise contribute to these problems, consumers need to be more aware of the materials and products they have in their homes. The following ten home features can influence the health of a home’s indoor environment.

Carpeting vs. Hard Surface Flooring

There are varying opinions about whether carpet is better or worse for air quality than hard surface flooring. Carpeting traps dust, debris, allergens, and mold. Some believe that this is better for air quality because carpeting prevents these irritants from circulating. On the other hand, hard surface flooring is much easier to clean and disinfect. And that new-carpet smell? That odor comes from the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) emitted by standard carpeting. Purchasing carpeting and carpet cleaning products that have been certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) will help reduce the potential health risks associated with carpet.

Granite Countertops

The United States is seeing a small increase in radioactive or hot granite countertops. Exotic varieties from South America and Africa have been found to contain harmful levels of radon and other radioactive elements. If you suspect that you may have a hot countertop, call a radon technician.

Paints, Stains, Glues, and Sealers

Lead paint is still a hazard in pre-1975 paint coatings, but even newer dry paint coatings and stains off-gas VOCs. When the time comes to refinish a surface, strip off the old coating completely and finish with a low or zero VOC product, which are commonly available from most major paint manufacturers. Caulking, sealers, and glues also off-gas VOCs and are now available with low or no VOC versions.

Combustion Byproducts

From hot water heaters to fireplaces, there are many different systems that operate using a combustion process. Combustion byproducts include carbon monoxide and other harmful, odorless gasses. Installing a ventilation system or replacing combustion systems with non-combustion or direct vented models will help reduce the risks associated with these byproducts.

Dirty Ductwork

This would seem like common sense, but most builders install HVAC ductwork and do not cover it, allowing the duct systems to trap dust and debris for the duration of the construction process. In these cases, every time the HVAC system is used, the homeowner inhales construction debris. There are many dirty ductwork cleaning services available that can rid the system of construction dust.

Ventilation Systems

Ventilation systems replace stale, indoor air with fresh outdoor air. Many older homes do not have these systems. While purchasing a ventilation system or having one installed can be expensive, it is one of the best ways to improve the air quality of your home. A properly ventilated home can also reduce heating and cooling costs. If you are unsure as to whether your home is properly ventilated, then you might want to find a company that offers hvac repair services so that you can have some check-ups and/or repairs done.

Air Filters

Every air-based heating and cooling system has an air filter, which is given a MERV rating. A MERV filter of 9 or higher is ideal. Replace old air filters and make sure you clean the filter regularly. By replacing our old air filter you will be able to create cleaner air which will help with conditions like asthma.

Cleaning and Freshening

Traditional cleaning products and air fresheners can do more harm than good. If using traditional cleaning products, make sure the space is well ventilated and the product has time to dry before children are allowed to enter. There are a variety of green, natural, and alternative cleaning and freshening methods available today. Also, leave your shoes at the door.


Plastics are one of the most toxic household materials. From food storage to children’s toys, plastics are being linked to a number of health problems. When purchasing plastic products, look on the bottom for numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5. These are the safe plastics. Avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7, unless marked as BPA-free. Immediately discard all of the plastics in your household that are marked with these numbers.


Many building products, including certain particleboards and composite materials, contain and will off-gas formaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical than can cause reactions ranging from headache to nausea. Although the use of formaldehyde has decreased in recent years, when replacing old flooring and cabinetry, look for formaldehyde-free new products.

9 Unexpected Energy (and Money) Savers

Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.

Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter. Additionally, during morning hours, you can use natural light instead of artificial illumination to reduce your energy bill. However, to manage the heat, you may have to adopt solutions like secondary glazing, especially for Listed Buildings, since it can increase the energy efficiency of the building.

Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop.

Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save.

Give your water heater a blanket: Just like you pile on extra layers in the winter, your hot water heater can use some extra insulation too. A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that can cut heat loss and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill. However, if you again begin to notice significant increases in your water usage, you are likely dealing with a malfunctioning water heater. In which case, hiring water heater repair charlotte nc professionals, or similar other services would be advisable.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you turn off an electric burner, it doesn’t cool off immediately. Use that to your advantage by turning it off early and using the residual heat to finish up your dish.

Add motion sensors: You might be diligent about shutting off unnecessary lights, but your kids? Not so much. Adding motion sensors to playrooms and bedrooms cost only $15 to $50 per light, and ensures you don’t pay for energy that you’re not using.

Spin laundry faster: The faster your washing machine can spin excess water out of your laundry, the less you would need to use your Clothes Dryer. Many newer washers often spin clothes very effectively, this would cut the drying time and the energy consumption in half, which might result in an equal drop in your dryer’s energy bill.

Use the dishwasher: If you think doing your dishes by hand is greener than powering up the dishwasher, you’re wrong. Dishwashers use about 1/3 as much hot water and relieve that much strain from your energy-taxing water heater. Nonetheless, if you find that the dishwasher is causing you headaches by leaking or overflowing and that is responsible for your high electricity bills, then you might want to look for a plumbing service of comparable caliber similar to MVP, to fix the leaks. Once the leak is fixed, you can happily go back into using your dishwasher. Added bonus: you don’t have to wash any dishes.

Use an ice tray: Stop using your automatic icemaker. It increases your fridge’s energy consumption by 14% to 20%. Ice trays, on the other hand, don’t increase your energy costs one iota.

Happy Earth Day! Plant Trees To Save Energy and Grow Value

Article by HouseLogic.com
By: Brad Broberg
Published September 12th, 2009

Plant a tree to add value to your home and have a positive impact on the local environment. But every year, 3.2 million acres of forest are cut down, according to the Nature Conservancy. Several million more acres are lost to fire, storm, and disease. That’s why planting new trees and protecting the ones we have is so important. You can do your part by

  • Caring for the trees in your yard – even if the branches are getting in the way, you can invest in a tree trimming company to clip its branches, not cut the whole tree down as some people do. However, if the tree is showing no hope of being helped due to it being damaged, then it is very important for a homeowner to realise that it may need to be cut down by looking into ‘tree removal companies near me‘ so they can have it done in a safe manner.
  • Supporting tree-planting activities in your community
  • Donating to organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy, which works to preserve the world’s trees and forests, and American Forests, which offers a unique way to take action. First, use its online Climate Change Calculator to determine your carbon footprint. Then, make up for your emissions by donating to a forest restoration project.

Why should you care about trees? Bankable benefits

The most tangible bang from your bark comes from energy savings. Three properly placed trees could save you between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Trees save energy two main ways. Their shade cuts cooling costs in the summer. In winter, they serve as windbreak and help hold down heating costs.

The National Tree Calculator estimates that a 12-inch elm in an Omaha yard can save $32.43 a year on your energy bills; the same tree in Atlanta would save you $11.89 annually. The calculator also breaks down other dollars and cents benefits of your tree, like decreasing storm water runoff, removing carbon dioxide from the air, and increasing property values.

In our elm example, the 12-inch tree adds $40.23 to the Omaha home’s value and a $57.33 to the one in Atlanta. And as trees grow larger, they can add even more value.

A 2002 study by the USDA Forest Service pegs the value a single tree adds to a property of about $630. Of course, tree value depends on size, species, location, and condition.

Adds Frank Lucco, a real estate appraiser with IRR-Residential in Houston, “On a $100,000 home [in my market], as much as $10,000 of its value could be associated with mature trees.”

That’s peanuts compared with the role trees play as the lungs of the planet. A report by theTrust for Public Land estimated that one mature tree takes 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and returns enough oxygen for two human beings.

Plant your tree in the right spot

To get the full benefits from your trees, choose the right type of tree and location for it. Planting a deciduous tree on the west side of a house provides cooling shade in the summer. In winter, after it loses its leaves, the same tree lets in sunlight that cuts heating and lighting bills. You can additionally incorporate other resources like outdoor solar lights (from companies equivalent to Olympia Lighting), etc., as an eco-friendly measure near your plantation. In this way, you can use the green spaces for outdoor activities in summer.

On the other hand, evergreen trees on the west side can block the sun all year long, making a home colder and darker in winter. You could also invest in something like a LED light (try this out for more information) for your greenhouse or nursery! However, planting evergreens could be a great choice for blocking icy winter winds, on the north side of your home.

If you’re planting a new tree, think about its fully grown size and shape before you dig. Branches from a tree located below power lines can cause outages as it grows. Roots from a tree located too close to a home can damage the foundation or block sewer lines. The wrong tree in the wrong place could actually lower your home’s appraised value if it’s deemed hazardous, says Frank Lucco, a real estate appraiser with IRR-Residential in Houston.

Tree costs

Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a 6- to 7-foot deciduous tree, such as a katsura or evergreen. The same tree at 15 feet will cost $100 to $200, according to Brad Swank of Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville, Wash. The Arbor Day Foundation sells saplings for as little as $8-$15, or less if you’re a member.

Since trees cost money, be cautious about any home construction work. “Tree failure can happen seven to 10 years after construction, primarily because the root system fails when the soil is compacted,” says Thomas Hanson, a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists from Kirkland, Wash. Also watch for diseases or pests that can threaten trees in your yard and community.

Become a tree advocate

Ensuring that your community has lots of healthy trees doesn’t have to be more complicated than a trip to the nursery and a hole in your backyard. Dig it twice as wide as deep. Let kids push in the dirt and help water weekly until the tree is two years old. TheArbor Day Foundation will tell you how to select the right tree for your needs and climate, where to plant it, and how to maintain it.

The foundation also is a great place to look for community and educational programs.

  • Its Tree City USA initiative provides expert advice and national recognition to cities and towns that want to establish tree-management plans.
  • Its Arbor Day Poster Contest for fifth-graders gives teachers a fun way to help students learn the importance of trees.

Considering everything trees do for you, it’s the least you can do for them.

Brad Broberg is a freelance writer from Federal Way, Wash. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he writes about business, health care, and real estate for REALTOR Magazine, the Puget Sound Business Journal, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, among others. He’s lived in the same home for 22 years-a home he shares with seven towering Douglas firs.