Experts are anticipating that the solar energy market in the state of Texas to achieve significant growth over the next several years. According to to the Solar Energy Industry Association:
- Texas ranks 13th in the country in installed solar capacity, with enough solar energy installations to power 12,300 homes.
- Residential and commercial photovoltaic systems prices fell by 22 percent over the last year.
- More than 280 solar companies are actively working in the state of Texas, employing more than 3,000 Texans.
Hot roofs absorb heat, causing air conditioner systems to work harder to cool during the warmer months of the year.
A cool roof uses material that is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Cool Roofs can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees, which will reduce cooling costs.
- Clean Refrigerator Coils – Coils can collect dust, making them less efficient for cooling. Be sure to clean coils two times per year to eliminate buildup and reduce energy use by up to 6%.
- Clean Ventilation – Air conditioning vents and dirty air filters should be cleaned and/or replaced regularly. Changing filters can reduce HVAC energy use and electricity costs from 5 to 15%.
- Inspect Vent Hoods – Check vent hoods for need of cleaning or filter replacements.
Energy Star certified ventilation fans can use 60% less energy than standard models.
Fix leaks. The most common fixture that leaks is the toilet flapper. Checking for leaks should be part of your overall maintenance plan and should be done on a regular basis. Perform a water audit. Take a look at your water meter when no one is likely to be using water. If the meter is moving, you have a leak.
Install water-saving devices. Can you transform your single flush toilets to dual flush with a kit? How about installing a Smart Faucet in every bathroom? The EPA has rolled a complete line of water saving fixtures under its WaterSense label, however, but these are merely minimums. Individuals should go beyond the minimum by installing 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) shower heads when the WaterSense minimum allows shower heads with flow rates of 2.5gpm. Rebates may also be available from your local utility to promote the installation of new high efficiency toilets that utilize 1.28 gallons per flush or better.
Upgrade to water saving appliances. Old dishwashers and top-loading washing machines are incredible inefficient, utilizing as much as 25 gallons per load of dishes and 35 gallons of water per load of laundry. New high-efficiency models utilize a fraction of the water. Dishwashers in the two gallon range are very effective and front-loading washing machines use about a third of the water of what top-loaders use and rebates may be available. The less water an appliance uses, the less electricity and natural gas that will be needed to heat that water.
Rethink landscaping. Plant what’s appropriate for your region and you will reduce water consumption, increase habitat for native species and raise the value of your property. Re-landscaping is a big expense, but you are paying to water and maintain plants every year, year and year out, when you could be pocketing the money you currently budget for water.
First come the New Year, and then comes the resolutions. With eco awareness on the rise, it’s not surprising that many New Year’s resolutions are to live a cleaner and more sustainable life. While green living may be the new buzz word, to start doing it may take some definition and direction. Here are a few ideas that may help you move toward a more green 2014:
1. Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
2. Buy organics: Shop your local farmer’s market for organic fruits and veggies and look for natural personal care and clothing made from natural fibers.
3. Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping.
4. Composting as much as possible. Collect your table scraps and lawn clippings in a yard composter to make free fertilizer! Use it on your plants, gardens, tree pits, anywhere!
5. Recycling: recycle everything! Paper, materials, home items, and more!
6. Energy efficiency: purchase energy star certified appliances. Buy and use renewable or wind energy and monitor your use of energy.
7. Water: Reduce you water usage with xeriscaping and using sprinkler systems in the yard. Use shower timers and other water conservation tools to reduce your daily water usage.
8. Indoor air quality: use chemical free cleaners, live plants, sustainable fabrics and paint in your home. Your indoor air quality will improve and you’ll support sustainable businesses producing green products.
9. Wash your clothes in cold water. You will reduce your energy consumption by reducing the amount of heated water needs. Also, instead of using the dryer, try to hang your clothes outside or indoors on a folding rack .
10. Play outside. Have fun and keep fit by appreciating all that nature has to offer: parks, trails, gardens, etc.
11. Green your travel. Try a eco trip this year for your vacation.
12. Get an Energy Audit: Find an energy audit company in your area to analyze the energy efficiency of your home. An audit can potentially save you thousands of dollars by making a few changes.
Have a Happy (Green) New Year!!!
Reasons to Install Dryer Vent Cover
Have you ever noticed that the room containing your clothes dryer is usually the coldest room in your house? Most clothes dryers are connected to a 4″ diameter exhaust duct that runs directly to an opening on the exterior of the home. During the winter months, cold air leaks in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house, allowing your heated air to escape. In addition to the energy loss issues, other problems include insects, mice and other pests to enter through the exterior vent.
One solution to the problem is to install a Dryer Vent Seal Cover. The installation of the dryer vent vent kits with a floating cap design can provide several benefits in the following areas:
Because dryer vent cap only opens when the dryer is in use, the movement of air, either air conditioned to the outside, or cold exterior air to the inside. This design also keeps rain, snow and dust or other debris from blowing into the dryer vent. Because cold air isn’t allowed in and heated or cooled air isn’t allowed out, this will improve the energy efficiency of maintaining air in the effected area.
The louvered design of the dryer vent seal allows lint to pass freely to the outside, preventing the buildup of lint in the dryer vent. Collected lint is very flammable and the use of wire mesh or screens by many homeowners traps the lint and increases the collection of the flammable material.
Small space heaters can be a smart, cost-effective way to heat individual rooms or spaces, without relying upon central heating. In many cases, it is less expensive to heat the occupied space versus the cost to heat an entire area controlled by a central system.
To maximize cost savings, turn down the thermostat to 55 degrees F and place space heaters in a child or elderly person’s room or where their are individuals that be sensitive to the cold. By concentrating the heat, the central heating system will run less and heating costs will drop.