Every industry does it. We use words that mean so much to us that we don’t realize that they’re meaningless to the rest of the world. This series - Energy Efficiency Buzzwords De-Buzzed– attempts to change that. Have a “green” word or phrase you want de-buzzed? Let us know and we’ll add it to the series!
Today’s buzzword: Home Performance
This one means so much to us that it’s in our name, but why?
When we talk about home performance, we talk about how a house works. Not how the windows work, or how the heating system works, but about how the whole thing functions as a system.
This winter’s record-low fuel prices are adding up to big savings – and big opportunities – for Maine families. Experts predict that households heating primarily with oil can expect to save an average of $1200 this year, and recommend that homeowners take advantage of the chance to lock in those energy savings for every year.
“Most of us don’t get this kind of windfall very often,” says Energy Advisor Brian Robinson. “Savvy homeowners are reinvesting that fuel savings ‘bonus’ in their homes and making improvements that will reduce their fuel use – and expenses – permanently.”
The graph below shows which structural air-leaks drive up energy costs the most, allowing you to maximize efforts toward reinforcing your home's building envelope.
There's a lot to be learned from this image, but the biggest message is this: low-cost, DIY improvements are also low-impact. Go crazy with the window caulk, but don't be surprised if your energy bills don't drop dramatically.
Maine held steady as the nation’s 16th most energy-efficient state, according to ACEEE’s 2014 State Energy Scorecard.
Once a top-ten performer in the annual assessment of the state policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industry, and transportation, Maine dropped to 25th in 2012 when it slashed funding for efficiency programs. The state bounced back last year, when the June 2013 passage of the Omnibus Energy Bill returned full funding to Efficiency Maine.
Each October, the Federal Energy Management Program promotes smart energy choices and highlights supporting our economy, protecting our environment, and increasing energy independence. Residential energy efficiency plays a critical role in those endeavors, and Evergreen Home Performance is proud to help homeowners create energy-efficient, healthy, and sustainable homes.
When it comes to insulation, there are plenty of choices. Where to start? What to use? Who to hire? The answers vary from house to house – and from homeowner to homeowner – but if you work with someone you trust, you’ll be in good shape.
Take basement insulation. At Evergreen, we recommend installing closed-cell spray foam on foundation walls to seal air leaks and insulate against heat loss. Plenty of contractors can spray foam, but we engineer and manage the whole project to deliver superior, safe results. We distinguish ourselves by:
Energy efficiency isn’t just for the winter! Here are six tips to keep you cool – and save energy – on hot summer days:
Remember that fans cool people, not rooms. There’s no doubt about it: air moving across your skin keeps you cool, whether the breeze comes from Mother Nature or an electric fan. But fans ONLY make a difference when you’re there to feel them, so turn them off when you’re not in the room.
Use your windows to gain cool air and keep out the heat. Even on the hottest days, the temperature drops when the sun does. Open your windows at night to let in cool air, but shut windows – and shades – during the day to prevent solar gain.
If you've ever sat next to a drafty, single-pane window, you've probably thought about investing in shiny new replacement windows.
There are plenty of good reasons to make that investment. If your windows are broken, covered with lead paint, won't open, or are just plain ugly, replacing them may be the right move. But don't replace your windows in hopes of saving energy - or money. When it comes to energy savings, replacement windows have a long payback period (up to 250 years!) that typically exceeds their relatively short service lifetime (15-30 years).
Custom-fabricated window inserts are an insanely cost-effective alternative.
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