As Spring sweeps in, temperatures change and your house has different needs. Here are 7 Spring Energy Saving Tips that will help to lower your bills.
Utilize Sunlight from Windows: On chillier spring days, save money on heating and lighting. Open the blinds and let that sunlight in in the middle of the day! Be sure to close your insulating curtains before sunset to trap the warmth inside so you don’t lose your gains as the sun sets.
Utilize Window Blinds: Spring in Virginia has temperature ups and downs, so conversely, on hot days, save money on your AC bills by closing the blinds to the windows to block out the heat. Honeycomb blinds work best to stop heat gain into spaces.
Program the Thermostat: On warmer days, set the thermostat higher when you’re gone to save energy. Remember if you have a traditional heat pump, more than a 2 degree change may cause your system to call for emergency heat which is very costly. If you have a newer system that uses a variable speed compressor this is not an issue.
Hang Clothes to Dry: As the temperature warms up, string up a clothesline outdoors to use the sun’s heat instead of the dryer.
Stop hand washing your dishes: Say no more! For larger loads, most modern dishwashers actually use less water. Letting dishes air dry can save more money and electricity.
Replace your HVAC Filters on a regular basis: bonus points for having a performance contract with your HVAC company to make sure your system is running in perfect order.
In honor of the Seinfeld-inspired holiday Festivus, our team is celebrating by airing our grievances in preparation for a fresh start this new year. Festivus is a playful holiday that turns away from the consumerism of Christmas and instead celebrates letting go of negative feelings and moving on before 2022.
Charles: Air-permeable insulation – you would never use a blanket that has holes in it, engineers – they are all math and gravity and no whimsy, gravity – it is always limiting our cool ideas, people that sing loudly to spread Christmas cheer, just kidding, love those people!
Matty: Accidentally leaving a cup of coffee in the car for an hour and coming back to it being completely frozen solid. Having to battle my dog for blankets right before going to sleep.
Deborah: Matty leaving us to move halfway across the country, companies that redesigned their pens so the caps don’t stay securely attached to the end of the pen anymore, resulting in several new felt tip pens being thrown around during site measures…looking at you #sharpie ! Harrisonburg smelling like dog food on the most gorgeous days, house hunting right now is a roller coaster of emotions that I don’t want to be a part of anymore, the building code books deciding to switch to the cheaper/thinner kind of paper.
Maggie: Matty deciding it was a good idea to up and move half away across the country to South Dakota and making us miss her terribly. The Harrisonburg train fills at 6/6:30 every night and blocks Gay, Rock, and Wolfe Street for a half-hour. Lettuce going bad too quickly. Getting a new work laptop and having to reset all my presets. It being spring one week and winter the next week. Pick one and stick with it! Preferably winter cause I’d like a white Christmas, please and thank you.
Kelton Station is located in a very populated area, making it within walking and biking distance to a lot of shops, restaurants, and even a grocery store. Since there is so much potential for bicycle uses, we added two enclosed bike houses to store the bikes on-site, unique features like these are what sets the Kelton Station apart from other Earthcraft certified multi-family buildings and head and shoulders above those that are not certified.
When working on multi-family projects our goal is to create unique places for future residents while also delivering an efficient project for our client. In this project, we wanted to focus on outdoor living and community space to create welcoming and comfortable homes. We designed porches that are oversized and screened them in to provide comfortable spaces to enjoy the fresh air while still being protected from insects. The clubhouse has a large “front porch” with lots of community seating, and a large enclosed screen porch in the back for gatherings overlooking the pool. There are large gathering spaces around fire pits, and a large outdoor gathering space with grills called the pavilion all giving residents plenty of places to gather. We were also able to preserve existing trees on the site keeping a large area of the site undisturbed as green space.
These homes are comfortably sized without having wasted space. The gathering spaces are roomy and the units each have a laundry room, walk-in closets, and large bedrooms. The full cut-off lighting used in the design was strategically selected to reduce light pollution. We also used local materials where possible, and utilized materials with low or no VOCs throughout the project. The high-efficiency and energy star-rated equipment and appliances, along with WaterSense plumbing fixtures will keep utility bills modest making the units more affordable.
Fall weather always seems to creep up on us every year, read up on what you can do to stay ahead of the temperature drop and keep your home cozy this season.
Check your door and window weather-stripping. Make sure doors and windows seal tight to make your home more comfortable this fall and winter. Keeping doors and windows locked when closed will increase the performance against winter winds.
Make sure heating vents are clear of furniture. If your system is designed to perform optimally then it needs to blow air / radiate heat without obstructions. Keep draperies, furniture, and rugs off the floor vents and away from radiators to make sure you are getting heat to the right places.
Close your fireplace damper when not in use. A chimney is a huge hole to the outside of your thermal envelope and of course heat rises. Cut your energy use by making sure the damper is closed tight.
Check your landscaping. Cut back overgrown plants that block airflow to your air handler and trees that overhang your roof. Protect your plants from coming heavy snows by trimming them back. Plant a winter crop on your garden and collect leaves and grass clippings in your compost bin.
Close your crawl space vents. The best thing to do is to close your crawl space vents permanently and insulate your crawl space walls. If that is not possible at this time, at least close your foundation vents for the cold months. Add a square of rigid insulation over the vent to help things stay modestly warmer below your floor.
Clean out those gutters. Now that temperatures are more moderate, it is time to make sure you don’t get damage come snow season. Take advantage of this time of year to clean out your gutters and inspect your roof.
Clean for efficiency. Refrigerators are huge energy hogs so keeping them maintained is critical. Vacuum the coils on the back and bottom and check the temperature. While you are at it, clean the lint hose for your dryer – this will prevent fires and reduce mildew problems.
Hang heavier curtains on your windows. No matter the quality of your windows, they are still the weakest part of the thermal envelope of your home. Adding insulating curtains will help offset heat loss during the cold months that are looming.
Open the windows. Open the windows on these cool autumn days to not only enjoy the sounds of nature, but also to air out your home.
Have your chimney and furnace inspected. Make sure your fireplace and heating system is ready for the colder weather that is on the way. Get your chimney professionally cleaned to make sure it is free of buildup and birds’ nests. The same can be done for your heating system; clean and efficient is the goal. You should have your HVAC system serviced twice a year (fall and spring).
Many people make resolutions for the new year. These often fall by the side of the road as you carry on in a busy life. Here are some things to check your home for that will provide payback through reduced energy bills and increased comfort all year-long.