Catching Some Sun

Light is solar radiation is emitted by the sun. In approximately one and a half hour, the amount of sunlight that hits the surface of the earth is adequate enough to handle the energy consumption of the entire world for a year. Although every place on earth gets some light from the sun throughout the year, the amount of solar radiation that strikes any certain spot deviates.

Solar technologies have been introduced which capture solar radiation and turn it into forms of energy that are useful such as electrical energy. The conversion is done either through mirrors concentrating solar radiation or photovoltaic (PV) panels. This energy is then used to generate electricity in some homes.

How can residential solar installations help in increasing energy savings in a household? How much does the installation add cost? Is it a worth-it approach in achieving benefits while preserving savings? It is better to comprehend the benefit-cost analysis of getting solar PVs installed to your properties once and for all.

Solar Energy Industries Association have recorded that the United States has over two million solar panel installations in both residential and commercial facilities. This number is a million higher compared to the numbers in 2017 and is expected to reach over three million by the end of 2021. This is a clear manifestation that more people are interested in spending less money for electricity and establishing a minimum price for electricity for the next 20-30 years through solar installations.

There are installations with battery storage. It is more appealing to areas in the U.S., where power supply is often down. Through battery storage, homeowners will be able to store electricity to be used for periods when power is out. These installations are more common in the state of California where there are frequent wildfires causing utilities to constantly stop power operations. These are also popular in Texas as well in Florida where tropical cyclones often occur leading to power outage.

If your home is on the market, there are certain things to be considered in order to determine the value of the solar PV installation of the home. The value will depend on the location, size, cost of local electricity, and age of the residential system. Knowing the current market value based on the age of the system can be quite burdensome but recent tools have been developed to ascertain the value of a residential system today. This has become a great helping hand for appraisers and realtors nowadays. Home shoppers across the country have considered paying to get residential system installations as they are worth it even if it is a $15,000 bite for 3.6-kW photovoltaic (average in size) system. This is approximately a $4 per watt PV system.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Associated of Realtors, it has been manifested that most buyers focus on the home’s costs of operation and its utility bills. There are also great effects in promoting energy-efficient home listings than standards.

Home buyers should not overlook one red flag that may come along the way. Determine whether the residential is system is owned. If it is leased, things can get complicated especially for the sale of the property. There are two options for the home buyer—they either shoulder the existing lease or make the home seller pay it out and just merge it with the mortgage by making it an additional cost to the listing’s price. The latter would be more practical. As for realtors, it is best to make a clear presentation on how the prospect buyer would save when buying a listing with PVs on it. Talk numbers and make a comparison of bills prior and after utilization of residential system. In that manner, home buyers would get an idea that an extra cost for installation will be beneficial in the long run.

If by this time you are already sold in getting PV installation, make sure to know some pointers in selecting the best solar installer in your area. The most preferable way would probably be through referrals from family or friends who have gone solar or go through online testimonials of solar clients of different installers. There are also available tools found online to help interested clients make a comparison of solar installers. Better acquire three to four bids for the installation of the same metrics and characteristics.

In going through the bids, your concern should mainly focus on important things such as provision of references from other clients within your area. Get to know the challenges these customers had and how the bidder company made a resolution out of it. It is also vital to know whether the company is familiar with local permitting. Ensure that the company is familiar with the local processes with regards to permits.

Never forget to validate licensure or certification of the company. If you want to assure that you will not meet any problem concerning the installation process, ensure that the company bidder has an electrical contractor’s license. To further investigate, pay a visit at your state’s electrical board and they will provide you information whether the bidder is admissible or not.

Make sure to know if the system is aided with a warranty that is strong. Normally, a solar equipment has a standard warranty of ten years for inverters and twenty years for panels. If the company ensures a strong warranty, it is a mark that they are using an equipment of great quality. Ask who has the responsibility of maintaining the system and attend to it in times of repairs.

It is also important to get the amount of energy—at least an estimate—that the residential system will produce every month or every year. It should be measured in kW-hr. Doing so will help you make a comparison of figures with your recent utility bills and be able to get an initial computed savings in the future and the period of breakeven. Do not forget to obtain the total cost of getting the system which include the installation, hardware, the cost of connection to the grid, permits, taxes, and the warranty.

Going from Standard to Eco-Friendly Home

We are living in a world of changing environment and it is important to be aware environmentally. In many ways, it is substantial to have enough knowledge about how you can save through building or purchasing a sustainable home. There are various measures on how you can transform a house producing emission into an energy-efficient home and these ways are simple — from switching to products that are friendly to the environment and many more easy methods.

However, we don’t hear about green homes more often. The concept is well-liked but not frequently brought about. It sure is popular and the benefits are as pretty as a picture. But what’s inhibiting homeowners from achieving a greenhouse? Going green would probably take a big bite out of your budget for home renovation or home construction, that’s why. A lot of materials in building a home that makes it easier to achieve desirable temperature are very costly. In America, building an eco-friendly home would cost at a range of $100,000 to $400,000 because of its high-quality materials and methods of construction that will offer fewer repairs in the future than a standard home would require.

You are probably preparing to stop reading from here because who would want to deal with expenses just to go green? I know. We know! But think long term. Being green can be quite expensive or out of your budget — but one thing is for sure, in the long run, a green home will definitely increase your savings. With this, you wouldn’t have to stress yourself out and worry from paying high monthly bills anymore, you would be able to put your money into something else that is more important, save extra money for special occasions, outings, and travels, and you are going to help in the reduction of carbon footprint which is a very important issue in saving the Earth. Those are just some of the prizes that await.

Here are some techniques you can do to start from black to going green:

Refer to Your Map

When purchasing or building a home, future homeowners should definitely consider one of the most vital aspects — location. The property’s location is important because it plays a huge role in your first steps to go green. Try building or looking for a home that is not facing west. This technique can certainly keep your home cool because it is less exposed from the sun throughout the day. You might also want to avoid properties that are in environmentally sensitive areas. These areas are either frequently hit by hurricanes, gets easily flooded, or earthquake-prone. Checking for accessible supermarkets and other facilities is also important and if there is a convenient way to get to public transport as this will help you reduce usage of your vehicle from getting to a point.

Get Some Sun

The most renewable energy comes directly from the sun. And human beings have come a long way in figuring out how to use the sun’s energy to achieve the most beneficial prizes. One of which is cutting down the consumption of energy through collected solar power in solar panels. Solar panels are initially expensive. But the remarkable long-term energy savings can leave a household in awe. The amount of power a home can collect depends on the location and the way the panels are constructed. So if you want to go from green to greener, solar panels will certainly be of great help.

Switch to Efficient Appliances

You just purchased or built your dream green home, congratulations! But it doesn’t stop there. Another idea to achieve a greener home is selecting the best appliances for your home that are energy-efficient. There are many appliances that offer not only remarkable energy savings but also performance. Try to choose those who are certified by adjudged as energy-efficient by certain institutions and agencies.

Think Small

We have our own preferences but when it comes to the size of a home, it is best to build a smaller one if you are planning of going green. Mainly because a smaller house takes less impact on the environment compare to that of a large home. With the amount of space in a larger house, it would likely require more heating and cooling. It is advisable to make your home provide way more tangible benefits out of the money spent in building it. However, extending the family or bringing in some relatives is inevitable. Just make sure to put adequate means in place.

Keep in Mind the 3Rs

We have been accommodating the principle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle or the 3Rs. Cut back on the amount of trash generated in your household. This means to lessen acquiring unnecessary products that are harmful to the environment. You can also recycle materials like plastics, tiles, and glasses for aesthetic purposes in your next home improvement project. You can also reuse materials like wood flooring and doors that you have previously used.

Go Green Light

One misconception about LEDs is that they are much more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs. That is true. But wanting a greenhouse means taking all measures to “be green” including choosing environment-friendly lights such as LEDs. Although they are costly to acquire, they offer remarkable savings from energy in the long run.

Harvest Rainwater

Most households in America use rain barrels to collect rainwater. It is advisable to get one or any rainwater harvesting system if you are building a greenhouse. This technique collects rainwater from the roof and make its way to a tank as its storage. The water that is collected will be used for such household purposes including sprinkler systems and toilets.

Replace or Update Windows

The U.S. Department of Energy (Energy Saver) said that energy efficient windows are an important consideration for both new and existing homes. In green homebuilding, it is important to know that windows with higher energy efficiency can definitely increase energy-savings in the household. In selecting, look for windows that are labeled as ENERGY STAR windows. These products are deemed energy efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are designed to protect the environment. For a purchased home, a thorough window inspection should be done to get an idea whether existing windows have air leaks, need treatment, or need to be replaced. In this manner, homebuyer would be able to come up with the best solutions to improve efficiency and achieve a greenhouse.

New Homeowner Essentials

In reality, low mortgage rates prompt first-time shoppers to purchase a home without any careful consideration of what will be necessary in the future. Most likely, many buyers will purchase a home that will demand for several improvements or repairs in both mechanical and structural aspects. The expense of such measures would likely cause the homeowner to break the bank.

Sure. One house in the market will match your fancy—a spacious outdoor, a big pool, nice kitchen—basically, a buyer’s dream home. But with the help of professionals from the real estate field, a buyer would be able to go beyond the gleaming covers of what they will call home. A home inspection is essential for first-time shoppers. However, a few buyers tend to overlook the inspection in order for their offer to look more engaging to the sellers considering a competitive market nowadays. It is a responsibility of the agent to spell out the hint of menace that would come about without a proper inspection prior to purchasing a home. Most of the time, homeowners buying a house that is not in good condition—with the intention of improving it and increasing its value—pay particular attention only to aesthetics. A lot of priority issues get usually disregarded.

Window or roof replacement and porch improvement are—without a doubt—costly! However, doing such procedures will help a homeowner to stop throwing their hard-earned money from energy bills and protect their investment overall.

Roof Inspection

One of the most important facets of a house is its topmost layer. A buyer purchased a home with a badly damaged roofing. We are not just talking about missing a number of shingles but a poorly working roofing underlayment. It is important to have an idea of how old the roofing is and the manner that it was built before moving forward. It is also essential to check on other parts such as the chimneys and flashing as pieces of waste or even animals are able to gain entry even into small openings.

A shingle roof can last up to thirty years compared to the life of a metal roof which is 2 to 3 times to that of the shingle roofing. Nevertheless, metal roofing is much high-priced. It can be quite practical to have one’s roof inspected by professionals for storm wrecks on a yearly basis. It can also be useful if homeowners do their own inspection visually by listing down missing or small damage details.

Home Insulation

A well-insulated home gets to keep all the desired temperature in the house all year long. Insulation helps protect home from the cold that the winter brings and the excess heat that the summer offers. It is also useful to prevent pests such as rodents and bugs to infiltrate the house. Initially, a first-time homeowner should know if the house is permeable through insulation experts. Somehow, they would be advised to take part in some repairs or changes including the usage of waterproof filler and sealant. Aside from helping a homeowner increase energy savings, doing so also helps them from getting harmful waste creep into their home. Homeowners can also refer to the house’s energy bills throughout the years to get an idea or to measure the efficiency of the house’s insulation.

Green Care

Keeping the greens in your property adds up to the beauty of one’s entire home. While these trees can beautify your garden or backyard, figure out how to prevent future dilemmas it may cause. Big branches may fall heavily during a bad weather or storms. Trees suffering from disease may spread. Roots can also damage pipes. It is best to get the advice of a tree surgeon regarding the trees around the property and check if the limbs need to get pruned regularly and if the ill ones need to be removed at once.

Gutter Overflow

It sure is terrifying when it is storming or just raining cats and dogs. Your house is not safe from interior leaking during heavy rains or you might just wake up from a stagnant water in the yard all because of bad downspouts and gutters. For a first-time homeowner, it is critical to check whether the home’s gutters are wide enough for water to flow freely without leaves and other elements getting clogged. The standard width of a gutter for most homes is about 4 to 6 inches. It is useful to clear gutters every year or every six months. On the other hand, to prevent water collecting near the house and infiltrating inside which may cause mold, downspouts should be lengthen or extended 5 feet from the foundation of the house.

Lighting Upgrade

For first-time homeowners, it is important to know which will take a big bite out of their savings when it comes to lighting. Unlike incandescent bulbs, Light-emitting diode lights evidently use much less energy. Diode light is more power-wise than filament light because they use more than ¾ less energy than incandescent bulbs. In an average American household, there are about 30-40 incandescent bulbs installed. If replaced with LEDs, homeowners could save up to $300-$400 on energy cost annually. Although LEDs can be pricier than incandescent bulbs, it can be worth it as they are much efficient and will increase energy savings in the long run. However, before buying for the entire home, it is best to decide on what shade would best fit in your spaces as LEDs have a variation in terms of shades. If you get convinced on replacing old bulbs, do not throw them away for safety—to some extent. Compact fluorescent lamp bulbs has mercury vapor that could be released into the air. It can also infiltrate into any water runoff if it breaks in a landfill. They can also be recycled for aesthetic purposes. Some parts of it can be reused. But if you do not have any reason to keep them, just take them to any hazardous waste center near you.