How to Plan an Energy-Efficient Kitchen Remodel

So, you’ve decided to do an energy-efficient remodel of your kitchen. That’s great! Whether you are doing it for environmental reasons or want to cut down on that monthly bill, you’ve undertaken a worthwhile (if daunting) task. This guide will help you take baby-steps towards a new energy-efficient kitchen. Step 1: Identify the culprits (up, down, and around). Energy wasters are everywhere — and it is your task to find them. Examine your light fixtures and note if you are using energy-efficient light bulbs or not. Take note of your dishwasher and range oven. Most large appliances will have a yellow ‘EnergyGuide’ label on them (look up the make and model online if you don’t find it). This gui

What is the Best Time of Year to Repair Concrete?

That’s it — you’ve finally had enough! After months (or years) of mild inconvenience and a moderate eyesore you’ve finally made the choice to repair that perennially cracked concrete driveway. Your father always said, “The best time of year to repair concrete is yesterday,” but it’s too late for that. It’s time to put something on the calendar. Summer Throw on some shorts and shades — summer seems like a safe bet! The hot weather should help the concrete set and dry, right? For concrete to harden, the liquid cement needs to move within and form around aggregate, a mixture of materials like gravel and sand. Although heat is a critical component in the setting of concrete (in fact setting is a

How to Measure Your Attic's Insulation

Whether you just purchased a new house or have been in your place for a while, it's a good idea to check whether or not your attic is insulated properly. Sufficient attic insulation is essential to creating a home environment that is both comfortable and energy efficient. The last thing you want is your hard earned paycheck going out the window with all your conditioned air. Thankfully, measuring your attic insulation is a very easy task. Just follow these steps to ensure your attic is sufficiently insulated. All you need is a ruler and a pen and paper. Step 1: Identify the Type of Insulation in Your Attic Before proceeding with measuring the insulation, take a quick look at the different ty

How Can I Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Home? (Part 2)

There are numerous things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home, from targeting your home's envelope — walls, attic, windows and doors — to replacing old windows and heating systems (all things we discussed in Part 1 of this series). But what if you're past windows and insulation, and still have more to gain? What comes next? Update Your Hot Water System All semi-modern water heaters have two key settings: hot and warm. Start by turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting, lowering it from 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, install low-flow fixtures for showers and baths. This is a meaningful way to reduce water use day after

How Can I Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Home? (Part 1)

Your house is more than four walls and a roof. It's a complex system with numerous components working together to meet the demands you place on it. If your home is not working efficiently to keep up with those demands you may experience things like inconsistent temperatures throughout the house, drafts, or even excess moisture indoors. No good! Improving efficiency usually comes down to targeting your home's envelope: walls, the attic, windows and doors. Once those foundations are good to go, then you can move to updating your heating and cooling systems or replacing lighting and appliances. It's important not to get ahead of yourself. After all, what's the point of installing a better furna

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