Vinyl siding is the choice of many homeowners and builders due to its durability, long life, and ease of installation. Unlike painted siding, it does not require repainting every four to five years, making it an essentially maintenance-free and economical choice over a long term. Simple cleaning or power washing on a yearly basis is all that is needed to keep this siding looking like new for many years.
Vinyl siding has improved greatly from its beginnings, resisting fading and warping like the earlier products were known to do. It is also now available in a vast range of colors and patterns, including wood, stone, and metal faux veneers that appear identical to these real materials from even short distances when expertly installed. For those who love the look of stone or cedar but not the expensive price tags, vinyl siding can offer the ideal solution.
One of the drawbacks of standard vinyl siding is that it doesn’t offer additional insulation. This issue has been addressed with the introduction of insulated siding that is now available from a number of manufacturers. It offers all of the advantages of other vinyl siding, plus many more.
Insulated vinyl siding can significantly reduce energy costs by increasing the home’s energy efficiency by four to five times over that of traditional vinyl. These savings can effectively pay for the siding in just a few years making insulated vinyl an even more economical siding choice.
The appearance and feel of insulated vinyl is more like wood siding due to increased firmness and stiffness. Traditional vinyl is flexible, following a structure’s bends and bumps that are ultimately highlighted by the material rather than masked. Insulated vinyl is inflexible, offering a smooth appearance like that of wood siding. It also offers greater protection from impact damage such as hail, storm debris, and accidental impacts from golf balls or baseballs that can so easily happen with busy, active families.
The thermal insulation that improves a home’s energy efficiency also has significant acoustical advantages, reducing the levels of noise from the outside. This results in an interior that is much more quiet and comfortable, especially for homes located near busy streets or intersections.
Of all the siding options available, it is little wonder that vinyl siding is the most popular for its beauty, durability, and maintenance-free advantages. Though it costs more up front than traditional vinyl, insulated vinyl offers even greater advantages with the significant money savings in energy costs. When considering siding choices, put insulated vinyl at the top of the list for economy and quality.
There is nothing as comforting as a toasty fire on a cold winter night. Frigid, outstretched fingers absorb the heat emanating from the fireplace. While most homes offer heat in one form or another, energy costs may make you think twice before turning up the thermostat. You can improve your comfort and make your home more energy efficient this winter by checking for air leaks and inspecting your heating system to ensure it is working properly. In addition, you can improve your energy efficiency by using electric fireplaces with an electric fireplace insert featuring patented flame technology. Look for highly efficient heaters and fans inside efficient fireboxes and furniture quality mantels that provide heat exactly when and where you want it.
As much as most people enjoy a good fire, most homes do not offer fireplaces for a variety of reasons. Many people living in apartments and condos didn’t even have the option for a fireplace until now. Today’s technology has created an electric solution that provides all of the heat and ambiance of a traditional, masonry style fireplace, but without the mess, the fire hazards, or the lumber requirements traditionally associated with fireplaces.
Save Money with Supplemental Heat
Most homes use central heat, a furnace, or radiant heaters to provide the heat they need in winter, but these can quickly become prohibitively expensive. Heating and cooling your home represents approximately 56% of your annual energy bill, which is why these fireplaces are worth your consideration. Checking the insulation of your home, caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows, maintaining an efficient heating system by changing filters regularly, and having the system maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions are also important.
One way to significantly reduce your heating bill is by making use of supplemental heat. Supplemental heat allows you to only heat the areas of your home that are being used. Instead of heating your entire home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can keep your thermostat at a lower temperature and use supplemental heat sources to keep specific areas of your home warmer when you need it. Electric fireplaces with an electric fireplace insert can generate enough heat to maintain 400 square feet at a comfortable temperature for only pennies a day.
Selective Heating Saves Money
While electricity rates vary by region, the efficiency of various heat sources is relatively constant. Gas fireplaces generally operate at a cost of 17 to 24 cents per hour, while electric fireplaces provide realistic looking flames for about 3 cents per hour and flames with heat for around 8 to 12 cents an hour. Instead of heating your entire home, you can save money and energy by supplementing your heat needs, allowing you to maintain a lower, overall temperature while staying comfortably warm even on the coldest winter days and nights.
An electric fireplace insert allows you to get the best of both worlds: a traditional fireplace hearth and mantel with the convenience, efficiency and low maintenance aspect of an electric fireplace. Each electric fireplace insert can provide clean, inexpensive heat that only takes the touch of a button to start heating your room. Instead of adding to the problems of air pollution and creating a mess to clean up, you can easily install an electric fireplace insert as a replacement for your existing grate and enjoy 4700 BTUs of heat each hour for far less than most other heat sources.
Suit Your Style with Mobile Heat
Electric fireplaces use patented flame technology to give the appearance of a genuine fire, complete with logs and embers, without any of the negatives associated with a real fire. Another advantage to using an electric fireplace with an electric fireplace insert is the variety of styles available. Whether your current decor is modern, colonial, or anything in between, there is an electric fireplace specifically designed to meet your needs.
The mobility of these fireplaces makes them especially useful in only heating the rooms being used. If you select an Amish electric fireplace, all you have to do to heat a different room is wheel the unit to where you want it. Easy to maneuver, the quality craftsmanship that goes into making these premium Amish electric fireplaces explains their furniture quality design and their attractive appearance.
Keeping your home well insulated, eliminating leaks, and making use of supplemental heat from electric fireplaces and electric fireplace inserts can mean the difference between a miserable winter spent fighting off colds and aching joints or the cozy comfort of a well heated home that doesn’t break your bank account.
The smartest people in the commercial real estate industry agree–if we really got energy efficiency in buildings right using smart building technologies, corporations could save so much money that there would be little need for solar panels or windmills. While most experts are still strong supporters of these alternative energy sources, they agree that extreme energy efficiency measures could have very dramatic positive results.
On the other hand, there are an increasing number of people who are growing disenchanted with the energy efficiency movement. It is not that they are against the idea, it just seems like it is an “all or nothing” proposition, and one of the major aspects of smart building technologies is the impact they can have on OPERATIONS and TENANT SAFETY/SATISFACTION as well as energy efficiency–which solar panels and windmills don’t offer.
In our world of buildings, a world that impacts us every time we enter an office, mall, school or sporting venue, and an environment that requires a great degree of operational support, why totally ignore the operational benefits, financial and human productivity possibilities, and tenant safety/satisfaction potential of intelligent, connected, high performance smart buildings?
This new generation of smart buildings, in which an IT infrastructure is laid on top of a building and every electro-mechanical device is IP enabled and connected with the ability to send data and be controlled, can provide energy savings and a WHOLE LOT MORE. The concept of centralized portfolio control with dramatically reengineered workflow, combined with advanced data analytics and visualization, could have an equal (if not greater) impact on the operational and tenant satisfaction bottom line of a building when comparing energy efficiency and savings.
Building owners care a lot about the costs of running a building. If these state of the art concepts and technologies can significantly reduce operating costs, why not exploit that fact? These details should be included in the overall strategy when cost-justifying the retrofitting of existing buildings. It makes sense to look at every aspect of these intelligent and smart buildings. Go through the front door with energy efficiency but, by no means stop there; operational efficiency and tenant satisfaction will round out the complete justification for making smart building investments.
One small, yet interesting example of this approach would be the management of fire extinguishers. Despite more technology in an iPhone than we had on the first space launch, we continue each month to walk every square foot of our buildings in search of a fire extinguisher with a small paper card attached and a hole to punch. With some pretty basic smart building technology, we can connect those fire extinguishers to a network and monitor them in real time, with almost no future financial investment. This also has a good sustainability aspect, as we are not using natural resources to transport humans in their search for cards to punch.
Another area relevant to smart building technology with a very fast payback is digital signage. Despite the fact that the hardware and technology costs have become very competitive, we continue to rely on analog solutions to communicate information in our lobbies. If you look at the cost and process, with multiple people and methods of getting a tenant’s name up on a lobby sign, it is a very inefficient way to communicate tenant information. In addition to a simple tenant directory, digital signage can also offer advertising (potential revenues), and fire life safety information in the event of an emergency.
Many different areas of a building’s operations would benefit greatly from automation: HVAC, lighting, security/access, energy, fire/life/safety, lifts, water management, landscaping/irrigation, audio visual, digital signage, parking, voice/data and more.
If we truly want to take our buildings to the next level of sophistication and take advantage of all available technologies, then start thinking of the three categories that make a smart building–energy efficiency and conservation, operational efficiency, tenant safety and satisfaction. If we include all of these categories in our financial justification models, it becomes a much easier decision to retrofit and move our buildings into the 21st century.
The Pew Center for Global Climate Change highlights why firms need to be proactive when it comes to finding ways to become energy efficient and should not wait for any regulation that will be compelled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In a recent report, the Center has concluded that there are a number of attitudinal and reputational advantages for such initiatives that lead to financial benefits.
Companies should start to consider some examples of energy efficiency should they wish to find ways of improving their market position. According to Pew, those companies that strive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as a core part of the business strategy benefited in many different ways. So long as clear goals were established and the system was set up to collect data and manage the outcome, clear results could be demonstrated.
It is emphasized by the Pew Center for Global Climate Change that companies need to be proactive in seeking energy efficient practices, and need not wait for any EPA-imposed regulation to compel such. A recent report that was issued by the body offers a clearer picture. Companies which are studied by the Center has cited some important reputational, attitudinal, and financial benefits.
As energy use can account for one of the largest costs in a business operation, cost savings on energy consumption can be a very hot topic in the board rooms. Decision makers in various organizations are finding energy efficiency examples are realizing that targets that are easy to achieve would actually result to financial savings which might be difficult to duplicate anywhere else.
Organizations are now seeking options for energy efficiency like ceiling insulation, having efficient doors and windows, installation of motion detectors, upgrading of lighting systems, among other energy efficiency examples, as a way to help generate savings through power use reduction which consequently helps curtail carbon emissions and.
Those who are taking early actions in their commitment to energy efficiency could also help in leading to maintenance cost reductions. These improvements, if communicated well to staff, lead to an uptick in morale. In short, the organization wins all the way down the line and can maneuver itself into a position to enhance its reputation.
Building stock typically lasts for an average of fifty years and many companies find themselves occupying buildings that are far from efficient. The federal government is actually supportive of retrofitting of already existing assets and appliances by providing financial grants for such initiatives.
Companies must become more aware of the growing move toward carbon regulation. Carbon, being a byproduct of fossil fuel produced energy, is a direct contributor to global warming and the majority of scientists agree is responsible for accelerating climate change. By becoming more energy efficient, an organization can help to avoid any potential direct carbon taxation in the future.
There are many examples of energy efficiency in action and plenty of reasons for the typical organization to conform. Management must make sure that they are in possession of accurate and up-to-date information, generated in real-time, so that they can ensure that all assets are operating to peak efficiency, cutting back their raw energy costs to a minimum.
On turning the pages of history of mankind through ages, there is no dearth of instances wherein man has tried his ingenuity to harness the ever present solar energy to his advantage. While most of the experiments ended with a magnifying glass being used to light torches, the first device which successfully concentrated the suns rays was a solar energy cooker designed for an African safari. The credit of this invention was bestowed on a Swiss scientist, Horace de Saussure, and it was this discovery which laid the basis for the creation of the first modern solar panel in 1954. Being a novelty in that era, this device was exorbitantly priced but dedicated research through the years has resulted in the solar panel price in India to spiral downwards with the intention of making it affordable by all and sundry.
One of the main determinants of solar panel price in India as well as the world over is the type of panel which is chosen by the user after having gauged his requirements. In spite of the availability of myriad options, solar panels exist in two avatars namely flat plate collectors and evacuated heat tubes. While a normal flat plate collector is economically priced, when it is fortified with evacuated pipes, its price simply shoots through the roof. This is owing to the fact that these pipes are highly priced and on being installed greatly enhance the efficiency of the panel as well.
Yet another factor which makes a difference in the solar panel price is the size of the panel as also the scope of its usage. If the solar power requirement is limited to a single room with a window, a panel worth a few hundred dollars would suffice but on the other hand if the entire house depends on solar energy for its requirements then the cost is likely to run into thousands of dollars. An important recommendation in this regard is that any household should not depend solely on solar power and must have a back-up system to account for cloudy days and extra requirements.
Having decided to invest in a solar panel system, the next course of action entails conducting a thorough research on each of the options and then conducting a comparison of the solar panel price. The cost is assessed on dollar/watt ratio and an efficient panel is identified accordingly but adjudging if its ratio is close to the average estimated costing. Normally the trend which has been observed in this regard has been that brand new panels boast of a higher ratio and hence cost a fortune while those equipped with primitive technology provide the user with a lower ratio and thus are affordably priced.
At the lowest rung of the list of solar panel price in India is the option of scrap solar cells. During the manufacturing process some solar cells are broken down and are sold by manufacturers as individual units for a very low price. Scrap solar cells can also be purchased online through a reliable retailers website and then these need to be soldered together to form a single big unit. In this way the user can save considerably on the cost aspect provided he is an expert at soldering and has enough space to accommodate a large panel of many scrap solar cells welded together.