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Leaky House? Try a Blower Door Test

Retrofits

Do you have a leaky house? Let us help.

Summer is finally here, and it’s hot, hot, hot out there. As outside temperatures continue to rise, you may notice that parts of your home have a hard time staying cool. If so, this could be a result of a leaky home.

Energy efficient homes are as airtight as possible. So, how do I know if I have a leaky house, you ask? Let us help.

The best way to gauge the airtightness of a house is to conduct a blower door test. Blower door testing can be useful for both new homes and older homes.

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A blower door test can measure the following:
• Airtightness levels needed to qualify for certain home labeling programs, including Energy Star and Passivhaus;
• Heat loss and heat gain
• Moisture condensation problems

The test also evaluates how much ventilation may be needed to reach acceptable indoor air quality.

Once these evaluations have been made by a home energy specialist, he or she will construct a plan to address any airtightness challenges your home may face.

For more information on the benefits of door blower test, visit https://energy.gov/energysaver/blower-door-tests.

To schedule an energy audit, which includes a blower door test, contact us today.

Seven Earth Day Activities To Explore in Every Neighborhood

Earth day is Saturday, April 22, and celebrations are popping up around town. Wondering what to check out this weekend to celebrate? We’ve done the legwork for you and found some of the most exciting activities in Nashville and Franklin. From live music to yoga and volunteer opportunities, our list has a little something for everyone.

Nashville Earth Day Festival
Centennial Park
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Centennial BikeNashville’s Earth Day Festival is a free, family-friendly event with live entertainment and educational activities. With more than a hundred booths hosted by community groups and environmental organizations, the event promotes environmental awareness in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Festival highlights include live music, a green market with local produce, recycling and disposal drop off, and a clothing and shoe donation center.

Mayor Barry’s CityWide Spring Clean

Various locations

Spring Clean
Mayor Barry is encouraging the citizens of Nashville to help keep our city clean by participating in a one-day citywide cleanup. While registration may be closed, check the website for information on times and location of cleanups in your neighborhood. Also, be sure to take a selfie and tag @nashvillepwor.

Nashville Zoo’s Party for the Planet
9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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Visit the Nashville Zoo from 9:30 to 3:00 on Earth Day to hear special zookeeper talks and participate in various eco-friendly activities. Fun for the entire family, the event will also have interactive experiences, a recycled art contest, and electronics recycling.

Franklin’s Arbor Day Celebration
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Pinkerton Park

Pinkerton Park

Join The Franklin Tree Commission and the City of Franklin Parks Department for tons of fun in the trees with opportunities in tree climbing,  kids’ activities, food, information and free tree saplings at Pinkerton Park.

Cheekwood in Bloom, National Arbor Day Celebration
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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You must witness Cheekwood’s explosion of color this spring, and what better day than Earth Day! 150,000 bulbs were planted last fall in anticipation of the spring bloom — more than 109,000 of which are yellow and pink tulips.

Earth Day Jam
The 5 Spot
9:00 p.m.

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After a long day of volunteering and celebrating Mother Earth, relax with a beer and some live music and comedy at The 5 Spot. The cost for entry is $10.

Earth Day Yoga at Love Circle
5:30 p.m.

Yoga Centennial Park

Celebrate the Earth with a free yoga class atop Love Circle. Yogis of all levels are encouraged to attend. Prior to class, help clean up trash in the area and then roll out your mat for an outdoor yoga session. Stick around after the session to watch a beautiful sunset atop the city. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.

Nashville Strives to Become Greenest City in the Southeast

Photo credit: Kevin Schlatt Photography

Nashville Mayor, Megan Barry, recently released a list of priorities with the goal of making Nashville “the greenest city in the Southeast.”

Some of the goals include adding solar panels to government buildings, increased residential recycling, and planting 50,000 trees around town. In addition, the plan advocates for Nashvillians to utilize public transportation more frequently and also encourages the usage of bike transportation.

The Mayor’s office has asked for Nashville’s help in collecting public feedback on the plan. To read the full report, click here and then click here to take the survey.

  1. Read the Livable Nashville report recommendations on greening Nashville.
  2. Take the survey by March 7, 2017.

What do you think about the report? Do you think Nashville can become the greenest city in the Southeast by 2020?

10 Simple New Year’s Resolutions for Greener, More Cost-Effective Living

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It’s a new year, and most of you are in the process of planning your resolutions for the coming year. Why not consider including some easily-attainable green resolutions on your list? There are several easy steps that you can take around your home to create a greener living environment and also reduce monthly power bills. Here are ten suggested resolutions to help make your home more energy efficient in 2017.    

1. Plant a garden.

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When you plant a home garden, not only are you reducing your carbon footprint, but you’re also creating your own food source — reducing the amount of trips you take to your local market.

2. Bring more plants into your home.

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Having plants in your home can be both visually appealing and beneficial to the air quality in your home. Plants absorb pollutants in your home and also help to absorb noise.

 3. Replace traditional cleaning products with green products.

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Using green products may help reduce your chances for asthma and other lasting medical conditions. In addition, green products are much milder and don’t leave a strong chemical odor like traditional products.

 4. Replace air filters more often.

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Check your air filters at least once every two months. Air filters are in place to prevent airborne particles in the air. The more saturated the filter, the more airborne particles in the air and the less air flow your HVAC system is circulating. A dirty filter can also become damp and grow mold or other damaging bacteria if not monitored regularly.

 5. Replace traditional bulbs with LED bulbs.

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LED bulbs are more affordable than ever before. LED bulbs also put out more light and last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours longer than a traditional bulb. For a small investment, you can easily lower your energy costs while helping protect the environment at the same time.

6. Budget for new insulation.

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This is a step that is often overlooked — especially in older homes. If you have a leaky space or several leaky spaces in your home, it can cost you thousands of extra dollars a year on your power bill. Have a professional inspect your home to check for major leaks and then hire a company to spray new insulation in the space.

 7. Check chimneys, doors, and windows for air leaks.

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Much like leaks in your insulation, cracks in doors, windows, and chimneys can also greatly increase your monthly power bill. On average, some homes lose up to 30 percent of heating and cooling energy through leaks a year. Window insulator kits and caulking can be purchased at your local convenience store and easily installed.

 8. Replace old appliances.

INDIA MUMBAI 29MAY10 - Energy star rated appliances at white goods retail store Vijay Sales in Midway Mumbai, India. jre/Photo by Jiri Rezac © Jiri Rezac 2010

Commit to saving for that new fridge or washing machine you’ve been eyeing for months. Because modern appliances are becoming more and more energy efficient, installing new appliances in your home may significantly lower your energy bills. But be sure to donate appliances whenever possible to keep them out of your local landfill.

 9. Install a carbon monoxide alarm.

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Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that is very dangerous. All homes should be equipped with one or more carbon monoxide alarms, as any heat-producing element is capable of producing carbon monoxide. You can pick one of these up at any local big box store or online.

10. Schedule an energy audit.

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Energy audits can save you time and money by helping to identify energy irregularities in your home. During an audit, a certified home energy professional will complete a visual inspection of your home, review your energy bills, and conduct a blower door test to pinpoint leaky areas of your home. Schedule your audit today and start 2017 out right!

What are your green New Year’s resolutions this year? Share some of your resolutions from previous years that may have helped you reduce your carbon footprint.

Easy and Creative Ways to Save Energy This Halloween

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Not only is Halloween quickly approaching, October is also National Energy Action Month. So, October may be a great time to consider your energy-saving goals and ways to make your home more sustainable (and save money too). Here are several simple steps you can take to make sure you can save energy this Halloween season.

Make your own Halloween costume.

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Some of the most creative and memorable Halloween costumes are those that are homemade. Gather inspiration from Pinterest and popular blogs and then assess what materials you already have in your home and the supplies you may need to purchase. Consider everyday items that you may already have in your home that you can repurpose for costumes like cardboard boxes, clothing, and everyday household items.

Use LED lights for pumpkins and outdoor decorations. You may also consider using solar lighting. SONY DSC

Not only do LED lights last 25 percent longer than traditional lights, they also produce 75 percent less energy. Consider using LED string lights outside your home and also inside your pumpkins. Another alternative to LED lighting is solar lighting.

 Dispose of your pumpkin waste in a sustainable way.

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Tis the season of the pumpkin – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin carving, pumpkin patches, and more! While pumpkins can be a source of holiday fun, it’s also good to remember to dispose of them responsibly. After carving a pumpkin, consider toasting the seeds for a snack and using the pumpkin guts for baking purposes. According to experts, composting pumpkins is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of your family pumpkin and offers several environmental benefits. Be sure to remove all seeds prior to composting.

Consider giving a more eco-friendly treat to trick-or-treaters

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According to hearts.com, one pound of waste is generated per Trick-or-Treater every Halloween. In addition, altogether, Americans spend $7 billion on candy, costumes, etc. Imagine how much waste and cash could be saved by giving an eco-friendly treat instead that could be repurposed and used multiple times. Some candy alternatives include stickers, DIY crafts, school supplies, or a healthy snack.

Check out this spooky infographic from the Department of Energy on how you can ward off energy waste ghosts at your home. http://energy.gov/articles/energy-efficiency-tricks-stop-your-energy-bill-haunting-you

What energy-saving tips have worked well for you and your family during Halloween?