Did you know that proper landscaping doesn’t only add beauty to your home, but it can improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills? On average a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years.

Did you know that proper landscaping doesn’t only add beauty to your home, but it can improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills? On average a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years.

Did you know that proper landscaping doesn’t only add beauty to your home, but it can improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills? On average a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years.

Did you know that proper landscaping doesn’t only add beauty to your home, but it can improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills? On average a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years.

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The House on the Cliff by GilBartolome Architects, in Granada, Spain is buried into the side of a cliff. It has a concrete roof that is 16 inches thick that “allows for a magnificent mix of insulation and thermal inertia.” It maintains an interior temperature of 19.5°C [67°F] year round without additional heating or cooling.

The construction of the House on the Cliff relies heavily on craftsmanship and local labor. The house was to be built during the worst possible financial crisis on Spain, with 26% of unemployment in our country, and close to 36% unemployment rates in the region where the house was built. In this social context we decided to avoid machine made industrial construction systems and develop an architecture that is based on many hours of labor.

To read more click here.

According to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), of all the energy efficient baseball parks in America, Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, takes the top spot. The park boasts an LEED Gold rating because of its energy-efficient building envelope. Their energy efficient approach to mechanical, electrical, lighting, heating and cooling systems results in a 22% cost savings when compared to similar structures.

The ASE notes the following important points:

  • The ballpark has an 8,000-ton retractable roof that requires a lot of energy to operate, but regenerative drive systems reduce power consumption so that it costs less than $10 in electricity to open or close.
  • Plumbing – which includes 250 waterless urinals – uses 52% less water than in similar stadiums. Meanwhile, landscaping around the stadium uses 60% less potable water for irrigation because its drought-resistant plants need less water.
  • Windows and glass panels provide ample natural lighting.
  • Marlins Park was built on the site of the old Orange Bowl, so it is accessible via multipletransportation options; the park also offers over 300 bike racks. In addition, 60% of the materials used to build Marlins Park came from within a 500-mile radius, which reduced fuel consumption.

Rounding out the top 7 energy efficient baseball parks are:
2. Target Field, Minnesota Twins
3. Nationals Park, Washington Nationals
4. AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants
5. Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners
6. Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers
7. Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals

To read the complete article click here.

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The Department of Energy is suggesting that as a new years resolution people consider efforts to save energy in 2016. Their suggestions, illustrated in the graphic above, include the following:

Tips to Save Energy in 2016

1. Install and set a programmable thermostat. You could save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort.

2. Use sunlight to your advantage. The sun’s rays can contribute heat in the winter but force air conditioners and fans to work harder — and use more energy — in the summer. During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home. During warmer months, use light-colored window shades or blinds to reflect heat back outside, keeping your home cooler and more efficient. Using natural lighting effectively will also reduce the need to use artificial light.

3. When replacing appliances or purchasing electronics, look for ENERGY STAR appliances, fans and electronics to save energy in 2016. Your home’s appliances and electronics account for close to 20 percent of your energy bills. Using ENERGY STAR® certified products — which incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-15 percent less energy and water than standard models — throughout your home could save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the products. For example, ENERGY STAR clothes washers use about 40 percent less energy than conventional clothes washers while reducing water bills. ENERGY STAR washers also require less detergent and are gentler on clothes, saving you money on clothing expenses.

4. Choose energy-saving lighting. About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs. By just replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LEDs.

5. Use an electronic power strip for your electronic equipment. Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called energy vampires, these devices cost families about $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. And be sure to unplug your chargers — they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.

6. Save energy in 2016 by reducing energy for water heating. Water heating is a large energy expense in your home, accounting for about 14-18 percent of your utility bills. By taking low-cost steps, you can reduce your water heating bills. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Install low-flow showerheads or temperature-sensitive shower valves. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, you should wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.

7. Hire a professional to maintain your heating and cooling system. Arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician. This includes checking the airflow over the coil, testing for the correct fluid (refrigerant) level, checking the combustion process and heat exchanger are operating safely, and ensuring proper air-flow to each room. In addition, you should clean the air filters in your heating and cooling system once a month, and replace them regularly.

8. Consult a home performance contractor to achieve large savings. There is a growing industry of professionals who are qualified to make recommendations to homeowners on how to improve the overall energy efficiency of their homes. These professional energy assessors will do a comprehensive energy audit of your whole house using special tools — such as a blower door test and an infrared camera to locate air leaks — to measure home energy efficiency.

To read the full article click here.

As the 2016 race for the White House heats up, we’ve decided to take a look at the plumbing of presidential politics. In the summer of 2016 each major party will host their national convention. The Republican Party will have its nominating convention in Cleveland, OH at the Quicken Loans Arena from July 18th-21st. Days later the Democratic Party are doing it in Philadelphia, PA at the Wells Fargo Center from July 25th-28th.

So who has the edge in plumbing? Well, there’s good news for both parties here.

Quicken Loans Arena

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The Quicken Loans arena has decreased the amount of water dispensed by one gallon per cycle. They did this by replacing all public restroom sinks with more water efficient spouts.

They also use a system that produces ionized water to be used as a cleaner that, once utilized, reverts back to water. This method of recycling water is an eco-friendly way to clean glass, stainless steel, carpets and hard surfaces at The Q. It also minimizes the need for conventional chemicals.

Wells Fargo Center

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The Wells Fargo Center has made a number of plumbing improvements as well.

For example, they installed automatic faucets to reduce water waste. They also installed a dual flush feature on water closets to further reduce water consumption.

They then further lowered consumption by reducing water flow to toilet fixtures.

In summary it seems that both parties have chosen arenas that have utilized plumbing to conserve water and gain cost and energy saving efficiencies.

Great graphic from U.S. Department of Energy on everything you need to know about home heating.

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Visit the US Department of Energy for more information.