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Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Save Money Use Plastics

Solar Shade Screens Save Energy

Efficient Siding Options

Choosing the Right Color

Cool News About Fans

Dim A Little Save A Lot

Eco - Friendly Cookware

 

As Savings Increase, So Does The Popularity

Of Geothermal

(NAPSI)—The popularity of geothermal home heating and cooling systems is growing. In fact, North American Clean Energy magazine reports that the geothermal energy industry is experiencing unprecedented growth.

With increasing frequency, homeowners are choosing the high efficiency and comfort of a geothermal system. Using the abundant source of free solar energy stored in the earth, a geothermal heating and cooling system can save homeowners as much as 70 percent on cooling bills. For homeowners who are looking to conserve energy and reduce their utility costs, making the transition from a traditional home comfort system to a geothermal system is appealing.

The investment in geothermal may be made even more attractive by a federal residential renewable energy tax credit that offers homeowners a tax incentive of 30 percent of the total investment for a geothermal system installed before December 31, 2016. This tax incentive is retroactive to January 1, 2009 and can be used in combination with utility rebates and state tax incentives to make geothermal systems more affordable than ever.

Environmental benefits may also contribute to the growing popularity of geothermal since the systems do not emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases that are considered to be major contributors to environmental air pollution. In addition, lower peak demands for geothermal systems help postpone the need to build more-expensive electric-generating plants and reduce the need for natural resources such as coal or gases to generate electricity.

According to the experts at WaterFurnace, a leading manufacturer of geothermal cooling and heating equipment, the average life span of a geothermal system exceeds 24 years—compared to 15 years for a more traditional heating and cooling system—which adds to the growing popularity of geothermal technology among homeowners. Additionally, homeowners can count on even distribution of heating and cooling for improved comfort from a system that requires little to no maintenance.

To discover how you can benefit from a geothermal system, visit www.waterfurnace.com or call (800) GEO-SAVE.

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Innovations Save Money, Energy

(NAPSI)—In today’s real estate market, more Americans are choosing to stay in their homes and focus on renovations and improvements rather than moving. Home improvement expert Jodi Marks notes that many homeowners are looking for meaningful fixes, such as decorative enhancements and space-saving strategies, that can make a home feel fresh again.

“People are also focused on saving money and energy by looking for building products that offer both current and long-term benefits,” said Marks. “Like many architects and designers, homeowners are turning to plastics to help reduce energy and maintenance costs.”

According to Marks, innovations in plastic building and construction products have made it even easier for homeowners to save money, make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint. Some of these innovations can be made of recycled plastics. All types of plastic bottles and containers, when properly recycled, can go on to lead a “second life” as new products for homeowners, such as decking and furniture. Here’s a look at the ways:

• Windows: Applying plastic-based caulks and sealants is a quick, easy fix for drafty windows. If replacement windows are needed, vinyl plastic windows provide excellent insulation to help maintain an even temperature in the home. This cuts down on heating and air-conditioning, saving homeowners money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

• Decking and fencing: Lumber made with plastics is durable, doesn’t require painting or staining, and is easy to maintain. It’s also resistant to fading, mold and mildew. Some plastic lumber is even made with recycled plastic grocery bags.

• Flooring: Plastic-composite laminate flooring is readily installed over almost any existing, hard-floor surface. Each piece simply locks into another, so even a large room can be installed in an afternoon. Because of plastics, composite flooring is durable and both stain and moisture resistant, which means it requires little maintenance and works well in just about any room of the home. Luxury vinyl tile—a tough, durable tile that’s already proved itself for many years in commercial settings—is thicker and made entirely of plastics, with a beautiful finished look to rival traditional materials. It also locks into place over existing flooring for a do-it-yourself project.

• Roofing: Plastic roofing can look like slate or wood shakes and it’s long lasting and tough enough to withstand extreme weather. Manufacturers often offer a 50-year warranty; some even offer a lifetime warranty when the product is installed by a professional. It can also help provide additional insulation protection as part of the roofing system, as well as reflect heat, so it helps reduce heating and cooling costs and energy use.

• Insulation: Adding foam and other plastic insulation when renovating or residing a home can help homeowners save on heating and cooling bills. For example, plastic house wrap can reduce infiltration of outside air by up to 50 percent.

To learn more, check out Plastics Make it Possible® at www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com.

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Saving On Energy Costs With Solar Shade Screens

(NAPSI)—A good way to reduce your home’s cooling costs could be made in the shade—that is, if you use external solar shade screens.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a good way to keep your house cool in the summer is to shade it from the outside. Any way that stops the sun before it gets through the glass is seven times as good at keeping you cool as blinds or curtains on the inside.

Exterior solar shade screens absorb and dissipate a large percentage of solar heat and glare before they reach windows and doors; this keeps the window glass and home interior cool. This method of cooling is considered to be superior to glass tinting, which filters the light along with the UV rays.

Solar screening works by reducing the volume of light without filtering. As the glass filters sunlight through the tint, it will maintain heat, which dissipates into the house, making sun control screens more effective than glass tinting for energy savings.

Using Solar Screening Is Cost-Effective

Many solar screen payback period estimates fall between two and three cooling seasons. According to a recent University of Texas study, there is a 32 percent energy cost savings for an average home.

According to the experts at ScreenItAgain, an online source for custom replacement screens and grilles, the right solar screens don’t have to darken your exterior. While UV blockage is 65 percent to 90 percent, actual visibility is diminished by only 15 percent to 40 percent, depending on the screening fabric selected. Light dissipated through solar screening is not tinted, but it is reduced in volume, allowing for good light with reduced glare.

Houseplants can grow just as well with this type of shading. Most houseplants require filtered light. In fact, shading reduces yellowing of plants and water loss. In most cases, houseplants do better with shading than without but, as with all plants, they will require some amount of direct sunlight.

As well as the added benefit of providing cooling, the screens also offer insect protection.

For more information, visit www.screenitagain.com/solar.

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Aesthetics, Performance, Efficiency-Siding Options Are Nearly Endless

(NAPSI)—When it comes time to choose exterior siding for your home, there are a number of factors to consider, including curb appeal, installed cost, durability, sustainability and resale value—not to mention the color, texture, design and trim options that help to achieve a finished look. Your home reflects your individual personality and style, and the same sense of style you demonstrate inside can be expressed outside.

Whether you are creating a new look for your home or restoring its original, authentic beauty, there are a handful of siding types to consider. The following breakdown of siding can help you determine the right siding for your home.

Typically at a higher price point, polymer siding is made from polypropylene resin and is offered in a shake or shingle style with a cedar texture. Closely replicating perfection or rough-split wood, this siding can be used as a whole-house application or, more cost effectively, in accent areas for a unique look. CertainTeed offers Cedar Impressions siding in over 30 different colors and six styles to fit your personal style.

According to a recent study conducted by Hanley Wood, LLC, fiber cement siding returns more than 83 percent of the project cost upon resale. Many fiber cement siding options, such as CertainTeed’s WeatherBoards, contain a high-recycled content, making it also an eco-friendly choice. This durable, noncombustible siding stands up to the elements, provides long-lasting appeal and is backed by long-term warranties. Additionally, it comes finished or primed and ready for painting, allowing a homeowner extra design flexibility.

Helping to create a comfortable interior and a beautiful exterior, insulated siding can help homeowners increase their energy savings and decrease their carbon footprint. With high-recycled content, insulated siding takes sustainable siding to the next level. In fact, CertainTeed CedarBoards Double 6-inch insulated siding boasts an industry-leading 60 percent recycled content, and its flat, even face provides the look of wide-board wood siding.

Ultralow-maintenance vinyl siding is America’s most popular choice, and for good reason. The most affordable siding option, vinyl is built to last and brings color, style and durability to a home’s exterior.

No two homes are alike. Different historic backgrounds, climates and homeowner preferences and lifestyles call for different types of siding.

Visit www.CertainTeed.com to learn more.

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Use Color To Revamp The Look Of Your Home

(NAPSI)—Choosing a new look for your home can be a liberating, rejuvenating change that will pay off in the future. By choosing the right color, you can express yourself, freshen up an old look and increase the value of your home. According to a recent Cost vs. Value Report conducted by Hanley Wood, LLC, an exterior makeover -such as installing fiber cement siding-can be a great investment, returning more than 83 percent of the project cost upon resale.

Here are several tips to help you increase the value of your home while boosting curb appeal:

• Go Green. Color choice can affect the energy efficiency of your home. Darker colors absorb the sun and therefore warm the home, while lighter colors reflect the sun's rays, keeping the home cooler. This is an important consideration depending on the amount of sunlight your home is exposed to on an average day.

• Get Back to Nature. Look to your natural surroundings for inspiration. For example, in a wooded area, vivid greens and browns can help blend the style of a home with its environment. In an urban setting, bright, eye-catching colors can help to offset the sometimes drab hues associated with city living.

• Go Back in History. If your home is from a certain historical period, play off that history. Find old pictures of your house or neighborhood to use a historically accurate color scheme. Try to select shades that were used at the time your home was built. This will add character and a certain amount of authenticity to your own little historical treasure.

• Visualize the Finished Product. The ColorView free online tool at www.certainteed.com lets homeowners picture their home complete with new color. You can even mix and match colors of roofing, siding, trim, rail and deck to choose the perfect style and look.

• Make a Lasting Impression. The darker the hue, the more likely it is to fade over time, especially with homes exposed to direct sunlight. CertainTeed's Monogram vinyl siding offers consistent quality and variety with over 40 colors and wood-tone blends.

• Look Up. The roof accounts for roughly 40 percent of the exterior appearance of the home, so it's important to consider roofing shingles. CertainTeed's Presidential Shake Shingles deliver the charm and character of hand-split wood shakes with the durability and strength that preside over wood in virtually every surrounding. From aged bark and charcoal black to weathered wood and chestnut, the shingles are available in a wide array of dynamic color options and textures to match your home's unique style.

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Cool News About Fans

(NAPSI)—You no longer have to let your ears suffer so the rest of you can feel cool and comfortable. Using modern sound control technology, some of today’s fans enable you to feel cooler without the loud noise of older fans.

For example, consider one of the new Honeywell QuietSet fans, which offer multiple levels of “quiet” that correspond to your personal preferences. At the lowest settings, the sound from these fans is virtually undetectable, making them great choices for areas where you don’t want additional noise, such as TV rooms, bedrooms, offices and children’s nurseries.

Beyond the quiet factor, today’s new fans come in sleek, modern designs such as a slim tower or stand fan. You can pick the one that works best with your decorating style and personal space needs.

In addition to their attractive designs and ability to keep you feeling cooler with minimal noise, today’s modern fans can also help save money on cooling costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, cooling and heating accounts for almost 56 percent of the energy used in a typical U.S. home, making this a family’s single largest energy expense. You can save up to 20 percent on cooling energy bills in the summer simply by running a whole-room air circulator along with air conditioners or central cooling systems.

Using a fan in conjunction with an air conditioner or central cooling system improves the circulation of cooled air throughout a room. Therefore, less cool air is required to produce a cooling effect. This allows you to raise the temperature on your thermostat, using less energy to cool the same space.

To find out how much money fans can save you annually, visit www.honeywellfansavings.com, where a free interactive “savings calculator” enables you to quickly and easily determine how much you can potentially save on your cooling bills by using a fan in your home.

With advances in sound technology and design, along with their money-saving potential, it’s no wonder that fans still rank high on the list for spring and summer “must-have” products. So say good-bye to your old, loud fan and trade it in for a newer model that helps provide quiet, cooling comfort.

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Dim A Little, Save A Lot

(NAPSI)—Rising energy costs and recent legislation called the Energy Independence and Security Act are encouraging many homeowners to reduce energy consumption. This means new, energy-efficient light sources are more popular than ever. It also makes dimming the lights more than a way to set a nice mood. It’s a way to save electricity.

Dimming an incandescent or halogen light just 25 percent can save you up to 20 percent in energy—and makes your lightbulbs last up to 20 times longer.

Though compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and screw-in light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs use less energy than typical incandescent and halogen bulbs do, historically, they’ve not been compatible with light dimmers. Lights have been known to drop out, not turn on and/or turn off unexpectedly.

To help, there’s the new C·L dimmers from Lutron. They work not only with incandescent and halogen bulbs, but also with dimmable CFLs and LEDs.

Learn more at www.lutron.com/cflled.

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Eco-Friendly Cookware

(NAPSI)—When they think of ceramic, people often think of pottery and tableware, but many leading cookware brands are rolling out eco-friendly products featuring a ceramic-based, nonstick coating that is toxin-free and provides an extraordinary cooking experience.

You can now get cookware that’s eco friendly and features a ceramic-based, nonstick coating.

These water-soluble coatings are cured at lower temperatures, leading to reduced emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. In addition, ceramic nonsticks provide better heat transfer, requiring less energy to heat your pan. The nonstick properties make cleanup easy, with less soap and water. Perhaps best of all, they are free of PFOA and PTFE—the chemicals often used in traditional nonstick coatings.

These new ceramic nonstick cookware lines provide a healthier alternative in cooking. In fact, Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” contestant and restaurant owner Fabio Viviani loves Italy’s No. 1−selling Bialetti Aeternum Nano-ceramic Cookware line. “The unique white nonstick coating releases food so easily even with very little oil,” Viviani said. “And for a nonstick, the browning and searing capabilities are like no other.” The Aeternum is at Bed, Bath & Beyond and www.bialettishop.com.

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