Energy Savers Infograph: Home Heating

This infograph helps illustrate home heating and highlights some interesting statistics.  Take a look and let us know what you think!

Home Heating

This home heating infographic is curtsy of the United States Department of Energy.


Save Energy During The Winter Solstice

The winter solstice will take place this year on December 21st.  On this day, you will experience the shortest day of light all year.   Be sure that your customers are prepared with the right lighting to help them save energy and money.   Using fluorescent light bulbs has a number of benefits over incandescent bulbs.

Advantages of Fluorescent vs. Incandescent

– Fluorescent lamps produce the same light output as incandescent lamps but use 1/3 the energy

– Fluorescent bulbs last apporximately 10 times longer than the average incandescent bulb

– Fluorescent bulbs emit better color rendering

– Fluorescent bulbs utilize less hazardous materials than incandescent bulbs.

Take the time to advise your customers to switch out their incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent.  They will be glad they did.

 

Energy-Efficient-Lighting

Service Partners is the largest distributor of residential fiberglass insulation and accessory products in the United States.


Get Your Federal Tax Credits Before It Is To Late

The Department of Energy released a reminder this week to cash in on the Extended Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency.   Be sure to remind your customers of these tax credits as they will expire at the end of the year.   Here is the tax credit reminder from the DOE.

Department of Energy

 

December is just around the corner, and so is the expiration for some of the Extended Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency. In fact, December 31, 2013, will be the last day you can use the following tax credit to make your home more energy efficient—and save yourself some hard-earned cash by reducing your monthly energy costs this winter.

With colder temperatures on the horizon, this deadline provides the perfect impetus for homeowners to upgrade their heating, insulation, doors, and windows. Or, why not invest in a biomass stove for safe-burning heat with lower fuel costs? The tax savings on these new products could be a great way to start the holiday season, readying you and your family for battling blistering cold and snow.

For the full list that applies to this expiring tax credit, read on. If you purchased certain energy-efficient products during 2012 or 2013, you could be eligible to receive a tax credit for 10% of the cost up to $500, or a specific amount from $50-$300 for the six following product categories.

 

– Biomass stoves

-HVAC systems

Insulation

-Roofing (metal & asphalt)

-Water heaters (non-solar)

-Windows and doors.

 

The products above must be installed in an existing home or your principal residence on or before December 31, 2013.
Fortunately, that’s not all. Despite the expiring tax credit above, consumers can still apply for the following tax credits for the next three years. The product categories listed below are eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost with no upper limit until December 31, 2016.

 

-Geothermal heat pumps

-Small wind turbines (residential)

-Solar energy systems.

 

This tax credit can be used on eligible products installed in new or existing homes, and a principal residence or second home would both qualify (but not rentals).

 

Finally, you may receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $500 per .5 KW of power, for residential fuel cell and microturbine systems through December 31, 2016. These can be used on new or existing homes, but only a principal residence. Second homes and rentals do not qualify.

 

To receive these tax credits, you will need to submit the 5695 form with your 2013 taxes. To learn more information about specific requirements for each product, as well as information on applying for these tax credits, visit ENERGY STAR®. And be sure to check out our Savings page for federal and state-specific tax credits and rebates.


Department of Energy PSAs

The Department of Energy released a couple of PSAs a few months ago to help educate homeowners on some basic tips to save energy and money.  There are many things that you can help homeowners with that will save them money.

To name a few:

  1. Air Sealing
  2. Weatherization

Home Energy Audits: Infographic

Home Energy Audit

This home energy audit infographic is courtesy of the United States Department of Energy.

 

Energy Saver 101

What is a home energy audit?

A home energy audit is the first step to improving your home’s energy efficiency. A home energy audit helps you pinpoint where your house is losing energy and what you can do to save money. Home energy auditors will also assess health and safety issues that might exist in your home. The audit involves two parts: The home assessment and analysis using computer software.

Did you know? You could save 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill by making an efficiency upgrades identified in your home energy audit.

 

The Auditor’s Toolbox

Below are some of the tools energy auditors used to inspect homes energy use.

Telescoping ladder: To reach into an attic or up high.

Screwdrivers, pliers and adjustable wrench: To remove outlet plate and inspect appliances.

25 foot tape measure: For making a footprint sketch of the house.

Flashlight and batteries: To help see behind appliances.

Digital cameras: To help seeing to hard to reach places and document elements of the house.

Pen and paper: For taking notes.

Infrared camera: To help determine the air leakage and insulation.

Combustion analyzer: Tool designed to sample flue gases in vented combustion appliances and measure flue gas temperature, leaks and carbon monoxide.

Blower door: A large fan that depressurizes the home by sucking air out. This test simulates the effect of a 20 mph wind to allow the auditor to find air leaks.

Manometer: A gauge that measures the difference in pressure in a home in point air leakage and test exhaust devices for proper operation.

Smoke generating device: Produces a thin stream of smoke or non-toxic fog to help find air leakage and duct leakage.

Watt meter: Measures the electrical energy use by various devices throughout the home.

Soap bubbles: Used to confirm fuel leaks in combustion appliances.

Digital probe thermometer: For testing temperature rise and heating equipment and operating temperatures.

Inspection mirror: To see into constricted spaces.

Draft gauge: To test for chimney drafts.

Moisture meter: Measures moisture level and wood in other materials.

 

The Home Energy Audit Checklist:

Certified Home energy auditors should go through the following steps in a home energy audit.

  1. Analyze past years fuel bills to determine base energy consumption.
  2. Interviewed the homeowner to learn about problems and how the home operates.
  3. Explain the audit process.
  4. Conduct exterior inspection.
  5. Health and safety inspection.
  6. Interior visual inspection.
  7. Assess electrical system for safety concerns.
  8. Combustion appliance inspection.
  9. Blower door test.
  10. Analyzing findings and create a comprehensive home energy report.

 

Home Energy Audit: What to Look For

  • Note the number and location of air registers.
  • Inspect windows and doors and check for access window condensation.
  • Note and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Inspect lighting fixtures and recessed lights.
  • Check for air leaks around the outlets, fixtures, doors and windows.
  • Inspect the fireplace.
  • Note thermostat type and setting.
  • Check for wall insulation and framing type.
  • Look for indoor air quality problems and lead-based paint.

In the Attic

  • Inspect insulation.
  • Check for major air leakage issues in places like chimney bypasses, recessed lighting and HVAC ducks.
  • Note to any signs of water leakage.
  • Inspect wiring for safety issues.

In the Basement and Utility Room

  • Furnace: test for fuel leaks, change the furnace filter, clean furnace blower.
  • Water heater: Note thermostat setting and installation on tank and piping; test draft hood.
  • Perform combustion appliances owned testing on all combustible fuel fired appliances.
  • Inspect duct system and dryer venting.

In the Kitchen/Bathroom

  • Look for electrical or other hazards.
  • Assess electrical appliance energy use with a watt meter or manufacturer nameplate.
  • Check for moisture and excess water vapor.
  • Assess vent fans for flow rate.

 

What is the blower door test?

A blower door test locates air leaks by using a special fan to depressurize a house. Blower tests are conducted before and after air sealing to measure the effectiveness of the work.

Did you know? The average home has enough air leakage to add up to a two-foot-square hole. That’s like leaving a medium-sized window open 24 hours a day!

 

Mythbusting Infrared Imaging

Infrared cannot see through objects or air. It can only see temperatures with cold objects appearing darker in warm objects appearing lighter.

Infrared doesn’t see color. The color is computer-generated to make a difference in temperature easier to see to the untrained eye.

Infrared imaging should not mean the only tool an energy auditor uses. When used during the blower door test infrared imaging is a powerful tool for determining air leaks.

 


Caulk To The Rescue

This time of year, homeowners start jumping into high gear to prepare their home for the cool of late fall and winter. Make sure you have extra tubes of caulk on hand to help seal any cracks or crevices around windows and doors. Remind your customers that a little caulking can go a long way to help improve energy bills and air infiltration. Caulking can help prevent moisture from settling in under trim and in through gaps helping to eliminate mold and even rot. Also, don’t forget to let them know that caulking can provide a seal against small insects or bugs.

A simple tube a caulk can be a big benefit that you can bring to your customers this fall. Be sure to have stock up as you’ll be sure to use it the next few months.


Flir T-Series Thermal Imaging Video

Are your thermal imaging services in high demand or hopefully headed that way? You might be using your camera several times a week. Maybe even daily in your building inspection energy auditing restoration or roofing business. If that’s the case, FLIR T-series B cameras are definitely going to help take the load off.

 

Available in four models and with resolution up to 640 by 480, these are the most ergonomic thermal imagers you’re going to find out there. One of the primary features that distinguish t-series from all other thermal cameras is its rotating optical block. It lets you point the lens up or down 120 degrees and still keep the display right and easy view. This makes it much more comfortable for inspecting high low and other tough angles.

 

Optional interchangeable lenses are another t-series advantage, and there’s a great selection of them to help fit the view you need – including excellent wide angle and telephoto optics for scanning large spaces and roofs. Auto focus is another way T series makes thermal inspections more efficient. Focus makes a dramatic difference when it comes to accurately measuring temperature and just a touch of this button is the fast way to get there, but you always have full control if you need it with the fine adjustment on the t420 and 440 or the focus ring on the t620 and 640.

 

Another FLIR innovation that brings out even more detail is the MSX or multispectral dynamic imaging. This is a whole new mode beyond picture-in-picture and thermal fusion. MSX enhances thermal images with visible spectrum definition captured by the built-in digital camera. It virtually etches those details into the thermal pictures in real time so you clearly see numbers labels and other identifiable things to help you locate where problems are.

 

Every t-series camera comes equipped with Wi-Fi communication to let you stream live video to your smartphone or to your tablet using our FLIR tools mobile app. It also gives you a remote control of camera functions like focus, level, and span, color palette choices and temperature measurement tools – pretty handy if you or someone else wants to monitor from a distance. You can import and analyze stored JPEGs with the app too while you’re still on the job site quickly create a professional report and share it by email to get a faster response for repairs. T-series also has Bluetooth that talks to Extech meter link tools. This is a very simple way to embed moisture level data right into your thermal images when you need to measure more than just temperature.

 

T-series bx cameras offer the broadest temperature ranges and sensitivity increases as you move up through the line of camera models. Extra sensitivity helps you see subtler temperature differences more clearly – important when you’re looking for traces of moisture and small air leaks for example. The touch screen on t-series cameras puts measurement and imaging tools right at your fingertips, and on the t440 and 640 you can even use it to sketch quick notes and drawings on IR and visual images. The t640 also has a viewfinder to help you see clearly even in the brightest outdoor conditions.

 

There are a lot of great features here to help you out – especially when you have a slate full of customers to take care of. If you’re looking for the highest image detail to put in reports that contractors insurance companies and your customers can rely on, and the most ergonomic way to capture those images, then you’ll find it in t-series cameras.

 

 


Water Conservation | World Water Week

This time every year, a week is chosen at the end of August or in the beginning of September that is recognized as World Water Week.  Also known as #wwweek throughout twitter and other social media sites. Every year, organizations & individuals across the globe come together at this “annual global event for concretely addressing the planet’s water issues and related concerns of international development”.  Currently, we are in the middle of World Water Week and wanted to highlight a few tips that you can pass on to your customers to help conserve water.
1.) Use low-flow shower heads. Service Partners carries a variety of low-flow shower heads that help reduce water consumption.

2.) Use Faucet Aerators – these little devices will help introduce air into the water flow giving the appearance of a full stream of water while actually reducing water consumption.

3.) Use dishwasher and washing machine only during full loads.

4.) Take shorter showers

5.) Check for water leaks on a regular basis to make sure piping is in good condition.

 

Service Partners is the largest distributor and supplier of residential fiberglass insulation and related contractor accessories.


FLIR – I Series Camera

FLIR’s point and shoot line of I series thermal imagers are extremely easy to use infrared cameras. They’re rugged, light and portable, and to top it off they’re the most affordable thermal-imaging cameras.

If you’re looking for a simple camera for occasional troubleshooting, an HVAC contractor inspecting ductwork and compressors, or an electrician, or utility trouble man would like one handy all the time for quick scans and safety checks. FLIR I series is a good fit in all those cases. It’s definitely the right tool for instant non-contact temperature measurements, and the way to see hidden problems before they get away from you.

 

The i3 is fast and reliable at finding equipment that’s running too hot, or may be about to fail. A standard heat-map imaging thermometer might work in a few applications with large enough targets, but the i3 provides a lot more thermal imaging power. The i3 60 x 60 thermal detector provides 3600 measurement pixels in each image and it produces a recognizable thermal picture of the scene on the 2.8 inch LCD. It shows you where the hot spot is right away. It also gives you a 50:1 spot size ratio so you can scan one-inch targets 50 inches away and get an accurate temperature. Compare that to a single spot ir thermometer with only one average reading at a time and no image at all to show you where to measure.

 

All I series cameras have a focus free lens for easy scanning just power up flip open the lens and get ready to scan. A simple interface lets you set emissivity and other parameters so you’re detecting correctly. You can also change the color palette to the one that works best lock the temperature range and so on.

 

Every I series camera also stores thousands of radiometric jpg images pull them up in the archive or import them later to a Mac or PC with the USB cable or from the removable SD card. Then you can use the easy FLIR tools software we include to tune and analyze the images further adjust the levels change the palette, add more measurement tools capturing images that have all this stored temperature data and analyzing it later makes it easier to measure any spot on the image, This certainly beats jotting down dozens of readings from one of these. Even better, Flare tools can help you create a professional report in no time to reinforce your findings.

 

The i5 gives you ten thousand pixels that’s over two and a half times the imaging and measurement resolution of the i3, plus the i5 gives you a wider view to cover more area and greater sensitivity to kick up the quality.

 

To image even more clearly the i7 has the most resolution in the iseries class at 140 x 140 it’s almost 20,000 pixels. It’s also got the widest field of view to capture more of the scene for quicker scans along with the spot meter and i7 also gives you an in camera area box tool with an automatic marker to find hotspots quicker. Plus you can set an isotherm to alert you when something is above or below a specific temperature threshold, and all I series cameras come with flares and a warranty that covers the detector for twn full years, batteries for five years, and parts and labor for two years.

 

If you’re going to be using your camera to do more frequent inspections and reports and you need reference photos to go along with your thermal images, check out flares e-series.They have a ton of productivity features that can really help you breeze through inspections. E series definitely offers the best imagery and price to performance value in their class so be sure to look at e series before you make your decision.

 


Green Information


New York Times

Building trustworthy relationships with your customers is a vital part of expanding your business. A sure fire way to help build trust between you and your customers is to be up to date on current events in your industry. This will give you an advantage over competition by showcasing your knowledge.

A great way to keep up with current information is to frequently read blog posts by top sources. One source we recommend is the New York Times. The New York Times has a variety of blogs that keep you up to date on many of the most relevant topics in the industry. The blog “Green” from the New York Times is an outstanding resource to obtain the latest information on energy and the environment. The next time you are with your customer, you will be able to spark up conversation and hopefully it will lead to future business.

Service Partners is the largest insulation distributor in the United States. Currently, Service Partners has over 75 branch locations that provide building materials such as fiberglass insulation, shingles, fireplaces, spray foam and accessories to all 50 states.