If you’ve been closely following along with our blog and learning more about energy and efficiency, THANK YOU!!! We’re happy to have you here and appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read each post. Please note that the blogs will be offline for a couple of weeks as we work on a few standard website edits, but we’ll be back soon and ready to discuss the summer heat and how best to mitigate it’s effects on your energy bill right after that. So, as sitcoms said in the 90’s, stay tuned!
When I bought my first home, I remember asking the inspector whether or not there were any energy efficiency requirements for new homes, and whether or not our potential home had any of these upgrades (I know this is still fairly new territory in terms of construction and legislation, however I was mostly curious about two things: kill switches, and window energy efficiency. According to Instructables.com, a kill switch is “is a separate electrical AC switch to be used for cutting off the electrical power that is consumed by a device. This is convenient for reducing stand-by electricity consumption and for manually switching devices. In most cases, a luminous switch is being applied.” (https://www.instructables.com/Hack-a-power-outlet-kill-switch/) – though unlike the steps outlined in this article, I would not recommend modifying the kill switches in your home without an electrician present, this article does outline what they are and how they’re used, as well as how to disable the indicator light on your kill switch to make it even more efficient! My other home energy efficiency concern came from years of living through Texas summers with the AC on high, only to hear my mother shriek when the electric bill came in – so I knew energy efficient windows was something I wanted in my home one way or another. Typical to houses built prior to the 2000’s however, my windows were no where near efficient – and one even had a crack potentially letting the nice cool air from the AC unit escape in the summer time! We knew it was just a matter of time before we needed to replace our windows, and until having heard a few quotes we had no idea of the cost! Thankfully, SUNTEX was able to provide a bid that gave us the high-quality, energy-efficient (and easy to clean) windows at a much lower cost than we’d originally found, so owe decided to move forward with them! Here are some options below that you can consider for your window renovation project.
Because windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, it’s important to think about your dream home as well as your desired budget when considering a new window design. Typically custom windows are more expensive since they require additional labor, materials, and design work – though they can also add curb appeal and higher home value. The following links provide you with a range of products so you’re able to make the best decision for your dream home:
Even your gardens can now be smart! Take a look at the Smart Sprinkler system we recommend, here – the Rachio-3: https://rachio.com/rachio-3/. Call us with questions today! We’re happy to help guide you through which Smart-home products will make sense for your home, and how they can help you save money on your energy bill.
Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from anywhere you can access internet, and Nest products have become quite versatile since they were acquired by Google in 2014, adding new online apps and services to support it’s features. Their competitor, Ecobee, likewise has added a new suite of products within the Smart home industry, and have grown to include not only Smart thermostats but home security, speakers, and accessories as well. While you can now buy these Smart devices online, the installation is somewhat tricky, which is why our customers prefer an expert to install them. To learn about the different Smart Thermostat products we offer, check out the links below:
- COMPARE NEST THERMOSTATS: https://store.google.com/us/magazine/compare_thermostats
- Ecobee THERMOSTATS: https://www.ecobee.com/en-us/
Another home feature that continues to increase in quality, and decrease in overall cost is Home Security. Ring, Nest, and Arlo Pro doorbell alarm systems have designed easy and sleek solutions for the every day customer to install – and we’re happy to help walk you through setting up the Apps. Or if you’re looking for something even more secure, you can also take a look at the Schlage Deadbolt system – which is a more localized approach to security, and does have smart features available. Check out the links below if you’d like to learn more about each product:
- RING DOORBELL: https://ring.com/collections/all-products
- GOOGLE NEST SECURE ALARM SYSTEM: https://store.google.com/us/product/nest_secure_alarm_system?hl=en-US
- ARLO PRO 2: https://www.arlo.com/au/products/arlo-pro-2/default.aspx
- SCHLAGE SMART DEADBOLT SYSTEM: https://www.schlage.com/en/home.html
One key example of a simple and cost effective innovation is Light-Emitting Diodes, or LED lighting. While LED Lighting can really be found almost anywhere – grocery stores, hardware stores, or online – for smart lighting, check out the following products by Philips: https://www.philips-hue.com/en-us/products/smart-lightbulbs. If you’re curious to learn more about how this works, feel free to read up on the ‘Hue Bridge’, here: https://www.philips-hue.com/en-us/p/hue-bridge/046677458478#overview.
We’re living in the era of the smart home, however the term “Smart technology” implies an important distinction – that the appliance or electrical device can be controlled by an app, remotely. Each of our smart home solutions highlights two important tenants to SUNTEX infrastructure – innovation and environmental efficiency. These types of installations may add to the sticker price of the system, however they can mitigate your energy consumption significantly, and thus allow you to save money long term. Over the next several days, we’ll explore each of these products in greater detail – so if you’re curious to learn more, stay tuned!
While not everyone will be interested in the literal nuts and bolts of a project, in case you are curious just how a solar panel is mounted to a roof-top shingle, feel free to check out our Racking Manufacturer’s website. UNIRAC is an industry standard for Solar racking equipment (the part that will attach solar panels to the roof top). To learn more about UNIRAC products, see here:
Just a few years ago, Micro-inverters were used almost exclusively with commercial projects. Their job is to optimize the amount of sun from each solar panel, convert the energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home. It’s easy to confuse microinverters with power optimizers, so here’s a quick post from Energysage on the key similarities and differences between the two: https://www.energysage.com/solar/101/microinverters-vs-power-optimizers/.
Today however, microinverters and power optimizerrs are becoming more of an industry standard because of their increase in efficiency, and to some extent for their sleeker style as well (as compared to a string inverter system). Solar panels may be the most visible item, but it’s the inverter that does all the real work. Choosing the right inverter technology for your project is a critical decision you make when going solar. Luckily, there are a few products in the solar industry that make it easy on us, and our Company-favorite is the Enphase Microinverter. These microinverters offer the most advanced inverter technology on the market, which means higher production, greater reliability, and unmatched intelligence. Below are links to the Enphase Energy Microinverter website (along with the spec sheet for reference) that we use for solar installations:
ENPHASE COMPANY INFO: www.enphase.com
ENPHASE MICRO-INVERTER SPEC SHEET: https://enphase.com/en-us/support/enphase-iq-7-and-iq-7-plus-micro-data-sheet
Product quality is important to us, and luckily in the solar market, it doesn’t always counteract Product Cost. Using locally sourced materials and products are part of our company fiber.
Thus, we proudly use Mission Solar panels for most of our Solar-Panel System installations and we have provided their website for more information on how these panels are manufactured, with a special video featuring how they’re built with Texas weather in mind.
- MISSION SOLAR WEBSITE: www.missionsolar.com
- MISSION SOLAR PANEL MANUFACTURING: https://youtu.be/LQHEqyVMI88
When Mission Solar Panels are not available however, we will substitute for other high-quality panels that are not manufactured in Texas, such as REC Alpha solar panels, or Hanwha Q-cells. For more information about these specific panels, please check out the following links from Solar Electric Supply:
- REC ALPHA SERIES: https://www.solarelectricsupply.com/rec360aa-360w-rec-alpha-black-solar-panel
- HANWHA Q-CELLS: https://www.solarelectricsupply.com/q-cells-q-peak-duo-g5-320-watt-solar-panel
If you’re curious to learn more, you know what to do – ask us for a free quote for your home, today!