Every once in a while, your home may need a tune-up, particularly those houses that just went through a devastating winter storm. According to roofingcalculator.com a typical roof lasts about 30 years (https://roofingcalculator.com/news/how-long-do-roofs-last#:~:text=Generally%2C%20you%20can%20expect%20your,as%20well%20as%20the%20environment). If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret over the cost or the hassle of choosing a developer, simply pick out your roof style here – https://www.owenscorning.com/en-us/roofing/shingles – and call us today! We’re happy to deliver a zero-cost quote so you can compare us to other contractors in the area, and make the decision for yourself – in either case, we’re happy to help you choose what’s best for you and your family.
What a week, and Happy Pi day to you all! I hope you’ve had an amazing weekend, and as we’re looking ahead, just a quick reminder to set your clocks forward an hour for daylight savings time, today, 3.14 (unless you’re in Arizona, of course). We’ll get back to digging through the archives to learn about Historical figures in the world of energy in the week ahead, so keep an eye out and feel free to add your favorites in the blog comments.
Hopefully none of you will need this advice, but given what we’ve seen so far during this Texas snowstorm, it’s likely some of you will – check out the following links for what to do to prevent your pipes from freezing/bursting in this weather, and what to do if your pipes do break!
- Preventing Frozen Pipes: https://protectyourpipes.org/frozen-pipes
- Winterizing your Water Pipes: https://www.snopud.com/Site/Content/Documents/water/WaterPipesColdWthr.pdf
- Shutting Off Your Main Valve: https://happyhiller.com/blog/how-to-find-shut-off-main-water-shutoff-valve/
Wow! I never thought I would be writing so many contingency plans for home maintenance for Snow in Texas, but alas, here we are.
Humans are incredibly resilient creatures – and in tough times our endurance is tested, but not broken. Lots of Texans have been without power this week, but I’d like to focus on the next phase of this ongoing weather problem: your water source. As if a global pandemic and sub-freezing temperatures with no indoor heating wasn’t enough?! First we should consider why this is happening, and for some this may be obvious, however a lot of us are enduring our first major freeze as homeowners, and it’s important to understand what next steps will be taken and why: https://www.kvue.com/article/weather/austin-texas-power-outage-pipes-protection-tips/269-af02c419-4c91-4033-a5de-1c4d342813f4.
Now that we know what’s next to come in this snowstorm, here are a few tips and tricks for on how to prepare for losing your water service: https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/no-water-now-what-27-tips-to-prepare-for-a-water-outage/. This article outlines things like storing water in air-tight containers to protect it’s potability; or reminding us to use that hand-sanitizer we’ve all been stocking up on all year, instead of using the little water you have to clean your hands; there are also rainwater collection systems (or in this case, snow-water collection) that you can employ to trap any extra water that falls from your rooftop which can be really helpful if your water is off for days at a time. Keep in mind you may still need to boil your water before consuming, even if storing in an air-tight and UV-light protected casing. If you don’t want to invest in an expensive rainwater catchment system, don’t! Instead, you can put bottles/bowls beneath your roof-line (or beneath your gutter drainage system if you have one) in order to collect water for later usage; or, if you’re feeling really industrious, plug your bathtub and add snow – once it melts, you can boil some of it to take a bath or wash your hands (I would not recommend drinking it).
It seems that while Texans have been able to avoid many of these tasks in the past, with record low temperatures and several days of snow on the ground, it’s definitely time to do some cold-weather proofing in our homes! I’ve also been reading a lot about how to keep warm in your home – particularly since so many people in Texas lost power yesterday – so I’d like to share a few good links that I’ve come across here:
Please comment/reach out if you have any other tips to stay warm in these freezing temperatures! Many of our northern neighbors have dealt with these types of conditions before, so know that there is always help and plenty of good advice to go around.
If you’re curious about how much energy you’re currently using and where that energy is allocated, feel free conduct an energy audit! Our first step in creating a quote for your home is to conduct a customized energy audit of your home, and then try to determine how you might best save money, however you can also do so on your own by looking at your energy bill, particularly the section that includes your energy usage in kWh, or kilowatt hours (if you’re unsure how to translate kWh into kW, check out the following article which outlines the differences in these two measurements – hint: it’s not the number of kW per hour – https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/what-is-a-kwh-kw-and-kwh-explained.html#:~:text=A%20kilowatt%20hour%20(kWh)%20is,much%20energy%20you’re%20using.&text=It%20is%20simply%20a%20unit,up%201%20kWh%20of%20energy.)
When you look at this section of your bill, take note of a couple of things – 1) what is your average monthly kWh usage, and 2) what is the cost to you per kWh of energy usage? These amounts will help you to determine whether or not a solar system, new air-conditioning unit, new double-pained windows, etc. could help you save energy long-term.
For a guide in doing an energy audit yourself, and considering where you might be expending a lot of energy currently, check out the following: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/home-energy-audits/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits.
Doing these calculations ahead of shopping for energy efficiency upgrades will really set you up for success, because you’ll have a much better idea of where your energy usage currently stands – for any additional questions you have on this process, or about the cost of a solar system, give us a call today!
It’s said that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, and unfortunately just one day to break one: see here. If you’d really like to get scientific, please read the following article from the Oxford Research encyclopedia on habit formation, and the variation between us, here.
As we tackle the effects of climate change together, and as we learn more about the types of things that can prevent it, what are some of your energy habits that you need to break? What are some energy habits you could increase, or even promote?
For me, especially as I’m working from home, this includes simple things – like turning off lights/fans/air conditioners when I leave the room or the house – and more complex things, like completing an energy analysis using my utility bill. The more I learn now about my own energy habits and the fluctuations on my energy bill, the more prepared I’ll be to develop better ones, offsetting my utility costs and saving me a ton of money at the end of the day, literally.
If you would like for us to do an energy audit of your home, call us today! In the meantime, good luck with the 21-day rule – feel free to share your good energy habits in the comments section.
One of my favorite quotes in life that I’m constantly returning to is the one from Theodore Roosevelt in which he says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s easy for us to look at our energy costs and think, “Well, it could be worse – look at my neighbor!” however it’s much harder for us to hold ourselves personally accountable, and even harder when that accountability is for the sake of the collective good versus an individual.
The problem with this of course, is that our needle is always moving. If we compare ourselves to neighbor A one day, and then neighbor A decides to purchase an inflatable bouncy castle that runs all-day, every-day (for example), then our perception of our own good energy management will change ever so slightly – you’ll still likely be better off than neighbor A, but you might start to ease up on your personal energy consumption and production goals because, neighbor A has eased up on theirs, and by default you have a little more “wiggle room.”
This article was written not to suggest that we should all be living in dimly-lit caves to save energy – though if you do, thank you for your sacrifice for the collective good – but to start to really look at our energy consumption on a personal level and ask, how could it be improved? Where can I save money? And, notably, will my actions even make a difference?
This week, we’ll explore some of the psychology and data in the energy sector, and what we can do to break some of those bad habits as we work to mitigate our own energy costs together.
Hey there Sports Fans! Happy Superbowl Sunday! Even if you’re not having a giant Superbowl party today, we wish you a very relaxing Sunday with lots of delicious food.
For some exciting trivia in the intersection of football and solar, take a look at the following links which highlight the most energy efficient stadiums in the world! From football, NASCAR, and MLB stadiums in the United States, to futbol stadiums and race-car tracks in Europe, to the most powerful solar-powered stadium in the world – the Esadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brazil – there are a ton of examples where teams have diversified their energy production, improved upon their food waste and recycling systems, and have reduced their carbon footprint to zero!
- For a list of some of the most energy efficient stadiums in the world, check out the following link: https://www.environmentalleader.com/2017/09/worlds-top-solar-sports-venues/
- Guinness Book of World Records holder for most powerful solar stadium is the Esadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brazil: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/633192-most-powerful-solar-powered-stadium
- Solar panels and Futbol, and an even larger list of the most powerful solar-powered stadiums in the world: https://www.solarplaza.com/channels/top-10s/11879/top-50-solar-stadiums-worldwide-2018-world-cup-edition/
Esadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brazil
To know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you currently stand, and while some really good points being made in favor of solar incentives, we still have a long way to go!
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, in 2020 Texas solar companies installed enough residential solar to power 783,633 homes! While this number is promising, solar still only accounts for 1.76% of the state’s electricity (see fact sheet here: https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2020-12/Texas.pdf). Furthermore, since the introduction of the Federal Investment Tax Credit, solar adoption in the U.S. has increased dramatically (52% according to SEIA, https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc).
Though we may think fondly of Texas as an “Oil and Gas” state, it’s important that we not overlook the enormous opportunity costs of solar in this hot, sunny state. The following article does a really good job explaining the current Texas Solar market, and positives and negatives to going solar in this state – please check it out, here: https://www.dallasfed.org/~/media/documents/research/swe/2019/swe1901e.pdf.
While the total amount of solar in Texas is primed to increase drastically in the next few years, and with as much progress as we’ve already seen thus far, we still have a long way to go to increase solar (or wind) energy adoption, and decrease the overall greenhouse gases emitted.