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Product Deep Dive: Owens Corning Roofing

We’ve discussed roofing in prior blogs so you know what to look for, how to look for it, and why when it comes to roofing – but there are a couple of key facts that bear repeating: 1) According to https://roofingcalculator.com a typical roof lasts about 30 years, while https://www.consumerreports.org states it’s anywhere from 10-90 years depending on the quality. That’s the difference between replacing a roof in your lifetime or not – so quality is a pretty big deal. 2) Roofing improvements are essential for home value, and can have long-lasting impacts to everything inside your home as well as heating/cooling, so it’s important to consider whether your roof needs replacing at least once in your lifetime, per home – if you move, you’ll definitely want to check out the roof before you make a purchase!

Here are a couple of quick reference points on what to look for if you need to replace your roof – especially if you’ll need a new roof prior to making a solar-panel system investment (otherwise, you’ll just have to remove the solar panels to install the new roof when applicable, and then re-install them later). Check out the following video from Consumer Reports which discusses a few things to look out for, and discusses different asphalt shingle roofing styles and different features of each: https://www.consumerreports.org/asphalt-shingles/best-roofing-shingles-from-consumer-reports-tests/.

If you’re interested in hearing a roofing quote or a roofing + solar quote, please pick out your favorite Owens Corning roofing style here – https://www.owenscorning.com/en-us/roofing/shingles – and let us provide a free quote that you can compare to other contractors in the area.

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2020 Record Year for Solar

According to BloombergGreen, 2020 was actually a record year for solar! To say the least, 2020 and it’s wicked step-sister, 2021, have been trialing, but despite the many downfalls we’ve collectively indured this year, we’ve made some big strides in the effort to curb our collective CO2 production also, and that’s a big step in the right direction. Globally, solar energy investments continued to increase in the past year, and as Verity Ratcliffe states in the BloombergGreen article, “A record amount of renewable energy capacity built [in 2020], thanks largely to investments in China and the U.S., according to the International Renewable Energy Agency” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-05/china-u-s-made-2020-a-record-year-for-renewable-power-growth?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&utm_content=climate&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-climate); the article continues on to read, “China, which is both the largest market for clean power and the world’s biggest polluter, built 72 GW of wind energy and 49 GW of solar in 2020, according to Monday’s report. The U.S. installed 29 GW of renewables, almost 80% more than in 2019” (see report summary, here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-24/renewable-power-beat-fossil-fuels-in-eu-for-first-time-last-year). I’m not sure China will remain the world’s largest polluter if they keep this pace up for renewable installation, but I’m glad to see that the world is finally start to collectively solve this problem.

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Spring has officially Sprung!

If you’re like me, and thought that the Spring Equinox fell on March 21st every year, you would be wrong for 2021! I was waiting to post about it until today, however the first official day of spring was yesterday, March 20, 2021.

What is the spring equinox? It’s a sign that the days will continue to start getting longer and longer, but for a more scientific answer, check out the following link (https://www.space.com/vernal-equinox-2021-spring-arrival-equal-day-night) which states, “Spring will officially arrive on Saturday morning (March 20) with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. That occurs when the sun will be positioned directly over the Earth’s equator at 09:37 Universal Time; 5:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time or 2:37 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. At that particular moment, the sun will appear to shine directly overhead from a point 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Meru, in Kenya; a city of approximately 241,000 residents.

From that moment, until the occurrence of the summer solstice on June 20, the sun will appear to migrate northward and the length of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere will continue to increase. As the altitude of the midday sun gets progressively higher, the arc that it takes across the sky will also increase. On the date of the equinox, the sun will rise due east and will set due west.”

What does this mean for solar customers? Now is the time to go solar and start saving on your monthly electricity bill! With summer just around the corner, and longer days, full of sunshine, those solar panels are poised to help support the high energy demand on the grid, and keep your house cool even when we get to those triple digit days. Call us today for a free quote!

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Look at What the Neighbors are Doing Now!

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.

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Where Are We Now?

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.

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The Best is Yet to Come

Things are really looking up in the green energy sector – and while we ask that you continually apply pressure to your local, state, and federal government bodies to increase solar incentives, there have already been a lot of solar-positive comments and policies to come from the new federal administration.

Check out the following link to see what has been done so far, and to see where you might get involved with the national energy conversation: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/11/18/5-pro-renewable-energy-actions-to-expect-from-president-elect-joe-biden/

 

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Solar Industry Insights

Last week we focused on strategies to reduce your energy consumption, and therefore reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint as well. It’s important to look at the energy picture holistically so you’re able to really understand how you consume energy currently, and how this might change with adding a solar system to your home.

This week, we’ll celebrate a few key wins in solar thus far in 2021. As energy companies, Retail Energy Providers (REPs), energy partners, and local and federal governments build out their annual budget for this year, we’re starting to see some exciting news for customers looking to go solar this year!

Though we’ve already mentioned it before, it’s important to keep in mind that while the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was scheduled to decrease to 22% this year, it will now remain at 26% of the total sticker price, and that policy was extended through the end of 2022 (check out the following article for more information on this: https://www.recsolar.com/blogs/calculate-solar-tax-credit-2021/).

Plus, now that battery technology is improving, have you considered what your solar project may look like if you include energy storage? Check out the following link if you’re curious how the solar federal ITC may or may not apply for your project: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2017/06/legal-perspective-storage-solar-itc/. We’re happy to help you make sense of your own personal energy consumption and production goals, and can conduct an energy audit of your home to see how close/far away you are from achieving them. Call us today!

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Appliances That Steal From You at Night

This week we briefly touched on a few of these types of appliances, and while these objects are a smaller piece of the personal energy pie, training yourself to adapt to unplugging items when not in use can have a big impact – both financially, and ecologically speaking. Here’s a fantastic article outlining “Energy Vampires” such as coffee makers and laptop computers with smart reminders that save you money:

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-vampires-are-attacking-your-home-here-s-how-stop-them

Learning new habits takes time, but with all of the tips and tricks we learned this week, you’ll be able to save money and reduce your carbon footprint – in several cases – without even spending a dime. If you’re already using these “best practices” in your home, and are ready to take the next step in energy savings, don’t hesitate to reach out and call us today!

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Goliath Appliances: Refrigerators, Dryers, Microwaves – Oh My!

Let’s take a look at a slightly smaller portion of the residential energy circle: big appliances. Refrigerators, washing/drying machines, dishwashers – how do they all stack up, in energy cost and consumption?

While there is always some variation in the type of products you’re comparing, here is a good list to consult when thinking about the cost to power your in-home and in-office appliances: https://www.siliconvalleypower.com/residents/save-energy/appliance-energy-use-chart. Some quick calculations will show you how much energy is used in each row / year and had some interesting revelations.

Here’s the link to the Energy.gov energy calculator also, if you prefer to do your own energy consumption analysis.

Some of the high consumption levels on this list aren’t surprising of course, but the good news is that a lot of this technology is improving drastically, and quickly; and with the general push towards energy efficiency, there may even be a rebate in your area for upgrading to Energy Star certified appliances!

To learn why, feel free to check out their information at the following links:

Even if you reasonably do not wish to replace all of your appliances at once for energy star certified appliances, there are plenty of energy saving tips to help you cut down on the amount of power these same appliances consume.

How do you ensure your current appliances are used as efficiently as possible? Please check out the following article, here, which provides insight into how to get a better estimate of the current energy consumption of your fridge (and is applicable to other large appliances as well), and ways to improve upon your energy consumption without spending a dime – and don’t forget, air-drying is free!

Like all things related to energy efficiency, the annoying answer time and time-again is that your energy consumption truly depends on the age of the equipment you are using, the way in which you/your family is using said equipment (are you unplugging your laptop every time you’re not using it?), and can also depend upon your local utility rates. For this reason, and because you want to make savvy financial decisions and cut waste, it’s important to have a good understanding of how you ‘consume’ energy and how you can mitigate that consumption. Mitigation is also the cheapest way to save money on energy costs, so before you even consider buying solar panels, we recommend exploring what you’re currently doing to power your home or business, and all of the equipment within it, and work to reduce your energy consumption first, then get solar panels to offset your carbon footprint further. As always, if you have questions on this, please give us a call today!

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Setting the Stage: Energy Consumption in the Home

As homeowners, we understand the appeal to have the best gadgets and gear to help with daily chores and life. For example, the dishwasher saves us hours of time spent over a sink with rubber gloves, the leaf-blower provides a similar benefit over using a manual rake. It wasn’t until recently that we really discovered that we needed to start asking ourselves what the carbon cost of these items might be, and how to prevent waste. There’s a lot to unpack here, but if you can get through it, you’ll be one step closer to making your home carbon neutral, and saving a ton of money in the process.

This week, we’ll take a holistic view of the home’s energy consumption, and see if we can uncover an opportunity or two in eliminating our own carbon footprint.

To start, we need to have a fundamental understanding of which appliances use the most energy in our homes. Here are a few articles to help guide you in the right direction:

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