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Blog Energy Efficiency

How to Boost the Energy Efficiency of Your Hot Tub and Pool

hot-tub-with-cover

Having a hot tub or pool waiting for you to slip into after a long day at the office is undeniably fantastic, but these aquatic additions to your patio, deck, or yard can consume more energy than you might expect. Here are some ways you can boost your hot tub or pool’s energy efficiency.

Pumps and Insulation

Upgrading pumps to more energy efficient ones will help in minimizing wastage, and installing a pool pump timer will enable pumping only when the water needs to be circulated, preventing excess energy consumption. If your pumping systems are old and outdated, then it’s best to upgrade, as there are far smaller and more efficient alternatives available, substantially cutting back on energy consumption in the long run.

Minimizing heat wastage is also a vital step to take to conserve energy. Ensure that you have adequate thermal insulation fully surrounding your pool or hot tub. Running heating systems at a comfortable, standardized minimum will also make a big difference, as will not turning systems off and restarting them every day.

Efficient Coverage

Evaporation is your biggest enemy as an owner of a pool or hot tub, as more energy will be required to refill water that has been absorbed into the atmosphere. A pool or hot tub cover is an absolute must, and there are a wide variety of covers available, from fancy retractable automatic ones to simple, floating thermal blankets. Be sure to cover your aquatic playgrounds when they’re not in use. Windbreaks are also highly recommended, as they help to negate temperature disruption and protect your hot tub or pool from drafts.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Owning a pool or hot tub requires a willingness to keep up with required maintenance. Filter cartridges for hot tubs that are dirty or clogged will overwork pumps and reduce water flow, diminishing efficiency. The same thing can happen to pools with dirty filters. For hot tubs, soaking filters overnight with a non-foaming filter cleanser every 3-4 months will make it easier to keep things running efficiently and smoothly. Try rotating two sets of filters, so a dry, clean spare can easily be installed with each water change.

For pools, taking a skimmer to clean out leaves will make a huge difference, as will regularly washing down the sides and bottom to allow the filtration system to more easily clean out debris. Manually cleaning out the pool pump will allow it to work less to keep the water clean, and setting up a backwashing schedule through reversing the water system will clean out debris that has gathered in the filter. Setting up your own system to cleaning out the pool with these steps will allow for minimal energy consumption.

These are just a few of the many ways you can boost the energy efficiency of your hot tub or pool. With care, patience, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll come up with a setup and maintenance schedule that makes it easier than ever to enjoy your aquatic comforts.

Blog Professional Associations

How to Engage Your Association Members

members-crowd-conference

Operating a professional association is a big responsibility, and you’ll feel like the only one contributing if your members aren’t sufficiently motivated or engaged. Here are some methods you can apply to your professional association that will help to better engage members and encourage more active participation.

Implement an Online Infrastructure

It goes without saying that in today’s digital age, online connectivity is a valuable tool for many businesses and organizations. Setting up a clean, streamlined, and efficient website with an extranet user management platform that serves as a central hub to your professional association’s latest endeavors and related content is a highly effective way to engage members and even attract new recruits. A privatized online community featuring forums, special members-only videos, photos, text-based content, and other features can help to entice visitors to learn more and become more engaged.

Incorporate Video

Many would rather watch an informative yet alluring video instead of a dry, sleep-inducing slideshow crammed full of statistics and data. Incorporating video into your engagement strategy will help perk up a few ears and generate more interest. Including members-only vlog entries or video guides that inspire or engage viewers will help to encourage members to get more involved.

Another fantastic way to utilize video to form a stronger connection with your members is via webinars. Instead of scheduling in-person training sessions that might not be applicable to a member’s availability or location, making webinars available on demand can not only help keep members interested, but also bring in more revenue for your organization if you convert it into a paid service.

Social Media Integration

This is where your professional association can be energized through interaction with the rest of the world at a personal level. Setting up official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages and populating them with relevant and interesting posts or content will draw more eyes towards your organization. Members will be engaged through the increase in public interest — nobody can deny that seeing likes, follows, comments, shares, and reactions build up over time is exciting and deeply motivating.

Connecting social media accounts to your organization’s website is a great way of linking two powerful methods of engagement together. With a surge of public interest and newfound attraction drawn from social media pages to your professional association’s website, members might feel inspired to contribute post ideas, blog posts, share the organization on their own social media channels, and contribute in other ways towards the organization’s mission or vision. This could also inspire visitors to apply and join the team, and fresh blood just might be the kick your organization needs to rejuvenate itself.

With a team of inspired, motivated, and fully engaged members working with you to achieve goals, a professional association can be the total opposite of mentally draining. With some hard work and determination, applying these methods will help to re-energize your organization through members who feel driven to contribute.

Blog Energy Efficiency

5 Ways to Conserve at Home

woman-replacing-light-bulb

There are so many little habits that we commonly form at home that may seem harmless, but in actual fact, adversely affect our environment in a big way. Conserving at home saves you money and helps reduce the demand of energy, which lowers the need and usage of fossil fuels. And since lower demand of fossil fuel equates to less carbon dioxide pollution, this alone can help lower the destructive weight that’s being placed on our ecosystem.

With the amount of energy efficient alternatives, and both local and global environmental initiatives, whether you live in a new apartment or older detached home conserving at home has never been easier. Here are 5 ways that you can get started.

Conserve with Home Appliances

Swapping out old, energy hog appliances for newer energy efficient models is a great start. You can find these alternatives for just about any and every type of home appliance you need. However, if you can’t afford to go that route, then there are still ways to conserve with your current home appliances. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Wash clothing in cold water. Try to avoid using hot water for washing clothing. Using warm or cold water instead can help save approximately 500 pounds of CO2 per year for those with electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater. Thermostats only need to be set at 120 degrees F. You can save 600 pounds of CO2 per year by lowering your water heater by 10 degrees.
  • Lower the temperature of your fridge. Refrigerators need to be set as close to 37 degrees. Use a thermometer to adjust your fridge to be as close to that temperature as possible since they are often set too high. Refrigerators account for approximately 20% of household electricity use.
  • Use the dishwasher or washing machine only when there’s a full load. Also, you can select to have dishes air dry instead of using heat. This can conserve both water and energy usage.

Conserve by Using Energy Efficient Bulbs

Compact fluorescent blubs can illuminate a room just as well, if not better, than regular incandescent bulbs. However, fluorescent bulbs use only ¼ of the energy and last 8-12 times longer. It’s a simple switch that can help.

Conserve by Reducing Household Waste

One of the easiest ways to help the environment is by curtailing waste production and pollution.

  • Use reusable item. When you grocery shop, or get take-out food, use reusable bags, containers and utensils rather than plastic disposables. And take note of what you can compost and recycle in your local district. Reducing your garbage output by half of one large trash bag per week saves at least 1100 pounds of CO2 per year.

Helping out the environment and minimizing your ecological footprint is easier than you may think. With a few simple new habits, you can drastically reduce the stress that’s placed on your monthly bills, along with the destructive weight that is destroying our planet.

Blog Home

How a Good Quality Roof Can Boost Energy Efficiency

roofer-applying-shingles-roof

With increasing planetary climate issues and ever-rising energy costs, it is paramount that your home is operating as green and efficiently as possible. Energy costs are currently reaching ultimate highs which makes investing in alternative ways to improve the efficiency of your home necessary. This call to action will not only reduce your financial expenses, but also contribute to your part in minimizing energy consumption as we globally persevere towards a “greener” Earth. Nearly half of your monthly utility bill on average goes towards the conditioning of the air in your home. Help your AC unit and furnace run as little as possible by investing in a high-quality roof—the first line of defense against the elements.

Standard Roofing

The standard roof is typically comprised of dark shingles. If you were to take an airplane over any populous region, it is evident most houses are covered in black asphalt shingles and they produce a tremendous amount of heat. Suburban rooftops in the scorching sun of mid-summer actually create a phenomenon known as the heat island effect. The black shingles absorb heat at a much higher rate than lighter pigments therefore creating vast suburban heat pockets or islands. This will cause your air conditioner unit to run extremely hard.

Energy Efficient Roofing

Investing in an energy efficient, cool roof can improve your homes energy savings. By simply deciding on a roofing product lighter in color, more heat will reflect off a rooftop rather than be absorbed. Energy efficient roofing materials typically have this solar reflectance property. This reflection of sunlight in the summer can minimize the temperature of a roof by 30% leading to a significant reduction in your energy bill as your air conditioner requires less operating time. Higher quality materials can also withstand ultraviolet radiation much better than standard products thus increasing this life of your roof.

R-Value of Roofing Materials

Having a roof that is properly insulted with high quality, high R-Value materials is one of the best investments you can make for your home. Good insulation accompanied with spacing between the roof and the insulation allows for optimal air flow reducing the chance of moisture buildup. Moisture reduction is one of the biggest contributors to improving the efficiency of a home. Closed cell/open cell spray foam, cellulose or fiberglass are all adequate methods to providing strong insulation value.

Energy efficiency is vital in a time where climate factors and costly utility bills are on the rise. By investing in a good quality roof, not only will you have more money in your pocket each month, you will also be helping a planet in dire need of a reduction in energy consumption. Consult an experienced roofing company in your area to help source the best roof for your efficiency goals and budget.

Blog Home

Most Energy Efficient Roofing Materials

roofer-with-nailgun-installing-roofing-shingles

Could your roof potentially save you money, last longer and reduce your carbon footprint? This can be possible by using the most energy efficient roofing materials on the market. What is meant by, “energy efficient” is that these products are able to reduce the amount of heat absorbed into your home during the warmer months of the year.

Standard asphalt shingles become incredibly hot during the summer season. This poor efficiency material allows for heat from the sun to be directly absorbed into your roof and transferred into your home. This accumulation of heat will cause your air conditioner unit to run much harder in order to maintain its pre-set temperature. By opting for the most energy efficient roofing materials next time a new roof is needed, one can reduce the amount of energy required to cool a home during the summer.

Two Factors: Reflectance and Emittance

With so many materials on the market, it can be intimidating to decide on the right product to best suit your needs. Energy efficient roofing materials rely on two attributes that translate into energy saving returns. These traits are its reflectance and emittance capabilities. Reflectance is based on a material’s ability to reflect heat from sunlight rather than absorb it. Emittance refers to a materials ability to radiate off its accumulated heat to its surrounding environment. If a roofing product has a high emittance, heat cannot accumulate as well and so the temperature of the roof is substantially reduced. Materials that fall under the Energy Star label require a minimum of 25% (or.25) reflectance rate.

When choosing materials for optimal efficiency, consider these two scales typically shown in percentages or ranked between 0 and 1 (1 being the highest). In terms of material quality, metal roofing has the highest reflectance value and a significantly longer life expectancy than all other options. Though the cost is more upfront, it is the best choice for efficiency and a sound investment.

Energy Efficient Roofing Options

The next best are composite shingles which look similar to asphalt shingles but with higher reflective and emittance capabilities. All composite roofs come in a variety of colors except black. The lighter the color you decide on, the greater your energy savings. One downfall to lighter color is that over time your roof can take on the appearance of being dirty.

Solar is another excellent option. Not only are these thin layers of reflective photovoltaic cells ascetically similar to standard shingles, your roof can start working for you rather than against by converting sunlight into usable electricity for your home. Now that is genuine energy efficiency!

When choosing a roofing material, it is important to keep in mind that higher reflective products will mean less heat absorbed in winter as well which could potentially increase furnace running time. Keep this in in mind so that you choose the right material for your climatic zone.

With a new roof made with the most energy efficient materials available on market, one can experience improved comfort in a cooler home, a smaller environmental impact, a cheaper utility bill each month and a prolonged roof-life due to less heat damage. Your local roofing company will be able to propose the best options for your needs and your budget.

Blog Energy Efficiency

5 Ways to Improve Efficiency of Your A/C Unit

air-conditioner-unit-on-grass

Warm weather is soon to be upon us. Anticipation of extreme heat may seem far away yet summer is fast approaching. Keeping your home cool at an affordable cost is essential for staying comfortable in the warmer season. With heating and cooling comprising of nearly half of the expenses on your utility bill, improving the efficiency of your air conditioner is a critical decision for reducing monthly costs. Here are the top five ways you can easily improve the efficiency of your A/C unit to save you money.

Install Unit in the Shade

If your air conditioner is already installed consider planting a tree (preferably coniferous trees, as leaves will not shed and clog unit) to protect your air conditioner from the extreme heat of the sun. A cooler unit means less running time and less energy needed to reach the designated cooling temperature.

Clean Your Condenser Unit and Filter

Outside, your condenser unit is exposed to the elements and wildlife. It can be easy for the unit to become clogged or constricted by dirt, grass or other debris. Checking your A/C filter once a month is an easy and quick way to improve your unit. By keeping this area and filter clean and clear, your unit will be able to run without becoming labored down due to insufficient air flow.

Vacuum and Keep Indoor Vents Clear

Over time, dust and dirt in your home easily begins to accumulate in your air vents. It is important that you check these vents for debris and clean out the dust to ensure maximum air flow is reaching each respected room. Often times these vents can accidentally be constricted by an article of clothing, a toy or get knocked into the closed position. Be sure to check your vents regularly in order for cool air to reach its destined room without being obstructed.

Insulate Exposed Ductwork

Ductwork that runs through areas where the air is not conditioned can be a source of a cool sink. Ducts that are not properly sealed are not directing cool air efficiently through the home and so your air conditioner will run longer in order to achieve a uniform temperature. Getting a licensed HVAC professional is advised for this type of work.

Have an Annual Inspection

It is recommended that at least once per year bring in a professional to conduct air conditioner maintenance to perform a service and inspection of your unit. Not only will their servicing improve efficiency, it may also prevent small repairs from snowballing into expensive replacements.

Maximize home comfort at an affordable rate by taking care of your air conditioner and following these important tips. Keep cool and enjoy all the fun summer has to offer!

Blog Workplace Safety

Benefits of Good Air Quality in the Office Environment

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When you stop to think about just how much time you spend in the office on average, it makes you realize how important it is to have good air quality indoors. That includes having comfortable temperature and humidity levels that won’t provoke or exacerbate any issues with health, especially when you’re working in a confined environment that you must share with others on a frequent basis. In addition to health issues, poor indoor air quality can in turn, lead to absenteeism and lower productivity at work. Thus, good air quality is a crucial component in the workplace.

Here are just a few added benefits that good air quality can have in an office environment.

Health

The humidity levels in an office are crucial for maintaining optimal conditions for good health. When an environment becomes excessively dry, it not only causes discomfort, it also provides an optimal environment for airborne viruses to thrive and spread. Correct levels of humidity, between the range of 40-60% RH, reduces the growth of bacteria along with the transmission of viruses, such as influenza. Conversely, deviating beyond 60% RH can also cause the air to become too moist, which can exacerbate the presence of allergens, fungi and mites. This is why achieving that sweet spot between 40-60% is so important.

Comfort

It’s important to feel comfortable in your workplace and the air quality plays a significant role in this. Having a space that is consistently shared with many others already provides an environment that is easily prone to viruses and germs that can spread very easily, making it a very uncomfortable place to be. So having humidity levels in the correct range is essential to reduce as much discomfort, as well as the potential for ailments and bacteria to thrive.

Productivity

Of course, when your employees feel comfortable in the place that they work, they can better focus on their tasks at hand. Good air quality means less bacteria and viruses, which means less absenteeism and more productivity for the business. When employees have to suffer with allergies, asthma and the flu, it can trickle down and effect the entire business operation.

The air quality at work – and more specifically, the humidity levels maintained in your indoor environment – are something that you don’t often think about. But when you realize how much they can impact employees and productivity, you realize how vital this truly is. Don’t let something as simple as air quality negatively impact the productivity and efficiency of your workplace.

Ensure that your office has the best line of defense against ailments in the office by having a commercial humidification system installed. It can improve humidity control, health and overall productivity in the office.

Blog Energy Efficiency

What Makes Energy Star® Windows More Efficient

windows-bright

We have all heard about the need to minimize our carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption. Energy Star® windows and doors are a great way to help keep heat out in the summer and heat in come winter. But how do these technologically innovative panes of frame glass really improve efficiency over a standard window?

Energy Star® Standards

First off, in order for a window to be considered Energy Star®, it must undergo rigorous testing by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), an independent organization that certifies and verifies all Energy Star products. Each product is required to meet incredibly strict standards with regards to its energy efficiency as dictated by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

Energy Star® Rated Materials

Energy Star® windows, regardless of the partnered manufacturer and the technology they use in their product, they all have similar efficiency features that are pretty much ubiquitous under the Energy Star® label. All Energy Star® windows are fabricated with the highest quality framing materials varying from fiberglass, to wood, to aluminum. These premium grade materials are built to be incredibly durable and designed to require as little maintenance as possible. The glass in an Energy Star® window is designed to have low-emissivity, filtering out some of the damaging ultra-violet radiation that enters your home daily. These low-emissive panes can reduce fading damage in your home by up to 75%. This drastically improves the lifespan of any furniture, painted walls, and flooring exposed to natural sunlight from the windows.

Energy Star® Performance

Energy Star® windows are designed to meet the specific needs of a specific climate and should be selected accordingly. Most common Energy Star® windows are comprised of two panes of glass with an inert, colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas such as Argon or Krypton that reduce heater transfer significantly better than air found between standard double-paned windows. Some windows under the Energy Star® label have three or more panes of glass providing optimal insulation value while still serving its main function as a window. Edge spacers on Energy Star® glass panes, especially the non-metallic kind, keep the glass panes at the proper distance from one another and minimize heat being transferred through the window.

Quality materials, advanced engineering/design, accompanied by the achievement of passing the highest efficiency standards, translates to a more energy-efficient home when equipped with the best windows in the industry. Consider Energy Star®, the benchmark for superior energy efficiency, when searching for ways to reduce your environmental impact, utility bill and preserve your home.

Blog Energy Efficiency Home

How to Extend the Life of Your Vinyl Windows

vinyl-windows

Vinyl windows are a great investment, as long as you take the time to care of them. They don’t clean and lubricate themselves, unfortunately. To make the most of your high-end vinyl windows, you need to learn proper cleaning and maintenance techniques. Here is what you should now in order to extend the life of your new vinyl windows:

Lubrication

The guide arms, tracks, rotor gears and hinges on your vinyl windows can gradually get sticky and stiff over time. This makes them increasingly difficult to open. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to perform yearly lubrication. We recommend using a silicone release spray. It’s very important to note that you should never spray lubricants on the glass surface of your windows. Add window lubrication to your spring cleaning “to-do” list.

Cleaning

You don’t need a fancy name-brand, vinyl-specific cleaner in order to clean your windows. A solution of water and mild dish soap will do the trick. Take the solution and apply it to your windows with a soft clean cloth. This will remove most of the dirt from the vinyl surface. You don’t want to use harsh cleaners (like bleach) on your vinyl windows, as they could cause irreparable damage to the frame and glass.

Adjustments

You should inspect the locking mechanisms of your windows as part of an annual maintenance schedule. You may need to adjust the locks or keepers if they’ve become loose. For casement windows, you should remove the upper set of screws on the keeper then loosen the slide screws and adjust as needed. For sliding windows, you can use a square head screwdriver to loosen the keeper and reposition it as needed. Make sure you don’t overtighten the screws when you are done, as this can cause unsightly damage.

Insulation

Another item to add to your annual window maintenance list is caulking. We recommend you inspect the window caulk each year to ensure that there is a proper seal. A proper seal is crucial for maximizing your insulation during the cold winter months, and you’ll notice a big different to your energy usage if you fix this problem. You should make sure that weather-stripping and hardware are not painted over, as this can damage your window and void your warranty.

The best way to extend the life of your vinyl windows is to ensure you are having a qualified window installation company doing the work for you! Make sure to check reviews and past work to ensure the company you are hiring will get the job done right and set your windows up for optimal performance.

Blog Workplace Safety

How to Promote Safety on Your Work Site

promote-safe-work-site

Job site safety is a serious issue that must be enforced. Job site and work site safety includes both parameters for safe and effective applications of products and services, but also safe work habits and protocol for staff to follow to avoid injury or accident.

Here are just a few ways you can promote a culture of work safety in your organization, both in the office and on site:

Educate Your Labour Force

In order to ensure safe practices on site, your staff and labour force must be educated on safe practices for their job. Depending on the roles within your organizations and the different responsibilities of your staff, so a customized training regime is key to success. Whether you are an international pipeline service and solution provider or a small-scale contracting company, a safe work site should be a top priority.

Enforce Penalties Internally

The governing ministry in your area will have their own penalties if your crew is caught not following procedure – and these are often very steep penalties. However, if your company is truly committed to creating a safe and efficiency job site, you should also have internal monitoring procedures and internal penalties for those not following proper safety protocol. For example, the first time is a warning (unless a very serious infraction), the second time you are written up, and the third time you are suspended without pay.

Reward Your Team for Safety Success

Create a culture of work site safety by rewarding your teams for continuing to exhibit and follow safe practices and procedures. This could be done by keeping a record of successful safety measures during your daily monitoring checks – once you reach 1 month of accident-free, penalty-free work, the company treats the whole team to a free lunch! This is a simple, easy way to create a great workplace culture where everyone proactively enforces a safe work environment for both themselves and the team as a whole.

The cause for creating a safe work site is one that everyone in the company has to support. The approach for a safe work site should be proactive instead of reactive. Do not wait until the ministry shuts down your work site. Develop a streamlined and strict safety policy internally and make sure that your staff understand it and enforce it. A safe job site is good for everyone and leads to a more efficient process, in the long run.


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