Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JOIN US AT www.Greenovation.TV


As of Earth Day, April 22, 2009
This Blogspot has moved 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Redefining Home: GreenovationTV Launches on Earth Day

Here's a sneak preview of the GreenovationTV promo for our launch on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. I've been busy working with folks to get the website up and running and begin creating great content that will help green every home in America, starting with yours!

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On Earth Day this blog will move to the Greenovation.TV website. GreenovationTV is the first internet TV channel for green remodeling.

Our mission: Help green the 130 million inefficient and sometimes unhealthy homes in the U.S. greenovationTV inspires viewers with practical advice and real solutions in a fast-paced and entertaining format. This isn't your daddy's fix-it-up show. greenovationTV is an internet television station with free 24/7 on-demand access to original short videos with everything consumers need to know about green home improvement.

It's about Real Homes + Real Improvement. It's about Redefining Home. If we're going to green every home in America, we need your help! Please visit www.Greenovation.TV and send us your photos, videos and stories about how you are saving energy & water and how you are greening your home. Join us on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/cjytjq

Join Dr. Anna Marie (from The Weather Channel) as she takes her 1970s ranch home kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. She's not doing an extreme makeover and she's not doing just a facelift, she's making her home clean and green. From the windows and doors to the paint on the walls, we have a real home with real solutions. If you're thinking about greening your home on your own, then don't miss Dr. Anna Marie's GIY segments on www.Greenovation.TV. Remember: A green home is a healthy home.

GreenovationTV: Real Homes + Real Improvement

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can a $1 Incensce Stick Save You $100s on Your Energy Bill?

Detecting Air Leaks in Your Drafty House

You may already know where some air leakage occurs in your home, such as an under-the-door draft, but you'll need to find the less obvious gaps to properly air seal your home.

For a thorough and accurate measurement of air leakage in your home, hire a qualified technician to conduct an energy audit, particularly a blower door test. A blower door test, which depressurizes a home, can reveal the location of many leaks. A complete energy audit will also help determine areas in your home that need more insulation.

Without a blower door test, there are ways to find some air leaks yourself. First, look at areas where different materials meet, such as between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and between the chimney and siding. Also inspect around the following areas for any cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:

  • Door and window frames
  • Mail chutes
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Bricks, siding, stucco, and foundation
  • Air conditioners
  • Vents and fans.

You can also try these steps to depressurize your home to help detect leaks:

  1. Turn off your furnace on a cool, very windy day.
  2. Shut all windows and doors.
  3. Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside, such as bathroom fans or stove vents.
  4. Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke is sucked out of or blown into the room, there's a draft.

If you don't want to turn off your furnace, you can just turn on all your exhaust fans to depressurize your home.

Other air-leak detection methods include the following:

  • Shining flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as rays of light. Not a good way to detect small cracks.

  • Shutting a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you're losing energy. You may as well just shove some $10s and $20s through those cracks while you're at it.

    From U.S. Department of Energy Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Monday, January 19, 2009

Energy Inefficient: U.S. Trails Some Third World Countries

Editorial - New York Times

Published: January 18, 2009

From plug-in cars to carbon capture to wind farms linked to “intelligent” power grids, many of the solutions pitched to restructure the country’s energy system and confront global warming rely on a faith in high tech: we expect, or at least hope, that an Apollo project, the energy equivalent of the dot.com revolution or some other burst of creative genius will engineer the problem away. . . .

. . . Per-capita carbon dioxide emissions by households in the United States and Canada are the highest in the world — in part because of bigger homes . . . READ MORE.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tax Incentives to Help Trim Home Energy Costs

From Matter Network January 6, 2009

A force of public interest and government agencies is working to ease the financial crisis by revitalizing and adding tax incentives for homeowners across America under the Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP).
TIAP, which includes he Natural Resources Defense Council, and businesses and environmental organizations like the Alliance to Save Energy, provides information on the available tax incentives for reducing a home’s energy consumption through installation of energy-efficient technologies. Home improvements that qualify under the plethora of tax breaks include the purchase of:
- EnergyStar windows, doors, frames and roofs, and

Teaching an Old House New Tricks

by Lester Graham - The Environment Report

Listen to the NPR story here:

Maybe a brand-new home equipped with all the latest technology isn’t in your budget. The Environment Report’s Lester Graham reports on another approach that takes an existing house and recycles it. Environmentally friendly architecture is becoming very common. Architects are designing innovative, cutting edge, energy-efficient homes, using renewable resources. But, Lester Graham reports on another approach that recycles an entire house:

You know, we’re always hearing about new green building construction - new homes with all the latest. That’s nice, but it’s a little ironic to think about all those resources being used to build new to save resources.

That’s why I kinda got interested when I read about Matt and Kelly Grocoff. They bought a modest, century-old house and started making energy-efficient changes. A lot of them as Matt showed me in the bathroom.

“We have the motion-sensor light. We have the compact fluorescent bulbs. We have a dual-flush toilet that will use only (flushing sound) use point-eight gallons for a flush. This is actually a one-gallon-per-minute shower head by Bricor [Note: Standard showerheads are 2.5 gallons-per-minute]. It will save you at least $120 in electricity your first year of having that because of the sixteen-thousand gallons of hot water that you’re going to be saving. (faucet sound) This faucet aerator is also point- five-gallons-a-minute. It’s plenty of water to wash your hands. Most people will never notice that they’re using two-gallons-per-minute less in this faucet than another faucet.”

(stairs sound)

And that’s just the bathroom. As the couple took me upstairs, they told me about the really, really efficient geo-thermal heat. They insulated everywhere. It’s tight. But everything was off-the-shelf. None of that, ‘oh this is custom, you can’t buy it anywhere’, type stuff.

Kelly Grocoff says if your house is a statement about you, then having a low-impact on the earth’s resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is part of the statement they want to make.

“For us, we proclaim loud and clear 'this is where our values are. And this is where we’re going to spend our time and it’s incredibly important to us'.”

And with all the efficiencies, all the updates, the house looked normal, comfortable. And the Grocoff’s say that’s the way it should be.

Matt: “One of the things with building green, everyone thinks that you’re going to sacrifice something, you’re going to spend more money and you’re not going to be as comfortable. And that is completely not true anymore.”

Kelly: “We have made zero sacrifices. We have gained enormously. And we have no time to waste. Your house is the number one place where you can make a significant impact on a daily basis. For me there’s no other choice to be made.”

Matt and Kelly Grocoff say doing something about reducing energy use, reducing the emissions that are causing global warming, and re-using old lumber and this old house is just a start for them. They want to help other people do it too. That’s why they’re launching an online site for do-it-yourselfers called ‘GreenovationTV.com’

Matt: “Uh, through Greenovation TV, we’re going to take everything that we’ve learned from this house and teach others about it.”

Kelly: "We need that kind of resource there as we're going through this process. And so there was hours upon hours spent researching things. And that's kind of the goal with this station."

Matt: "Once you have the knowledge to do it, it's really, really easy."

The Grocoff’s say the one thing holding people back from making their homes more environmentally friendly is they feel like they have to do it all or it won’t be right. They say just take the first step. Even if it’s just changing to a lower-energy compact fluorescent bulb, it’s a good start.

For The Environment Report, I’m Lester Graham.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nine home renovation projects that make sense for 2009

. . . Hint . . . the best bangs for the bucks are good for the planet and your wallet too.

By Karen Klages | Tribune reporter

With sales of existing houses in the Midwest down 6 percent in October (and remain 9.1 percent below figures from October '07) and the median Midwestern home price down 6.7 percent from a year ago (according to the National Association of Realtors), it makes sense for homeowners to think at least twice about investing in a renovation.

What projects make sense, given the state of economic affairs? What improvements will allow folks to live better now and make the house more saleable later—and offer a handsome return on investment? READ MORE

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New $2000 Tax Credit for Geothermal Heating & Air!!

A $2000 tax credit for a home geothermal system makes it far and away the most cost-effective ultra-high efficiency heating and cooling system available.

An exciting new tax credit is now available for home and commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424). H.R. 1424 offers a one time tax credit of 30% of the total investment (maximum of $2,000 for a single residence) for all residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pump installations. A credit of 10% of the total investment is also available (no maximum) for a commercial system installation.

To qualify, the systems must meet or exceed EnergyStar requirements and be installed after December 31, 2007. Owners can file for the credit by completing the Renewable Energy Credits subsection on their tax return forms for 2008. For taxpayers that are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, they can claim the credit on their taxes for the following year. No proof of purchase will be required; however, in case of an audit, owners are encouraged to keep a detailed invoice of their purchase on file. The contractor who sold and installed the product should list the purchase as a "Geothermal Heat Pump" on the invoice and that it "Exceeds requirements of Energy Star program currently in effect".

The tax credit is available from October 3, 2008 through December 31, 2016. For more information, visit http://thomas.loc.gov or contact your local tax professional.

Visit http://www.dsireusa.org/ to find additional tax incentives that may be available in your state. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Economic Upside Of Historic Preservation

By: Jon Zemke, 7/9/2008 from ConcentrateMedia

Matt and Kelly Grocoff picked an ugly ducking of a house when they bought their century-old Old West Side abode two autumns ago. While others saw an old, dilapidated structure --with the buzz words that make homebuyers run: lead and asbestos-- the Grocoffs saw an opportunity to do something special at bargain basement rates. They saw history, and they made their own mark on it.

"It's one of those things where people didn't see what was beneath the lead paint and asbestos," Matt Grocoff says. "You have a structure that has lasted 100 years and could easily last another 100 years if it's maintained."

Less than two years later the couple has transformed the Folk Victorian-esque home on the western edge of one of Ann Arbor's most celebrated historic neighborhoods into an eco-dream house.  Read More

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally, An Easy Way to Recycle CFLs

Home Depot Offers Recycling for Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
From the New York Times
Published: June 24, 2008

Some big retailers are promoting compact fluorescent light bulbs as a way to save energy. But improper disposal of the bulbs creates a hazard, because they contain small amounts of mercury.

Recycling them is about to get easier. Home Depot, the nation’s second-largest retailer, will announce on Tuesday that it will take back old compact fluorescents in all 1,973 of its stores in the United States, creating the nation’s most widespread recycling program for the bulbs. Click here to read more

Stay tuned to GreenovationTV for an upcoming story about mercury in CFLs and the math behind why they are safer than old fashioned incandescent bulbs.