Rochester Energy Efficiency Is Taking A Big Step

Your Rochester home inspection company, HomePro Inspections, is happy to share with you information about going green and saving money in new and exciting ways.

rochester programmable indoor temperature control and good lighting in this home remodelSpring is the perfect time to think green. For some it’s spurred by the coming of Earth Day, others the renewed greening of our lawns. And many are motivated by the desire to save a little green in their wallets with a fresh new season of home repairs. If you’re one of these people, you can help save some green for the planet, as well as your hard-earned cash, by making energy efficient upgrades throughout your home.

Helping the world stay green gained traction with the first Earth Day held March 22, 1970, as declared by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. As a nation, much has been accomplished with the environmental movement, yet there are also easy things you can do at home to “go green” and save money at the same time. Here are some tips for home energy efficiency upgrades indoors and out.

  • * Cool efficiently: When it comes to home energy bills, heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of the average home’s utility costs, according to energy.gov. Get ready for the hottest days of summer by tuning up your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system so it’s operating efficiently. Change your HVAC filters regularly. In addition, if your cooling system is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with one that has a Seasonal Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 20.00 for better savings. Trane’s XL20i, for example, can mean a savings of up to 60 percent on your annual cooling costs – that’s cool cash in your pocket.
  • * Programmable temperature controls: A programmable HVAC control can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent compared to traditional nonprogrammable thermostats. Today’s HVAC control systems, like the Trane ComfortLink II Control, now monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, plus home energy use over time, to help you manage energy and comfort even further.
  • * Conserve water: Remember, water isn’t free. Indoors, lower water bills by installing low-flow water fixtures including toilets, showerheads and faucets. Outdoors, add a water-saving spigot for the garden hose. To avoid water evaporation, water your plants early or late in the day, and when your green lawn starts to grow, don’t mow too low. If you have lawn sprinklers, double check that they are set to water grass and shrubbery instead of the driveway or sidewalk. Rather than hose down your deck to clean it, save water by sweeping instead.
  • * Lighting: About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs, according to energy.gov – in fact, by just replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with energy efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared with traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescents can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six times longer. You can save even more energy and wasted heat by switching to LEDs. Outdoor lights using CFLs or LEDS save energy, too, so look for ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures designed for outdoor use.

By taking these steps, you can help make the world a little greener, keep your home a little greener, and save even more green where it really hits home – in your wallet.

George Cline Rochester Home Inspector posing for a professional photo in a shootGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/

Top Outdoor Living Trends For Rochester 2014

Your Rochester home inspector George Cline is happy to offer quality content for this year’s outdoor living trends.

rochester outdoor trends for 2014 increase in square footage on deckFrom genteel porches in the East to sleek, seaside balconies in the West, the popularity of outdoor living spaces is poised for significant growth from coast to coast with industry analysts predicting it will be a $5.7 billion market by 2016. Reinforcing these projections, 63 percent of architects cite an outdoor living space as the most popular “special function room” in housing construction, according to the American Institute of Architects. What’s more, the-Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association reports that homebuilders list decks among the top three features most requested with new home buys.

“Decks and porches are now considered true extensions of a home’s living space,” says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. “People are showing increased interest in maximizing the function, comfort and personalization of their outdoor spaces and are realizing that it’s far more economical to expand their living space outside than to enlarge or renovate their home’s interior.”

As planning and preparation for the 2014 outdoor living season begins, the experts at Trex offer a glimpse into the national trends that will be emerging outside homes across America in 2014.

Size matters

The biggest trend in decks right now is the increase in square footage. Gone are the days of the 20-by-10-foot rectangle with just enough room for a grill and some patio furniture. Today’s decks are expanding both horizontally and vertically. Demand for decks with multiple tiers is increasing, as are requests to finish the space below an elevated deck.

Thinking outside the box

When it comes to deck designs, today’s homeowners also are thinking way outside the box and customizing nearly every aspect of their outdoor living spaces. Remodelers and architects report increased interest in pergolas and walls to define different functional areas and create privacy, as well as integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage. Similarly, consumer interest in accessories such as deck lighting, ornamental post caps and decorative balusters also is on the rise.

“We are seeing a lot more mixing of materials,” reports Zambanini. “Contractors and consumers alike are creating highly customized deck designs combining two or more decking shades and also mixing materials such as composite railings in white with contrasting black aluminum balusters. Our product offering allows for more than 1,200 different design combinations so there truly is something for every taste and lifestyle.”

High-performance, low maintenance

In addition to design aesthetics, homeowners across the country are increasingly concerned with performance. Specifically, they want materials that allow them to spend more time enjoying their outdoor living space rather than maintaining it. This motivation has contributed to the continued innovation and popularity of composite decking and railing. Unlike wood or even traditional composites, high-performance wood alternatives like Trex Transcend resist fading, staining, scratching and mold – and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. Upkeep is hassle-free and requires no sanding, staining or painting. Food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water.

Sustainability

Composite decking also responds to another growing trend among U.S. homeowners – interest in sustainable, eco-friendly building materials.

“High-performance decking provides the look and feel of real wood, but without the environmental impact, making it an ideal choice for today’s eco-conscious consumers,” notes Zambanini.

The entire high-performance Trex decking portfolio is manufactured from more than 95 percent recycled content, including reclaimed wood and sawdust, as well as plastic from many common household items. The company salvages and keeps more than 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills each year.

To see examples of these and other top outdoor living trends, visit the Trex Inspiration Gallery at www.trex.com/inspiration/gallery, where images are sorted by region and environment. For more information, go to www.trex.com.

George Cline Rochester Home Inspector posing for a professional photo in a shootGeorge Cline is President of HomePro Inspections which he founded in 1991. George is a  NYS licensed professional engineer, a NYS Certified Radon Measurement Provider, and a NYS approved Technical Instructor for continuing education. In addition to full home and commercial property inspections, George consults with home and building owners on specific concerns such as wet basements, structural issues, roofing problems, heating and cooling systems, ice damming and attic ventilation problems. He has trained several home inspectors in the field and is a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Give George and his Team a call to schedule your Rochester Home Inspection at 585-670-6323 or schedule your inspection online at http://www.rochesterhomepro.com/blog/schedule-now/