How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Matthew Heimer, senior editor of SmartMoney magazine, explains that energy proofing a house can actually cut annual utility bills in half.

Matthew covers breaking down home energy costs, how to monitor heating and cooling costs, how to reduce heating and cooling costs, how to reduce energy costs when using larger appliances, how landscaping can actually reduce utility bills – and the best simple tips for saving energy and money every day.

Based on national averages from the U.S. Department of Energy, 44 percent of utility bills resulting from energy usage is heating and cooling the home, 33 percent is attributed to lighting, cooking and other appliances, 14 percent is due to water heating, and 9 percent is energy used by the refrigerator alone.

Once you realize how you use energy you can begin to formulate a plan on how to identify places in your home that are losing energy.

Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan.

An energy audit is a great way to figure out if you need updating or replacing of major heating or cooling systems with the house.

Buying a new heating or cooling system may seem like a huge investment, but overall it will save you money years into the future and even raise the value of the home.

Many utility companies conduct energy audits for free or for a nominal charge, so you can see where your heating or cooling systems may be costing you money.

For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how your home’s energy systems work together as a system and compare the analysis against your utility bills.

One of the most important systems in your home is the network of ducts that carry the hot and cold air throughout your home.

Another great way to cut energy costs is to take advantage of heat from the sun.

Close these shades when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping.

Larger appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators are the most serious offenders when it comes to wasting energy.

When shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star label.

These appliances have U.S. EPA and Department of Energy approval for being the most energy efficient products in the class.

A refrigerator with Energy Star label will save you between $35 and $70 a year compared to models designed 15 years ago.

About 80 percent to 85 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water.

There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes use less water and use cooler water.

Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

Don’t put stoves that produce heat next to refrigerators that produce cold.

Saving energy is cost effective, but also it is environmentally friendly.

What better way to reduce your annual energy cost than to actually use the environment to do this? Carefully positioned trees around the perimeter of a home can actually save up to 25 percent of a typical household’s energy for heating and cooling? This is an annual savings on average between $100 and $250. For example, deciduous trees, or trees that lost their leaves in the fall, when planted on the south and on the west of a home will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter.

Here are a few tips for energy proofing your home:

Consider switching off your computer monitor during long periods of non-use.

The monitor itself uses more than half the system’s energy and there really is no reason for leaving it on all night if it is not being used.

Chargers for cell phones, laptops, and other wireless devices use lots of energy even when they aren’t charging their devices.

Source: DIYNetwork.com


Vinyl vs. Aluminum vs. Fiberglass: Not All Materials are Created Equal

Our second installment of window tips in partnership with the experts at FineHomebuilding tackles the list of popular window materials, and the pros and cons of using them in your next project.

Planning a new build, remodel or a window replacement project can be overwhelming, especially when there are many variations of window and door materials to choose from – and a lot of information to sift through in order to identify the material that best suits your needs.

The most popular frame materials for windows and doors are vinyl, rolled or extruded aluminum, fiberglass, wood, and wood clad with a more weather-resistant material on the exterior-either rolled or extruded aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl.

The white elephant in the room is vinyl, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of all of the windows installed in the United States.

The vulnerability to heat and UV light is why vinyl windows are manufactured mostly in white and almond tones.

Vinyl doesn’t take paint well, so you’ll be stuck with those white windows.

This is why so many manufacturers offer a wood window clad with vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass.

Fiberglass windows can be priced higher than vinyl, and a bit more than all-wood, but the payback in energy-efficiency, durability, and convenience makes it a strong contender for best value in the industry.

“Integrity windows cost less than half as much as European windows, and they don’t require a six-month lead time when ordering.” In fact, Marvin guarantees delivery to the local distributor within 10 days for all of its Integrity windows and doors, including special sizes.

Vinyl cladding is less expensive than the other two but has the performance and durability problems associated with all-vinyl and some vinyl-wood composite windows mentioned earlier.

See the original article on Marvin.com


Why It’s Time To Go Monochrome

When redesigning a room, the first question is, which color?

Design a room with a monochromatic color palette to bring elegance and simplicity to your interiors.

Why go monochrome?

Monochrome creates harmony because it’s all really one base color.

Using a monochromatic color palette unifies the room from the start. Also, sticking to one color palette helps create a soothing and restful environment.

How to implement monochrome in your home:

Monochromatic interior design offers plenty more than just a single shade. The shades in your interior will blend together, so texture and pattern are the two factors to add visual interest.

Be careful to ensure that the undertones that stand out in color when hit my natural light still match even if the textures and patterns vary.

How do you feel about monochromatic colors?

Read the full article and images at: Freshome.com


How to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Front Door

Replacing your front entry door should provide good looks and value. An energy-efficient exterior door may trim 10% off your energy bills.

How do you know which door is right for you? Compare the three main materials available for exterior doors:; steel, fiberglass, and wood.

Steel Entry Door

A steel door is great for saving money. A simple unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 to $400.

Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, but may wear within 5-7 years due to harsh weather like heavy rains or salt air.

Steel may also dent if exposed to heavy traffic.

Fiberglass Door

Fiberglass is great for minimum upkeep. It can go for years without needing paint or stain touchups, lasting 15-20 years. Fiberglass is light but comes with a tough coating allowing for entry protection.

Fiberglass doors generally range moderately from $150-$600.

Wood Exterior Door

Wood is the go-to choice for high-end projects. Usually, the most expensive between $500-$2000, wood also requires the most maintenance; but easy to repair scratches.

Wooden doors should be repainted and refinished every year or two to prevent splitting and warping.

Read the full article at: HouseLogic.com


2017 Marvin Architects Challenge & Latest Design Trends

The new and diverse group of Marvin Architects Challenge-winning projects offer a personal take on the home and design trends the industry is buzzing about.

The winners of the competition brought a fresh perspective on some of the most popular design trends in the industry today.

See the 8 hot trends below…

White is the new [insert any color here]

White is the new color du jour. White walls, white accessories, and white linen still make for a relaxing palate that allows details to stand out.

White mixed with more white such as white walls and bookshelves that create a cohesive feel from room to room and help reflect natural sunlight.

Creativity with contrast

A pop of bold color can add personality and a unique look to any space. White walls and sky-blue kitchen cabinets belies any small space.

Naturally renewable, warmer surfaces

Homeowners are longing for more tactile surfaces – warm materials that bring a little nature into indoors spaces now that technology is so prominent in households.

Natural wood finishes; wood floors, and exposed wood beams create a connection with the great outdoors.

Next-level green

Not just using Pantone’s Color of the Year, Greenery; exploring the true meaning of eco-friendliness by engineering green practices. An example of this is designing a building to maximize use of daylight and natural ventilation.

Farmhouse style

According to Pinterest, searches for farmhouse-style interiors are up 40% since last year. This look incorporates white wood kitchen cabinets, wood-planked walls, and prairie vews through double hung Marvin windows.

The hunt for Hygge

Inspired by the Scandinavian way of life, this trend pairs a wood-burning stove, soft textiles, and unbeatable views to create the ultimate relaxation vibe.

More usable square footage, indoors and out

An abundance of glass and large doors help make walls disappear, bringing the outdoors in. Connection to the outdoors through expansive glass and oversized scenic doors is a top trend for 2017.

A return to eras gone by

As the old continues to blend with new, and famous architectural styles and icons rejoin modern aesthetics, preserving the historic charm and protecting the stories behind landmark buildings is more important than ever.

Read the full article and images for each trend at: Marvin.com


How to Feng Shui Your Home in 7 Steps

Feng shui is all about harnessing the positive flow of energy in our environment to live happier days in and out of your home. Follow these 7 steps to feng shui your home.

Declutter your home

Eliminate excess stuff to create balance in your space. Clutter overwhelms the energy of any room.

Remove objects that collect dust, serve little purpose, or simply don’t belong.

Bring the outside in

Incorporate living things to feng shui your home quickly and easily. Introducing a tableside plant, a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a little potted plant.

Feng shui your lighting

Lighting is key to setting the mood. Incorporate light from both natural sources and light fixtures. Use candle lighting to bring warmth to a space and install track lighting where natural light is missing.

Feng shui your furniture

Place your furniture in a people-focused way that promotes conversation and face-to-face interaction.

Place chairs directly facing sofas and avoid placing furniture against walls.

Energize your curb appeal

Be mindful of your exterior living space. Boost your home’s curb appeal with freshly painted doors, landscaping, and well-manicured lawns.

Rejuvenate your entryway

Your entryway should greet you with positive energy. Place a bench in the entryway to create an inviting vibe. Keep shoes, umbrellas, and jackets organized or tucked away in a closet.

Keep up with home maintenance

Think of cleaning your home as scrubbing negative energy from your living space. Keep you home clean and organized. Don’t let little projects like a leaky faucet, broken handles, or peeling paint pile up. Take them on as they come.

Read the original article: BudgetDumpster.com


Architizer A+ Awards Recognize Door, Window, Glass Companies

Several door and window companies are recipients of the 2017 Architizer A+ Awards that acknowledge and promote the year’s best architecture projects and products.

Winners of the Building Products – Windows & Doors category:

  • Marvin Windows and Doors’ Ultimate Multi-Slide Door
  • PlybooDoo Panels by Krownlab
  • Pirnar’s Ultimum Pure with a One Touch handle
  • Slope sliding doors
  • Vitrocsa curved sliding door

Special mentions include: VanAir Vented Door, the M door hardware by Latch and the Centor Integrated Folding Door.

Winners of the Building Products – Glazing Systems & Products category:

  • View dynamic glass
  • The Vitrocsa Invisible Seal for sliding doors
  • The Vitrocsa Curved sliding door
  • LightGlass Privacy Plus
  • Wallen interior wall system by Adotta Italia

Over 400 luminaries and thought leaders in the fields of fashion, publishing, product design, real estate development, and tech make up the judge panel at the Architizer A+ Awards.

Winners, jurors, and VIPs will gather on May 11 at a red carpet gala that kicks off the weeklong NYCxDesign event in New York City.

Source: DWMMag


BUILDER Top Brands in 2017

Marvin Windows and Doors and Integrity Windows and Doors recognized as Top Brands in 2017.

For the second year in a row BUILDER Magazine recognized Marvin Windows and Doors and Integrity Windows as top brands in the 2017 BUILDER Brand Use Study, an annual in-depth survey conducted by BUILDER. This case study highlights the brands professional builders use most across 70 product categories and how these brands rank in terms of quality.

“We are incredibly honored to receive these accolades from professional builders, who know our products best. We don’t take lightly the trust builders have placed in us when they choose our products. To be recognized for delivering high-quality products is a reflection of the high standards and attention to detail we insist upon at every step of our process. We’re committed to the success of our builder partners and will continue to produce high-performance window and door products that they can rely on, year after year,”  Kris Hanson, senior manager, group product management at Marvin Windows and Doors and Integrity Windows and Doors. ”

Marvin Windows and Doors are built on a heritage of quality and innovation, continuously leading the industry in product design and function. Each window is made to order, to meet builders’ exact specifications. With customization capabilities, exclusive innovations, high-performance energy efficiency options and unmatched personal service at every point in the process, builders are able to find beautiful windows and doors for the project at hand.

Integrity Window and Doors‘ fiberglass solutions are made with Ultrex® – a state-of-the-art pultruded fiberglass that is eight times stronger than vinyl, three times stronger than wood/vinyl composites and as strong as steel. Integrity offers an All Ultrex fiberglass line, as well as a Wood-Ultrex line that combines an authentic wood interior with a virtually indestructible fiberglass exterior. Integrity’s Ultrex resists rotting, warping, fading and chipping. It is the first and only finish to have achieved 624-10 verification from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), and many Integrity products offer IMPACT zone 3 certification for coastal projects.

Read the entire press release at PRNewsWire.


May is National Home Improvement Month

In honor of May, National Home Improvement Month, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is providing chapters and members with tools to get homeowners interested in remodeling this season.

To read the entire press release and download free resources, check NARI.org.

Don’t miss your opportunity to position your company or chapter as an expert during the Month of May.


Builders Name Marvin and Integrity Best in Quality

Builders and professionals in the industry have spoken, naming Marvin and Integrity best in quality in the wood/wood-clad and fiberglass window categories in the 2017 BUILDER Magazine Brand Use Study. This in-depth study evaluates which brands professional builders use most across 70 product categories, and how they rank in quality.

We know that the products we sell are the best in the industry, and builders have once again shown they agree.

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