Monday, December 24, 2018

Daylighting Systems and Tax Credits

The various benefits of installing daylighting systems have been well publicized. Broadly speaking, they are:
  • An improved ambiance in the house with more natural daylight
  • Lower utility bills as there is no need to use electric lighting during the day
  • The lower use of electricity means that the house is a greener place
  • More exposure to sunlight while indoors offers numerous health benefits
What many people are not aware of is that installing daylighting systems has another major financial benefit – users are entitled to tax credits.

Tax Credit FAQs
  • Are tax credits the same as tax deductions? No, they are not. Tax credits are deducted from the total tax liability of the person or entity paying the tax before the liability is calculated. Tax credits, however, are deducted directly from the total tax liability.
  • How are tax credits claimed? IRS form 5695 is used to claim tax credits. The form can be downloaded from the IRS website.
  • What Documentation is required to file the claim? The following documents are required for claiming tax credits:
  • A receipt that shows the total cost of the equipment/product for which the credit is being claimed
  • In some cases, the receipt for the installation costs of the equipment/product
  • Proof of date of when the equipment/product was placed in service
  • The manufacturer’s certification statement
  • Are there any local incentives that can be claimed? Local utilities may offer various financial incentives or benefits for the use of energy-efficient products. To know what you may be eligible for,visit the website of your state energy office or local utility. Information may also be obtained from the Energy Star website.
  • Are all products with an Energy Star rating eligible for tax credits? Until 2013, all Energy Star labeled products were eligible for tax credits. However, today some equipment/products may not be eligible. Visit the IRS website or consult a tax professional to learn more about specific product eligibility.
Check the Total Cost

While calculating the total cost of using daylighting systems, there are a number of factors to be taken into account. These Include:
  • The total cost of the product
  • The cost of installation
  • The savings on utility costs
  • The long-term maintenance costs. This is something people often do not take into account.Installing a daylighting system from a leading manufacturer means that you can be sure of trouble-free service for many years without having to worry about repair or replacement expenses. With less reputed or substandard brands, the risk of losing all the financial benefits due to frequent maintenance or replacement costs increases manifold.
Be Sure Of What You Install

To be sure of buying the best daylighting system for your home, contact the local dealer of the manufacturer that is known to be a brand leader in terms of innovation and quality. That way you can be sure that you are buying the best and most cost-effective daylighting system. The dealer will also be able to do a quick and clean installation, so you do not have to worry about any ancillary installation costs that you have not budgeted for. You will also have access to top-rated light fittings for the daylighting system, so once again quality and reliability is assured.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Brighten Up Your Home the Natural Way

A home is like a living organism and is the pivot around which family life revolves. It’s easy to take the home for granted and not notice when it starts to look old and worn. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential, but they cannot prevent the feeling of staleness that creeps into the aura of a home as the years pass. The staleness may not be noticed, but it will have a negative impact on the comfort and happiness of those who live in the home. It is when the need for rejuvenating the home becomes obvious that people start to think about remodeling. Remodeling is a costly, time consuming and disruptive exercise. If you think your home requires a new look, changing the lighting may be all you need to do to give it a fresh new look and feel. Doing this can be quick, hassle free, environment friendly and very economical if you maximize the use of natural light. 

  • Mirrors do not absorb light, they reflect it. By doing so they really change the lighting in a room. Placing a large mirror opposite a window that lets in light will have a measurable impact on the brightness of a room. Mirrors and frames are available in all sizes and designs so finding some that match your décor will not be a problem.
  • Dark colors tend to absorb light. If a room has dark colored walls, repaint them in light or pastel shades. This will not only make the room brighter, but it will also open it up and give it the feel of being more spacious.
  • Check to see if your window treatments are partially restricting the amount of sunlight that gets in.  Some treatments can block light, even when open or may not be designed to open completely. In either case, the room is not getting all the natural light it should. Something as simple as changing the blinds, shades or curtains can make a huge difference to the look of a room.
  • Heavy dark fabric can make a room look heavy and dark. Changing the upholstery of the furniture to lighter and less heavy colors and fabrics will make a significant difference to the brightness.
  • Check to see if there are any obstacles like tree and hedges blocking the entry of sunlight and if there are, trim them.
·     Install daylighting systems to maximize the amount of natural light in the house and to bring it to places where artificial lighting is used even during the day. Once installed you can look forwards years of free natural light diffused through elegant fittings.

Consult a Daylighting Expert

To truly appreciate the difference that daylighting systems can make to your home, consult an expert in the field. The right way to do this is to contact the local dealer of a reputed manufacturer and ask for a free home daylighting assessment. This will give you all the information you need to know to make an informed decision about brightening up and changing the look of your home using natural light.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Does Daylighting Really Reduce Energy Consumption?

The recent United Nations report on the massive dangers of climate change has emphasized the need for people to cut their carbon footprints.  One of the best ways to do this in the home is to use daylighting. For many, the idea of using daylight means opening curtains, shades and blinds to allow sunlight to enter the house. While this is essential, it is not where the concept of daylighting ends. There are places in every home where the light that comes through windows and skylights is not enough. There will also often be places where there are no windows to allow natural light to enter – closets and basements are an example of this. These are areas where electric lighting has to be used all the time and from where a home’s carbon footprint increases. Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) or daylightingsystems as they are often called, offer the perfect solution to this problem.

The TDD Advantage

No home can exist without windows and perhaps, skylights also. Windows not only allow the entry of light but also fresh air into the home. However, they do have their drawbacks:
  • The amount of light that enters will depend on the direction the windows face.
  • Changes of the season can also impact the amount of light that enters from the windows.
  • Over time, the windows can become worn and allow rain and dust to enter even when closed.
  • Windows are often a weak point as far as security is concerned – it is from where burglars often enter.
  • Skylights often allow rain to enter the house.
  • Windows and skylights allow heat transfer from indoors to outdoors, reducing the effectiveness of heating and air conditioning systems.

Daylighting systems do not have these disadvantages. TDDs are designed to capture the maximum amount of natural light and carry it to even the most interior parts of a house. The use of special highly reflective tubes to carry the light through walls and ceiling ensures that there is a minimal light loss.

The Financial Benefits

Appreciating the benefits of daylighting systems in fighting climate change can be difficult. Converting the benefits into how they can reduce utility bills will serve to provide a clear understanding of the kind of efficiencies that can be achieved. The Energy Center of Wisconsin conducted tests to determine the kind of difference daylight systems can make and these were the results:
  •       The savings of lighting costs is up to 32 percent
  •       The savings on cooling costs is 25 percent

The results will vary from house to house, but there is no denying that using daylighting systems will result in a significant reduction in energy usage and the associated bills. In terms of the environment, the impact of one home going green may be less easily quantified, but the significance is not diminished.

Maximize the Savings

Installing TDDs made by a world-class manufacturer ensures that they will produce the maximum savings on power consumption. The quality of the system also ensures that you will have many years of trouble-free operation. Look for daylighting systems where the amount of light they produce can be controlled and which have a large variety of fittings so that what is installed will match your home’s décor.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Whole House Fans Are Useful In Winter

Summer is when you are most concerned about ventilating your home to bring down indoor temperatures, allow fresh air to enter and reduce air conditioning costs. That is why it is the season when the largest number of whole house fans are purchased. What many homeowners do not realize is that the whole house fan is as important in winter as it is in summer. Winter is when temperature variations increase – warmer in the day and colder at night. This leads to the accumulation of moisture indoors through condensation. This moisture can cause leaks to develop, damage insulation, cause wood to rot and enable the growth of mold and fungus which can be serious health hazards. The whole house fan is very effective in reducing the moisture that collects inside a home in colder weather and by doing so makes the house a safer and healthier place to live in.

What Happens Indoors In Winter

In the summer the hot air in the house rises and collects in the highest part, the attic. From here heat radiates through the structure, make the whole home hot. In winter, the opposite happens. Domestic activities like washing, bathing, doing laundry, cooking and so on cause increased levels of water vapor in the air. The heating that is used in winter causes the warm air to rise up to the attic. Here it cools down and the moisture it contains is lost by way of condensation. This causes dampness to form on surfaces like roof sheathing, rafters, trusses and so on. It also collects on all the miscellaneous items stored in the attic. The moisture may appear to be negligible in quantity, but over time it can seep into wood and enter joints and cracks in the cement and other structural components. As already mentioned, this can cause insulation damage, wood rot, electrical short circuits, mold and fungus and other problems. Beyond this, the moisture can form actual water drops and fall on the attic floor. From here it can seep down to the ceilings of the rooms below and cause water spots, paint damage, crumbly ceilings and even more mold and fungus formation. The effect of this humidity on the health of the occupants of the house can be serious. The cost of repairing the water damage can also be very high.

The Fan Solution

Running a whole house fan in winter may seem ridiculous. But it does make sense. Using the fan for short periods will not have a significant impact on any heating that may be being used. However, it will cause the moisture to be blown out of the house, making it much healthier and safer. The days of summer are slowly fading away but that does not mean that it is not the right time to invest in a whole house fan. Contact the dealer of a reputed whole house fan manufacturer and ask him to enumerate the benefits and savings that can accrue from using a whole house fan in winter.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why Your Home Needs Proper Ventilation

A well-ventilated home is a happy and healthy one. Happy because the freshness that good ventilation provides elevates the moods of the occupants. Healthy because breathing fresh air is essential for good health. These are generalizations that everyone is aware of, but how many of us can enumerate the actual reason why ventilation is so important. Here are 5 of the most important ones:

    1. High levels of ambient humidity lead to moisture condensing inside a home. This moisture collects on windows, walls, furniture, tiles and so on. Over time the moisture can start to seep into walls and wooden window frames. From here to the development of mold, mildew and fungus is a short step. These can be a major health hazard for the occupants of the home as they are triggers for asthma and other respiratory diseases.Additionally, a lack of ventilation can provide a good breeding ground for dust mites which cause asthma, eczema, itching, sneezing, eye-watering and runny noses. Proper ventilation can help to prevent these unhealthy conditions from developing in your home.

    2. The same humidity can cause physical damage to your house. The moisture that collects all over the indoors can cause damage to paint, rotting and decay of wood, damage to fabrics and a stale musty smell that makes living in the house unpleasant.

    3. While the humidity levels may drop in summer, the health risks from inadequate ventilation remain. Keeping windows open may help to circulate air, if there is a breeze, but that also allows pollen and allergens to get into the home. This is what causes hay fever and fits of sneezing.

    4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are toxic gases that cause serious health problems. There are hundreds of chemicals used in all kinds of products found in most homes that could cause a toxic reaction if inhaled long enough. VOCs can come from paint, air fresheners, cosmetics and all kinds of appliances and products. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in the worst case scenario the air inside a home could be 70% more polluted than the air outside.

    5. Many people are not aware of the dangers of Radon Gas. It is a naturally occurring toxic gas that develops when the uranium that is present in all rocks decays. Besides inhaling it, particles of the gas can attach to dust particles, which, if inhaled, could stick to the inner walls of the lungs. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that up to 14% of all lung cancer cases are Radon gas related.

The Solution

A whole house fan is the best way to fully ventilate a complete house and keep the indoor air fresh, clean and cool. These fans, which are mounted in the attic, suck out all the stale air from all parts of the house which is then replaced by fresh external air. The cooling offered by a whole house fan also makes it an ideal, energy efficient alternative to air conditioning. To enjoy the maximum benefits from the use of this type of fan, in terms of air circulation and reliability,buy one that is made by a reputed manufacturer.With a whole house fan, you can be sure your home will be well ventilated and a safe, happy place to live in.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Does an Air Conditioned House Need a Whole House Fan?

Air conditioning, which was considered a luxury a few generations ago, is now a necessary part of living in a comfortable modern home. The fact that this will significantly increase the electricity usage and the utility bill is taken for granted. However, the cost of cooling and ventilating a house can be significantly reduced by installing a whole house fan. The fan, which is installed in the attic, draws stale air out of the structure and it is replaced by cooler fresh outside air, so the air conditioning load is reduced. Among the many advantages of installing the fan are:

          ·  Faster cooling: The fan pulls warm stale air up from the lower levels of the house to the attic from where it is blown out. The air that is removed, is replaced by fresh cooler air that is drawn in from open windows. The cooling this creates is felt more quickly than that created by an air conditioner.

         ·  Energy efficient operation: The starting and running loads on the air conditioner are reduced so the unit has to work less hard and this results in lower power consumption and wear on the unit. It also makes the home more environmentally friendly.

         ·  Reduced Cooling Costs: A whole house fan consumes less than 25% of the power of an air conditioner. When used prior to starting the AC to bring down temperatures, the savings can run into hundreds of dollars a year.

         ·  Low Cost: A whole house fan is far less expensive than a window air conditioner and typically costs only about 10% of what you would need to pay for a central air conditioning unit, not including the installation and ducting cost.

         ·  Easy Installation: Most whole house fans are designed for easy installation and do not require any modifications of the attic joists or roof trusses.

   ·  Reduced Air conditioning replacement/upgrading costs:  As and when the air conditioning system in the house needs to be replaced or upgraded, doing it in conjunction with the installation of a whole house fan will significantly reduce the overall cooling load. This will result in a significant reduction in the cost of the new equipment.

         ·  Possible air conditioning replacement: In areas where the need for air conditioning is marginal, a whole house fan could remove the need for air conditioning altogether, resulting in lower equipment and running costs.

         ·  Significant Health Benefits: Whole house fans ventilate the house effectively, blowing out stale air and replacing it with fresh air from outside. This makes the interior environment a much healthier one, reducing the risk of allergic reactions and the spread of many communicable diseases.

It All Depends On the Quality of the Fan

The many advantages mentioned here make the decision to go in for a whole house fan to supplement the air conditioning a simple one. However, to get the maximum benefits and be sure of many years of trouble-free operation, the fan should be of the highest quality. A common error many people make is to associate top quality with high price. Contact the dealer of a reputed manufacturer and check the prices and many other positives. The result will make the decision to go in for the best an easy one.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Do Whole House Fans Really Work?

Before considering how effective whole house fans are, it is important to clear up some of the confusion that surrounds them. There are 3 main types of ventilation fans used in homes.They are:

           1.    The most common kind of ventilation fan is the exhaust fan that is used to remove odors from bathrooms, kitchens and other parts of a house.
           2.    Attic fans are used to blow warm air out of the attic so that cooler air can be drawn in. Warm air rises to rest on top of cooler air so the attic is where heat collects. By blowing warm air out, the attic is cooled and this, in turn, reduces the temperature in the house itself.

           3.    Whole house fans are also attic mounted but are much larger and more powerful than attic fans. Because of this, the airflow is far greater so air from all parts of the house is sucked up into the attic from where it is blown out. Cooler air is sucked into the home to replace the air that has been removed and this has the effect of significantly cooling the whole house.

The Whole House Fan Advantage

Once the outside temperature has reached a comfortable level, usually in the morning or evening/night, the whole house fan can get to work. Windows need to be opened (at least 1 in each room) and the fan turned on. The warm stale air from indoors is removed and fresh cooler air is brought indoors. Turning on the fan is just a matter of flipping a switch. The main benefits are:

          ·  With a good whole house fan installed, the need for air conditioning is either removed or reduced to a great extent.

                  ·  The coolness is coupled with a flow of fresh air through the home which is healthier and more energizing than the recycled air of air conditioning.
                  ·  Because of the amount of airflow they provide, whole house fans bring down interior temperatures faster than air conditioning does. This is what is known as the reduction in sensible heat – the heat that you feel.

                  ·  There is another type of heat – latent heat. This is the heat that has been absorbed by furniture, furnishings and other items in the house. These continue to radiate heat from a considerable period of time, which works to counter the cooling effect of air conditioning. The airflow from a whole house fan is continually moving through the house and as it flows over items that have retained latent heat, draws that heat out, bringing down the latent heat quickly so that the house stays cool.

Air Conditioning or a Whole House Fan?

A whole house fan can be either a standalone home cooling solution or can be used in conjunction with air conditioning. In both cases, the benefits are that cool fresh healthy air is circulated in the home and also that the electricity savings are significant.Depending on the size, a whole house fan will typically draw about 500 watts of power. An air conditioning unit that can cool a complete house will usually draw about 5,000 watt – 10 times more electricity. To find out more about the advantages of installing a whole house fan, contact the dealer of a reputed manufacturer