Ways to save energy in the home that you didn’t think of

28 02 2015

There are a lot of articles, blogs, podcasts, paper airplanes and the like talking about saving energy in the home but most have the same common sense content. Turn the lights off when not in use, don’t run the water when brushing teeth…are people really not aware of these simple ways to conserve.

There are some other ways to conserve that you may not have thought of.

-Boil water with the lid on.

-Wash clothes with cold water detergent. Hot water contributes to up to 20% of home energy use.

-Keep the fridge full.

-Get a dual flush toilet, a button for #1 and a button for #2.

-Put insulating foil behind radiators.

-Make sure thermostats are away from windows and sunlight to ensure and accurate reading.

-Children have a high metabolism so make them wear sweatshirts instead of turning the heat up.

calvin calvin2 calvin3calvin-hobbes-cold

 

That was pretty much how it was growing up in Boston.

To visualize what home improvement projects will add the most value to your home, refer to the chart below.

cost value homecvh2

 

 

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Best Gadgets of 2014

21 02 2015

This is a Leatherman that is also a bracelet or watch. Very Cool because you can take it through airport security.

This a new design for the standard ratcheting wrench and it looks pretty cool.

This is a toolbox with a surge protector. It makes so much sense I’m surprised no one thought of it before.

Seek-Thermal-Camera-for-Android

This is a thermal imaging attachment for your smart phone. Using a thermal camera can help homeowners see the lost heat energy. We can see in the picture below that this house needs weatherstripping around the doors and windows.

A-thermal-image-showing-h-001

 

This is a flip out cordless screwdriver. The advantage is that it will fit in lots of places other screwdrivers can not.

 

 





Color, Temperature, and Urban Heat Islands

13 02 2015

White reflects and black absorbs.

It’s a simple statement with massive ramifications if our society decides to use the science of color to fight global warming. For centuries cities in places like North Africa and the Mediterranean have been painting everything bright white to keep cool. White reflects the heat radiation back into space while darker colors absorb heat radiation and would therefore increase the temperature in and around the house.

moracco

Moracco

 

Why did we abandon this simple technique that seems like a no brainer in places like Los Angeles? The answer is that it is much cheaper to use dark building materials. Asphalt and tar are two of the most ubiquitous building materials we use to construct cities and roads. The detrimental effect of building like that is referred to as the “Urban Heat Island” effect. This is why cities are generally much hotter than the surrounding countryside.

In cities with ample precipitation, the best solution involves plants on places like rooftops and vacant lots. The city of Boston buried it’s largest highway and built a giant park in it’s place. The “Big Dig” was a disaster as far as construction projects go but the original concept was great. (When I was ten years old, the Major of Boston told me the Big Dig would be done in five years…I am now thirty and they just finished.)

big-dig-before-after-photo

The problem with this approach in Los Angeles is the complete lack of rain. No one should be watering large lawns because it’s just downright irresponsible. Replacing lawns with fake grass actually contributes to the Urban Heat Island and also destroys whatever ecosystem existed there before. Residents of Los Angeles can enroll in a rebate turf removal program whereby you replace the grass with drought resistant plants and get money back from the city.

turf_res_before2

turf_res_after2

Of course if you can’t get people to vaccinate their children, the concept of deadly irresponsibility may not be salient for the residents of greater Los Angeles.

If you want to be a responsable member of society, however, paint white and tear up all that thirsty grass.





Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL)

7 02 2015

Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL)  in buildings are electric loads resulting from electronic devices not responsible for space heating, cooling, water heating, or lighting. MELs are produced by hard-wired and “plug-in” electrical devices, including home entertainment centers, kitchen electronics such as microwaves and toaster ovens, bath items such as hair dryers and electric hot tubs, and others such as security systems and ceiling fans.

Early generation phone chargers used a lot of electricity and were also a danger if left plugged into the phone. In recent years chargers for phones and other new electronics like laptops have more energy efficient features like an automatic shutoff and sleep mode.

MEL is estimated to contribute 4-12% of the total household energy usage and while many newer electronic devices will come with energy efficient features, things like refrigerators and microwaves are not replaced often so the likelihood of these devices being energy hogs is high.

The other major contributor to MEL are devices that are always connected to the internet. The increasing use of electronics connected to WiFi for example is only going to increase as we move inexorably towards a wireless world. Internet business experts estimate that by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices constantly connected to the internet. Some of the more futuristic things that will be connected to your phone or the computer chip in your brain are coffee makers, pacemakers, cars, and of course cows.

There are a few proposed solutions, some more feasible and long term than others. The Whole House Switch is somewhat like a circuit breaker for everything in your house. The idea is that when you go out all the electronics can be switched off all at once. This solution requires some pretty serious rewiring that may not even offset the energy saved.

The best solution is a combination of advances in the technology combined with government incentives to upgrades appliances to the latest energy efficient models. For example, new advances in semi-conductor materials means faster and cheaper energy transmission with little environmental loss. When exactly these scientific progressions will be available for the homeowner is still a matter of some debate.

One short term solution is to put timers on the devices that don’t need to be on all night. I have a timer attached to my TV, modem, and cable box that shuts off automatically at night. Timers can be purchased from Tashman Home Center.

Start Saving Today!





Another New Website

31 01 2015

Tashmans.com got hacked a few months ago and since the cursed hackers did such a good job, we had to start all over.

The result is a sharp lined, minimalist text heavy, aesthetically neutral website that will serve all your hardware and Home Center needs. It has a lovely orange and blue color scheme as well as extensive galleries of our jobs.

There are many wonderful easy to navigate new sections that will satisfy your need for detailed information concerning things like…

WINDOWS and DOORS

SCREENS and GLASS

 





Happy Holidays from Tashman Home Center

28 12 2014

In the days of old our ancestors huddled around fires in caves or Geothermal Energy in the depths of winter as it was the most uncomfortable time of the years. The warming rays of the ancient sun were cut down as the orbit shifted to the winter solstice and our prehistoric predecessors gathered the food accumulated during the fruitful months in the hope of making it through the long winter. In order to alleviate depression and stave off cabin fever, the cavemen created celebrations marking the turn of the season. Today we continue these traditions whose basic elements reflect back to the last ice-age.

The Pope kisses a woody Jesus

Kwanzaa

Norse God Odin rides his silly horse

Hey look it’s that uncle you don’t like.





Aqua-life Paint

27 12 2014
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Wood, Metal, Masonry
  • Residential, Commercial
  • Low VOC
  • Extreme Low Odor
  • Easy to Apply
  • Water Clean Up
  • Water Thinnable
  • Sandable

Life Paint’s Aqua-Life products were developed to replace traditional oil based alkyd-type resin technology. With today’s stringent VOC regulations, and the limited low VOC solvents available, Life Paint researched a resin technology that has been used for over ten years successfuly in Europe. This resin type allowed for extremely low VOC manufacturing, very low ordor, and it’s application resembles that of traditional oil based products. In fact, once the product is cured, the coating left is just as a traditional alkyd is. The main difference between old traditional, oil-based, alkyd resin paints and Life Paint’s Aqua-Life is the subsitution of smelly petroleum based solvents for water. So go ahead, breathe easy, and take the plunge into water. It’s more refreshing.

    






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