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

 

 





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!





Kenny’s home installation tips

9 08 2014

Over the years I have worked on thousands of projects, all in various trades and scopes.

Time after time I see Homeowners, Property Management Companies, and Contractors make costly mistakes that could have been avoided or easily minimized had they only known a few simple things.

Recent Tashman home installation of windows in Faye Dunaway's house

Recent Tashman home installation of windows in Faye Dunaway’s house

 

The Plan

Every job or project needs a plan and the best way to start is by drawing out your ideas and developing goals for the job. When first meeting with a client about an installation, I ask them “What is your goal?” Some common goals are beauty, energy efficiency, or noise reduction.

Often there is no clear plan or expert guiding you or involved in the project and this is why clients come to us.  We work with your budget so as to maximize efficiency and cost effectiveness. Most people renovate on average every 8-10 years so planning is so important, because this is something you will be living with for a long while.

 

Trust

Finding a trustworthy and reliable contractor can be a challenge and could make or break the project. Everyone thinks we (contactors) are out to steal from them so remember you are not picking a person who is just doing a job. They are working on your valuable property and they will hopefully be a resource for you for many years and projects to come.

Kenny donating to Habitat for humanity

Kenny donating to Habitat for humanity

There are no shortages of horror stories about hiring a cheap and unreliable contractor or handyman. There are certainly people who are dishonest and lazy but often it is a simple problem of getting an accurate estimate up front. Often people will come to Tashmans to finish or fix a poorly done job and it is truly sad to see the original budget swirling down the drain. Tashman home center is insured, licensed, bonded and we stand behind all of our work. We have been here since 1961 and we make every possible effort to ensure the customers complete satisfaction.

Installing a 200 pound piece of glass

Installing a 200 pound piece of glass, not a job for a cheap handyman.

 

Getting it all in writing

When I first started to do contracting, a hand shake was the normal way to close a business deal. In todays more litigious world, this is absolutely the wrong way to do home improvement. Make sure all of your contracts are clearly written, describing the work to be done and how much everything will cost. Some important questions that need answers include the length of the job, the finish date, and the primary person to call if you have questions.

Often people neglect to get concrete answers and give too much money to a contractor who then absconds with the cash, never to be seen again. Most contractors do not have a store front so you can not go see them when you have a concern or question. Tashman Home Center has maintained a store for 54 years you will always know where we are and you will always get it in writing what we are doing for you.

Three Generations of Tashman (Kenny, Charles, Mark)

Three Generations of Tashman (Kenny, Charles, Mark)

 

Quality installations

Buying the right product at the best price is half the battle and installing what you want is even more important. No matter how fancy and expensive the product is, the installation part of the job can not be done on the cheap. A poor installation job will make whatever you have bought look bad, buyer’s remorse will set in and you will not want to purchase new materials.

There are some simple things to look for when your installation is being done and cleanliness and organization count for a lot. The installers should set up a clean area for all the materials and tools. They should cover your property well, using plastic, paper, drop cloths, shop-vacs, trash cans, and bags, even the type of tape used is important so as to not leave marks or goo on your floor or furniture.

The right tools make a huge difference in the quality of the job. If the installer shows up with only a hammer and a chisel, you might want to go with someone owning high quality power tools. Having a properly equipped crew is not only going to give you a better looking job, but a faster completion time as well.

Safe and Organized

Safe and Organized





Louvre or Jalousie Windows are the worst

3 02 2014

louvre windows

If you live some where that is not temperate year round you may not have run into this abominable style of windows. For obvious reasons, installing these things somewhere cold is a terrible idea but installing them somewhere warm is also silly.

Invented well before the advent of air conditioning, Jalousie windows are meant to utilise natural ventilation to cool homes in hot areas like Southern California. Now that we have entered a more modern age where air conditioners are pretty standard in places like Los Angeles, Jalousie windows are a waste of money, energy , and resources.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter; the importance of good window insulation. Tashman Home Center is one of the few remaining retailers of louvre windows but we do not recommend them at all.

Instead we recommend aluminum or Vinyl windows with Low E glass for extra energy efficiency. For more on our various styles of windows, see our info page or our Catalog.

window types





Low Emissivity Glass Low E Windows

18 01 2014

The Emissivity of a material is it’s ability to emit energy as radiation and has a value of between zero and one. In other words materials with high emissivity (like tinfoil) does not heat up when the sun hits it unlike a material with a low emissivity (like a black shirt).

Standard glass is high E, which is the reason greenhouses are so hot. This property translates into a loss of heat during the winter and an increase in heat during the summer. This is clearly not ideal for comfort and energy efficiency.

Low E glass has been treated with a microscopic film that allows visible light to pass through the glass while blocking Infrared (heat) light.

innerglass-low-e-illustratiAt Tashman Home Center we carry Milguard windows that feature various energy saving types of glass, including Low E. Recently we installed Heritage doors with high performance Cardinal Low E 366 glass

low e glass





Eco-Heater Sale

30 11 2011
Cold weather is here and so is the energy saving Eco-Heater 

Tashman Home Center is offering a wall-mounted convection heater that will warm your room while it saves you money-which will definitely warm your heart and pockets.

The Eco-Heater is the most economical (and stylish) stand-alone heater available today. It can warm a 10’x12′ room for approximately 3.5¢ per hour. It’s slim. Wall mounted. Provides zero trip hazard. It can  be painted to blend with your decor. It does not force air with a fan, but let’s heat
rise out of the top of the heater. Its natural convection technology allows Eco-Heaters to be more efficient, effective and safer than radiators, fans, ceramic, gas and other types of heaters.

We are offering the Eco-Heater to our valued customers and their friends and family for a special pre-winter price. There is no limit to the number you can purchase. In fact, if you buy two or more, you’ll save more.

I am delighted to be able to offer you this wonderful heater at a great price. Stay warm.

Kindest personal regards,

Kenny Tashman, President
323-656-7028

P.S. In case you haven’t already looked at our newly designed web site, with a brand new catalog of 1,500 items, please visit. The web and facebook links can be found the end of this email.

 






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