save energy

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Five Ways to Beat the Heat and Save Energy

3 minute read

Work and summer activities would typically get you and your family out of the house during the day, allowing the use of programmable thermostats to lessen the load on your A/C unit and save energy.

But if you find yourself working from home this summer, and the kids can’t get outside as often as they used to, how can you keep the house cool while managing energy costs?

Here are some money-saving tips that also keep in mind environmentally friendly practices.

5 Ways to Save Energy In the Summer

 

1. Balance Light from Artificial and Natural Sources

You can find advice that says in order to reduce energy consumption, you should rely solely on natural light during your workday. But you’ll also hear that on really hot days, you should keep the shades closed to prevent the sun from heating up your house.

So, which one is it?

You can incorporate both strategies for peak efficiency–you just have to get your timing right.

Make good use of morning sunlight before it’s too hot by setting up your workspace next to a window.

Then as you near your lunch break, draw the curtains to block out the most intense hours of sunlight. Have a separate workspace in the cool basement with artificial light, or have a lamp ready to go next to that window workstation.

Bonus: If you have kids at home, the afternoon curtain draw is the perfect time for them to take a nap break. (And magically your productivity increases!)

 

2. Change Your Light Bulbs

Speaking of artificial light, take some time to look at the light bulbs in your home.

EnergyStar estimates that around 60% of bulbs in the average home are inefficient and could be replaced by LEDs. LED bulbs are 90% more efficient than traditional bulbs and well worth the upgrade in overall savings.

Plus, it’s easy to find them in a variety of color temperatures, so you can pick the mood that fits your space.

 

3. Cook Smarter

More families are cooking at home because of stay-at-home orders and reduced restaurant capacity due to social distancing practices. While this is already a money-saver in most cases, you can also conserve energy by limiting the number of times you open the fridge and/or oven while preparing your meals.

Take advantage of pressure cookers, slow cookers, and toaster ovens for smaller baking and toasting tasks. These appliances save time, keep the house cool, and save energy compared to a large conventional oven.

 

4. Clean Efficiently

With kids at home, they can be doing their share of laundry and dishes. But make sure they aren’t wasting energy in the process.

Aim for washing and drying only full loads of laundry, since running appliances at maximum capacity increase their energy efficiency. You can also avoid heating up the house with the dryer by hanging clothes outside on the line when the weather permits.

Also, make use of your dishwasher. It may give off some heat while it’s running, but it’s worth the trade-off compared to the energy consumed when handwashing dishes. Just make sure you’re only running it when it’s full to enjoy optimal efficiency.

 

5. Check Your Fans

Fans are a low-cost way to keep a space cool and comfortable. They create a “wind chill” effect inside the home, allowing you to keep the A/C at a higher temperature while you feel the same cooling effect. According to Energy.gov, with the use of a ceiling fan, you can comfortably increase the A/C by as much as 4°F.

Just make sure the fan is spinning in the optimal direction. During the heat of summer, you want the fan’s blades to spin counter-clockwise to avoid forcing hot air down into the room.

It’s also important to keep your fan clean of dust and cobwebs, both for efficiency and to prevent issues with allergies.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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climate change

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

How You Can Help Fight Climate Change Right Now

3 minute read

Through a year of rapid and monumental changes for the world, unfortunately, one thing that remained the same in 2020 is the threat posed by climate change.

For a refresher on what exactly “climate change” means, check out the resources provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental advocacy group.

To sum it up, human activity continues adding heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and causing a rise in average temperatures, extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations, and other impacts.

It’s clear that large, global changes will be needed in order to improve or reverse any of the negative trends that are changing the world as we know it.

Much of the onus will be on governmental policies that require changes from large corporations that enable and profit off of activities that cause climate change. But, as individuals, there are some steps we can take in our everyday lives to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Plus, our individual actions send a message to decision-makers in governments and corporations that there’s a demand for climate-friendly products and policies. They may be much more willing to make changes when there are adequate pressure and proof of profitability.

As the deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative, Aliya Haq, puts it: “Change only happens when individuals take action. There’s no other way if it doesn’t start with people.

10 Individual Actions For Fighting Climate Change

Find out how you’re doing

Everyone produces a certain amount of greenhouse gases as they live their life. This is known as your “carbon footprint.” You can calculate your carbon footprint at carbonfootprint.com or use the EPA’s footprint calculator to see how much carbon and money you will save by making some of the following changes.

Use your voice

Share your thoughts with friends and family. Inspire others on social media, or take it a step further and contact your elected officials directly with your concerns.

Practice “Green Building”

Put simply, “Green Building” is a construction method that efficiently uses sustainable resources to create healthy, energy-smart homes and commercial buildings. If you’re planning to build a new home or add on to an existing one, you have a great opportunity to do it in a sustainable, cost-efficient way.

Choose energy- and water-efficient appliances

Labels like ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense make it easy to choose the best appliances for reducing your energy and water consumption. They will also save you money in the long run.

Weatherize your home

Simple home improvements like sealing drafts and caulking leaks can save you big on energy bills. Check out this Home Energy Checklist for more quick-fix ideas so you can start saving energy today.

Reduce your food waste

It’s easy to blame food waste on the marketplace or restaurants, but households reportedly waste 31.9% of their food. Learn more about food waste and ways you can reduce your household’s impact.

Buy LEDs for your home

LED lights use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs. And that’s not all: they last up to ten times longer, they’re brighter, eco-friendly, and are safer for young children because they remain cool to the touch.

Unplug idle devices

The NRDC reports that always-on but inactive devices may cost Americans $19 billion and 50 power plants worth of electricity a year. Be sure to unplug unused devices and reduce your idle load.

Drive and maintain an energy-efficient vehicle
Our personal vehicles contribute greatly to global warming, so if you can, do your part by buying an energy-efficient vehicle. Another way to reduce your energy consumption is to make sure your vehicle is getting as many miles to the gallon as possible through regular maintenance.

Make responsible transportation decisions

If you’re able to, drive and fly less often. Biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation, all mean less air pollution. And when it comes to those frequent flyer miles, less is absolutely more as air transport is a major source of climate pollution. When possible, do things remotely, drive, or take the train.

green building

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

What Is “Green Building”? The Benefits And Where To Begin

2 minute read

Put simply, “Green Building” is a construction method that efficiently uses sustainable resources to create healthy, energy-smart homes and commercial buildings.

Oftentimes, there are tax incentives associated with going green. And while installation costs are higher than standard builds, you can save money on energy consumption over time.

One example is the Bullitt Center in Seattle, which claims to be, “The Greenest Commercial Building In The World.”

What features make it so eco-friendly?

Here’s a shortlist:

  • Solar Panels: 575 solar panels generate more energy than the building needs each year
  • Rainwater Harvesting: Built-in purifiers clean rainwater for safe consumption
  • Irresistible Stairs:” Building design encourages physical activity with a centrally located and attractive staircase, plus hidden elevators
  • Regenerative Elevator: A regenerative mechanism captures energy as the elevator slows down into electricity, which can be used elsewhere in the building
  • Efficient Windows: Shades and operable windows increase thermal control, ventilation, and sun-blocking
  • Radiant Heating: Spaces are heated with warm water circulated in tubes embedded in concrete floor plates

While you may not be installing a power-saving elevator in your home any time soon, this building gives several examples of changes you could consider to make your home more energy-efficient.

Any building–a home, a school, an office, a hospital–can be a green building when it includes any or all of the following features:

  • Renewable energy source, such as solar energy
  • Efficient use of resources, primarily energy, and water
  • Non-toxic building materials that are ethically and sustainably sourced
  • Measures to reduce pollution and waste through reuse and recycling
  • Healthy indoor environmental air quality
  • Environmental consideration in all aspects of design, construction, and operation
  • A design that can adapt to a changing environment

Green Building and Indoor Air Quality

If you’re ready to do some green home improvement, Indoor Air Quality is a great place to start.

On average, we spend about 90% of our time indoors, and most of that time is spent in our homes. The problem is that the air indoors can be up to five times more polluted than the air outdoors due to the amount of potentially hazardous substances that get trapped inside.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer
allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

Whether you’re building, renovating, or maintaining your home, Aprilaire can help you reduce Indoor Air Quality problems with the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™, made up of three award-winning components:

Fresh Air Ventilation – Think of your Aprilaire fresh air ventilation system as your home’s own set of lungs. It inhales fresh, outdoor air, and exhales stagnant, polluted indoor air. This helps dilute and remove contaminants so you can breathe easy at home.

Air FiltrationAn Aprilaire whole-home air purification system—paired with the right air filters, of course—can capture up to 96%* of airborne particles the size of viruses while reducing other even smaller contaminants from lingering in your home.

Humidity Control – It’s important to keep your home’s humidity between 30% and 60%. Depending on which you’re looking to combat—dry or damp air—Aprilaire whole-home humidification as well as whole-home dehumidification can help you maintain a Healthy Home.

*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system.

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

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News |

Aprilaire Partners with Wellness Within Your Walls

2 minute read

Aprilaire is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor for 2020 for Wellness Within Your Walls.

Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) is an award-winning education and certification organization which supports reducing and eliminating toxins in living environments to improve overall health and wellness.

The organization’s one-of-a-kind education and certification process enables consumers and professionals to increase awareness about toxins in building materials and furnishings and guide them toward making homes healthier.

Wellness Within Your Walls partnership for national campaign

WWYW will partner with Aprilaire to launch a national “Breathe Healthy” awareness campaign in 2020 to educate consumers, homeowners and the build/design community about the latest products and services that help improve air quality in homes.

“We believe everyone deserves to breathe healthy air, and we believe in the power of education,” said Dale Philippi, president of Aprilaire. “Our mission is to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes. We are proud to partner with WWYW– an organization building awareness with consumers and professionals about the importance of healthy air.”

“We are excited by our new partnership with Aprilaire. They offer products that solve multiple issues relating to affordable ventilation and humidity control for homes and we’re proud to work with Aprilaire to further elevate the dialog about health and wellness in living environments,” said Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of WWYW.

In addition to the “Breathe Healthy” campaign with WWYW, Aprilaire is the FY20 National Healthy Air Sponsor for the American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb events which support raising awareness of the importance of indoor air quality. The two initiatives will dovetail to further educate consumers and professionals alike about why healthy air – especially in the home, is vital for good health. Good air quality improves overall wellness, helps prevent irritating allergens and pests, and helps shield homes from costly damages.

About Wellness Within Your Walls

Wellness Within Your Walls® is an award-winning informational resource group created to provide education and guidance on chemicals commonly found in living and working spaces. With a goal to empower and guide consumers and professionals toward healthier living environments, WWYW certifies people, places, products and programs globally through education and health and wellness protocols. WWYW’s 10-step holistic approach, known as the Healthy Living System™, results in a legacy of health, harmony and sustainability in living environments. WWYW was founded by Jillian Pritchard Cooke, a 30-year industry veteran with experience as president of interior design firm DES-SYN and owner of the eco-living lifestyle boutique BEE. While designing Atlanta’s EcoManor in 2006, the first Gold LEED-certified single-family residence in the U.S., a cancer diagnosis became the catalyst for turning Jillian’s expertise into a passionate commitment to create healthier living environments by reducing toxins. Wellness Within Your Walls was born. The organization provides frequent and sought-after speakers at trade shows, educational opportunities, workshops, seminars and other industry events. For more information, visit: http://www.wellnesswithinyourwalls.com.