Save Money on Heating + Cooling Costs

Save Money on Heating + Cooling Costs

As summer heat sets in, here are some simple, but effective ways to save money on your cooling costs now and heating costs during the winter:

  • Keep blinds and curtains closed to keep heat from the sun out during the summer
  • Leave the thermostat alone or install a programmable one, to avoid frequent temperature changes
  • Keep conditioned air inside – don’t run your kitchen and bathroom fans too often
  • Make sure your home is airtight – seal leaks in drafty doors or windows and add insulation where needed
  • Use nature’s energy to heat your home during the winter by opening blinds and curtains to let sun in during the day
  • Keep your HVAC system clean – change filters, and keep leaves and debris away from outdoor units
  • Replace or update your system if it is over ten years old – invest in Energy Star appliances

Read the original list, from Angie’s List here.

Green Building Tip: Use Infrared Heat

Green Building Tip: Use Infrared Heat

Infrared radiant heat systems provide versatile warmth that is both cozy and efficient. Powered by electricity, radiant heaters directly warm humans and objects without noisy fans, bad smells, or dry air and dust blowing around your house. Imagine the immediate all-encompassing warmth that feels like stepping into the sun, when you walk into your bedroom. Radiant heating systems are flexible and can be customized for any room layout. They complement any décor by mounting on the ceiling or upper wall and become almost invisible. Below are the best solutions for heating our buildings and homes more sustainably with radiant heat:

1) Hybrid System with Ductless Heat Pump

ductless heat pump headinfrared radiant ceiling panel surface mounted in bedroom

A ductless mini-split heat pump (DHP) is a great energy-saving solution for heating larger open spaces like an open concept great room. A single unit installed high on the wall can output 12,000 BTUs and save you more than 50% on your energy bills. However, DHPs struggle to spread heat down hallways and around corners. Unless you leave the doors open all the time, DHP’s can’t effectively heat bedrooms or bathrooms. Installing a second or third DHP head means running extra piping which quickly becomes messy and costly. This is where infrared radiant heat comes to the rescue! Instead of additional DHP heads, electric radiant heaters can be installed in rooms that the DHP fails to reach. As a supplemental system, radiant heaters will provide enhanced comfort, and zone control, while complementing the unbeatable efficiency of a ductless heat pump. Radiant heat also offers much faster heating response times than a DHP (approximately 5-10 mins) because it is warming humans and objects directly.

2) Zone Control for the Whole House

Infrared radiant heat can effectively and efficiently heat your entire home, with 1-2 units per room. By placing a thermostat in each room, you can heat only the rooms you are using. With an average 30% energy savings over cadet or baseboard heaters1 , infrared radiant heat warms objects and surfaces in a room directly. This means everything in your space will be an even temperature and furniture will become part of the thermal mass that will continue to provide soft warmth. Thus, occupants feel warmer faster and stay warm longer, lower air temperatures, adding even more energy savings. Additionally, with no need to dry the air out to an uncomfortable heat with noisy fans, ductwork, or moving parts, radiant heaters provide superior indoor air quality for your family.

3) Avoid Extending the Furnace for an Addition

infrared radiant ceiling panel flush mountedWhen planning an addition to your home, the question often arises of whether to extend an existing furnace system. Adding ductwork can be quite costly, involve a complicated install, and may end up being less comfortable and efficient due to heat loss from the extra ductwork. Any time you want to heat any part of the system, the entire furnace has to fire up. You also run the risk of overworking your furnace or finding out that you need to install an entirely new one. Zoned infrared radiant heat is a great alternative to a furnace extension. There is no need to install more duct work and radiant heaters are as simple to install as a ceiling light. Affordable, comfortable and efficient heat makes radiant the ideal alternative to locations that an existing furnace can’t reach. Unlike vents and ductwork, radiant heaters are completely silent, require zero maintenance, and have the longest expected lifetime of any other products on the heating market. Talk about a great long-term investment! For more information, visit

Creative Corner: Solutions for Older Homes

Creative Corner: Solutions for Older Homes

Sustainability is often about creativity and working with what you’ve got. This is especially the case when remodeling older homes, many of which were not built with modern kitchen design or location in mind.

At this home in Leschi, the existing kitchen windows were lower than standard counter height. Our solution was to create a window-well behind the sink. This allowed the windows to stay in place, while also reducing cost, minimizing landfill waste and preserving the home’s old world charm.

See more photos of our kitchen remodel projects here.

Save the Date for the NW Green Home Tour on April 29-30!

Save the Date for the NW Green Home Tour on April 29-30!

It’s still a ways off, but we’re already getting excited for this year’s NW Green Home Tour from the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. The 2017 tour will be the seventh annual event that brings together thousands of visitors, helps educate the public on green building, and lets you get into homes and experience real-life sustainable solutions in person!

We will be co-hosting a site on the tour with LD Arch Design. The Westwood Addition project features DEEP GREEN solutions and infrared radiant ceiling panels. More information coming soon!

April 29 – 30, 2017 | 11 am – 5 pm

Join us! FREE Tickets Here

Solar Star – Green Building Material of the Month

Solar Star – Green Building Material of the Month

The Solar Star Attic Fan is a solar powered fan designed to suppress heat build up and battle moisture. This fan comes with a 5 year warranty, is whisper quiet, and leakproof. It is a great solution for Pacific Northwest homes that experience some high temps for a few weeks during the summer. Most homeowners report a 10 degree difference in their home. In addition it will help the utility costs incurred from increased temperatures and ease the workload of AC’s. Solar Star Attic Fan’s help during the winter too! The fan equalizes interior and exterior temperatures which helps to prevent damage to insulation and framing materials produced by moisture accumulation. Or, if you already have an attic vent, Solar Star makes a conversion kit so you can change it to a solar powered vent.

Tips for a “Cool” Summer Home

Tips for a “Cool” Summer Home

When heat waves hit the Pacific Northwest it can be tough to stay cool in homes designed for a temperate climate! Here are some tips to help release the heat!

1. Close Your Windows

This may seem counter-intuitive, but closing your windows will help keep cool air in and hot air out. You can open them back up at night when the temperatures drop but then close them in the morning before leaving the house.

BONUS: Get a window fan that blows hot air out in the early evening & brings cool air in over night.

2. Let Nature Be Your Air Conditioner

With the help of fans of course! Strategically place fans throughout your home and open windows and doors to create a cross breeze if the air outside is cooler than inside. They have window fans that will work in both directions so you can blow hot air out and cool air in.

BONUS: Put a shallow bucket of ice in front of the fan, take caution of the water created from the melted ice.

3. Eat Cool

Turning the stove or oven on will only increase the temperature in your home. Eating cold foods for dinner such and salad or gazpacho can help to keep your core temperature down as well as your home temperature. If you do want to eat hot food the grill is the best way to go so all the heat will stay outside.

4. Hang Out in all the “Cool Places”

If you’re lucky enough to have shaded areas in your home or yard, or super luck and have a below-ground basement, try to spend most of your time in these spaces. That might mean moving y our computer to the kitchen table for the day, folding laundry in the living room, or prepping your dinner on the patio.

BONUS: Open windows + doors across rooms from each other to create a cross breeze.