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Living in the tropics can be….well….tropical!

Heat and moisture are a given in the tropics.  We live with our windows open to take advantage of mauka/makai breezes (mountain/ocean), we use fans to keep our bodies cool through evaporation, and we enjoy sunlight and warm weather 365 days a year.  So how do we ecologically-minded, tropical dwellers deal with the heat and moisture in our homes? 

Skylights and attic fans!

Traditional skylights provide additional light in a room, but in the heat of the day, that heat transfers into the room along with the light.  A technology that, in layman’s terms, “reflects light in a mirrored tube” is the answer.

Ken Sheeks of Hawaii Skylights and Solar Fans explains,

·         Our skylights are 500% more effective than the competitor’s and emit the brightest light and truest color representation possible.  Typical locations to have the skylights installed are in kitchens, offices, bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways and master closets.  How about additional light in your garage without turning on a light? 

 

·         They block 100% of the UV and have no heat gain.

 

·         Our skylights can have extension tubes up to 20 feet without losing any light.  These can be installed on any roof in about 2 hours. 

 

·         Typically, one of our attic fans can suffice for up to 1200 square feet.  It can reduce attic temperatures up to 30 degrees and ceiling temperatures up to 15 degrees.  This translates to a cooler home without using ceiling fans or air conditioning.  If one still needs air conditioning, the ductwork in the attic will absorb less heat from the now cooler attic.  This makes the air conditioning more effective, reduces run time and lowers the energy bill.

 

·         Both the skylights and the fans are Energy Star* rated and may qualify for the Federal Energy Tax credit of up to 10% to 30%.  Additionally, the fan may qualify for the 35% State Solar Energy tax credit.  The net cost to the home owner is up to 65%of the purchase price.  Typically, even without the energy tax credit, both pay for themselves within a couple of years in savings on your electric bill.  With the tax credit, it is only several months to pay for themselves depending on your energy usage.  Of course, check with your tax adviser.

 

·         No home owners’ association (or similar organization) can restrict the installation of any solar energy device.  The only issue an HOA can restrict is the location where the device may be installed - but only if it doesn't reduce the efficiency by more than 25% or increase the cost by more than 15%.

 

The tropics are a wonderful place to live and “green” home ideas such as this will help us all to keep it that way!

To contact Hawaii Skylights and Solar Fans: 808-345-1779 or www.HawaiiSkylights.comI

 

*Wondering about Energy Star?  Watch for our green pages next month for more information…

 

Pages sponsored by EcoBrokers Tanya T Power, RS and Jean Gray, RS

Energy Efficient Appliances

by Tanya Power

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
Both immediate and indirect economic savings can come from energy-efficient appliances such as refrigerators, horizontal-axis washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, etc. Immediate and continuing savings accrue from lower utility bills for electricity and/or water. The performance levels of these appliances meet, and generally exceed, those of industry ?standard? models. As a case in point, consider household refrigeration. By the late 1970s, refrigerators reached their most inefficient performance by requiring about 1750 kiloWatt-hours per year to operate. Modern energy-efficient refrigerators provide the same or better service at 450-550 kiloWatt-hours per year, and they are much quieter in operation.

Estimated Cost Savings:
The direct economic savings achieved by efficient appliances are a function of how much the appliance will be used, the performance level of the equipment being replaced, and local costs for utilities. When you replace older equipment, it is not uncommon for electricity consumption for that appliance to decrease by 50% or more. In general, if the appliance being replaced is more than 15 years old, and it is replaced with a state-of-the-art unit, you may expect utility savings of 20%-60% compared with the energy required by the previous appliance. Horizontal-axis washing machines typically save consumers 50% in both electric and water utilities. Additional savings come from reduced quantities of detergent.

Your monthly electrical bill is for all electricity used by all electrical loads in the building, so changing a single appliance will lower the bill, but in proportion to the amount of electricity formerly used by that appliance. If refrigeration represents 15-20% of your electric bill, a new refrigerator that is twice as efficient as the unit being replaced will lower your total bill by about 7-10%.

Any increase in initial cost is usually more than made up in monthly savings. See ACEEE's Most Energy-Efficient Appliances for more detailed information on appliances and savings.

Issues:
Availability of the most energy-efficient appliances may be an issue. Sometimes the best equipment is in demand, which can mean that discounts and sale prices are either unavailable or of lower value. Over time, as manufacturers and suppliers clear inventories of less efficient models by offering discounts, expect the price of efficient appliances to come down as well.

Regional Issues:
Primarily, regional issues involve supply, delivery, and installation.

Installation (Getting It Done):
Be sure to price shop and to get two or three (or more) prices. Inquire about installation and removal of your old unit. For any refrigeration unit, be sure that the refrigerant will be removed and recycled responsibly. Refrigerants are very potent greenhouse gases and must be captured and contained. Shopping for price and availability will give you perspective on the true costs of equipment and installation in your area.

More Information on This Topic:

U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Energy Savers - Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Dishwasher Tips

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Laundry Tips

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips

Energy Star®: Appliances

Energy Star®: Clothes Washers

Energy Star®: Dehumidifiers

Energy Star®: Dishwashers

Energy Star®: Refrigerators

Energy Star®: Room Air Conditioners

Disneyland creates Innoventions Dream Home

by Tanya Power

Remember (or not) when Disneyland first opened and they had the "house of the future"?  It had high tech gadgets including hands free phones, whole wall televisions, voice operated coffee pots and the highest tech of all.....the electric razor.  The House of the Future withstood a decade of "ohs and ahs" and "that'll never happens" and finally the exhibit closed in 1967.  We must have had electric razors by 1967.

Disneyland Resort has announced it is reopening it's new House of the Future....now called Innoventions Dream Home.  It is a 5,000 square foot home that includes Disney business partners from "Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, software developer Life Ware and home builder Taylor Morrison.  The home will include some elctronic products and technologies that are available today, such as mobile phones, PCs and digital music and games as well as more futuristic gadgets."1

The home is purported to be about the digital lifestyle and how it can help you. 

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the gadgets......I wonder how "Green" this house is.  Is it sustainable with all of those electronics?  I have "Green" on the brain.....

Disneyland is for fun!  Enjoy!

 

Earth Day - Green Real Estate

by Tanya Power

In an ever changing real estate market and as a Realtor tries to change with the times....a new designation for Realtors has blossomed.  Eco Broker is a new designation for Realtors to achieve.  The education is an extensive one for the Realtor as they study potential hazards in a buildings like lead-based paint, radon, and molds.  It goes a little further on to include "green building" which concentrates on building with renewable resources, less carbon usage, and using less chemicals in the building materials.

And finally, energy producers/savers such as solar power and wind generation.  On the Big Island of Hawaii we are fortunate to have some new technologies on the horizon with the use of wave energy and geothermal energy.  Both are difficult to harness but with the bright minds working on the projects, our futures will likely include these additional power sources.

I am currently working on the Eco Broker classes so watch for that honor behind my name.  Think Green!

 

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Photo of Tanya T Power Real Estate
Tanya T Power
Windermere / C and H Properties
PO Box 476
Kailua Kona HI 96745
8089606060
8089606060
Fax: 8089606060