Category Archives: green building

LED Lighting Buying Guide – LED light bulb Manufacturers

LED lighting isn’t new. In fact, it has been around for decades. LED stands for light emitting diode and until recently, were only used for specialty purposes such as indicator lamps, traffic signals, and exit signs. Over the years, changes have been made to the technology, making it an efficient replacement to incandescent and fluorescent lighting in the residential arena as well.

Light output of an LED lamp is considerably smaller than an incandescent bulb, but can be grouped together to improve the output, and high power LEDs are now available to completely replace the use of incandescent and fluorescent. Since LED uses DC electric power instead of AC, the lamps are equipped with conversion circuits. LED lights also require a driver, which is like a ballast for fluorescent lighting. Most are built into the light. Unlike fluorescent ballasts, the driver for the LED light will not interfere with television or radio signals.

LED Bulbs

LED lights have many advantages over incandescent and fluorescent. The singular directional output of light from an LED lamp make them a good choice for strip lighting, reading light, ceiling light, artwork lighting, and path lighting. Durable LED lighting comes in a waterproof variety as well, making them a nice choice for outdoor use in gardens and on patios. LED doesn’t attract bugs either! They can handle more wear and tear than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs as they can deal with vibration and they don’t mind being turned off and on repeatedly.

LED lights are sturdy, but they are also sensitive to heat, so the lamps typically include heat sink or some type of cooling mechanism, so be mindful of where you will be using the LED bulbs to ensure they do not become overheated. Using LED in an excessively warm spot can decrease the bulb’s lifespan. On a positive note, they don’t emit heat as incandescent bulbs do. Incandescent bulbs emit about 98% of their energy as heat. Another benefit to LED lighting is that they do not contain any mercury, which means they are non-toxic.

Unlike fluorescent, LED lights do not flicker. LED lights last a long time and unlike other light bulbs, they do not burn out, but rather dim over time. In areas where it is difficult to change the bulb, LED makes sense, as you will not have to replace them nearly as often as their counterparts.

The cost of LED lighting is initially more expensive compared to other lighting options. As demand grows, manufacturers will produce more products and the price will decrease. In addition, there are not a lot of lighting fixtures made for LED lamps. There are retrofit LED bulbs for use in traditional light fixtures, but they are costly. Because LED lasts longer than other types of bulbs, the initial cost can eventually catch up with the cost and operation of incandescent and fluorescent.

The low energy use makes LED lighting an environmentally wise choice and the long life of somewhere between 25 to 30 years, or roughly 40,000 hours of typical operation. When used in warmer climates, LED lamps can reduce the cost of cooling since they do not emit any heat, but when used in cooler climates there is no noticeable change.

Many pilot projects around the world are using LED lighting in different types of applications to increase public knowledge and interest. There are studies that have shown LED bulb manufacturers sometimes overstate the efficiency of their products, but overall, LED technology is a viable replacement for incandescent and fluorescent lighting. In fact, LED lamps last so long and save so much energy, it’s hard to imagine how the manufacturers will get any repeat business!

Green Home Design Ideas

Let’s take a look at the elements of green home design, and how we can build a zero energy home on a budget. If you are looking to make your existing home greener and more energy efficient, you should be able to extrapolate the main points and apply them to your existing home.

Renewable Energy Systems do not have to cost a fortune

Unlike what many people may think, designing and building a green home does not involve a fortune, and can be done on a budget that is comparable with what it would normally cost to build a traditionally constructed home. Further, if you would like to outfit your new home with PV solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, or a solar hot water system, it does not have to cost a fortune if you keep these factors in mind; many states provide generous solar rebates to homeowners as an incentive to invest into green technology and renewable energy systems. In addition to solar rebates, many states require utility companies to buy back the electricity that your solar system generates at the rates that are often higher than what you would normally pay for a kilowatt hour.

Solar Payback Period

You may be able to make back the money you would pay for a professional installation of a solar power system in five to ten years. With an average life of solar power system being 20 years and longer, you would actually be earning money from your PV solar power system. Not a bad way to make a buck, appraise the value of your home, support the growth of renewable energy technology and support the environment.

If you are planning to put up solar panels on your existing home, I would recommend replacing your old roof with an energy efficient standing seam metal roof, which would make it easy for solar installers to attach PV solar panels to the seams of a metal roof with the help of a special mounting system. This method does not require any penetrations made to your roof.

By combining solar panels with a green metal roof, you will get a “penetration-free” roof, which will lessen any chances of a roof leak in your home, and will not require replacing at some point in the future. Factor in extra energy savings from reduced cooling costs, home appreciation, and looks to see why it is a no brainier!

If you live in the northern geographic zone, having a metal roof will also help prevent. It can be really messy when you have to deal with ice dams on a roof that happens to have solar panels, or a solar hot water system installed. Trust me, you do not want to be in that situation.

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design is one of the least costly green home design solutions for new construction homes, and home additions. Passive solar design involves the use of longer roof overhangs to provide a shadow over the walls and windows of a house. Further, you can design your home to have rooms with glass walls and glass ceilings facing south for solar exposure. Inside the rooms you would have solar thermal mass floors, walls that can be made of bricks similar to the brick fireplace, or walls made from poured concrete. You can also use concrete blocks for easier assembly instead of mixing, pouring and forming concrete walls by yourself. Concrete is a good material of choice because it is reasonable inexpensive and has high thermal mass (HTM), which is what you want to have for effective passive solar design.

You can also integrate thermal shutters around your windows. You can close your thermal shutters at night to reduce the heat loss.


Metal Roofing Myths – Costs – Metal Roof vs. Shingles

Not too long ago, back in the early 2000s, if you were to tell me anything at all about any sort of metal roofing, I would have thought that “surely you must be joking!”. 😉 In fact, I’d most likely, immediately form a mental image of an old and rusty metal roof such as the ones you can still see on some old barns and factory buildings. But today, that’s no longer the case for me. I invite you to hop in for a ride as I bust some popular metal roofing myths to set the record straight! 😉


After having been involved with metal roofing as an installer and later as an in-house sales consultant advising homeowners on various types of energy efficient exterior remodeling options including aluminum shingles, steel shingles, and standing seam metal roofing for well over a decade, I have developed a true appreciation for this truly remarkable roofing option, and I would like to share some of the counter-intuitive insights I’ve learned with you! I would also like to dispel and debunk some of the common and persistent myths associated with viability of metal as a roofing alternative for residential and commercial installations.

What you will learn:

Top 5 metal roofing myths debunked to help educate homeowners considering the installation of a new metal roof. Plus a Bonus Myth and lots of great info that will help you whether you are homeowner, a contractor/builder, or a home inspector.

After reading our myth-busting guide, you will gain a better understanding and appreciation for metal as a premium roofing material of choice sought after by many home and building owners who want an energy efficient, long-lasting, and reliable roof.

Myth 1: A metal roof has a higher chance/risk of attracting a lightning strike.

Reality; No, having a metal roof does not increase the chances of your home getting struck by a lightning, but if your house does get hit by a lightning, a metal roof will simply dissipate the electric charge, because it will act as a Faraday cage. And since metal is a non-combustible material, your roof will not catch fire. – This can further be a great benefit to those who happen to live in dry and heavily-wooded areas that are at a high risk of forest fire.

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