Hazards of Working Outdoors in Warm Climates

Hot summer months pose special hazards for outdoor people who must protect themselves against heat, sun exposure, and other hazards. Everyone should know the potential hazards in their workplaces and how to manage them. Sun Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. There are no […]


Before You Install Insulation

Part 4 of Loose-Fill Insulation. Upgrading or Repairing Other Building Components There are other home weatherizing and sealing measures to complete before you undertake any insulation project. Atight, well-sealed home is more energy efficient and needs less insulation to keep you and your family comfortable. Tests have shown that far more cold air infiltration and […]


Comparative Performance of Loose-Fill Insulations

Part 3 of Loose-Fill Insulation. Insulation materials are compared on the basis of their R-values per unit of thickness, density per unit of volume, and weight per unit of area. There are several performance characteristics to consider when selecting an insulation material. Among the most important to compare are insulating capacity, weight, convective heat loss, […]


Climate Considerations: Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

Part 3 of Landscaping for Energy Efficiency. The United States can be divided into four approximate climatic regions: temperate, hot-arid, hot-wet and cool. The average energy to keep the landscape strategies you use should depend on the region you live. These landscaping strategies by region are listed in order below. Carefully positioned trees can save […]


Buying New Air Conditioners

Part 1 of Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it […]


Thermal Envelope

Part 2 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. A thermal envelope is everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, air/vapor retarders, windows, and weatherstripping and caulking. Wall and Roof Assemblies Most builders use traditional wood frame construction. Wood framing is […]


Construction Considerations: Earth-Sheltered Houses

Part 4 of Earth Sheltered Houses. The climate in your geographical area will determine whether an earth-sheltered house can be a practical housing solution. Studies show that earth-sheltered houses are more cost-effective in climates that have significant temperature extremes and low humidity, such as the Rocky Mountains and northern Great Plains. Earth temperatures vary much […]


Do I need a conventional system as a backup?

Part 11 of Heat Your Water With The Sun. Whether you need a backup system for your┬ásolar thermal system depends largely on the type of system you choose and where you live. Solar water-heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. This backup system is typically a […]


What are the maintenance issues and repair costs for a solar thermal system?

Part 7 of Heat Your Water With The Sun. The costs of maintaining your solar thermal system depend on the type of technology you choose and how often temperatures in your area fall below freezing. Properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems do not require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss […]