Tag Archives: Energy Star

Camelback at 24th, Hines

EPA Recognizes Hines with 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award

Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2014 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.  Hines will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2014.

This is the tenth time Hines has been recognized by the EPA and the seventh time Hines has received the Sustained Excellence Award.

Hines’ portfolio of ENERGY STAR buildings consists of 185 facilities and more than 60 million square feet. With an average performance rating of 82.4, the portfolio is 39.7 percent more energy efficient than the national average.   This translates into estimated annual greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing more than 45,987 automobiles from the road for one year.

Across the U.S., top companies and organizations are leading the way toward a more energy-efficient future through participation in ENERGY STAR.  Through 2013, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved $297 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Hines is honored to receive this award,” said Hines President and CEO Jeffrey C. Hines.  “We use ENERGY STAR in tandem with Hines’ proprietary building management tools to support our engineering efforts to maximize performance, minimize risk and preserve long-term value.”

Hines Global Sustainability Officer Gary Holtzer added, “Our participation in the ENERGY STAR program is an important aspect of the firm’s sustainability program.  ENERGY STAR signals lower expenses for our tenants, higher returns for our investors, partners and clients, and a better environment for everyone.”

The 2014 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a variety of organizations to recognize their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy efficiency. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches. These awards recognize ongoing leadership across the ENERGY STAR program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors. Award winners are selected from the 16,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

CityScape, WEB

CityScape Phoenix Office Tower Receives ENERGY STAR Award

BOMA Phoenix this week named RED Development’s CityScape Phoenix office tower the winner of The Kilowatt Crackdown Award for the most improved ENERGY STAR benchmarked building above 500,000 square-feet in the Greater Phoenix area for 2013.

 

A highly regarded award, ENERGY STAR measures energy savings using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s standards and it is a voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate through superior energy efficiency.

 

Cityscape Phoenix won the award based on its EPA ENERGY STAR rating that improved from 81, which is considered above the national average, to 97 through the 2013 calendar year. A minimum score of 75 is required by EPA to be certified and a score of 81 placed CityScape above average for all US buildings certified. This previous certified score was achieved by RED’s design choices and selection of LEED compliant construction materials of the decisions made during the development phase of the project allowed for the enhanced operations. The score of 97 puts the CityScape Phoenix tower in the top three percentile of all buildings in the U.S.

 

RED made the decision to pursue a higher ENERGY STAR rating for the office tower for a variety of reasons including to lower operating costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the asset’s value and to fulfil a higher standard of corporate environmental responsibility. Over the past few years, more of our office tenants require sustainable buildings and we are proud to be in the nation’s top percentile,” said Ron Roeske, general manager of CityScape Phoenix.

 

The work mainly consisted of evaluating all existing aspects of the building’s mechanical systems and verifying each piece of equipment meet the design intent. Upon completion of the mechanical audit the building control system was then evaluated and defined. After these systems were verified, mechanical and control system deficiencies were modified and corrected as required. These corrections were routinely physical repairs and adjustments to non-functioning hardware and mechanical equipment.

 

The process was a lengthy one and was performed with occupant comfort and feedback being a constant consideration. Our CityScape engineering team provided all of the services without the assistance of an outside firm, which was a notable accomplishment,” said Al O’Connor, Corporate Engineer, who led the ENERGY STAR improvement initiatives.

The final, and most productive, component of this work was system integration and optimization of the building automation system (BAS) with the mechanical equipment. Several information metrics including building use, lease requirements, utility trend and pulse report data, local temperature bin and operation history were evaluated. This information was then used to optimize building operations, through programming and schedules, to achieve optimal improvements in energy consumption.

 

Since 1992, EPA has worked with organizations to help them save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making their buildings and plants more energy efficient. Every year, they’re saving more than $9 billion and preventing nearly 120 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Fulton Home building

EPA recognizes Fulton for energy efficient construction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has honored Fulton Homes for its commitment to providing homebuyers with ENERGY STAR certified homes by presenting the Tempe-based homebuilder with the 2013 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. The honor recognizes a builder that promotes energy efficient construction and helps to protect the environment through partnership with ENERGY STAR.

“Not only does Fulton Homes provide a top quality home, but we make sure they are environmentally friendly and efficient,” said Fulton Homes CEO Doug Fulton. “Fulton Homes is dedicated to preserving the environment through the focused attention we give in our construction process. Receiving an ENERGY STAR award is testimony for the care and attention we put in to every Fulton Home.”

ENERGY STAR, an EPA voluntary program, helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Homes that earn the ENERGY STAR label have undergone a long process of inspections, testing, and verification to meet strict U.S. requirements.

home.energy

Energy Efficiency education saves educator hundreds

When Kris Johnson bought her home 12 years ago, she fell in love with the high ceilings and open floor plan. It’s a unique home in Arizona because the neighborhood is patterned after a New England village, complete with shake roofs and a community lake.

Like any homeowner, there were things Johnson didn’t like about her 2,900-square-foot abode built in 1974. Many involved the discomfort of living in an older home, such as the original air-conditioning unit, which had been “piecemealed” into operation, plus a sweltering upstairs bedroom her twin sons had abandoned.

“My boys had moved out of their own bedroom and into the guestroom because their room was too hot,” Johnson said. “They were sleeping on the floor.”

Johnson knew her home needed improvements, so she decided to undergo an SRP Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® inspection.

During the three-hour inspection, a participating contractor tested for duct system leaks, insulation quality, and the performance of the home’s air-conditioning unit, and made sure gases from the appliances and furnace were flowing out of the house.

When Johnson received her customized “report card” she learned that if all the recommended improvements were made, she could save 34 percent on her utility bill.

“We learned that our window screens were not adequate, and there were better shade screens to keep the heat out,” she said. “We also learned that our rooms were so hot because the returns on the air conditioners, as well as the ducts, weren’t done well enough to cool the entire upstairs.”

Weeks after Johnson’s home inspection, the antiquated upstairs air conditioner “crashed and burned.” She said she didn’t panic, because she felt like an educated homeowner.

“When a repair became necessary, we attacked it with knowledge as opposed to being ignorant. Because of the home inspection, we knew what kinds of air conditioners were available and best for us,” Johnson added. “We got bids and ended up going with the company that did the home inspection. They knew exactly what we needed and were honest.”

Johnson, who is the principal at the International Charter School of Arizona, said she now has lasting knowledge about how to make her home energy efficient.

“Through this program, homeowners like Kris are being empowered and educated,” said Cindy Marzofka, SRP’s manager of program marketing and corporate events. “The inspection normally costs $500, but we feel it’s important for our customers to identify ways to make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient, sometimes for little or no cost, so we offer it for only $99.”

Johnson says she saved hundreds more on home improvement costs by taking advantage of SRP rebates on the duct test and shade screens.

“We knew we had made a smart choice to learn about energy use within our home. Our bill is $100 less than the previous summer. It’s a smart thing to do before the heat of the summer.”

With newly sealed ducts, shade screens on all upstairs windows and two new air conditioners, as well as more returns to allow air to flow throughout the home, Johnson and her family are much more comfortable.  “Because we did the home inspection, we are much more intelligent. And now the boys are back in their bedroom, which is a good thing,” Johnson said with a chuckle.

To schedule a home checkup, call (602) 889-2656. To learn more and get rebates visit savewithsrp.com. To qualify, you must be the homeowner and a current SRP residential electric customer.

 

 

Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award. The award recognizes ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

An innovator in production homebuilding, Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, the 2011 Energy Star Builder of the Year award and the 2010 Department of Energy’s Building America Partner award. Meritage’s accomplishments in earning these awards include being the first 100% Energy Star production builder; offering the first fully EPA-certified home for Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense; and the first Net Zero Energy production builder in the U.S.

“Meritage has redefined the way homes can and should be built, setting a new standard in production homebuilding,” said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Through our work with customers, engineers and Energy Star, we’ve continually advanced our initiatives by giving specific consideration to all features, systems, materials and construction methods to bring homeowners unparalleled energy efficiency and both short- and long-term savings.”

With a variety of homes across the southern and western states, Meritage Homes integrates advanced technologies into their design and building from the ground up. Together, these technologies can save homeowners, on average, 50 percent on their home energy use, compared to standard homes. With optional upgrades, Meritage offers cost effective Net Zero Energy throughout its markets. In 2012, with more than 4,000 home sale closings, the company reduced homeowners’ utility bills by more than $3.5 million every year. These homes eliminate nearly 30 million kWh of electrical demand every year — the equivalent of a 60 watt light bulb being lit for 57,000 years or the emissions from over 4,000 cars.

“EPA is recognizing Meritage Homes for earning EPA’s highest Energy Star award – the 2013 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award,” said Bob Perciasepe, acting administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Meritage leads the field with their commitment to energy efficiency and demonstrates how all Americans can save energy, save money, and create a healthier environment.”

With every home it builds, the company is focused on creating value and improving family lifestyles through dozens of features that work  together to provide improved home function. The results are homes that are quieter, cleaner, healthier, and have reduced pollution, allergens and dust in the indoor air. The energy-efficient features save money without sacrificing lifestyle or compromising design.

Meritage Homes is the only large national homebuilder to earn the EPA’s Energy Star seal of approval on every home it has built since 2009. These homes meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA and be at least 20 percent more energy-efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC). A third-party certified home energy rater must perform an independent audit and verification to ensure that a home meets Energy Star guidelines.

Meritage will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 26 in Washington, D.C., with other award winners selected from the nearly 20,000 organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.

home.energy

Family Moves Into First SRP Energy Star Home

When Tamee and George Simbles moved into their 3,100-square-foot home last week, they became the first family to reside in a new SRP Energy Star Home. For Tamee, there were certain must-haves when house hunting. She wanted to downsize to a single-story home “with less space to clean” but still needed a bonus room so her three boys had their own space, and energy efficiency topped her list.

“We moved from Austin, Texas, and our last two electric bills were $425 and our water bill was $425,” Simbles lamented. “We’ve lived here before and know bills can be expensive in the summer. We were looking to lower our bills and knew that we could.”

The Simbles have purchased five new homes in 18 years. Tamee said they knew precisely what they wanted and found it at Maracay Homes’ Whispering Heights community at Lindsay and Chandler Heights roads in Chandler.

“When we saw what our average monthly bill would be for electricity, we were shocked. We are going to have so much savings,” Simbles added. “The average monthly bill should be $197 a month. That’s almost half of what our old bill used to be.”

“SRP partners with Maracay Homes and other local builders to help ensure the homes are built and certified to the Energy Star level of energy efficiency,” said Debbie Kimberly, SRP’s Director of Customer Programs & Marketing. “While SRP has a long tradition of fostering higher efficiency in new homes, we recently partnered with the nationally recognized Energy Star program to continue growing this initiative.”

SRP’s program follows Energy Star Version 3 guidelines and includes additional HVAC and water-efficiency improvements important to living in a desert climate.
“Building a sustainable, affordable and greener way of living is a core value at Maracay Homes,” said Andy Warren, President of Maracay Homes. “We are proud to build homes that stand up to SRP’s Energy Star Homes standards. Welcome home, Simbles family.”
There are many benefits to purchasing an SRP Energy Star Home. The homes:

  • Are 30 percent or more energy efficient than homes built to standard code
  • Are 50 to 60 percent more energy efficient than most existing homes
  • Save $1,400 or more a year compared with typical existing homes
  • Use up to 20 percent less water compared with existing and even new homes

“There are so many features that are on this home that have not been in our previous homes, like the radiant barrier in our attic, improved windows, plus energy-efficient light bulbs, a programmable thermostat and motion sensors so the kids can’t leave lights on anymore,” Tamee said.

Health and comfort are two of the most important benefits. The homes are built tight to keep conditioned air in, which also keeps dirt, pollen and pollutants out. Every home is required to have a fresh-air ventilation system that brings in clean, fresh air. Like the building envelope, the ductwork is also tested to minimize leakage. The air-conditioning system is designed to be the right size for the home, and it is tested to ensure each room has the proper flow and pressure balance.

“When insulation, ductwork and air-conditioning systems are designed, installed and tested properly, the home functions much, much better — resulting in increased energy efficiency and a more comfortable and healthy place to live,” said Rebecca Smout, SRP Key Account Manager.

To be certified as an SRP Energy Star Home, a home must undergo third-party testing and inspection of everything from the quality of the insulation installed to the refrigerant charge of each air-conditioning unit. The home’s performance level is represented by the HERS Index, a nationally recognized system for measuring home performance.

“It’s a lot like the miles-per-gallon sticker on a car. It gives homebuyers a point of reference for how much energy the home will use,” Smout added.
Homes in the SRP Energy Star program will typically have a HERS Index of 70 or below, which means they are expected to perform at least 30 percent better than a new home built to the code minimums. For the Simbles, it all adds up to peace of mind, because they know they’ve made the right decision.

“When we found out our house was going to be the first one to be completed, we were so excited,”  Tamee said. “Maracay Homes is everything we wanted. It’s neat being a pioneer and coming back to Arizona. It’s a nice welcome home.”

Video courtesy SRP

To learn more about the SRP Energy Star Homes program, visit srpnet.com/energystarhomes.

dmb associates

DMB Associates Names 7 Builders To Be Part Of Eastmark

The first phase of residential development at DMB Associates’ Eastmark includes seven of Arizona’s most respected homebuilders, adding more than 700 new homes in Mesa, Arizona. In keeping with Eastmark’s commitment to create a mix of residential options for its neighborhoods, the mix of builders includes national, publicly traded, regional and local homebuilders. The builder roster includes: Maracay Homes (NYSE: WY), Mattamy Homes, Taylor Morrison, Woodside Homes, Trend Homes, Standard Pacific Homes (NYSE: SPF) and Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH).

“The commitment of these builders represents an unprecedented level of confidence in Arizona’s residential market backed by promising economic indicators,” said Dea McDonald, DMB Senior Vice President and Eastmark General Manager. “We are seeing a resurgence in homebuilding activity in Arizona and in the East Valley. These builders see the value in Eastmarks’ strategic location and integrated plan, which positions this community to be an economic and employment engine for the East Valley and greater region.”

According to a report by Arizona State University’s Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business, the inventory of previously owned houses for sale in the metro Phoenix area dropped 54 percent in April 2012 from a year earlier. This lack of supply is driving the demand of new homes, sales of which surged 43 percent from April 2011.

“As the first large-scale community to launch in Arizona in nearly a decade, Eastmark is being closely watched,” said Charley Freericks, DMB President. “We are designing the community with the ‘new normal’ in mind. People are putting higher values on a sense of community, proximity to employment and environmental stewardship. Each building partner is creating designs specifically for Eastmark and all are equally committed to the vision of this community.”

Homebuilders are accredited at the Energy Star 3 level for constructing energy efficient homes. They will soon break ground in preparation for Eastmark’s grand opening in May 2013. The seven builders’ combined investment in land and improvements is nearly $50 million and hundreds of jobs are expected across the ten neighborhoods within this first phase.

Each neighborhood will take advantage of the planned 100-acre Great Park and their own community parks, while also encouraging connections to the planned employment and retail centers. The first phase of development features 12 parks throughout Eastmark, providing gathering points for neighborhoods and enhancing the sense of community.

DMB’s Eastmark Phase One Builders and Number of Homesites:

  • Maracay Homes (NYSE: WY) – 165
  • Mattamy Homes – 163
  • Taylor Morrison – 103
  • Woodside Homes – 96
  • Trend Homes – 84
  • Standard Pacific Homes (NYSE: SPF) – 58
  • Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH) – 40

At five square miles (3,200 acres), Eastmark is a vibrant, integrated and evolving regional community poised as “The Heart and Hub of the East Valley.” Eastmark sits at the center of a major transportation hub anchored by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, three major freeways, numerous businesses and acclaimed educational institutions. An expansive 100-acre Great Park connects residential areas, resort components, employment cores, recreational spaces and commerce. Eastmark is the largest privately held, contiguous property in the Southeast Valley.

To learn more about Eastmark, visit www.Eastmark.com. Visit DMB Associates at dmbinc.com.

Banner Estrella Mtn

Banner Estrella Recognized As An Energy Star Facility By EPA

Banner Estrella Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maricopa County to be labeled an ENERGY STAR® certified building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There are just four hospitals in Arizona and 150 hospitals nationwide have the EPA-certified ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR certification, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

“We are excited to see that the dedication of our Facilities Department, and our relationship with our utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), has resulted in this honor from the federal government,” said Deb Krmpotic, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Estrella.

The hospital’s Facilities Department worked with SRP over a 12-month period to track key metrics in ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager™, such as energy intensity and costs, water use and carbon emissions, to reach the required benchmarks for the ENERGY STAR label. The benchmarks take into account the number of staffed beds and workers and the types of services offered at the hospital to compare it with like facilities. Commercial buildings that earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR label must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.

One of the major contributing factors to achieving this recognition was the energy savings the hospital realized as a result of its participation in the SRP Retrocommissioning Solutions program. This program enhances existing systems through a tuneup, rather than relying on major equipment replacement. SRP collaborated with Banner Estrella’s Facilities Department to evaluate the chiller plant, HVAC fans, air handlers and reheat components and get them back to running in tiptop shape. As a result of the findings, the hospital saved more than $100,000 in energy costs the first year.

“Banner Estrella is a leader in the health care industry when it comes to energy efficiency. We look forward to many more successful projects with Banner Estrella, as well as other Banner Health facilities, in the future. It’s wonderful to see the hospital recognized on a national level,” said Debbie Kimberly, Director of Customer Programs & Marketing at SRP.

Launched in 1992 by the EPA, ENERGY STAR is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks ENERGY STAR’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

For more information on Banner Estrella Medical Center, visit Banner Estrella’s website at bannerhealth.com.

energy star - recycling symbol

Banner Estrella Medical Center Recognized As An Energy Star Facility By EPA

Banner Estrella Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maricopa County to be labeled an Energy Star certified building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Currently, only four hospitals in Arizona and 150 hospitals nationwide have the EPA-certified Energy Star label. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star certification, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

“We are excited to see that the dedication of our Facilities Department, and our relationship with our utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), has resulted in this honor from the federal government,” said Deb Krmpotic, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Estrella.

The hospital’s Facilities Department worked with SRP over a 12-month period to track key metrics in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager™, such as energy intensity and costs, water use and carbon emissions, to reach the required benchmarks for the Energy Star label. The benchmarks take into account the number of staffed beds and workers and the types of services offered at the hospital to compare it with like facilities. Commercial buildings that earn the EPA’s Energy Star label must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.

One of the major contributing factors to achieving this recognition was the energy savings the hospital realized as a result of its participation in the SRP Retrocommissioning Solutions program. This program enhances existing systems through a tuneup, rather than relying on major equipment replacement. SRP collaborated with Banner Estrella’s Facilities Department to evaluate the chiller plant, HVAC fans, air handlers and reheat components and get them back to running in tiptop shape. As a result of the findings, the hospital saved more than $100,000 in energy costs the first year.

“Banner Estrella is a leader in the health care industry when it comes to energy efficiency. We look forward to many more successful projects with Banner Estrella, as well as other Banner Health facilities, in the future. It’s wonderful to see the hospital recognized on a national level,” said Debbie Kimberly, Director of Customer Programs & Marketing at SRP.

Launched in 1992 by the EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

For more information on the EPA’s Energy Star Program, visit Energy Star’s website at energystar.gov.

SRP-CFLbulbs

SRP Offers Free CFL Bulbs To Help Customers Save

Salt River Project (SRP) is giving away a half-dozen compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at no cost to customers to help them start the year saving energy and money.

To participate, SRP customers need to go to savewithsrp.com and complete an online form. SRP will then mail customers two A-shaped, two globe and two T2, or “spiral” bulbs at no charge. Supplies are limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis. Delivery will take up to 8 weeks.

ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Customers can save energy immediately by installing the free CFLs in lamps and fixtures they use most. The living room, bedrooms, ceiling fans and bathrooms are ideal spots to start. Lighting accounts for about 10 percent of energy use in Valley homes, and CFLs save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

In addition to the giveaway, SRP offers customers discounted prices for energy-efficient lighting at retailers throughout the Valley. Visit savewithsrp.com to find participating retailers, or when shopping for lighting, look for SRP signage that indicates an immediate discount.

According to ENERGY STAR, if every home in America replaced one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one year, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3 million homes.

Green living tips - Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Green Living Tips From Desert Star Construction

Save Money by Saving the Planet: Tips for incorporating sustainable and green living elements into our homes


Living green has been a priority for Americans for more than a decade as we strive to improve the environment and preserve our natural resources.

During these tough economic times, living green is also important when it comes to saving money. So what better way to go green than to incorporate it into the homes in which we live?

Experts from Desert Star Construction, which commits itself to green building as a standard, explains some of today’s most popular ways to make your house green:

Green LivingSolar

Living in Arizona, we have one of the best natural resources available — sunlight. The Arizona sun fuels solar electric and solar water heating systems at little or no cost. It also makes our new — and retrofit — green homes 40 percent to 70 percent more efficient, resulting in similar reductions in monthly bills.

Breathing easy

Blowing dust is common in Arizona, especially during the monsoon season. Homeowners are installing air purification systems that work wonders on indoor air quality. Most choose an advanced electronic system or a premium particle filter. Others opt to install geothermal heating and cooling systems that offer significant energy savings.

Lighting the way

When it comes to lighting, green living embraces everything from LEDs to advanced home automation systems. Some of these systems even feature room motion detectors and provide the ability to program lighting to double the life of your bulbs.

Reuse

Back in the day, we called this “recycling.” By salvaging and reusing, we’ve brought building waste on our green construction sites down significantly. Homeowners are following that lead as they decorate with old stones, salvaged bricks and antiques. It’s a great, sustainable way to create that coveted and comfortable look. And it keeps a substantial amount of material out of landfills.

Sustainable standards

Products that embrace green standards are very popular these days. They include low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sustainable fabrics, Energy Star appliances and hard-surface floors that avoid chemical emission that some carpets produce. They also reduce  allergens in the air.

Going with the (low) flow

What’s the one thing we really need to conserve? That’s right, water. Low-flow faucets and toilets continue to top the most-popular lists, and are an increasingly affordable way to add to a cumulative positive impact.

Intelligent irrigation

Here in the desert we love our gardens — whether they include native plants or not. Efficient watering systems keep yards green and drastically reduce outdoor water use, which the EPA says accounts for 30 percent of domestic U.S. water consumption.

Interested in sustainable and green living when it comes to your home? Visit Desert Star Construction at desertstarconstruction.com or call (480) 951-4425 to schedule a SMART audit that will evaluate your home’s energy and water use.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

National Bank of Arizona, APS Energy Efficiency Partnership

APS Home Performance Program Provides Loans For Homeowners Energy Efficient Improvements

National Bank of Arizona has partnered with APS to provide an affordable financial incentive for APS customers to renovate their homes with energy efficient improvements. It’s called the APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.

The program was started more than a year ago and at the time was only available to schools and small businesses. But now, the partnership has  opened up so all APS residential customers have the ability to benefit not only the environment, but their wallet as well.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with a company like APS that views environmental sustainability as a top priority for our community,” says Craig Robb, executive vice president of National Bank of Arizona. “Our business energy financing program has been incredibly successful and, we’ve recognized the need to offer the same initiatives in the residential sector, as well.”

Photo: photos.com

The APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program allows homeowners to receive loan amounts ranging with a standard rate of financing, from $1,000-$15,000 for qualifying energy efficiency improvements. Loans that include improvements for solar water heaters are available up to $20,000. The energy efficient improvements included in the partnership program range from duct sealing and shade screens to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacements, solar water heaters and more.

To get started, customers need to schedule their $99 (regularly $400) APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Checkup with a participating contractor. Customers can locate a contractor by calling (877) 850-8358 or visiting www.aps.com.

Learn more about the APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program and financing details by visiting any one of National Bank of Arizona’s 76 branches statewide or calling (866) 277-5605 for more information. Customers can also log on to www.nbarizona.com or www.aps.com/financing.

Tap Insulation Being installed

Pest Control Insulation Systems – Pest Control with Home Insulation

Pests, as well as high energy bills, can be a big problem for some homeowners. However, a company called Pest Control Insulation Systems (PCIS) has introduced a new way to battle both issues, while at the same time saving energy and money.

Bill Turk, president and CEO of PCIS, founded the successful company in the late 1990s. After envisioning a product that would not only reduce energy costs but control pests, Thermal Acoustic Pest Control (TAP) Insulation was patented.

Bill Turk, president & CEO of TAP Insulation, pest controlTAP Insulation, made from recycled paper and natural borates, reduces home energy bills and noises and even eliminates common household pests.

This specialized insulation is blown-in and put on top of previous insulation in homes. For pest control, borates are used, which are mineral salts mined from the earth. Although mineral salt has minimal effect on humans and pets, it is extremely toxic and deadly for insects.

When TAP Insulation is installed in a home, less energy is used to cool or heat a home. The ability for heat to transfer through walls and attics is reduced, which means cooler homes during those hot summer months and warmer homes during winter. Thus, cooling and heating bills are lowered.

The insulated walls and attics reduce noise as well. With a thicker padding, outside noises and inside noises, such as running appliances, are lessened.

TAP Insulation is also the only pest-eliminating product labeled by the Environmental Protection Agency that bears the Energy Star label that also lowers energy costs.

This insulation isn’t just beneficial to homeowners because of the positive ways it saves money and reduces pests, but it is also a green and sustainable product.TAP Insulation, pest control

When looking at the product as a whole, it is very green and environmentally friendly. It is made from recycled paper, provides no post-installation waste, reduces a home’s carbon footprint by saving energy, and the cellulose insulation takes less energy to make than regular insulation.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce energy bills, eliminate pests, or reduce household noises, TAP Insulation might be a good choice for you.

For more information about Pest Control Insulation Systems, visit www.tapinsulation.com.