Archive for the 'Solar Energy' Category

Solar Roof Tiles

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I’m really impressed by Elon Musk’s new solar roof shingles.  With a new aesthetic, I hope that individual solar will now accelerate more quickly into residential communities.  Can’t wait to see solar’s upgrade in  NJ.

There have been a number of solar shingle products introduced to the market: Atlantis, AstroPower, UniSolar, BP Solar, PowerLight, Dow, Suntegra and CertainTeed.  Currently, only CertainTeed, Suntegra and Atlantis roof shingles are still available, perhaps because historically high component and installation costs.  Hoping Musk can bring the price down and the marketing up to a level that makes this an attractive alternative to old style roof solar panel systems.

Bottom article delves into pricing.

link to more details Solar article

link to article on prices

 

Solar energy in residential real estate update

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A new multi-state study shows that homebuyers are more and more willing to pay for homes with photovoltaic energy capabilities or to install systems themselves.

Since the systems are now more commonplace, appraisers are trying to figure out how to value such systems.  In the past, there were rarely comparable properties with panels or other green features for appraisers to use, but now energy efficiency is becoming more popular.  New addendums and standards are being introduced to make ‘adjustments’ easier when there are still no true comparables.

Solar City is starting a project with Bank of America / Merrill Lynch to help homeowners fund solar power systems more easily.

 for more details see links below

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/01/16/study-buyers-willing-pay-extra-for-solar

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/32605

 

Maplewood Sprouting Solar Panels

two solar panels on Oberlin in Maplewood

Maplewood is sprouting solar panels on telephone poles and other public spaces in residential areas.  In order to take advantage of vertical space, PSE&G has implemented its Solar4all project, installing single panels to grow it’s percentage of renewable energy.  It will own all the panels, the power and credits associated with its generation and will pay for maintenance.  Third party host sites will recieve revenue from rental of the space and the possibility of publicity.

http://www.pseg.com/family/pseandg/solar4all/third_party/index.jsp

Lower your heating bill


Wabbit season, Duck season, HEATING SEASON!

Free, Low Cost and Significant Investments in Lowering your Heating Bills

 

Free Steps to Reduce your Heating Bill

1) Save 3% on your heating bill for every one degree lower you set the thermostat

2) Close the fireplace damper

3) Lower the temperature of the water in your water heater to 115-120 degrees

4) Keep heating vents clear.  If they’re blocked by carpeting and furniture you get less circulation of warm air

5) Open curtains on the south side in the day to let in sun, close them at night to keep in the heat

Low Cost Steps to Reduce your Heating Bill

1) ‘Envelope’ Leaks – The gaps around windows and other areas taken together in the average American house equal a 9 square foot hole in the wall.  Plugging them can save you 10% of your heating bill.   Find the leaks with an incense stick held to the areas you believe to be drafty and watch for the smoke, Or if it’s really cold outside, just run your hands by the suspected areas and you will feel the cold air. Prone areas: Window and door frames. air ducts, chimney flashing, recessed lighting, sill plates,and electric outlets.  To fix these leaks buy door sweeps, caulk, caulk gun, or tacky rope and go to work.  Apply weather stripping for the outlet gaskets.

2) If the insulation in the attic is not up to the top of the joists, add more…  Make sure your attic’s vent stays open to prevent condensation/moisture.

3) Ducts: Make sure the heating ducts are well connected and you’re not losing heat before it even gets to the vents…  Use metal back tape instead of duct tape.  Make sure the ducts are insulated if they travel thru unheated areas.  Swaddle the water heater if it’s in an unheated area.

4) Winterize Windows – After you’ve caulked the frames, if you can’t afford double hung or storm windows, put clear plastic film on those windows for an effective extra layer of insulation.

5) Install a low-flow shower head for less than $20.  You will use 25% less hot water saving on both water and heating bills

6) A programmable thermostat costs $50-$100.  Program it lower when you’re not home and higher when you are.

7) In your furnace replace easy things like the air filter.

Investments to reduce your heating bill will pay off

1) Oil fired boilers should be cleaned and tuned annually and gas systems every two years for approximately $100-$125. Gas fired need attention too.

2) Replace appliances, heating units, light fixtures and bulbs with hi efficiency replacements. If your furnace is over 20 yrs old replace it with Energy Star (federal government program promoting energy efficiency).  Homeowners who make energy efficient improvements to exisiting homes qualify for a 10% tax credit up to $500.  A credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in taxes, compared with a deduction which only decreases taxable income.

3) A decent vinyl window might cost $100-$150 and a double paned window with a good ‘e or r’ rating can cost $50-100 more.  This will add up when you have 15  windows, but replacing the twenty year old windows may be the move that cuts into your heating bill most substantially. Windows also usually qualify for a credit or deduction.

4) Other Improvements that can qualify for deductions/credits include adding insulation, door and skylights

5) Tax credits and other financial incentives also exist for changing to solar water heating and photovoltaic equipment. Solar for pools and hot tubs do not  qualify.

Gaslight gadgets go green, save money and CO2 for S.O.

Gaslight savings

South Orange has an ambitious plan to install devices with solar-sensors to switch a dozen or so of our iconic gaslights off during the day and on at night.  This plan will save the town money and CO2 emissions, as there is no reason for the lights to be on during the day.   After much hard work by Trustee, Howard Levison and the town’s Energy Committee, the plan is beginning to come to fruition, as the first one has been installed on Montague.  If the dozen prototypes work smoothly for a year, they would then be installed on all the town’s gaslights, saving us $150,000 per year in energy payments to PSE & G.  The cost to install one on every gaslight in town would be 1.5 million dollars.  After ten years, it’s all savings!

See patch article for more details – http://southorange.patch.com/articles/your-tax-dollars-gas-lights-saving-gas

Home Depot, BP Solar and PSEG bring down solar installation prices

solar on rutgers in maplewood

A collaboration between Home Depot, BP Solar, PSE&G and homeowner, Kerry Tilden made this Maplewood solar installation happen.  The advertisement claims that full installations can be done for as low as $1700.  To find out more information about installation prices and details please click this link – http://www.newjerseysolarfunding.com/Home/Funding.html

For more details about the ‘ribbon cutting’ see the Patch article – http://southorange.patch.com/articles/solar-power-shines-locally

Beifus property sheriff sale in South Orange

Beifus lot from South Orange Ave.

For anyone following public affairs or property taxes in South Orange, the continuing Beifus property foreclosure saga is about to add a chapter.  On June 1, there will be a sheriff sale.

Behind the fence, and next to the train station is continual vacancy, dispute and lost revenue for the town.  Before being demolished six years ago, it was the home of Beifus Mercedes, a car dealership.   Hopefully now there will finally be a break in the legal, financial and political inertia that has deadlocked this prime piece of property for nearly 10 years.

Nearby are the possibilities of what could be.  On the other side of the train station are the new luxury condos on Vose, Eden Gourmet and the rooftop restaurant, Above.  But at 9 West South Orange Avenue, the weeds grow and the fence has worn down.  With the property now in foreclosure, the courts are in charge.  Andrew Beifus Jr., 67, the property’s owner and developer has received the lion’s share of the anger over the project and he has since moved from the area.

In hard times, when the village relied on $750,000 in extraordinary aid to help balance its municipal budget, the Beifus project represented more than just an eyesore, but a massive loss of revenue in the form of property taxes and economic activity.

The property was also an integral part of the village’s redevelopment zone, a central business district development plan created by the Township of South Orange Village in 1994.  Since then the stops and starts have been too numerous to detail here.  For more details on the foreclosure and sheriff sale please see the link below.

http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/beifus-lot-sale-is-now-june-1/

Beifus lot


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