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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Smart Phone Apps Help you Save Energy

You’ve made the switch to compact florescent, insulated your building envelope and installed solar panels on your roof. How else could you possibly conserve energy? Inhabitat.com suggests using your smartphone to manage the rest of your home energy consumption. Read on for a quick glance at their fab five.

1. Sunpower Monitoring System. Monitors energy produced from SunPower-branded solar systems in real time for those with roof-mounted photovoltaic array.

2. Wiser. Control everything from lighting to security, climate and even camera monitoring from your phone. The more home elements you have attached to the system (i.e. air conditioning, sprinkler system, lighting, etc.), the more the app can control.

3. MeterRead. This handy iPhone app lets you read your electricity meter using your phone. Each time you check it, the app tell you how many kilowatt hours (kW�h) of power were used since the last read. That information can then be used to predict your total energy usage over the next 30 days.

4. Control4Mobile Navigator. Control everything from security, lighting, and temperature to music and video — provided that the Control4 system is installed at home.

5. iPhone Energy UFO. On-the-go visual feedback of electricity consumption and cost.

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Insulation 101

Henges came across a great article recently that takes a closer look at insulation and how it can save both home and business owners both money and unwanted temperature changes and sounds.

The Best Benefits of Insulation include:

* Insulation in the walls, floors, basement or attic blocks outside noise, like traffic, neighbors, or barking dogs. It also prevents noises from reverberating–so you don’t have to hear what’s going on in another room.

* Insulation can save homeowners literally thousands of dollars on heating and cooling expenses by providing an extra barrier “between the elements of the outside world and the inside of the structure, helping to save energy by keeping the air conditioning and heating inside the building.”

* Insulation adds sound- and weather-proofing to the structure, keeping occupants comfortable and cool in summer and warm in winter.

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Solar Panels on the White House?

One of our favorite sites, Inhabitat.com, is reporting that a Solar Coaltion is calling on President Obama to install solar panels on the White House. Fun fact: Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof in 1979. Fun Fact No. 2:  They were removed during Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1986.

As Inhabitat.com says, “The Obama Administration has been offering tax incentives, rebates and programs to help the American public rely more on renewable energy in the last year, including yesterday’s “Retrofit Ramp Up” announcement. It’s about time they heed their own advice and get some clean green power on the most prominent of their structures. Powering the White House on the sun would not only save the country just over $19,000 in utility bills each year, but it would provide the most fitting example for the rest of us to follow suit.”

What do you think?

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Clean Burn

Earlier this month, design greats from around the world made the trek to Milan for the International Furniture Fair, or what the New York Times refers to as the “Design Olympics.” This year, designers made a conscious effort to incorporate sustainable and recycled materials into their product launches, whether it was a plastic chair made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles or a free-form chair crafted from recycled aluminum foil.

What caught our attention, though, was a fireplace being touted as “the world’s first smokeless fire” by Planika Studios called Fire Line. According to the Design Corner blog, “Fire Line appliances don’t burn fossil fuel, but rather the distinctively named Fanola—“based on ethanol of plant origin, Fanola® is a renewable and green source of energy. While burning it produces no smoke, no smell and leaves no ashes.” Nor does it produce any CO2; thus, it requires neither venting, nor chimney, nor expensive and timely installation.”

What do you think about smokeless fire?

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How Insulation in the Attic Stacks up

Last week, financial columnist for the Baltimore Sun Jay Hancock blogged about the monetary benefits he had seen after installing insulation in the attic last fall. Read his excerpt below to see how the installation paid for itself:

“So last fall I had AC&R Contracting add insulation in my attic. There were good, temporary tax breaks for weatherizing your house (there still are), and I had pledged to take money I could have been spending on renewable energy credits for electricity generated by wind and spend it instead on reducing energy consumption. After consulting various energy and environmental pros, I decided that was the “greenest” investment.

My attic is one of those low, cheap spaces typical of Howard County houses, propped up by prefab trusses. It had a thin layer of pink blow-in fiberglass, but it was so sparse you could see the ceiling board in some places. The AC&R guys layered on a new, comfy, white blanket at a total cost of $1,120. The material came to $728, which meant I got a $218 credit on my taxes. That reduced the net cost to $902.

Then the job started paying for itself in lower BGE bills. From October through March, I used 688 therms of natural gas, according to my bills. For the same period in the previous winter I used 778 therms. Thermostat was the same. True, average temperatures for the most recent winter were 2 degrees warmer, according to the bills. Still, I figured I saved around $100 compared with what I would have spent without the insulation. And that’s not accounting for the most recent winter’s lower natural gas prices compared with the previous winter’s.”

Ask Henges Insulation how you can start saving money with insulation today!

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Improved Majestic Meridian Fireplace

We are no longer servicing or installing fireplaces. Please call us for a recommendation.

The new and improved Majestic Meridian fireplace will be coming soon! The Meridian fireplace has a crisp and clean interior, which makes these fireplaces inviting, whether they’re burning or not. The Meridian series are built on an established platform with proven reliability using the IntelliFire Plus ignition system. You can also upgrade to the Meridian Platinum for more ambiance and bigger flames.

Majestic Meridian Fireplace

The new Majestic Meridian fireplace will include:

  • IntelliFire Touch – The most intuitive and advanced IntelliFire system, making operating your fireplace simple, smart and safe. You have the option to add the RC400 or RC150 to the Meridian Series.
  • Four interior options – Cottage Red, Tavern Brown, Tavern Brown Herringbone and the NEW reflective ceramic black glass interior panels.
  • Updates to the Meridian Platinum back baffle for a better seamless look.

Henges Insulation & Fireplaces has a comprehensive team of trained professionals with years of critical, hands-on experience. We carry a large variety of fireplaces (direct vent, B-vent, wood burning, outdoor and electric) and wood burning stoves to suit any building or home. We professionally install Majestic fireplaces, Vermont Castings fireplaces and stoves, and Country Flame flex fuel stoves and wood burning fireplaces. We look forward to helping you choose a hearth product that meets your needs and preferences.

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Going Green in Independence, MO

We’re excited for the state of Missouri, which today unveiled its newest certified green home–one of just 11 such residences in the state, according to the National Association of  Home Builders.

From the outside, the home near 39th and Brookridge Court looks like any other home on the block. But this is the first in Independence to meet the silver standard of certified new green homes.

The following is an excerpt from a report on Fox4KC.com:

“Builder Steve McBee says that he focused on what he calls the ‘building envelope,’ using foam, caulk and insulation to make sure the home is built tight, with little air loss.

‘What good does it do to put high efficiency in if you’re not taking care of the building envelope, the structure itself,’ said McBee. ‘So you have to seal that, make sure it’s caulked and foamed right, make sure it’s insulation package is right. That’s the biggest bang for your buck that you can get on a new home for energy conservation.’

‘Inside of the home, there’s walnut, and not oak, floors and cabinets because the walnut comes from Missouri. Green standards call for using local materials and recycled products to minimize the impact on the environment.

The home, which meets what officials call the silver standard for a certified green home and has already been sold, cost nearly $300,000. McBee says that it costs around $5,000 more to construct a certified green home, but he says that buyers will recoup that investment in energy savings.

Independence mayor Don Reimal says that these construction practices are helping to jump start the home building industry.

‘When you can have the number of houses he’s got under contract, and ones that are pending, that means people are really interested in what’s going on here today,” said Reimal. “They’re willing to come out look at it, like what they see and make the move to move into these green houses.’

See the house live on Fox4KC.com.

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Wall-Mounted Fireplaces

Looking for the perfect fireplace to complement the sleek, modern look of your home? Wall-mounted fireplaces may be just the style solution you’re searching for.

“The options are endless with wall-mounted fireplaces, according to an article in The Canadian Press. And here are four reasons why:

  1. They save a lot of space so they’re practical for condos or smaller bedrooms with high beds. “It’s not the traditional fireplace on the floor, so it’s got better viewing. They also work in open-concept rooms for a modern home because you can see it from all angles.”
  2. The number of decorative applications. Homeowners can choose from a selection of interior burners, whether it’s logs, crushed rocks, or glass media. “You take one fireplace and put a dozen looks on it. By taking out the logs and putting rocks in, you’ve got a completely different look.”
  3. The variety of fuel options. Wall-mounted fireplace options include gas, electric, pellet and biofuel.
  4. The ability to captialize on desired shapes. “You start with a flat box in the wall, and you can make it diamond-shaped, rectangular, rounded or even shaped like a heart.”
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New designer fireplace coming soon!

Henges Majestic See Through Fireplace DesignWe are no longer servicing or installing fireplaces. Please call us for a recommendation.

New designer series coming soon.  Come visit our showroom.  Call for details.  Whether it’s your home, business or restaurant, this is the perfect fireplace for you!

How Will Health Care Reform Affect Your Employer-Sponsored Plan?

When will some of the provisions from the recent Health Care overhaul go into effect, and how will it affect your employer-sponsored insurance? There’s a lot of confusion going around, and we’ve done our best to make sense of it thanks to a Client Action Bulletin sponsored by Milliman.

The Bulletin provides a general chronological overview of the law’s key provisions affecting employer-sponsored plans. Some provisions take effect in 2010, applying several insurance market reforms sooner for sponsors of noncalendar-year plans. The first major changes for calendar-year plans start in January 2011.

Click on the Client Action Bulletin for more information.

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