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December 2, 2010 / robertstockham

Save while heating this winter…

If you are buying a new heating system, consider a high-efficiency electric air source or ground source heat pump. The energy efficiency is rated according to a federal standard called the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. Heat pumps with an HSPF of 10 are al-most three times more efficient than the most efficient gas furnaces. In January 2006, the new minimum efficiency for air source heat pumps rose to 7.7 HSPF, while efficiency levels for furnaces and boilers have not increased since 1992.

Ground source heat pumps, or GeoEx-change units, use the Earth as a heat source in the winter and as a heat sink in the summer. Ground source heat pumps are rated in terms of Coefficient of Performance (COP) for the winter. The higher the COP, the higher the efficiency. Where gas furnaces have COP values in the 0.78 to 0.94 range, ground source heat pumps have COP values in the 3.0 to 5.0 range.

In the heating season, water vapors from bathing and cooking are beneficial because they help humidify the home. So, use kitchen and bath exhaust fans sparingly in the winter to keep as much heat as possible inside your house.

Locate the heating thermostat on an inside wall away from windows and doors. Cold drafts will cause the thermostat to keep the system running even when the rest of the house is warm enough.

Set the heating thermostat as low as comfort permits. For instance, each degree above 68 F can add 3 percent to the amount of energy needed for heating. If you have a heat pump, make sure that the thermostat is designed to operate the heat pump efficiently when raising the temperature after it has been lowered.

When entertaining a large group of people during the heating season, lower the thermostat a degree or two before the guests arrive. Otherwise, since people generate heat, the space may become wastefully overheated.

Lubricate pump and blower bearings regularly in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations to limit the amount of energy lost to friction and to extend equipment life as well.

Close heating vents and radiator valves in unused rooms. Make sure that drapes, plants, or furniture do not block registers for supply or return air.

For more information on heating, check out the following Web sites:www.geoexchange.com
and www.energystar.gov.

 

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December 1, 2010 / robertstockham

Save energy and water while washing dishes…

Here are some tips for saving energy and water while doing the dishes.

Soak or pre-wash only in the cases of burned-on or dried-on foods.

Be sure that the dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.

Don’t use the “rinse hold” feature on your dishwasher when you only have a few soiled dishes.

Overall, dishwashers use less water than washing dishes by hand. For a full load of dishes in the dishwasher, washing the same dishes by hand would typically use at least 6 more gallons of hot water.

Look for dishwashers with internal booster heaters, so that you can set your water heater thermostat at 1200 F (rather than 1400 F or higher for dishwashing purposes). Most new dishwashers have this feature.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing a new dishwasher. New criteria went into effect on January 1, 2007, which made ENERGY STAR® units more than 35 percent more efficient than baseline units.

New federal efficiency standards for standard-size and compact dishwashers took effect on January 1, 2010. For standard-size units, the efficiency standards are 6.5 gallons of water used per cycle and a maximum usage of 355 kilowatt-hours per year.

For more information on high-efficiency dishwashers, check out the following Web sites:www.aham.org and www.energystar.gov

 

November 30, 2010 / robertstockham

Printreleaf

Some of the kids at Beachwood High School sent us this cool company’s website.  We checked it out and it is so great that we wanted to share it with you.  It is called PrintReLeaf.  The idea is to offset some of the trees used in printing from your local computer… It is a great idea, check them out!

 

As a consumer, every time you click “print”, you are consuming paper. The source of paper is our planet’s trees and ultimately, our forests. So the solution is simple: for every document (piece of paper) you consume, printreleaf will reforest it by planting trees to offset all of your paper consumption.

There are varying beliefs on how many pieces of paper can be sourced from one tree. This is understandable because trees vary in size, shape, age, and quality of fiber. Additionally, paper will range in size, texture, weight, and finish. To keep this simple, we are using 20lb bond paper as the standard benchmark for determining how many prints we need to reforest for each customer since the majority of documents produced in a traditional office environment are printed on 20lb bond paper. From all the formulas we have researched and respect, we have opted to reforest at a level consistent with the mean of all formulas.

If you regularly duplex or use paper with a percentage of recycled content, then the trees reforested in your name, or your company name, will exceed the number of prints (and trees) you actually consumed. If this is the case, we will still remain true to our formula and commitment as we only see this as a benefit to the planet.

To determine how many prints a customer has consumed and require reforestation, we will report on how many pages are specified by the manufacturer’s yield as indicated on the ink or toner cartridge package. For example, if you purchase a toner cartridge that specifies 10,000 page yield, then we will reforest all 10,000 pages. We are committed to this number because against average industry consumption, most customers will never consume the actual specified yield. The 10,000 page yield is based on 5% page fill per sheet of paper, even though industry average is closer to 8% to 10%. By committing to the 5% level we feel we are being conservative and not shortchanging any reforestation efforts.

All reforestation contributions will be performed on an annual basis. We calculate your total print consumption and, in turn, your reforestation debt as of December 31st. Upon calculation, we will purchase the required number of trees from a certified agency who will provide a certificate of donation by printreleaf in your name or your company’s name to officially quantify your reforestation.

 

November 20, 2010 / robertstockham

Kimball Office is using the EcoScorecard

Kimball Office announces
partnership with ecoScorecard!
 

ecoScorecard_logo Kimball Office is committed to quickly and easily providing the sustainable information you need.

We’re excited to announce a partnership with ecoScorecard, a web based tool that provides environmental product information and sustainability documentation for LEED and other third-party rating systems.  ecoScorecard includes information for not just office furniture, but also for other building components that contribute to a sustainable office space.

By compiling sustainable information from a single source, such as ecoScorecard, hours, weeks, and sometimes months can be reduced in the documentation process for new construction or remodel projects.  This time savings can contribute to reduced project costs for building owners, architects, designers, product specifiers, and dealersalespersons. 

Specific product information on Kimball Office products will be included in ecoScorecard by mid-November.

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If you have questions or need more information, please email the Kimball Office Customer Care team or call us at 800.482.1818.  The Kimball Office team would be glad to assist you!