What Is ENERGY STAR?

You are very likely familiar with the name ENERGY STAR, and have seen it on new appliances as well as on inserts in your power bill. However, do you know what ENERGY STAR actually is and how its programs can help you save money and energy through a variety of improvements to your home?

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed initiative to improve the comfort, efficiency and affordability of US housing. The program issues educational materials, research and recommendations to help homeowners take action to make their homes more environmentally conscious, and to teach contractors to apply best practices to help you reduce wasted energy and utility costs.

You will often find the ENERGY STAR seal on new appliances, and purchasing these highly efficient products can sometimes qualify you for rebates from your utility company or even save you money on your taxes. A simple call to your power and gas providers can help you determine which rebates are available and which products qualify, further reducing the overall cost of energy in your household.

ENERGY STAR supports and promotes the services of highly trained contractors able to perform Energy Audits using technology and observation to get a “whole home” perspective on a building’s efficiency. Certified auditors, like our staff at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc., can evaluate your home and issue a list with suggestions ranging from simple do-it-yourself improvements to larger modifications that can make a huge difference in your power bills. You may even choose to have a follow-up audit taken after you have applied the recommendations to get a more objective view of how much energy you are actually saving.

One method of improvement that ENERGY STAR strongly supports is sealing the “envelope” of a house, preventing conditioned air from escaping and unconditioned air from infiltrating your home. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. specializes in applying spray foam insulation to achieve this in a long-lasting, highly effective way. It’s time to start saving money and increasing comfort – contact us today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and Commercial Insulation Projects

Many times our articles are geared towards homeowners, but Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. also performs a considerable number of improvements on commercial buildings. These projects have special requirements, stringent standards, and most importantly impact the civil and commercial buildings that you patronize every day.

Most commercial projects share the residential goal of improving an air barrier. However, in commercial projects, we usually apply closed cell foam to the outside of buildings, which is then covered with an appropriate façade. These projects must meet high energy code standards and have special insulation needs.

It is an honor to be selected to service these properties, and our commercial work takes us to many interesting locations. We are often chosen to perform work for the military, local government, hospitals and schools. We recently completed a building for the Navy at Little Creek and Ft. Story, and also completed one for Camp Perry. We have featured photos from the air barrier improvement at the Colonial Heights Courthouse which was considered a LEED Silver Project. LEED is how commercial buildings are rated and regulated. Silver, Gold and Platinum LEED Certified buildings meet high standards and are very energy efficient.

Our mix of residential and commercial work helps all of our employees keep current on the latest energy standards and the available products and practices. We are able, as a result, to offer the very best services to our valued customers of all kinds. If you are considering  residential or commercial insulation upgrade, contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Benefits of Upgrading Your Insulation During Roof Replacement

Are you planning to replace your roof or have you just had it replaced? Now is the best time to consult with a spray foam insulation expert and consider conditioning your attic for a more comfortable and more energy efficient home.

During the re-roofing process you will have contractors in the attic space. It is best to check for energy loss right after the roof is complete. An inspection of the space will reveal whether roofing contractors left messy asphalt that needs to be evacuated from the area. It is also the prime opportunity to do mechanical repairs and replacements, a first step in fixing potential leaks.

If you have fiberglass insulation in place, know that it has a shelf life of maybe 10 years, if installed properly. Have it checked once your new roof is complete and consider spray foam as a longer-lasting, more effective alternative.

Is your house 10 years or even 20 years old? So much has changed with the energy code that what was installed even 5 years ago isn’t up to current standards. If you are undertaking a major renovation like re-roofing, it will benefit you in terms of comfort, efficiency, and energy expenses to contact an insulation expert and make sure that you understand how a properly conditioned attic could improve your quality of life.

Contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and we’ll schedule a consultation to review your options with you soon!

Pair New Technology with High Quality Insulation for Better Results

Today’s homeowners are so fortunate to live in an age of technological wonders. Tankless water heaters, geothermal heat, even basic digital thermostats that monitor and moderate the temperature inside our homes – the trend in home technology is increasing comfort and energy efficiency simultaneously for a better living experience.

Did you know that you can make even the most advanced new technology work even better by sealing the “envelope” of your home with expert application of closed-cell spray foam insulation?

If you think about it, it’s intuitive: your appliances are working harder to detect even minor changes in humidity and temperature, and responding by turning on and off so they run only when necessary. However, if you are still losing your conditioned air through leaky attics and crawlspaces, or event through the gaps behind your outlets and through heat transfer from your pipes, your brand new energy-efficient devices are still working harder than they have to, and that is costing you money!

Closed cell foam insulation can seal these leaks and minimize or stop the extra exchange of energy that may make your new appliances and systems work harder than necessary. The foam is environmentally conscious as well, made from renewable resources like soybeans, and unlike older forms of insulation which must be replaced (i.e. discarded) at least once every 10 years, it is applied for the life your home.

If you have recently installed, or are considering installing expensive HVAC systems or other helpful devices in your home, it’s clear that you care about your home’s efficiency and the rising cost of energy. Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today and ask us how a consultation can help you further improve your results and enjoy the comfortable, efficient home of your dreams.

Congress Extends Tax Credit for Eligible Contractors who Build New Energy Efficient Homes

Great news for contractors who built new energy efficient homes in 2012 – as part of the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, Congress extended the 25L tax credit. The legislation provides a tax incentive for builders who can provide proof that their new home provides a level of heating and cooling energy consumption that is at least 50 percent below that of a comparable dwelling unit constructed in accordance with the 2006 IECC. The tax credit is retroactive to homes sold from January 1, 2012.

 

Builders who want to claim the $2000 tax credit should refer to IRS form 8908. For more specific information, you may refer to the 2011 documents that explain who can claim the credit and how here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8908.pdf. Contact your tax professional to confirm eligibility and to find out if you have any other opportunities to claim credits for energy efficient modifications to your new or existing home.

 

Who is an eligible contractor? The IRS form states: “An eligible contractor is the person that

constructed a qualified energy efficient home (or produced a qualified energy efficient home that is a manufactured home). A person must own and have a basis in the qualified energy efficient home during its construction to qualify as an eligible contractor with respect to the home. For example, if the person that hires a third party contractor to construct the home  owns and has the basis in the home during construction, the person that hires the third party contractor is the eligible contractor and the third party contractor is not an eligible contractor.” If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, contact your tax professional to confirm.

 

As national concern over energy independence and conservation heightens, and the economy continues to pressure homeowners to save money wherever possible, tax incentives and utility rebates are likely to become more common. Be sure to follow proposed legislation, and occasionally check with your power and water providers to ensure you are taking full advantage of the savings available to you. And contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today to find out how an energy audit may help you establish a baseline and identify points of possible improvement so you can ensure your home is operating at maximum efficiency. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Study Touts the Environmental Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Responsible homeowners concerned with the energy efficiency of their homes often ask if spray foam insulation, especially closed cell foam, has a negative impact on the environment. It’s a good question, and we have answered, in the past with some of the following facts:

  • Closed-Cell Foam (especially the products that we offer) is often made with renewable resources. Some products are even made from soy!
  • Spray Foam Insulation is designed to last for the life of your home, whereas fiberglass insulation has a shelf life of, maybe, 10 years before it needs to be replaced (i.e. disposed).

A new report released by the Spray Foam Alliance makes a “life cycle assessment” (LCA) of spray foam insulation. The study looked at spray foam insulation from a “cradle-to-end of life” timeframe in three different US climate zones. The study looked at “primary energy from non-renewable resources” and five different “critical” environmental impacts on things like air and water.

The study, which was vetted by independent groups concerned with the insulation, concluded that the benefit of the energy saved in both home and commercial applications of spray foam insulation far, far outweighs the impact of spray foam from the time it is applied to the time of its disposal. As we have said time and time again, spray foam insulation is a responsible choice for earth-conscious homeowners and commercial building managers.

Do you want to know more about insulating your home and decreasing your impact on the environment? Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Atlantic Spray Joins SPFA

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. recently added membership in the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) to its list of professional associations. We constantly seek new ways to expand our knowledge base, increase access to new technology and products and provide you with leading-edge service and superior results. Our membership in SPFA supports our efforts towards these goals.

SPFA was formed in 1987 and develops tool to educate the industry and consumers about spray polyurethane products, and helps set standards of use. The organization provides training and certification, engages in research and promotes spray foam usage at expos and conventions. SPFA also identifies relevant regulatory and legislative activities, and through its affiliation with the Centers for Polyurethane Industry (CPI) provides coordinates responses and action to any proposed changes.

Members of SPFA are industry leaders who care about consumers and the information available to them. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. takes an active role in educating our local homeowners and commercial property managers about the ways that spray foam insulation can increase the energy efficiency, structural integrity, comfort and economy of each building. We know that staying informed, training our management and staff, and pursuing every possible opportunity to learn more about advances in our products ultimately helps you get the results you deserve, and we are more than happy to invest our time and resources in great organizations like SPFA.

If you are considering a spray foam insulation product for your home or business, don’t hesitate to contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

James City County Attic Encapsulation Project

We recently completed a spray foam attic encapsulation project at James City County’s Development and Planning building.

A blower door test revealed that the envelope of the building was extremely leaky and the air conditioning systems could not keep up enough to keep the occupants of the building comfortable. A leaky envelope costs more than just comfort – it costs real dollars as users overtax their HVAC system in hopes of creating a suitable work or home environment.

We encapsulated the attic of the building with spray foam which will take the latent load off of the air conditioning resulting in a much cooler and more energy efficient building! Taxpayers and employees alike benefit from the encapsulation.

If your HVAC system “should” be sufficient to keep your home or business comfortable, but you find that it is underperforming, the first thing you should do is schedule an “Energy Audit” or blower-door test. We will evaluate the current envelope and give you lots of practical advice for improving the energy efficiency of your property. Just like James City County, you too could find yourself saving money and energy while enjoying maximum comfort in your space. Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Choose the Right Contractor to Install Your Insulation

One of the more disturbing trends in home insulation is the rise of different contractors expanding into the field with no additional training or specialization. Examples include roofing and HVAC contractors, among others, who want to increase their profit margins by incorporating other services into their own repertoire. Consumers need to beware that these contractors are often more concerned with money than they are with the sanctity of your home. Their lack of experience and training mean that they are less familiar with current standards of installation, current best practices and may not have access to the best products and equipment.

Contractors who don’t keep up with trends and standards are more likely to make mistakes that could become very costly problems for you down the line. You want the latest equipment and the best materials for your home insulation. During your search for the right professionals, please make sure that you get a quote directly from someone who specializes in home insulations. One good practice is to look for someone who is BPI Certified. BPI (Building Performance Institute, Inc.)is the organization that sets the standards for all insulation installation, based on previous performance, new information and statistical data. They offer support for customers who use their certified analysts and technicians, so you can rest assured that your repairs will be handled skillfully with professionalism.

Don’t fall victim to a company that has spread themselves and their skills too thin. Choose the pros at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. to protect your home today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

Recovery through Retrofit Loan Program – James City County

You may not realize it, but low-to-medium income home owners in James City County have access to funds that can enable them to increase their home’s energy efficiency and decrease their monthly utility bills. Qualifying borrowers can take advantage of maximum 5-year term, currently 0%, home improvement loans through the “Recovery Through Retrofit Loan Program”.

There is an application required of each interested home owner. Loan recipients must agree to have an “Energy Audit” performed by a BPSI-certified technician to evaluate possible energy improvements, as well as an exit audit to prove that modifications resulted in at least a 20% energy savings. The application is available online and must be accompanied by a $20 processing fee. The loans are made possible by a grant received by James City County in 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. $210,000 in funds have been earmarked to help home owners make these vital and community-enhancing improvements.

Loan recipients may include the costs of their pre- and post-renovation audits in their loans. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. is a program-approved provider of Energy Audits and is certified by BPSI to perform the required Blower Door tests and additional evaluations. You can (and are encouraged to) seek pre-approval before ordering the initial test to ensure you qualify.

Loans amounts range from $500 to $10,000, and are currently offered at 0% interest (the agencies responsible for administering the funds may need to increase that at some point, so apply now). Once the loan is approved and closed the interest rate cannot change.

If you have additional questions about the loan process, we encourage you to seek out all of the applicable information on the James City County website dedicated to the loan program. When you are ready to request your energy audit and find out what kinds of repairs can turn your home into an efficient, comfortable and safer environment, contact us and our experts will explain the entire process and schedule an assessment at your convenience!