2017 Best Options for Beautiful and Eco-Friendly Window Upgrades

Kaitlin Krull

Looking after your windows is a vital part of keeping your home safe and comfortable. Quality windows are also more environmentally friendly now than ever before, so occasional upgrades and repairs are essential if you want to reduce your energy bills and insulate your home. At Modernize, we help homeowners make their homes greener in simple and straightforward ways, so here are a few options to help you choose beautiful and eco-friendly window upgrades for your home. 

Looking after your windows is a vital part of keeping your home safe and comfortable. Quality windows are also more environmentally friendly now than ever before, so occasional upgrades and repairs are essential if you want to reduce your energy bills and insulate your home. At Modernize, we help homeowners make their homes greener in simple and straightforward ways, so here are a few options to help you choose beautiful and eco-friendly window upgrades for your home.

Period windows

Windows are one of the most prominent and recognizable features of older and period homes. However, homeowners often struggle to keep their period windows maintained to a modern standard of insulation and efficiency. If the original windows in your older home need some TLC, then don’t despair: specialist window professionals can tastefully upgrade your original windows and make them fit for contemporary living. Adding double glazing, shutters, awnings, and blinds to period windows will make them perform better throughout the year and increase your home’s green status while maintaining the charm and design style of your home.

Sustainable frames

Sustainable building is on trend in the construction world today and involves the use of low-tech craftsmanship and thoughtfully sourced materials to create a low-carbon product that is both beautiful and eco-friendly. If you want to incorporate these practices the next time you upgrade your windows, choose window specialists who create bespoke frames made from FSC certified sustainable wood or locally sourced aluminum and other materials. Shopping local also decreases the carbon footprint of your windows, since the shipping distance is negligible and less energy is consumed, while constructing frames by hand consumes less energy during the building process.

Skylights  If you want to further decrease your home’s energy bills and have already installed energy efficient windows throughout your home, it might be time to consider natural light as a supplement to your in-home lighting systems. Skylight windows are an often overlooked window alternative that will save you money on your electricity bills by maximizing the natural light in your home. Placing skylights strategically throughout your living spaces will make the most of exterior light and make your home more eco-friendly throughout the year—just be sure to choose skylights with double or even triple paned glass for added energy efficiency.  Unique windows  While traditional windows certainly have a place in your home, there are times when homeowners need or want to get creative with their windows for both aesthetic and environmental reasons. Floor to ceiling windows made from energy efficient glass (two or three panes with an insulating gas between layers and low-e coatings to increase insulation inside and reflect sunlight outside) create a stunning, bright effect in your home by bringing the outside in. Irregular shaped windows such as circles, semicircles, and long rectangles will add instant charm to your home, while restored or repurposed stained or

Skylights

If you want to further decrease your home’s energy bills and have already installed energy efficient windows throughout your home, it might be time to consider natural light as a supplement to your in-home lighting systems. Skylight windows are an often overlooked window alternative that will save you money on your electricity bills by maximizing the natural light in your home. Placing skylights strategically throughout your living spaces will make the most of exterior light and make your home more eco-friendly throughout the year—just be sure to choose skylights with double or even triple paned glass for added energy efficiency.

Unique windows  While traditional windows certainly have a place in your home, there are times when homeowners need or want to get creative with their windows for both aesthetic and environmental reasons. Floor to ceiling windows made from energy efficient glass (two or three panes with an insulating gas between layers and low-e coatings to increase insulation inside and reflect sunlight outside) create a stunning, bright effect in your home by bringing the outside in. Irregular shaped windows such as circles, semicircles, and long rectangles will add instant charm to your home, while restored or repurposed stained or

Unique windows

While traditional windows certainly have a place in your home, there are times when homeowners need or want to get creative with their windows for both aesthetic and environmental reasons. Floor to ceiling windows made from energy efficient glass (two or three panes with an insulating gas between layers and low-e coatings to increase insulation inside and reflect sunlight outside) create a stunning, bright effect in your home by bringing the outside in. Irregular shaped windows such as circles, semicircles, and long rectangles will add instant charm to your home, while restored or repurposed stained or textured glass gives your home a vintage look that is both eco-friendly and beautiful. Finally, functional windows such as glass blocks and egress windows give your home added security and privacy and can be made to your exacting standards of energy efficiency. To lear more about different window types check out Modernize Windows.

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U.S. Data Centers Lead the Charge in Global Sustainability

Trump may have pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, but sustainability and ethical responsibility in the face of climate change are urgent topics U.S. enterprises – especially those doing business in the EU – must address and understand. This constant conversation is the new reality:

It’s not going away.

Interxion (NYSE: INXN) has long positioned itself as an expert in helping U.S.-based Fortune 50 companies expand their footprints into the EU, Middle East, Africa and beyond, by providing digital and physical co-location infrastructure (e.g., data centers, vast networks of submarine cables), and especially, critical experience navigating sustainability best practices and regulations.  

Bob Landstrom, Interxion’s Director of Product Management, is offering his thoughts on U.S. data centers and how they’re leading the charge in global sustainability. Bob’s insights would be an excellent addition to a sustainability-related piece. 

In particular, US data center operators do not seem to be lining up to abandon climate change initiatives. Data centers are among the largest industrial consumers of energy in the US and abroad, and operational costs are driven by energy consumption - so good stewardship of energy use is good for business. US data centers may sometimes be driven by a corporate commitment to sustainable or green practices, but more often the motivation for going green is financial. They’ve discovered that many energy efficiency actions demonstrate reasonably short payback periods with a clear path to energy cost savings. The contribution of sustainably sourcedIt’s not going away.  Interxion (NYSE: INXN) has long positioned itself as an expert in helping U.S.-based Fortune 50 companies expand their footprints into the EU, Middle East, Africa and beyond, by providing digital and physical co-location infrastructure (e.g., data centers, vast networks of submarine cables), and especially, critical experience navigating sustainability best practices and regulations.    Bob Landstrom, Interxion’s Director of Product Management, is offering his thoughts on U.S. data centers and how they’re leading the charge in global sustainability. Bob’s insights would be an excellent addition to a sustainability-related piece.   In particular, US data center operators do not seem to be lining up to abandon climate change initiatives. Data centers are among the largest industrial consumers of energy in the US and abroad, and operational costs are driven by energy consumption - so good stewardship of energy use is good for business. US data centers may sometimes be driven by a corporate commitment to sustainable or green practices, but more often the motivation for going green is financial. They’ve discovered that many energy efficiency actions demonstrate reasonably short payback periods with a clear path to energy cost savings. The contribution of sustainably sourced

“While President Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement there is evidence that other entities in the US do not share the same sentiment.

In particular, US data center operators do not seem to be lining up to abandon climate change initiatives. Data centers are among the largest industrial consumers of energy in the US and abroad, and operational costs are driven by energy consumption – so good stewardship of energy use is good for business. US data centers may sometimes be driven by a corporate commitment to sustainable or green practices, but more often the motivation for going green is financial. They’ve discovered that many energy efficiency actions demonstrate reasonably short payback periods with a clear path to energy cost savings. The contribution of sustainably sourced energy to the grid, such as from wind and solar continues to increase. These technologies continue to demonstrate efficiency gains. An abundance of cost savings and carbon reduction opportunities are on the table and energy efficiency improvement will continue to be a goal, unaffected by the Paris Agreement withdrawal. US data centers are seldom under regulatory pressures to “green-up,” but they clearly recognize that a reduced PUE equates to reduced operational expense.  

Abroad (Europe in particular) there are regulatory pressures to ensure data centers practice responsible energy management, and this is driving investment in green practices that are ultimately good for companies’ bottom lines. Forward thinking US data center managers know that investment in green technology and improved energy efficiency is necessary to keep pace with the global community. Businesses looking to expand abroad will find that an IT operations strategy built on sustainable practices will make the transition easier.”

Analysis Group report: No evidence that changing power mix endangers electric system reliability

Washington, D.C. — A new report by Analysis Group answers questions asked two months ago by Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the reliability and market rules of the U.S. electric power grid.

Analysis Group finds it is market forces – primarily low-cost natural gas and flat demand for electricity – that are causing some coal and nuclear power plants to retire, and not state and federal policies supporting renewable energy development. The report finds that the changing electricity resource mix poses no threat to reliability of the nation’s power system.

Perry launched a 60-day review of “critical issues” on the grid on April 14. National business groups Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) commissioned Analysis Group to answer independently the questions Perry raised. The Analysis Group report has now been submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy to inform its review.

“Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.”

Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.” width=Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.solar helps the gridRecently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.
“The transformation now under way in the electric power system is driven primarily by market forces,” said Susan Tierney, senior advisor, Analysis Group, and one of the authors of the report, along with Analysis Group Principal Paul Hibbard.

Low natural gas prices, technology changes, and flat demand for electricity have been putting financial pressure on and leading to the retirement of older, less economic power plants

This is a natural consequence of market competition. The result is a more diverse set of energy resources on the grid that is being capably managed in a way that provides reliable electric power.”

Key findings of the Analysis Group report:

Market forces: Fundamental market forces – flat demand for electricity, low natural gas prices since the mid-2000s and the addition of significant amounts of highly efficient new gas-fired resources since 2000 – are primarily responsible for altering the profitability of many older, merchant generating assets in the parts of the country with organized wholesale competitive markets. These market fundamentals are producing savings for consumers. 

Lesser factors: Factors such as rapid growth in deployment of advanced energy technologies, and state policies supporting such technologies also contribute to reducing the profitability of less economic assets, but such factors are secondary to market fundamentals in causing financial pressure on merchant plants without long-term power contracts.

Aging resources: The retirement of aging resources is a natural element of efficient and competitive market forces, and where markets are performing well, these retirements mainly represent the efficient exit of uncompetitive assets.

Reliability benefits: Many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits by increasing the diversity of the system and by providing important reliability services to the grid. The addition of newer, technologically advanced, and more efficient natural gas and renewable technologies is rendering the power systems in this country more, rather than less, diverse. 

Baseload” an outdated term: Given the many attributes associated with a reliable electric system, the term “baseload resources” is an outdated term in today’s electric system which depends upon a wide variety of resources to provide essential reliability services and is seeing gas-fired resources and renewable capacity together providing both around-the-clock power and the flexibility to cycle and ramp as needed to meet and sustain bulk power system reliability objectives.

“The electricity system in the United States is stronger than it’s ever been,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE. “Thanks to innovation and smart policy, we have a more diverse fuel mix, a more reliable grid, and lower electricity costs. The Analysis Group report highlights how advanced energy technologies are helping to modernize the grid and how grid operators are well equipped to manage this market change. As DOE finalizes its report on reliability, we hope the Department will incorporate these key findings, which reflect the true state of the grid.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said, “Like DOE, we wholeheartedly agree that reliable and affordable electricity is essential. Analysis Group’s report finds that wind and other advanced energy resources, driven by markets and technological advances, are improving electric reliability and reducing costs. Past dependence on a few fuel sources has given way to a more diverse grid, which is more robust and resilient. We think this analysis will be useful for DOE’s study, and we look forward to working with state and federal policymakers to implement market-based policies that will provide consumers with even more reliable electricity at lower cost.”

BACKGROUND

In a memo dated April 14 to his chief of staff, Brian McCormack, Secretary Perry directed the Department of Energy to conduct a study that would “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid,” and to analyze “market-distorting effects of federal subsidies that boost one form of energy at the expense of others,” and to report back in 60 days. 

On April 28, business trade groups AEE, AWEA, and SEIA sent a joint letter to Sec. Perry asking that the DOE “initiate a public process,” and that the study “follow standard practice and be conducted in an open and transparent manner,” noting that it is “customary” for agencies developing reports that provide policy recommendations to allow public comment on a draft, prior to the report being finalized. No reply was received. A DOE spokeswoman told Axios on May 5: “The findings will be released to the public (including stakeholders) once the study is completed this summer. The Secretary looks forward to receiving input from all parties once that occurs.”

On May 16, AEE, AWEA, SEIA, and ACORE held a press briefing on documents each submitted to DOE to inform its study of the electric power system and reliability:

AEE: Changing the Power Grid for the Better – shows that today’s electric generation mix is more diverse than ever; low-priced gas is primarily driving the change in resources, followed by flat load growth and competition from renewables; ERCOT and PJM experience shows reliable grid management with high degree of variable renewables and even in extreme conditions.

ACORE: Energy Fact Check – The Impact of Renewables on Electricity Markets and Reliability – ACORE-produced report covering questions around baseload power and economic impact raised in Secretary Perry’s April 14, 2017 memorandum directing a study to explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid.

AWEA: Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Resilient Electricity Mix. Grid operators are already reliably integrating large amounts of wind energy, and their studies show they can go much higher. Integrating renewables on the power grid costs less than integrating baseload sources; modern power electronics enable renewables to provide reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants; and renewables diversify the energy mix, improving economics and resiliency. Renewables are not the primary factor undermining baseload sources – as can be seen by maps of where each is predominately located, cheap natural gas is the primary factor. AWEA also submitted a literature review of over 30 existing research studies by federal agencies, regional grid operators, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), and others.

SEIA: Solar & Renewables Benefit Grid & The U.S. Economy – Solar and renewables provide significant advantages to the national grid in terms of reliability, fuel diversity and national security. This SEIA review highlights multiple studies showing that the existing grid can handle high penetrations of renewable energy to the benefit of ratepayers, grid system operators and system performance.

In their letter transmitting these materials to DOE, the groups concluded: “We believe that, taken together, these reports demonstrate that the U.S. electric power system is more diverse in its energy sources than ever before, and due to the flexible way these resources are now managed, becoming more reliable and resilient as a result.”

Sources: Advanced Energy Economy at American Wind Energy Association, June 20, 2017

AWEA statement on White House Energy Week

June 29, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following is a statement from Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on President Trump’s Energy Week remarks:

“We support President Trump’s strategic vision to seek American energy dominance. The wind industry — America’s largest source of renewable energy capacity — stands ready to do our part implementing the President’s vision to deliver American jobs, investment and prosperity. 

We are proud to join with the White House recognizing Energy Week and highlighting how wind power works for America. The Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, including resources like wind, can work to make America safer and more self-reliant while growing the economy.

We know this because the U.S. is already a global leader in wind power with world-class natural resources. Our wind turbines are among the most productive in the world because of those resources and technological innovation. Unleashing American wind power is breathing new life into rural and Rust Belt communities, building new schools, fixing roads, improving emergency services, and creating well-paying jobs.

By tapping into more of our inexhaustible wind resources between now and the end of President Trump’s first term we can generate $85 billion in new economic activity and nearly 50,000 new jobs direct and indirect jobs, according to Navigant Consulting.

We embrace the Administration’s plan to expand America’s leadership and fully harness our nation’s abundant energy potential from all sources. Eliminating barriers and approving vital infrastructure, including electric transmission lines and wind energy projects, will put even more Americans to work and unlock our vast energy potential.  

A true all-of-the-above energy strategy will ensure American energy dominance.”

Source: AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry.

Urban Solar wins RFP to supply bus stop lighting systems for Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Urban Solar is pleased to announce it has been awarded a three-year contract to supply its PV Stop lighting systems to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) after successfully winning a competitive solicitation.

OCTA chose Urban Solar’s PV Stop to increase safety for riders, further enhancing its bus stop amenities. The PV Stop is a UL Listed solar powered system with high intensity LED lighting. Urban Solar wins RFP to supply bus stop lighting systems for Orange County
More than 100 of Urban Solar’s PV Stops were successfully installed in 2012, and this award will add to the transportation authority’s current 1,200+ lighting units installed at bus stops along major transit corridors.

Urban Solar wins RFP to supply bus stop lighting systems for Orange County.  Picture in desertUrban Solar wins RFP to supply bus stop lighting systems for Orange County. OUTDOOR DAY PARK SHOT
“We at Urban Solar have enjoyed working with OCTA in the past and are thrilled to continue our relationship with the agency to provide reliable solar powered safety and security lighting for the riders of Orange County,” says Ben Guriel, Senior Business Development Manager at Urban Solar. 

About OCTA
Orange County Transportation Authority 

OCTA 

About Urban Solar

urbansolarcorp.com