Tag Archives: green

Is Solar Really Worth Doing?

That warm summer sun may be the perfect backdrop for a day of barbecuing, hiking or swimming – but can it help you save for the future, too? With some home-renovation projects, it’s easy to calculate a return on your investment: More square footage, an extra bathroom and a finished basement almost always add value to a property, but other upgrades, such as solar-energy options, remain a mystery to some homeowners. Still, whether you’re looking to save money or the environment, or fall somewhere in between, investing in solar electric or thermal energy systems not only adds value to your home, but drastically reduces your monthly expenses – making sense for your bottom line as well.

When considering a solar makeover, solar electric and solar thermal systems stand out as the most common options for residential structures. Solar walls, used mostly in commercial buildings, also exist, but are less common in homes because they require space on the side of a structure dedicated to black panels. Solar electric systems – also called photovoltaics – gather rays from the sun to turn into electricity, through the use of panels on a home’s roof.

Wondering if solar electric is worth it for your home? The good news is, simply stepping outside your house will likely tell you immediately: Since solar electric systems are very sensitive to shading, they require plenty of sun exposure all day, year-round. If your home experiences shading by even a very small percentage, your electrical output can be reduced by a significant amount – and may not save you as much money in the long run. Still, in houses that don’t have as much shading, many homeowners can expect a large reduction in their electric bill – to the tune of one-third to one-half, or more.
Thankfully, solar thermal systems – which can be installed on the roof of the home, where they catch the sun’s rays, which transfer the heat from the sun into the hot water that comes out of the sinks and showers in your home. While a small shaded portion of a solar electric panel can decrease the system’s output by more than 75 percent, solar thermal systems are more proportional: If you shade 10 percent, your output will only be reduced by approximately 10 percent, making it a more cost-effective and reliable choice.

Since solar thermal will give more bang for your buck, those at Malcarne Contracting also suggest starting there if you’re wondering if a solar upgrade is worth it: Usually, you’ll recoup your investment twice as fast as solar electric by saving a whopping 65 percent of your hot water energy bill. Still, in many situations, both solar electric and solar thermal systems will pay for themselves in three to five years with available tax credits and incentives – making now the time to invest. Three forms of funding include a 25 percent state tax credit (capped at $5,000), a 30 percent federal tax credit (with no cap) – both of which can be used until 2016 – as well as incentives available from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Still not convinced? Let Malcarne’s experts crunch the numbers for your home – for free. By walking you through the process step-by-step and evaluating the amount of kilowatt hours and hot water your house uses, Malcarne can establish just how much a solar electric or thermal system could save you. And like those perfect, sunny summer days, these savings won’t last forever: Tax credits and incentives are being reduced at a quicker rate, which means that three- to five-year payback will soon slip away as well. Harnessing the sun and saving your hard-earned dollars for years to come? It just may be the perfect way to keep a little bit of summer all year long.

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Happy National Weatherization Day

Did you know there was such a day as National Weatherization day?  Well, there is! The last weekend in October marked its celebration in which the nation highlighted the energy saving work going on around the country.  Thanks to the Recovery Act passed in 2009, low-income communities around America are being positively impacted by an increase in energy efficiency. Not only are the people living in these communities saving money from energy conservation projects on their homes, but pollution is also being minimized.

Malcarne Contracting wasn’t about to let National Weatherization Day go by without having a big part in it! On October 29th, the New York Housing Authority announced that construction had begun on the 245 apartments in the Beacon Housing Authority – a project funded with close to 2 million from the Weatherization Assistance Program Recover Act.  Joseph Malcarne, of Malcarne Contracting, is working on the project as the Beacon Housing Authority (BHA) Technical Consultant and says that the BHA will be saving close to $200,000 per year in energy operating costs when the project is completed.

Some major aspects of the project include the installation of two solar thermal hot water systems, new insulation and air sealing and Energy Star lighting. These things, combined with the snazzy new solar powered hot water, along with new energy efficient refrigerators will bring the energy savings down to 35-40%! That’s some major savings, especially for low-income families!

Making New York’s communities greener isn’t the only great thing resulting from these types of projects. Matthew Rudikoff, a BHA consultant working on the project alongside Joseph Malcarne, pointed out how this project also creates jobs and construction in a struggling economy. He also mentioned how these energy-saving projects improve the lives of low-income tenants living in such complexes by saving them money on their energy bills.

Congratulations to Malcarne Contracting for being such a huge part in making New York a greener place to live! Not only are they doing it for the low-income families in the Beacon area, but they are also doing it for multiple clients in the Hudson Valley area. If you would like more information on how to make your home more energy efficient, call Malcarne Contracting at 1-800-798-5844 or email them here.

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How Malcarne Helped a Senior Facility Achieve the Highest Level of LEED Certification

On July 8, our very own Joseph Malcarne (President of Malcarne Contracting) attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the beautiful Birches at Chambers apartment complex. The 66-unit development not only helps to quell an undeniable need for affordable senior-living housing in the Hudson Valley area, but, thanks to Steve Aaron and the Birchez Associates, along with Malcarne Contracting, further strides are being made to make this a more energy-efficient world.  Petra Averbeck, an Energy Analyst at Malcarne Contracting, explains how the Hudson Valley’s Energy-Smart Builder helped to transform this building into ”… a friendly, safe and beautiful living space for these people which is also energy efficient as per newest technology.”

Malcarne Contracting, being the Energy Efficiency consultant on the project, saw to it that the Birches at Chambers complex became such a green building that the development qualifies for platinum LEED certification!

HUH?! Is that a good thing?

Yes, it’s a fantastic thing! LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). When a building is LEED certified, it means that it is successfully designed and built to have energy-efficient qualities such has high water efficiency, lower CO2 emissions, better indoor environmental quality, and that it basically leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. The platinum recognition is the highest possible achievement in the LEED certification process, making the Birches at Chambers project is an amazing energy-efficient work of art!

So what makes it so amazingly green? Well, for one, it has a “smart” boiler. (I bet you didn’t know boilers had an IQ level.) According to Joseph Malcarne, the energy efficient boiler installed “has a brain to it so to speak.” This means that the boiler will modulate (or adjust/adapt) to match the energy needs of a living space.  In layman’s terms, the boiler won’t be creating heat when it doesn’t need to.

Along with the brainiac of a boiler, a Solar Photovoltaic system will also be installed on the roof to generate most of the electricity that is used. Wow! That’s awesome! What does that mean? In a nutshell, they are going to put solar panels on the building to take energy from the sun to make electricity. (View our Hudson Valley Energy Efficiency Through Solar blog post to read a more in–depth look into the photovoltaic effect.)

With the help of Malcarne Contracting, the Birches at Chamber Complex will use around 25 percent less energy than it would if it were built using non-energy efficient construction practices.  This is the second senior citizen housing project that the company has completed with Steve Aaron and the Birchez under this energy-efficient program and there are more to come!

For more information on the Birches at Chambers complex, or any of the Birchez properties, go to www.birchez.com. And for more information on how to make your home more energy efficient, contact Malcarne Contracting at 1-800-798-5844 or email us.

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Hudson Valley Energy Efficiency Through Solar

Way back in 1839, a french physicist by the name of Antoine Cesar Becquerel discovered that voltage developed when light fell upon an electrode – otherwise known as the “photovoltaic effect”. This single observation changed the face of energy forever. From this, came the development of the solar cell which, in turn, led to the development of the solar panel.

When you think about the idea of solar panels, thoughts of  sheer grandiosity in cost and everyday impracticality may come to mind.  Perhaps you are saying, “Eh, solar panels are for rich people,” or asking, “Why spend all that money to save a few pennies?” Well, those two things are simply, and very definitely FALSE!

First of all, solar panels are not only for rich people, they are for anybody interested in being more energy efficient in their homes.  This goes hand in hand with the erroneous assumption that the money saved will barely outweigh the money spent to get them. You would be positively ASTONISHED to see how much money solar panels can save on your energy bills! For example, just a few hot water solar panels can save you 20% on fuel consumption! AND, if you combined those little hot water solar panels with a solar panel wall on the side of your house, you could save ANOTHER 20%! And that’s not all – install some solar electric panels and save 100% on your electric bill! YES – 100%!!! Thank you Mr. Becquerel.

Aside from saving you money, using solar panels will give you some brownie points in the “living green” category. By reducing your fuel consumption, the carbon footprint you will inevitably leave behinds gets a little less massive. Thanks to the findings our friendly french physicist of old, the photovoltaic effect allows builders like Malcarne Contracting to wave their magic wands (or hammers and nails) to turn the sun’s energy into electricity through the installation of solar panels. Voila! Instant savings on the green in your wallet, and the green in your front yard.

As far as the cost of solar panels, the net out of pocket investment will be between $10,000 and $20,000. (Of course, individual pricing varies.) But do the math. You can save yourself up to 40% on fuel consumption and 100% on electricity through the use of solar panels. That’s a lot of green. Brownie points!

To get more information on Solar Panels and ways to make your home more energy-effecient, Contact “The Hudson Valley’s Energy Smart Builder” Malcarne Contracting!

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