Category : green

5 Benefits of Home Insulation

home insulation

When you think of insulation, you probably think about how insulation can keep your home warm in the winter. In reality, though, insulation is beneficial for your home all year round. At Oliver, we offer a variety of home insulation materials for your attic, walls, floors, basements, and more. It’s is a great investment, and here’s why:

Comfort

Because insulation will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you and your family will stay comfortable all year round without having to crank up your HVAC unit, rely on extra blankets, invest in fans, or settle for a too-hot or too-cold home.

Energy Savings

Did you know that a home that is under-insulated or not properly insulated can lose between 20% and 30% of its energy? Air leaks around your windows and doors or in your attic or basement can waste your energy. That means that your heater and your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep your home warm or cool (and a harder-working HVAC system means a higher energy bill). With proper home insulation, you can keep your home efficient and keep your energy bills down.

Sound

No one likes to hear someone snoring in the room above them, and that’s where home insulation comes in handy. Home insulation helps to absorb the sounds that bounce off of your walls and floors, making your home a quieter place to live and relax.

Carbon Footprint

If you’re interested in living a “green” lifestyle, the right insulation (and the right amount of it) can help you do that. Since insulation allows you to use less energy and in return, produce fewer emissions, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on the environment. Plus, we can help you pick out the right type of insulation that has the smallest environmental impact.

Resale Value

When it comes to insulation, not many people think about its resale value. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the next five years, updating your insulation can be the difference between a fast sell and a slow sell.

If you’re interested in the many benefits of home insulation, don’t hesitate to contact our HVAC specialists.

Blog BONUS

Now that you know the benefits of insulation, let’s talk about the other piece of the puzzle – air sealing. The right insulation is crucial, but if you’re leaving escape routes for your heated air, you still won’t get the results you’re looking for. Take a look at this case study to learn more:

If you struggle with hot and cold spots in your home, schedule an appointment for a free in-home analysis with one of the Oliver experts today!


Solar Power 101

HVAC experts

As our society continues to “go green”, we continue to invest in the natural resource of the sun to produce our energy. While small businesses, corporations, and homeowners alike have incorporated solar power into their lives, many still may not know exactly how we’re able to extract energy from the sun. Here’s a simple breakdown:

Continue reading


The Benefits of a Building Automation Solution

building automation solution

While our HVAC contractors work hard to bring the right solutions to homeowners, we also work hard to help commercial and industrial customers manage their facilities better. With our building automation solutions, we can help regulate the heat, air conditioning, and electricity that you use. With an automation system, you’ll enjoy:

A lower utility bill

When it comes to heating, air conditioning, and electricity, you probably use all of them more than you need to. With a building automation solution, automated controls will be able to learn your system and determine how often your heat or air needs to run and how often your lights should be on – all of which can save you anywhere from 20% to 40% on your utility bills.

Constant comfort

With the perfect amount of heat or air conditioning at all times, you and your workers will constantly stay comfortable (and you won’t have to deal with complaints).

A smaller carbon footprint

Having a building automation solution is a great environmental choice – especially if you’re someone who likes to “go green.” The automated controls will help your building use less power, which means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

Increased property value

The value of most commercial buildings is largely based on its operating income; when you lower your utility bills, you increase your operating income. This means that the larger your operating income, the more your property is worth.

Improved productivity

It’s hard to work productively when you’re too hot, too cold, or don’t have enough light. With the constant comfort that a building automation solution provides, your workers will always be at the right temperature, and you’ll see an improvement in their productivity.

If you’re interested in a better way to manage your facility, contact the HVAC contractors at Oliver Mechanical. We’ll help you find the best solution.


Why China’s Growing A/C Market Could Be Problematic

air conditioning installation

While the use of air conditioners is increasing throughout the world, it’s growing exponentially in China. Here, our air conditioning installation company shares this interesting Quartz article by Zoe Schlanger that explains just how large that growth is and what could happen if it continues:

Continue reading


An Outlook on Pennsylvania’s Renewable Energy Future

While we’re working to increase renewable energy as a country, the future of renewable energy also varies by state. Some (like West Virginia and New Mexico) are just beginning to produce solar, wind, or hydro power while others (like Idaho and Maine) are already running entirely on them.

Continue reading


Could Renewables Be a Threat to Natural Gas?

Many homeowners use electricity as their primary source of power, however, there are some who turn to natural gas. Whether this choice is due to a preference or an availability, there are both pros and cons to using natural gas. Recently, our HVAC installation experts came across an article by Paulo Santos that discusses the rise of natural gas and the effect renewables could have on it. We thought we’d share:

“Commonly, I’d say most of us expect U.S. natural gas (UNG) to see increased usage over time. Coal is on its deathbed, nuclear power is seeing blowback since the Fukushima disaster, and U.S. natural gas seems perennially cheap. Adding these things together seems to indicate that, over time, we’ll see increased natural gas usage. This might/should push natural gas prices upward. To this, I would add that the development of LNG export facilities, like those built by Cheniere Energy (LNG), provide potential for increased natural gas demand.

Well, this all sounds good, but I am about to describe a risk that’s not as often considered. It’s a risk that looms pretty large, and whose materialization has already been seen elsewhere.

What Is This Risk?

The risk has a name: renewables. Renewable sources of energy, which are most often used to produce electricity, include things such as solar generation or wind generation. Why are renewables a risk? Let me explain:

Approximately 38.3% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is used to produce electricity. Residential plus commercial users consume ~30.1% of the natural gas, and their consumption has been rather stable over time. Industrial users consume ~31.5% of the natural gas, and while their usage has been growing recently due to cheap natural gas, it can be said to be stable over a longer time frame. As a result, demand for electricity generation has been responsible for all natural gas consumption growth in the U.S.

Now, it is this demand for electricity generation which is at risk. The risk comes from the fact that renewables (ex-hydroelectric) are growing quickly, and have gone from 7.1% of all power generation in 2014 to 9.5% in 2017 (ttm). This happened in the context of stable electricity generation. Electricity generation in the U.S. in 2017 (ttm) is lower than it was back in 2011.

Renewables (ex-hydroelectric) are often what’s called “must run.” That is, if solar or wind is generating power, the grid must take it. Someone else has to shut down. On the other hand, natural gas generation is most often both the “marginal producer” (the last to come in when prices are higher, the first to go out if they drop) and a flexible producer (one with the ability to ramp up and down quickly). As a result, added generation of the kind renewables offer mostly tends to displace natural gas generation. Therein lies the risk.

Compensating for this effect are, at times, political factors, such as a drive toward shutting down coal by subjecting it to more stringent emission rules. However, with the Trump administration this political drive isn’t there, and won’t be there for several years. The result, of course, is that as renewables grow through time, natural gas is, again, the prime victim. Also, in case you think this is fantasy, there is an actual precedent as the exact same thing happened in Europe.

Renewables’ development is further along in Europe compared to the U.S. But it should tend to catch up. As a result, the dynamics above might well be in out full force as we speak. Indeed, natural gas demand (ttm) for power generation has been heading down for a year or so already. There’s obviously the possibility that this was simply due to weather. Still, the inexorable growth in renewables generation is a fact, so even if it wasn’t structural this past year, it can turn structural at any time.

Conclusion

The growth in renewable power generation poses a direct threat to natural gas volumes and prices. As a result, this threat can impact natural gas E&P companies. This is because of the loss of volumes and pricing. It can also impact pipelines, which supply natural gas to the market. This is because of the loss of volumes and the increased risk from possible E&P failures.

This isn’t a merely theoretical threat. We’ve already seen its impact in Europe, where natural gas volumes fell a lot. Ultimately, pricing also fell a lot, and indeed has fallen below the cost of landed U.S. LNG. Right now, Europe is stabilizing on account of political action leading to the closure of nuclear and coal power plants. However, such political action does not seem likely right now in the U.S.”


Invest in One of These Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs


Everyone wants to save money on their electric bills – and you can do it simply by replacing your light bulbs! Energy-efficient light bulbs have been around for years, but it wasn’t until the last decade or so that households began using them in place of their traditional incandescent light bulbs. Here are some of the best options for your home:

Halogen Light Bulbs

In an incandescent light bulb, the electric current runs through a wire tungsten filament and heats it up until it glows. Halogen bulbs work the same way, however, the halogen gas triggers a chemical reaction with the tungsten and causes the light to be redeposited back onto the filament. This makes them last longer. They are also able to illuminate instantly, like incandescent bulbs, and can be turned off and on frequently (unlike CFLs, which need to run about 15 minutes at a time).

Incandescent lifespan: about 1,200 hours
Average incandescent power usage: 60 watts
Halogen lifespan: about 2,500 hours
Average Halogen power use: 40 watts

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

CFL light bulbs (like the one above) have the most intricate illumination process among energy-efficient light bulbs. The electric current runs through a tube that contains argon and mercury vapor. The tube generates an ultraviolet energy, which then illuminates a fluorescent coating. Because of the process, CFLs take longer to fully illuminate than incandescent bulbs, but after they’re lit, they consume around 75% less energy. Just make sure you use them in open fixtures indoors (because of their sensitivity to extreme temperatures).

Incandescent lifespan: about 1,200 hours
Average incandescent power usage: 60 watts
CFL lifespan: about 10,000 hours
Average CFL power usage: 13-15 watts

LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are bulbs that are made up of a series of small light-emitting diodes (or LEDs). Their illumination process is much simpler than a CFL’s: an electric current runs through a semiconductor material, which then illuminates the LEDs. These light bulbs are available in many different colors and don’t burn out like many light bulbs – instead, their light depreciates over time. LED light bulbs also remain cool to the touch and don’t emit heat like incandescent light bulbs or halogen light bulbs.

Incandescent lifespan: about 1,200 hours
Average incandescent power usage: 60 watts
LED light bulb lifespan: about 40,000 hours
Average LED power usage: 6-8 watts

If you’re interested in switching your light bulbs to more energy-efficient type, talk to our electrical service experts. We can help!


What Exactly Is Cellulose Insulation?

At Oliver Heating & Cooling, we offer a variety of residential insulation services including attic insulation, basement insulation, crawl space insulation, garage insulation, and more. While you may think all insulation is created equal, it’s not. One of our most popular types of insulation is cellulose and our insulation experts are here to explain what it is and why you may want it.

Cellulose vs. Fiberglass

Cellulose insulation is a smart alternative to fiberglass insulation – while fiberglass insulation comes in pre-formed batts that are tucked into open areas, cellulose insulation actually is sprayed or blown into walls. This means it will conform to corners and crevices better than batts will and it will create a better barrier against drafts. Best of all, cellulose insulation can be installed over existing insulation to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

Types of Applications

At Oliver, there are three different types of cellulose insulation applications for your home. First, it can be blown into large spaces like attics to create a fluffy area of protection for an entire room. It can also be blown into smaller areas like wall spaces or enclosed cavities. This is a denser application and provides a more concentrated area of protection. Lastly, cellulose insulation can be wet-sprayed into open cavities so that it creates a stickier application. This technique is often used for new construction.

A Green Option

Cellulose insulation is made from 75%-85% recycled paper fiber and 15%-25% fire retardant material, making it one of the most environmentally friendly insulation options on the market. In addition, it takes very little energy to actually produce cellulose insulation, so you can choose it knowing that you’ve made your home a greener place.

If you’re interested in a cellulose insulation application for your home, give our insulation experts a call today. We’ll set up an appointment and have it installed as quickly as possible.


The Best St. Patrick’s Day Events in Philly

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and between now and then, there are plenty of fun and festive things to do. In this blog, our heating and cooling experts share the top St. Patrick’s Day events going on in Philadelphia this year:

Parade

Sunday, March 12th, 12:00 p.m.

Philly’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade has been going on since 1771 and draws thousands of people. This year, the parade will march down Broad Street to City Hall and from City Hall to Penn’s Landing via Market Street. Visitors will enjoy a wide array of music, dancing, youth groups, Irish associations, and more. The parade will be held March 12th, rain or shine and an encore will be held Friday, March 17th at 12:00 p.m.

Bar Crawls

Old City

Friday, March 17th, 12:00 p.m.

Crawl through more than 10 bars in Old City including Infusion Lounge, Sto’s Bar, The Gaslight, and more. Tickets are $8-$40 and include free cover charges, free t-shirt (for the first 200 through the door), and green accessories (beads, hats, glasses, etc.)

Shamrock Stroll

Saturday, March 11th, 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 12th, 12:00 p.m.
Friday, March 17th, 3:00 p.m.

Each year, pubcrawls.com puts together a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl through multiple Philadelphia bars. Tickets are $10 and one ticket grants you access to the bars for all three days. You’ll enjoy free cover charges and a variety of drink specials.

Erin Express

Saturday, March 11th, 9 a.m.

This legendary pub crawl (it’s been going on more than 30 years!) is free to all and features a festive school bus that carts celebrators to bars like Smokey Joe’s, Slainte Pub, The Green Room, Liberty Bar, and more. You’ll be able to hop off, grab a drink, and hop back on.

Card Making

Sunday, March 12th, 4:00 p.m.

Looking for something different to do? Head down to Rittenhouse Town and learn the fundamentals of paper making while creating holiday cards for St. Patrick’s Day. Tickets are $12-$20 and include beer and snacks.

The Leprechaun Run

Saturday, March 11th, 7:30 a.m.

The 31st annual Leprechaun Run supports the Special Olympics Philadelphia Athletes (SOPA). Participants can do a 7-mile race, a 5-mile run, a 2-mile walk and all of the proceeds go to SOPA (their goal is to raise $40,000). The event starts and ends at Martin Luther King Drive by Paine’s Park. To register, click here.