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Preparing for spring: windows 

Monday, February 22, 2016

New England will hopefully be enjoying an early spring this year. With the possibility of warmer weather coming, it's the perfect time to start thinking about saving energy at home while staying comfortable. 

Replacement windows
Quality windows can vastly improve energy efficiency and comfort throughout the year. Windows with glazings and other coatings are better at blocking heat to keep the inside of the house cool. Energy-efficient window panes maintain a tight seal, keeping warm air outside and blocking excess heat from the sun. Vinyl window frames are more durable, and maintain a proper seal unlike old wooden frames, which become warped and leak over time. 

Window treatments
Many homeowners don't consider how well blinds, shutters and shades can help save energy when installed. According to Realty Today, they can be very effective and economical when it comes to improving comfort at home. By keeping excessive sunlight out, these treatments help keep a room cool so you don't have to use as much energy when it's hot outside. Blinds are effective at keeping warm air out in the spring and summer.

Exterior blinds can provide shade when they're closed all the way, and you can open them to let in as much or as little sunlight as you like. Interior blinds can close, reducing heat from sunlight. Dual shades are reversible. The dark side absorbs heat while the light side reflects it. In the spring, face the light side out to reflect sunlight away, and the room will stay cool without blasting the air conditioner.

For the home's exterior, vinyl siding, replacement windows and window treatments can dramatically improve a home's comfort, curb appeal and energy efficiency. New England contractors, architects and homeowners count on Mercury Excelum's quality exterior products to help save energy throughout the year. Contact us for a brochure on all of our products.

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Lower your taxes with these home improvements 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Soon it will be time to prepare your taxes. As a homeowner, you can make improvements throughout the year that will help reduce your tax burden. Constance Brinkley-Badgett of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlined some of the ways homeowners can enjoy tax credits by making energy-efficient upgrades. 

Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit.
A new roof can earn you a tax credit under the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit. The roof must be metal with "appropriate pigmented coatings or asphalt roof with appropriate cooling granules that are specifically and primarily designed to reduce the heat gain of your home," according to Tax Slayer.

The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit offers a tax break for homeowners who upgrade to high-performance windows, exterior doors and insulation. If you're upgrading your air conditioner or water heater, you may also be eligible for tax credits. 

Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit
The Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit is available to homeowners who install renewable energy sources like solar, wind, fuel-cell or geothermal technology in their homes. These tax credits could offset the costs of installation. 

Energy Star rebates
Most Energy Star credits are no longer available, but there could be some specific rebates or special offers based on your area. Check the Energy Star website for rebates and special offers to see if you're eligible for any additional savings with Energy Star products. 

Mercury Excelum has been providing the New England region with replacement windows, new construction windows, vinyl siding, exterior doors and other exterior building products since 1953. Our high-performance products offer beauty, comfort and energy efficiency all year long. Contact us for more information about our products. 

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Swampscott, MA residents reducing home energy usage 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The town of Swampscott was one of seven towns in the Commonwealth selected to participate in the National Grid's Massachusetts 2016 Community Initiative, reported Gayla Cawley of Item Live. The initiative encourages residents to reduce energy usage at home through.

National Grid provides financial incentives as long as enough residents implement the best practices, including energy assessments, insulation and air sealing. One of the goals includes completing 268 home energy assessments by the end of 2016. If residents complete that and other challenges set forth by National Grid, they could win over $14,000. 

The people of Swampscott are no newcomers to home energy efficiency. In 2012, the Renewable Energy Committee launched the Big Blue Energy Initiative to make improve efficiency and cut down on energy bills. The town has participated in the National Grid's challenge in 2013 and applied again for 2015. 

Peter Kane, Town Planner and Director of Community Development, has outlined Swampscott's plans, which include outreach to local businesses, workshops on home energy assessments and table events at local grocery stores. Kane said that he has even toyed with the idea of creating a thermometer board at Town Hall so residents can see how close they are to reaching the town's energy efficiency goals. 

It's always a good time to upgrade homes for improved energy efficiency. At Mercury Excelum, we have high quality products like replacement windows and vinyl siding which can help homeowners save energy and live comfortably all year long. Contact us to learn more about our products and request a brochure. 

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Use HERS to track home energy efficiency 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Potential home buyers can now check a house's home energy efficiency score before they make a purchase. Andy Warren reported for the Ahwatukee Foothills News that HERS, the Home Energy Rating System, has become the industry standard for home energy efficiency rating. 

Created by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2006, HERS compares any house to a new home built to the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code. The 2003 home is a score of 100, and is used as a frame of reference. Lower scores are better, and an average resale home would score a 130 by comparison. 

HERS takes many factors into account, such as heating, cooling, water, lighting, appliances, and energy consumption. The inspections have to be performed by a third party. A solid HERS rating is a win-win for buyers, sellers and contractors. Home buyers can go into the transaction with more knowledge, and potentially save themselves thousands of dollars per year. Sellers can potentially sell a house for a higher price, since it will pay off in long-term savings. Contractors can help the homeowner reach the desired rating, improving energy efficiency and comfort. 

Many products can contribute to the rating. Quality windows can keep energy in and keep drafts out. Insulation can prevent heat from escaping through the walls or attic. Modern light bulbs can last longer and provide more light.

You can learn more about the HERS index here

Mercury Excelum is your source for energy efficient home products. We offer high-quality products such as replacement windows, vinyl siding, exterior doors and custom shutters. All of our products come with our quality assurance and detailed insulation instructions. For more information on our products, request a brochure

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Save money with these smart home energy tips 

Friday, January 1, 2016

You may have already made a New Year's resolution, but you can still decide to save energy in 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy has provided some helpful tips on how to conserve energy and save money in the new year. Follow these tips to see your energy bills shrink this winter.

Plug air leaks
Many homes have air leaks, particularly older ones. They may be small leaks, but when warm air leaks out and cold air leaks in, it affects your heating bill and your comfort. Check for breezes on cold, windy days. You can hold a lit candle up near each potential spot including windows, light fixtures, attic doors, ceiling fixtures, doors, or any other potentially drafty spot. Use caulking, sealing or weatherstripping to plug up smaller leaks. If you're finding leaks in your doors and windows, it's probably a good time for more efficient replacement windows

Unplug devices when not in use
Cell phone chargers and other devices can continue to use energy, even when they're not in use. They'll keep using electricity as long as they're plugged in, so unplug them until it's time to use them. 

Use LED lights
LED lights use far less energy than incandescent lights, and they're expected to become even more efficient in the near future. Replace your incandescent lights for LED bulbs, which will last long and use less electricity. 

Following these smart energy tips will help you save money on your energy bills. At Mercury Excelum, we've been helping to make homes for comfortable and energy-efficient since 1953. Contact us to learn more about our quality products, and see how they can help you save energy. 

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