TerraLogos Energy Group

Nest Thermostat Review

March 4th, 2014 by Connor Gray | Posted in Blog

Our Analysis of a New Energy Product

New Nest thermostat from GoogleThere’s a lot of chirping going on about a new energy gadget – Nest. Birds sit in them, of course, but now you can install one in your home to control your heating & cooling.

The Nest has drawn a lot of attention since Google and Nest Labs closed a $3.2 billion dollar deal on February 7th, giving Google entry into the home automation sector. We will have to see where Google takes the Nest next.

But, we’re already hearing interest. So, when a fellow staff member at TerraLogos asked us whether they should install one, we decided to look into it. Here’s our Nest Thermostat review. Read the rest of this entry »

Carbon Monoxide Dangers Explained

February 3rd, 2014 by Peter Van Buren | Posted in Blog

Closed Combustion – A Better Way to Heat

Co-authored with Connor Gray (click images to enlarge)

Common sources of carbon monoxide in a homeSince carbon monoxide can kill, we owe it to ourselves and our families to understand more about this gas. Here’s our primer on the topic, plus tips for protecting yourself.

Many homes have appliances that burn fossil fuels, like natural gas, oil and propane. Home equipment, such as furnaces, boilers, water heaters, ovens, clothes dryers and fireplaces burn these fuels for heat as they operate.

Whenever we burn fossil fuels, we need to be concerned about carbon monoxide (CO). Called the “Silent Killer”, exposure to significant amounts of CO can lead to brain damage and even death within minutes. A colorless and odorless gas, we often can’t detect the presence of CO until it’s too late.

Since CO can present such a serious danger, CO detectors are needed to ensure our safety. The Building Performance Institute recommends that all homes with combustion equipment have a CO detector on every floor, especially ones where people sleep.

In addition, having your combustion appliances serviced regularly helps to ensure that they are operating safely.

Getting Rid of CO

Symptoms of CO PoisoningCO and other combustion gases form when fossil fuels (or really any combustible material) burn. Normally, we exhaust these combustion gases Read the rest of this entry »

Wondering, “How can I fix my home”?

December 31st, 2013 by Peter Van Buren | Posted in Blog

Albert Einstein (and Allison Bailes) Have Answers

albert-einsteinIn the world of Home Performance Contracting, energy guru, Allison Bailes ranks as one of our biggest heroes.

So, when he looks to Einstein for advice, we’re all ears.

Allison notes that Albert always had a knack for cutting to the heart of a problem, and his words of wisdom can be applied to many dilemmas.

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
- A. Einstein

In his recent blog, Allison recommends that homeowners take Einstein’s advice to heart when considering how to proceed with energy improvements to their home.

Where to Start

We thought Allison’s article was filled with solid advice for any homeowner.

Regarding where to start, Allison states,

Step 1 is to figure out what exactly you’re dealing with.

If you’re a homeowner looking at this as a DIY project, I suggest you bring in a professional Read the rest of this entry »

Giving While You Shop

December 10th, 2013 by Peter Van Buren | Posted in Blog

Your Favorite Charities Can Benefit

Give while you shop this seasonSince it ‘tis the season, most of us will be buying gifts and booking vacation arrangements.

And, considering the record breaking Cyber Monday, much of that purchasing will be done online.

We just found out about some new online buying services which donate a percentage of your purchases to the charity you designate. It doesn’t cost you anything more, and they make it real easy.

So, why not double your giving this season by giving to your favorite organizations while you buy gifts to give.

GoodShop

Shopping on GoodShop allows you to choose an organization from a large list of registered charities. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Energy Saving Tips

November 27th, 2013 by Peter Van Buren | Posted in Blog

Greening the Holidays, Part 2

Our Office Dressed for the HolidaysWe love the twinkling glow of holiday lights. But, at Terralogos, we started looking at them a little differently when we realized their beauty comes at some expense – both to our wallets and the environment.

Fortunately, our elves came up with some great tips, which give us the twinkle without the added expenses.

Turn ‘em Off

When I was young, my Dad, with much pomp, bestowed upon me the coveted position of Holiday Light Lighter. At eight, I was honored by his confidence in me and excited by the power of the plug. Let there be light!

It was really cool . . . for the first few days. Then, it became just another chore, and an especially obnoxious one when it was rainy or cold or both = snow. Unplugging was never fun.

lighting_timer_controlSo, I was appropriately kid diligent, meaning sometimes the lights stayed on for days. Until my dad yelled at me.

Now I use a timer. Set it once and forget it. Read the rest of this entry »

Caution: you could die!

November 11th, 2013 by Sarah Rouse | Posted in Blog

Reducing Winter Energy Use Without Hurting Yourself

Danger COAfter visiting lots of homes, energy improvement contractors know that heating our homes improperly can be life threatening. Really, you could die.

As the days get colder, we start worrying about our winter energy bills. They can get pretty scary. We’d all like to generate more heat for the same price. So, many of us start thinking of creative ways to do this.

Unfortunately, sometimes we come up with some really bad ideas for ways to save money.

Building science expert, Bill Dove, discusses nine common mistakes people have tried in an effort to save on winter energy bills. Not only does he explain why these ideas don’t save money, but also that these attempts can be dangerous.

Read the rest of this entry »

Switching Electricity Providers

November 10th, 2013 by Norma Jean Autry | Posted in Blog

Clearly Energy Makes it Easy

CE_logo_Ideas10_outlinedA recent Baltimore Sun Article exposed the scams some energy suppliers are running on their customers. We wanted to share a new tool that will help you avoid these scams.

ClearlyEnergy provides a new service that empowers Marylanders to make the best decisions when switching electricity providers. We asked ClearlyEnergy’s co-founder, Norma Jean Autry to guest blog about their web tool.

You Can Choose

electrician_plug_it_in_anim_8021We’re lucky!

Maryland is one of the 16 states that has deregulated its electrical supply system.

In a nutshell, that means all Marylanders can choose their electricity provider. So far, only about a quarter of MD households have taken advantage of this opportunity. If you’re one of the 75% who haven’t, we encourage you to exercise your right to choose.

Going Green is Easy

alternative energyEverybody uses electricity differently and many of us care about the environment. BGE & PEPCO are only required to supply about 8% of your electricity from renewable sources. So, if you choose (or by default are using) their “standard offer” service, only 8% comes from sources categorized as green. In reality, less than a quarter of that 8% comes from wind or the sun.

Competitive providers offer choices, some of which are less expensive than the utility’s rate and some are greener.

Read the rest of this entry »

1000 Friends Fan Campaign Update

November 8th, 2013 by Sarah Rouse | Posted in Blog

From 1,000 “Friends” of TerraLogos

1000 Friends of Maryland logoOur TerraLogos Facebook page has truly thrived! Since last June, our number of “Likes” has almost doubled! And we’ve sent our first check to 1000 Friends to honor our pledge to donate a$1.00 for every new Facebook fan.

As the new TL social marketing manager, I want to urge all readers to help us donate more. We want to give.

Help Us Donate $1,000

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Warm-up Tips 2013

October 31st, 2013 by Sarah Rouse | Posted in Blog

Preparing Your Home For the Cold

Every year we like to share energy efficiency tips for the winter season. With winter soon approaching, we thought that now would be a good time to re-post our tips.

Surprisingly, and to our advantage, the simplest, no-cost actions can make a big difference. Here are a few TerraLogos energy efficiency tips which will save you money while making you warmer this season.

  1. Avoid using the fireplace. Read the rest of this entry »

Recycling Hazardous Waste

October 30th, 2013 by Sarah Rouse | Posted in Blog

Recycling 101

Household Hazardous Wastes 2Most of our homes are filled with hazardous materials. No kidding.

Even though we don’t think of them as such, many common household items are classified as household hazardous waste (HHW), including:

  • Batteries
  • Paint
  • CFL bulbs
  • Cleaners
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides
  • Medicines
  • Oil

We need these items for cleaning, powering our tools and devices, lighting our homes, and more. However, when we do use them, we need to recognize our responsibility to dispose of them properly, so that they do not cause unintended harm.

Ah, but how do you do that? Here’s our primer on recycling these commonly used household hazardous materials.

County Services

Unfortunately, Maryland does not regulate the disposal of household hazardous materials, but the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) does encourages everyone to dispose of them properly. And provide some guidance. Read the rest of this entry »