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Yard-Wise: 6 Ways to Improve Your Property’s Exterior Efficiency

From your garden to your pool, there are several areas where you can improve your exterior efficiency. Photo: Landmark Landscapes (2017)

Like many Bay Area homeowners, you’ve probably taken measures to reduce your home’s water and energy usage, such as installing water-saving plumbing fixtures and switching to LED lighting. However, you may have overlooked another part of your property: your yard. From your garden to your pool, there are several areas where you can save water and energy by improving your exterior efficiency. Consider the following measures:

Improve irrigation
If you’re using an outdated sprinkler system to water your lawn and garden, you may be wasting water every day. Traditional sprinkler heads are known for their inefficiency, losing a substantial amount of the water they distribute to wind and sun evaporation. Fortunately, you can easily upgrade your system for a surprisingly low cost. One option is to convert to streamers, which are designed to provide a more direct delivery of water. All you have to do is switch out your old nozzles for streamer nozzles, which cost a little more than $1 apiece. Continue reading “Yard-Wise: 6 Ways to Improve Your Property’s Exterior Efficiency” »

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Swim ‘n’ Save: How to Splash the Cost of Running Your Pool


Swimming pools may be notorious energy guzzlers, but there are plenty of ways for pool owners to decrease their summertime power bills. Photo: Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. (2016)

While children anxiously await the coming of summer, there are others who are less enthusiastic about it—and no, we’re not just talking about their parents. Motorists, for example, know all too well the “pain at the pump” that sets in as gas prices make their seasonal ascent. Likewise, if you’re a swimming pool owner, you experience a similar summertime phenomenon—only, instead of the fuel pump, your pool pump is the source of pain. Let’s face it: swimming pools are enjoyable, but they aren’t cheap to maintain. In fact, it’s been estimated that homes with swimming pools use almost 50 percent more electricity than those without. Continue reading “Swim ‘n’ Save: How to Splash the Cost of Running Your Pool” »

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5 Overlooked Aspects of Home Energy Efficiency

While making upgrades can enhance your home’s energy efficiency, it can be counterproductive if your existing appliances and systems aren’t operating at peak performance. To help consumers identify key problem areas, we asked five Diamond Certified Experts to weigh in on some of the most basic yet overlooked aspects of home energy efficiency.

Photo: D. Cook Construction (2014)

To maximize your home’s energy efficiency, it’s important to address commonly overlooked details. Photo: D. Cook Construction (2014)

1. Air sealing – Dustin Cook of D. Cook Construction
Air transmission is a major cause of home energy loss—it’s typically conducted through cracks, joints, and other gaps between the interior and exterior of a home. A simple way to address this is to fill in breaches with supplemental sealing agents like caulk and expansive foams. Continue reading “5 Overlooked Aspects of Home Energy Efficiency” »

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