How To Save On Your Home Energy Bill

There are many ways to increase your home’s energy savings. Habitual adjustments and improvements to appliances and cooling/heating systems are two areas that will offer the biggest decrease in home energy usage. Learn how to save money and be more environmentally conscious, with our tips of great ways to save money on your home energy bill.

Adjusting Your Habits At Home

These are the simple things you can do to reduce your energy bills. Unplugging appliances and electronics that are not in use is a great way to start to see immediate energy savings. This is especially true with electronics that do not have an on / off switch. Devices like coffee makers, phone chargers, cable boxes, and computer monitors all fall into this category. Using a power strip that can easily be turned on and off reduces electronics using “ghost” energy when in standby mode. According to this article in How Stuff Works, unplugging electronics can save anywhere from 5%-10% in energy usage. This is an average of 100 dollars each year in home energy savings.

Replacing Old Lightbulbs With Energy Efficient Bulbs

Energy efficient light bulbs use less energy and will last anywhere from 3-25 times longer than traditional bulbs, depending on the quality. The article “How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents” explains how much energy is saved by switching to energy efficient bulbs. 12W LED bulbs use 80% less energy per hour compared to 60W traditional incandescent bulbs. This equates to around $3.80 dollars saved per hour of usage. Using energy efficient lighting also means that the light bulb will last up to 25 times longer, reducing the energy used and spent replacing traditional bulbs.

Upgrading To A Programmable Thermostat

Learning how to correctly use the program feature on your thermostat can also save you money on your home energy bill while keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. According to the article “Programmable Thermostats; Do They Really Save You Money?”, lowering your temperature by 1 degree increases energy efficiency by 1%. Using the away feature when you are at work and also keeping the temperature lower in the winter when you are sleeping, could save up to 10-30 percent on your heating bill. Upgrading to a programmable thermostat can save up to $180 dollars per year.

Installing Energy Efficient Windows

The article “Update or Replace Windows” states, “Energy efficient windows are an important consideration for both new and existing homes. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.” Replacing windows, depending on the climate you live in, can save up to $150-$460 per year on your energy bill. While it might be expensive to replace the windows in your home, this one time fix will save you money for years to come.

Installing Sol-Lux Window Awnings

Unsurprisingly, home heating and cooling systems account for up to 45% of an average homeowner’s energy bill, as stated by Energy Star. Using window awnings to reduce heat gain in your home minimizes the amount of air conditioning needed. Awnings placed on west-facing windows reduce heat gain by 77%, and south-facing windows by 65%. Traditional window awnings will only help you so much if they are fixed. Being in control of your awnings will keep your house at the perfect temperature while minimizing the use of your heating and air conditioning. The Eos window awnings from Sol-Lux extend and retract automatically based on sunlight, wind, and temperature.  They can also be controlled easily from your smart device, making it a breeze to manually extend the awning, keeping the heat out in the summer, and retract the awning to let the heat in during winter. To learn more about the Eos Awning and its benefits, click here.

Effortlessly cool your home, without blocking your view, with Sol-Lux.

Health Benefits of Plants

It’s not unusual to give flowers to loved ones who are sick or injured as a gesture of, “Get well soon.” It’s also not a coincidence that you see plenty of flora in and around recovery rooms in hospitals. The common saying of “stop and smell the roses” actually carries a bit of significance to it. If you dig down to the root of these examples, you’ll find that plants have proven to do wonders for our overall well-being, which is why they’re so vital to our everyday lives.

No matter the amount of sunlight that hits your home and windows, chances are you have at least one plant (and if you don’t, we highly recommend you get one) in or around your home or workplace. Other than the overall aesthetic they add to any environment, there are quite a number of benefits for having plants in your life.

Plants Improve Concentration

Being around plants in both the home and the workplace improves overall concentration. According to studies, tasks performed around the calming influence of plants (and nature) are performed better, with greater accuracy and results. They can even help us learn better and faster!

Plants Improve Memory

It’s also been proven that certain plants like rosemary and flowers improve memory performance and attention span by up to 20 percent! The overall presence of plants in the workplace and home play a significant role in your mental cognition.

Plants Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Studies have shown that plants’ natural aesthetic is soothing to people and that people who have plants in their workplace or home feel more overall happiness and less stress. Plants have been proven to make us feel more relaxed, secure, and happy. Their positive energy can also reduce the chances of suffering from depression, as well.

Plants Accelerate the Healing Process

Whether you’re hurting physically or emotionally, the presence of plants can reduce the overall time necessary to heal, literally helping us “get well soon[er].” The soothing effects of plants can significantly speed up recovery time. In fact, horticulture therapy is growing in popularity, where patients are able to care for and nurture plants by themselves.

Plants Improve Compassion in Relationships

Research has shown that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. Studies have shown measurable increases in feelings of compassion in people who spend their time with plants, as they develop more tender feelings for the environment in which they live.

Plants Increase Energy and Performance

It’s been proven that when we spend time in nature and around plants, levels of energy and vitality increase, making us feel more exuberant. As we see plants thrive in their environments, it gives us extra energy to thrive in ours.

The amount of sunlight each plant needs on a daily basis can vary. Some plants thrive on more shade and indirect light, while others depend on direct sunlight. Installing Eos smart window awnings on your home or workplace will control the amount of sunlight that comes in and will keep you and your plants healthy, without blocking your lovely views of nature and the plants outside.

How To Choose The Perfect Color Awning For Your Home

When choosing the color of your Eos retractable awning, you need to consider more than just the color of your home. These factors include the color and style of your roof and/or trim, the house’s architecture, and the climate of the area you live in. Here are a few tips to help you pick the perfect awning for your house.   

What Color Window Awning Will Complement My House?

There are many different ways that a window awning will complement the aesthetic of your home and blend with the dominant color of your facade. When deciding your awning color, the architecture and color of your house are the two most important factors to consider. You can customize your awning’s retractable cassette or fabric to be an accent color, or to complement the color of your roof.  

Modern Homes Colors

Unlike traditional homes, modern homes do not have trim around the windows or doors. The color of your awning’s cassette can match the color of your home, or compliment the facade with a different shade. Modern homes share tonal colors such as whites, greys, browns, and blacks. We suggest the fabric color be the same color but a lighter or darker shade to add depth to the awning and home.

Traditional Homes Colors

Traditional homes commonly have trim using a contrasting color that adds depth. Matching the color of the trim to your cassette, while matching the fabric color to your roof is simple yet elegant. Pairing a fabric in the same spectrum as these colors can be used to accent different walls or roof colors. If your home has a colored door, matching the fabric color to the door will help accentuate that tone.

There are many ways to compliment and match color palettes. In this article from Lifehacker, the color wheel is explained and will help you make guided decisions if you are stuck. If your home does not have trim that is a different color, picking a complementary color will add curb appeal. Choosing a fabric color can be very tricky but a great place to begin is picking the tint or tone color of your cassette. Tinted colors are pure colors with white added, making it lighter. Tonal colors are pure colors with grey added, making them darker.      

Complementing Your Roof Color  

Matching your cassette color to your roof can charmingly tie the colors of your home together. Using the same color as your roof helps your colors transition more smoothly from top to bottom. No matter what color, you will be able to perfectly match your roof by providing us with your own color when designing your custom awning. If you have any questions about custom awning colors, email us here.

Will My Awning Colors Fade in the Sun?

While the Eos awning is resistant to fading, unfortunately almost everything will fade in the sun over time.  This is a great reason to use awnings on your home! The Eos will help protect your interior from fading due to sunlight.  We use a Marine-Grade fabric from Sunbrella, which comes standard with a limited ten-year warranty. The fabric is recognized as one of the most durable outdoor fabrics on the market. The powder-coated aluminum cassette is covered under our five-year manufacturer’s warranty.  Sol-Lux also offers a refurbishment program so you can refresh the canopy when it eventually fades.

What Colors are Available?

We offer more than 70 Sunbrella marine-grade solid color choices as standard options and since there are seemingly limitless color and pattern choices out there, we also allow you to select custom fabric as a non-standard option.  The aluminum cassette is offered in over 180 RAL colors. This allows you to customize your home awning in over 13,000 fabric and cassette color combinations!

With over 13,000 color combinations to choose from, there won’t be another retractable window awning like your own. If you are having trouble visualizing the color combinations of the Eos awning for your home, click here to design your custom awning today. For any other questions, contact us for general or product support inquiries.

 

Block the sun (in style), and not your view with Sol-Lux and experience Shade… Reimagined.

Predict The Weather Through Understanding Clouds

Perhaps one of the most underrated features of our planet is the ever-changing presence of clouds. They’re such a part of our daily lives that we seldom give clouds a second look. If we do notice them it’s usually because they have taken a familiar shape, or because they’re noticeably dark.

Being able to predict the weather based on observing clouds is almost obsolete these days. With quick, easy access to smart technology, weather apps, and television channels, it’s so easy to get an idea of the weather forecast for the immediate future without too much effort. If you’re ever without such resources, though, would you be able to predict the weather for the next 12-24 hours? We’re here to tell you it’s easier than you may think, just by looking at the clouds.

By observing and understanding a cloud’s altitude, shape, and color, you’ll be more prepared for sudden fronts moving in while impressing friends with your knowledge of how clouds influence our climate.

Categories of Clouds

Clouds are classified by the amount of moisture they carry, their appearance, and their altitude. If there are clouds in the sky, you can first identify them by determining the altitude of the clouds. Altitude plays a significant role in the amount of both sunlight and moisture that will reach your home.

Clouds are placed into four categories: high clouds, which are clouds anywhere from 16,000 feet to 43,000 feet, middle clouds, which include clouds from 6,500 feet to 16,000 feet, low clouds, which consist of clouds under 6,500 feet, and finally, clouds that rise vertically, which start at lower altitudes and build vertically through higher altitudes.

Categories of Cloud Formations

High Clouds

High clouds are given the Latin name “cirro” meaning curl, as high altitude clouds tend to have more “swirl” in them due to the atmospheric pressure that high. High clouds do not block the sun’s rays from reaching your home.

At these extreme conditions, high clouds are mostly made up of ice crystals. Even though these clouds are formed by high moisture levels in the atmosphere, there’s generally not much moisture or precipitation in high clouds, or at least any that reaches the ground.

In classifying high clouds, there are three categories, or genera: cirrus clouds, cirrostratus clouds, and cirrocumulus clouds.

Types of high clouds

Cirrus Clouds

The highest of all clouds, cirrus clouds are precipitating clouds that immediately freeze and then evaporate at high altitudes. Have you ever seen videos of people throwing boiling hot water in the cold, freezing air and watching the water immediately freeze and create wisps of clouds? Imagine that with cirrus clouds, but at very high altitudes.

With cirrus clouds, the ice crystals get twirled around in the high, tropospheric winds, creating curly streaks of clouds that stretch across the sky. Cirrus clouds typically mean there will be fair weather in the immediate future, but keep your eye on them as they sometimes indicate that a change in weather patterns and pressure will be happening sometime in the next day or so.

Pay extra attention to the direction in which the cirrus cloud “tails” are pointed, as that usually is the same direction in which the next weather front is moving.

Cirrus clouds graphic

Cirrostratus Clouds

Cirrostratus clouds are transparent, delicate streaks of clouds at high altitudes. Much like cirrus clouds, they’re composed of ice crystals and carry no precipitation that reaches the ground.

Although they don’t block out the sun, they produce some cool optical effects, like rainbows or halos around the sun. When you see that, it usually indicates that moisture is coming within the next 24 hours.

Cirrostratus clouds

Cirrocumulus Clouds

Cirrocumulus clouds are typically a transitional phase of clouds, between cirrus and cirrostratus ones. They tend to be a large group of white, neatly-aligned, rippled pieces of clouds created by choppy winds and ice crystals at high altitudes.

Most of the time their presence means fair weather in the near future, but cirrocumulus clouds usually turn into cirrostratus, and that can indicate a cold front and/or poorer weather is on its way within the next day.

Cirrocumulus clouds

Middle Clouds

Middle clouds are given the Latin name “alto”, meaning “high”, but are lower in altitude than high clouds. They’re still relatively high, though, forming anywhere from 6,500 feet to 16,000 feet. Clouds at these altitudes make for amazing sunsets, especially in sunshine states like Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and California.

These types of clouds are typically comprised of more water, and, given the temperature, ice. They usually mean precipitation is coming in the very near future. They also tend to form broad sheets and cover more of the sky, blocking more of the sun than high clouds do. When you think of middle clouds, think of overcast (usually).

In classifying middle clouds, there are two main categories, or genera: altostratus clouds and altocumulus clouds.

Middle clouds

Altostratus Clouds

Altostratus clouds aren’t much to look at until the sun hits them, but they make for lovely sunsets. They blanket the sky in broad sheets, and have a greyish blue tint in them. They’re formed by quite a bit of moisture and ice, and can mean bad news for airplanes, as ice can accumulate on the wings within these clouds.

Altostratus clouds cover most of, if not the entire sky and usually block the sun from hitting your home. When you see these clouds, it usually means there is some moisture in the form of either rain or snow in the very near forecast, like within the next six hours.

altostratus clouds

Altocumulus Clouds

Forming shapes like bread rolls or focaccia, altocumulus clouds also cover the entire sky, but in smaller puff-like formations. There is usually a huge contrast between light and dark with these clouds, as sunlight does not usually pass through them. “Cumulo” in Latin means “heap” or “collection”, so think of a collection of cotton balls or bread rolls squished together at middle altitudes.

If you see altocumulus clouds forming, especially in the early part of the day, prepare for a storm of some sort by late afternoon.

Altocumulus clouds

Low Clouds

Low clouds form below 6,500 feet and are usually covering mountain tops, skyscrapers, or even light posts if they’re low enough. Low clouds mostly block the sun’s rays from reaching your home. They also block visibility and usually mean that there’s currently precipitation in the air.

At these low altitudes, the air is warmer and the heavy amount of moisture that makes up these clouds is dense and ready to fall at any moment. They are also known for causing wind at times.

In classifying low clouds, there are three categories, or genuses: stratus clouds, stratocumulus clouds, and nimbostratus clouds.

Low clouds

Stratus Clouds

These types of clouds are common around coastlines and areas with mountains, where they get stuck and don’t move much. They’re formed when warm air is cooled as it rises, forming fog and mist.

They’re typically white or grey clouds, depending on how much moisture is in them, but it’s usually only light drizzle or light snow showers that come out of them. Their presence means it’s currently precipitating in that location.

Stratus clouds graphic

Stratocumulus Clouds

Stratocumulus clouds are textured and bumpy, and have some depth to them. They often come in rows and patches, looking like those cotton spider webs you buy for Halloween, when you pull them out of the bag.

They usually form after stratus clouds have formed and continue to rise in the Earth’s atmosphere, and come after precipitation. They don’t necessarily mean more precipitation is on its way.

stratocumulus clouds

Nimbostratus Clouds

This is your typical rain cloud – a large, grey, flat sheet of cloud that covers the entire sky when it’s raining. Associate the name “nimbus” with rain or precipitation, as far as clouds go.

If you see nimbostratus clouds, chances are you’ll be experiencing rain or snow for the next few hours, maybe even up to a day or more. As soon as there’s a break in the sky, you can expect the weather to change within the next few hours.

Nimbostratus clouds

Clouds That Rise Vertically

When we’re talking about clouds with vertical mobility, we’re talking about clouds that form in one altitude and rise vertically through other altitudes. For instance, a cloud’s base can form under 6,500 feet and be considered a low cloud, but climb to an altitude of over 50,000 feet or more!

These clouds are most popular when we think of fair-weather clouds and scary thunderstorms or tornadoes. In classifying these types of clouds, there are two main categories, or genera: cumulus clouds and cumulonimbus clouds.

Clouds that rise vertically

Cumulus Clouds

This is your typical “Simpsons” cloud, or cartoony cloud. It’s the fluffy pillow clouds we all draw or envision, which are typically white in color. They don’t rise as high as cumulonimbus clouds, starting at around 2,000 feet or so, and only rising about 1,000 feet.

They typically mean fair weather for the next day or so, and are common on sunny days, when the sun is heating the land (and your home). They don’t usually block the sun, but if they do it’s a quick shadow before the sun is back and shining through your windows.

Cumulonimbus Clouds

These are the intimidating, scary, powerful-looking clouds that form in the distance and build upwards. They have an anvil-like shape, as the base is flat and the tops are more fluffy (cumulo). Their bases are usually darker colored and the color gets lighter as they grow in altitude. They tower over the horizon, and they carry the most amount of moisture.

They mean dangerous weather is approaching, in the form of rain, lightning/thunderstorms, hail, or tornadoes. The points at the top of the clouds usually indicate the direction in which the storm is moving. Take caution when you see these clouds, but also take some time to admire their dark beauty.

Now you’re well versed on clouds and the impact they have on the weather (at least enough to keep you dry and impress your friends)!

Consider looking up at the sky more in the morning and at night, to get a better idea as to what the weather might look like, and compare your observations with your weather app on your smartphone. You might just impress yourself with your knowledge and understanding of weather patterns.

Also keep in mind that no matter the weather, if you have Eos Smart Home Window Awnings, they’ll automatically extend or retract, depending on the level of sunlight, wind, or temperature you’re getting.

The “Cool” Way to Make Your House More Energy Efficient

You probably ask yourself the same question every month when the energy bill comes – “How can I save more money on my energy bill?” They have a tendency to surprise us with how expensive they can get. Well, we have one major solution: window awnings for your home.

Having window awnings will ultimately save you money (especially smart technology-based, retractable ones). Consider reducing cooling costs, increasing your overall comfort by keeping your home cooler, and reducing potential problems you could have with your AC unit.

Reduce Your Cooling Costs

Being from Colorado, we at Sol-Lux are always looking for ways to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Our goal when creating these awnings (which are also solar powered) was to present a more eco-friendly way to stay cool during summer months.

Awnings can significantly cut down the amount of energy you consume and save big time on air conditioning usage and costs each summer.

Window Awning Solar Panel

Based on a study from the Professional Awnings Manufacturing Association (PAMA), awnings could potentially save you more than $200 annually, depending on where you live. In a similar study, PAMA found that in a typical year you could save anywhere from 27% to 77% on your energy bill.

Bryce Yonce, chairman of PAMA, has said: “While turning up the air conditioner results in higher energy bills, awnings and shades work with the air conditioner to keep your home cooler and reduce the need for additional energy.”

Keep Your Home Cooler

Not only do awnings save you some extra money, but they also help reduce the overall demand for energy (especially at peak times), making them an environmentally responsible choice if you’re concerned about greenhouse gas emissions.

As Popular Mechanics has mentioned, the main source of heat gain in the house is sunlight shining through the windows. On a hot day, the sun’s rays shine through glass doors and windows and bake the interior of your home, turning your sanctuary into a sauna.

There are plenty of ways to keep the inside of your home cool during the summer, but one option that is consistently mentioned is having awnings. Conversely, on a cold day, you may open the curtains to let sunlight in. That helps heat the interior of your home – but with a fixed awning, that isn’t an option.

What’s nice about Eos home window awnings is that they retract and extend depending on the temperature and amount of sunlight, allowing in sunlight and heat when it’s cold in addition to preventing sunlight and heat from entering your home when it’s hot. The retractable feature also helps reduce energy usage by contributing to the temperature indoors.

Retractable window awning

Help Your Air Conditioning Unit

Less heat gain through the windows means less work and more efficiency for your air conditioning unit. That also means fewer problems you may have with your AC since it doesn’t have to work so hard.

Managing director of PAMA, Michelle Sahlin, mentioned in a study that “The sun’s rays through glass are responsible for almost 20% of the load on your air conditioner. Awnings reduce direct solar gain through windows.”

Of all the different options out there to help you save money on your energy bill each month, having window awnings on your home is one that pays for itself every time the sun is out.

Consider an awning that doesn’t compromise your view, can recognize temperatures, and retract when it’s colder. Your furniture, your air conditioner, wallet, indoor plants, and your furry friends will all thank you.

Sol-Lux Customer Review on Window Awning

How Sol-Lux Home Awnings Prevent Sun Damage

You’ve installed new carpeting, purchased new furniture, and now everything is exactly how you want it. You want everyone to be very cautious about stains from liquids and food, but there is one factor you may not have considered that can slowly destroy your interior. Sun exposure can fade fabrics, compromise materials, and even fade hardwood floors. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is incredibly harmful to your interior and can damage flooring, walls, and fabrics even on cloudy days and in colder climates. Luckily, we can help you prevent interior sun damage.

How Sun Rays Damage Carpet

When direct sunlight hits your carpet, it can start to show wear and effects of damage within six months. According to Aqualux Carpet Cleaning, UV radiation can contribute to up to 40% of carpet fading, while solar heat and visible light contribute up to another 25%. This can be especially true for homeowners whose windows face southwest.

How Sun Rays Damage Hardwood Floors

If you have hardwood floors and move a rug to another location, it becomes very evident how much UV rays, direct sunlight, and heat (infrared light) can harm your flooring. Wood is extremely sensitive to light, meaning it is photosensitive. According to Naperville Hardwood, depending on the type of wood, it can lighten or darken.

How Sun Rays Can Fade Painted Walls

Picking the right paint for your interior is never easy. However, finding the perfect shade is only half of the battle–protecting it takes care and effort. Nippon Paint explains in their article that constant sunlight causes “photodegradation – where chemical bonds in the paint are broken down by ultraviolet rays.” This can cause undesirable cracking and fading. Choosing a high-quality paint can prevent this, but UV rays can still harm paint over time.

How Sol-Lux Awnings Prevent Interior Sun DamageInterior view of the Eos Smart Home Window with sunlight

In order to prevent sun damage, you need to block the UV rays from directly entering your home. This can be done by drawing your curtains or closing your blinds. But doing so will ruin the view from your windows and remove all the natural light from your home. Sol-Lux home window awnings are a great solution to this dilemma. Our smart, solar-powered window awnings automatically extend when they’re needed to block UV rays and heat from entering your home without disrupting your view.  Allow that wonderful natural light to enter your home while protecting your interior AND saving big time on energy bills. With over 13,000 color combinations to choose from, creating an awning to match your home is easy. To let natural light in while protecting your investments, design your custom awning here today!