Celebrate Earth Hour On March 29th, 2014 in New Jersey!

Tomorrow the world will celebrate Earth Hour . The Las Vegas Strip will go dark, Times Square NYC will go dark, and the Empire State Building will go dark. This world-wide event will start in tomorrow night at 8:30 in New Zealand and follow the time zones across the world, ending in Tahiti. Join this worldwide "lights off" event by shutting off your lights for one hour on March 29th, 2104 at 8:30 p.m.!

Are you participating?  Learn more by visiting http://www.earthhour.org/

Going Green as a Family

As we make plans to join families celebrating

Earth Day throughout New Jersey

, it led us to the question:  Are we including our own families in our efforts to make the world a better place?

We turned to some of our own experts to discuss some of the core principles of sustainability, and how we can include our families in our efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle!  Here's what we've come up with.  We'd love to hear some other ideas you might be doing in your family!

Make your dedication to the environment a lasting one by teaching your kids to love going green as much as you do! The time you spend now is your investment in yet another generation of people who are passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability.

Recycling 101:

Make recycling a normal part of your day and it will be second nature to your kids by the time they grow up.

  • Start Small: It can be as simple as starting with homework. After celebrating all those A's, make sure to stash old worksheets in your recycling bin. 
  • Teach the Basics: Once you’ve established that habit, create a dedicated recycling center. Teach your kids how to clean and sort common recyclable items like cans or glass. 
  • Get Creative: Make sure to have fun with it. Reuse some of that paper or even old clothes to do fun crafts. The main idea? Help them learn that the trash can shouldn’t always be the first solution. Add reusing or giving items away to their mental checklist.
  • Compost Collaboration: Turn your recycling efforts to the food you eat with composting. Teach them that uneaten veggies and fruit and picked weeds and old leaves make rich fuel for a garden! Just make sure they know that dairy and meat items don’t belong in your compost. 

Green Thumbing:

Composting segues nicely into our next point (go us!): gardening or tree planting as a family. Finally a good reason for your kids to play in the dirt! Whether you decide to plant a tree for Arbor Day, flowers to accent your lawn or a garden for extra veggies, have your kids help regularly so they appreciate the effort (and fun!) it takes to make something grow. Even if you don’t have a ton of space, you can still let them take care of a plant in their room or start a container garden on your porch. A little green thumbing can grow a lot of love for the earth.

Energy & Water Conservation:

Teach them easy ways to save water and energy around the house. Point out that you buy energy efficient light bulbs, and remind them to turn off lights when they leave for the day.

When it comes to saving water, help them remember that every little bit counts, like turning the water off when they are brushing their teeth or in between rinsing dishes. You can also let them help you find leaks around the house. We bet they’d really enjoy the food dye experiment we shared in our Fix a Leak post.

Celebrating Earth Day in Your Community:

Every April in NJ, there are plenty of Earth Day activities that are perfect for the family. The Ciel Power family makes it a point to be at as many as possible! We can also help teach your kids the importance of having an energy efficient house. And we might be able to let you in on energy rebates for your community, too.   Northern ValleyParamusMaplewoodGlen RockMadisonHighland Park and Woodbridge residents, we'll be at this year's Earth Day events! We’d love to see you and the family around!

What You Need To Know About Glen Rock's "Energy Smart Rock Homes" Home Energy Audit Campaign!

Glen Rock's "Energy Smart Rock Homes" Home Energy Audit campaign was established by the Glen Rock Environmental Commission and the Borough of Glen Rock as a way to promote awareness of practical resources available to Glen Rock residents that will help save energy and money.

The campaign invites you to discover rebates and incentives available from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.  In three easy steps, you can begin saving energy, money and the environment!

Start by signing up today for a Home Energy Audit provided by Ciel Power LLC, a New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star participating contractor.

Ciel Power

Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs Today

Attention NJ Home Owners: When you schedule your energy audit with us, our pros will find ways to slash your energy bills with better insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling, thermal windows and more. Plus, we’ll find rebates to help you pay for the improvements we suggest. Woo Hoo!

As your one-source solution to energy efficiency, we’ve decided to take it a step farther...if possible. We’ve gathered a few quick tips to help you save every bit of energy (and money) that you can.

Unplug It
Yes, even when they are off electronic gadgets and chargers can drain energy and add cost to your bills. It’s estimated that about 5% of electricity in the U.S. is actually wasted on items that are off. What can you do to help? First, find out which household items are the most Notorious Power Hogs:

All of these items have a big energy impact even when they are off. If you don’t use these items every day, consider plugging them in on an as-needed basis.

  • Cable Boxes
  • Computers
  • Gaming Consoles
  • TVs
  • Docking Stations

Ok, say you don’t want to unplug everything. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide which gadgets to really pull the plug on.

  • The older the appliance, the more likely it is draining your energy. 
  • If the appliance or charger is hot when not working, it is wasting energy. 
  • Smart Outlets or power stripes will save you some unplugging hassle. 

Unscrew ‘Em 
Incandescent light bulbs are also notorious energy wasters. As much as 90% of their power goes into making heat...not light. So we say unscrew them in favor of more efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs are the answer for most lamps and fixtures in your home.

Although they cost more on the front end, they pay off in the long run. CFLs use 75% less energy and can last up to 15x longer. Interestingly, the lifespan of these types of bulbs is actually more affected by the number of times they are turned on and off than the amount of time they are on. So, according to energy.gov, you may want to leave the lights on if you aren’t going to be gone for more than 15 minutes. You can also make your house even more efficient with dimmers and sensors.

Update with Energy Star
When it is time to replace your major appliances, update with ENERGY STAR products. Another larger investment on the front end, these energy-efficient appliances can serve up big savings once you incorporate them into your daily life.

  • ENERGY STAR dishwashers use 25% less energy.
  • ENERGY STAR washers use 50% less energy, and less water to help you save on drying costs.
  • ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 15% less energy. 

Utilize the Ciel Power Energy Management Center 
Another way we instantly save you energy and money is with the Ciel Power Energy Management Center.  When you schedule your audit, you’ll gain access to this energy-saving powerhouse.  The Ciel Power Energy Center is just that: innovative technology that connects directly with the utility to help you better track your energy use and plan your energy reduction goals.  This way your family can better manage energy consumption and ultimately reduce energy costs. Packed with tips, rebates, and energy efficiency solutions, you'll find lots of inexpensive ways to save around the house. You’re welcome.

Fix a Leak: 10 Minutes to a Greener, More Efficient Home

March 17-23 was Fix a Leak Week and yesterday was World Water Day. Even if you missed out on the official celebrations, (complete with a Pint Sized Plumber contest for NJ), it’s not too late to make a big difference. In just 10 minutes, you can pull the plug on a leaky faucet, shower or toilet.

Ready to get started? We’ve come up with a few simple steps to help you stop the drips that slowly drain the earth’s resources (and your wallet):

Step 1: Detect the Leaks

  • Review Your Bill: According to the US EPA, if a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons of water per month during the winter, they probably have a leak problem. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your bills each spring. 
  • Monitor Your Meter: You can also check the numbers on your water meter to detect leak issues in a few easy steps:
1. Record your meter number.
2. After two hours of no water usage, check back. If the numbers aren’t the same, you have a leak. If you do, proceed to steps 3-5. If not, way to go, you.
3. To seal the deal (and all your leaks) pinpoint the drip sources and fix them (more on that in a moment).
4. Repeat the monitoring process to see if you’ve successfully stopped all the leaks.
5. Pat yourself on the back, for a job well-done.

  • Test Your Toilet: To find out if you’re flushing money down the toilet, try this quick and easy test. Put a drop of food coloring in your tank, and don’t flush for 15 minutes. If there is color in the bowl, you have a leak. 
  • Call in the Pros: In addition to inspecting your heating and air systems, windows and more during your Home Energy Audit, our experienced energy professionals will also check your pipes for leakage.
Step 2: Fix the Leaks
  • Faucets: Leaky faucets can often be linked back to aging washers and gaskets. Replace the worn down parts to save as much as 3,000 gallons a year! 
  • Shower Heads: Stop shower head leaks with a wrench and some pipe tape to get the tightest connection possible. Your 10 minute effort will preserve roughly 500 gallons of water in 2014. 
  • Toilets: The rubber flapper in your tank is often the issue behind a persistent toilet leak. Changing out this inexpensive piece can stop a staggering 13,000 gallons of water waste. 
  • Outdoor: With the coming of spring, it’s time to check your outdoor irrigation system for water efficiency. Take a look at your old garden hose and make sure that no leaking occurs where it connects with the spigot. 

Step 3: Go Green with WaterSense
If any of your leaks are beyond your quick DIY skills and your hardware actually needs to be replaced, make sure to switch out your old hardware with WaterSense products. WaterSense products must follow the water efficiency standards set out by the EPA.

You can fix a leak for good by ensuring that it never occurs again with one of these faucets, toilets or shower heads. You can also get a WaterSense-approved partner to ensure that your irrigation system is as efficient as possible.

Customers enjoy complementary access to the Ciel Power Energy Center
For even more DIY leak-fixing tips, check out the EPA’s page on how to fix a leak or Ciel Power customers can visit their Ciel Power Energy Center accounts.  Our Energy Center accounts provide detailed information about reducing water consumption, including recommendations on dishwashers and washing machines that lower both water and energy consumption!

In 2013, Ciel Power began offering customers personalized energy management profiles through the Ciel Power Energy Center.  Available to all of our Home Energy Audit customers, this unique online platform provides Ciel Power customers with the tools they need to live a sustainable life, at a pace that fits their lifestyle.  If you are a current or former Ciel Power Home Energy Audit customer, email us at info@cielpower.com to gain access to this wealth of sustainable lifestyle guidance.

MANDATORY Energy Audits?? We're Sharing Our Thoughts In Today's Ask Real Estate Column Published in the New York Times

A Home Energy Audit isn't the first thing most of us think of when it comes to buying and selling a home.  But in the age of increased awareness of the consequences of irresponsible energy consumption, Home Energy Audits are not only gaining popularity, but in Austin, Texas and Berkeley, California they are required.

In today's New York Times Ask Real Estate column, a reader from Metuchen, New Jersey asks columnist Ronda Kaysen why Home Energy Audits are not a mandatory part of the home buying and selling process?  Ronda reached out to us to discuss this question, and we were glad to provide our feedback!

It makes sense that a home buyer purchasing an older home would be compelled to understand how much energy their future home consumes.  Energy and how a home consumes it is a powerful topic capable of impacting purchasing decisions, monthly budgets, and lifestyle decisions.  You need only to look at the impact that this recent winter had on monthly utility expenses for many New Jersey residents to understand how unexpectedly high energy costs can impact a family's budget.

Homeowners want to fully understand both the positive attributes of a property they are considering along with possible upgrades they may need to make in the future.   A CBS News profile recently suggested that up to 98 million homes may be under insulated, wasting twenty percent or more of the conditioned air they are generating.  So why shouldn't prospective buyers put their own experts to work on understanding how their new home loses or wastes energy?  Increasingly they are doing just that.

Perhaps the best news for current and future homeowners is that financial help is available for installing upgrades to heating, cooling, and insulation systems in your new, old, or prospective home.

Buying an Energy Hog

Can Energy Efficiency Recruit Top Talent?

We believe that we can create a better world.  A world where everyone's home is energy efficient, communities are cleaner, and our children are healthier.

We're doing our part to make this world a reality by making people's homes work better.  We've built the system to make this happen, and we're recruiting the industry's best installers, auditors, engineers, and consultants to our side.

Yesterday we spent an afternoon in Bergen County, New Jersey at the Bergen County Job Fair.  As employers, we're all trying to win people to our causes, to get them to believe in our companies or missions. That's why it was so truly inspiring to see our breakout session on Careers in Energy and Sustainability filled with people from lots of different backgrounds looking to join companies like ours in the pursuit of making our communities a better place to live.

We have openings in sales, auditing, and installations.  We hope you'll come build that world with us.

Click Here to learn more or apply online.

Drop Home Heating Bills With These Six Energy Saving Tips!

Each winter we tell ourselves the same thing. This year will be different, this year the house will be ready, this year we will make the investment in time, energy and money needed to make our home more comfortable, lower our heating bills and reduce the carbon footprint of our family. After all, our home is our largest single investment, and we want it to perform that way.

Last year we shared these energy saving tips with residents of Waldwick, New Jersey.  Since we've seen record temperatures throughout the northeast, they're just as important this year!

We'd love to hear additional tips from our readers.  If you've made efficiency improvements to your home, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Drop home heating bills with six energy-saving tips

What's Behind Sustainable Princeton's EnergySmart Homes Campaign?

From reducing town wide energy consumption to reducing waste generated by homes and businesses - Sustainable Princeton is working toward a sustainable future by partnering with  Princeton residents, businesses, schools, local government and other community groups to achieve measurable results.

One of Sustainable Princeton's highest priorities is to reduce energy generated by fossil fuels by 2020.  As a result, Sustainable Princeton introduced the EnergySmart Homes campaign in 2013 to focus on reducing household energy consumption in Princeton.

By partnering with Ciel Power to provide streamlined access to Home Energy Audits, Sustainable Princeton aims to increase awareness of household energy consumption - one of the largest consumers of energy in Princeton.  Participants in Sustainable Princeton's EnergySmart Homes program receive detailed information about how their home uses or wastes energy, along with detailed information about incentive programs available to offset the cost of improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

Making its debut at the 2014 Princeton Environmental Film Festival, this video highlights the efforts Sustainable Princeton is making to improve the natural environment of this vibrant community.  We thought they did a fantastic job...  Enjoy!

To schedule an EnergySmart Homes Home Energy Assessment, visit www.cielpower.com/princeton.

Sustainable Princeton's EnergySmart Homes Campaign

We're honored to be a part of Sustainable Princeton's 2014 Sustainability Goals!

Ciel Power LLC was selected by Sustainable Princeton as the Home Energy Audit provider for their EnergySmart Homes campaign!  As part of the campaign, Ciel Power LLC will provide Home Energy Audits at a discounted rate to residents of Princeton, New Jersey.

As a New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Accredited Provider, Ciel Power will provide Princeton residents with information about rebates and incentives available to upgrade insulation, heating systems, cooling systems, and hot water systems.

New "Green Team" Plans Sustainability Goals And Aims for Silver Certification in 2014

Montclair Historical Society | Charles Shultz Carriage House Insulation Project

Ciel Power LLC was thrilled to partner with the Montclair Historical Society to upgrade the insulation levels in the historic Charles Shultz Carriage House located on Upper Mountain Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey.

“Working on such an historic property involves a unique set of challenges to ensure the historic characteristics of the property are not disturbed.  Our installers took every precaution to ensure the measures installed at this property were done so without compromising any of the architectural detail unique to this property.”

Going Green; Staying Warm

"Greenable Woodbridge" Home Energy Audit Campaign

There's nothing quite like a Home Energy Audit to start your year off right, especially if you've spent the winter bundled in blankets trying to keep warm inside your home.  The "Greenable Woodbridge" Home Energy Assessment program provides Woodbridge residents with discounted Home Energy Audits.

The Patch.com article below highlights this innovative program which can help homeowners upgrade insulation, heating equipment, cooling equipment and hot water systems as we move into the new year.

Township Partners with Ciel Power to Offer $49 Home Energy Audit

Nutley opinion: Improving my home and the environment | NorthJersey.com

What single metric do we all have in common living in the northeast?  Our homes are all exposed to extreme swings in temperature, humidity, and seasonal weather changes.

Have you ever wondered why your heating and cooling systems struggle to maintain comfortable temperatures during these months?  For homeowners, this can be a tough nut to crack - not because they lack the aptitude to figure it out, but because it's often not what anyone expects to discover.  More often than not, homeowners blame old windows and leaky doorways for the comfort issues in the home, despite the fact that air leakage is generally widespread throughout the home and insulation levels are significantly below the recommended levels.

With the growing emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability, Home Energy Audits have become more widespread and include advanced technology that exposes air leakage and under insulated building construction.  The award winning Home Performance with Energy Star program utilizes data collected during this assessment as the foundation for their recommended energy efficiency improvements.

These improvements are designed to buffer your home from extreme temperatures, keeping cold out of your home in the wintertime and heat out of your home during the warm summer months.  We were thrilled to work with this Nutley, New Jersey reporter who shared her experience participating in the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program

Nutley opinion: Improving my home and the environment

New Low-Cost Energy Assessment Program Available for Princeton Residents | Planet Princeton

In this day and age, saving money on heating and cooling costs is critical, and this means helping homeowners understand how their home is losing or wasting energy through a detailed Home Energy Audit.  We are thrilled to partner with Sustainable Princeton's EnergySmart Homes Campaign to deliver Home Energy Audits to residents of Princeton, New Jersey.

Having a Home Energy Audit performed on your home is the first step towards participating in the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program.  This program provides up to $5,000 in cash back incentives and up to $10,000 in zero interest financing to New Jersey residents who make efficiency upgrades to their homes.  Eligible improvements include upgrading insulation, heating systems, cooling systems, and hot water heating systems.
New Low-Cost Energy Assessment Program Available for Princeton Residents

A Crash Course on Insulation for Consumers | Realtor Magazine

How does adding insulation to your home affect its resale value?  In this article, we discussed this topic with the professionals at Realtor Magazine.  We were thrilled to hear that energy efficiency improvements may lead to faster closings and higher offers!

Properly insulating and air-sealing your home not only increases the comfort, efficiency, and durability of your home, but it can also help during the sales process as prospective buyers consider the long-term costs of owning the property.  By focusing on energy efficiency upgrades now, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a more comfortable and efficient home, and reap rewards when the time comes to sell their home.

A Crash Course on Insulation for Consumers

Installing Insulation Without A BPI Accredited Contractor? Bad Idea

BPI Accredited Contractors have quickly become the go-to providers for energy efficiency retrofits.  From the general public to state and federal energy efficiency program administrators, Building Performance Institute Certified Providers have set the standard (literally!) for Home Performance Projects.

Consumer Reports magazine cautions, "Watch out for: Fly-by-night companies—“blow and go” is the industry term—who charge a hefty fee for an audit, promise major upgrades, then disappear. Choose a contractor certified by the Building Performance Institute. They’re required to do an audit before and after any work to guarantee results."

We're proud to be a Building Performance Institute Accredited Company, and we're even more proud that over fifty percent of our staff has multiple BPI certifications.  We've provided paid training for many of our employees to gain their certifications and we're striving towards our goal of having one hundred percent of our staff certified by the Building Performance Institute.

We've put together this graphic to help our customers understand the importance of having these industry certifications.

New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Eligible Heating Systems

If you read this blog, you know you'll frequently hear us talking about different components of the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program.  This time we've focused on the remarkable heating systems that we've installed in our customer's homes and the efficiency of these units.

From boilers to geothermal systems, these energy efficient systems work to keep you warm and comfy while using a fraction of the fuel of lesser systems.  In addition to being energy efficient, many of these heating systems mount on the wall, freeing up floor space for storage or additional living space.  These systems, including manufacturers such as Triangle Tube, Carrier, and Goodman are eligible for incentives offered through the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Because there are so many great heating systems included in this program, our Home Performance Consultants will help you select the ideal system for your home.  Once you've decided on the system, our engineers use sophisticated software to determine the size of the unit to ensure your new heating system is properly sized for your home.

Take a look at the different heating systems included in the 2014 NJHPwES program, we're sure you'll be as excited as we are to find some of the most energy efficient options available.

How To Participate in the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program

If you've been looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce monthly heating and cooling costs, or simply be more comfortable in your home, then you've probably heard of the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program.  While there is no doubt this program can significantly help finance energy efficiency improvements, many New Jersey residents have sought us out to inquire about the steps involved in participating in a Home Performance Program.

The New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program has been around for years and thousands of New Jersey residents have participated in this award winning program.  If you've been fortunate enough to live in a community promoting this initiative, than you probably have heard a great deal about this program.

The New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program utilizes a "house-as-a-system" approach to home improvements, a trend that has become increasingly popular over the past several years.  While the program includes air-sealing, insulation, and energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, it also includes incentives to address health and safety concerns such as asbestos, mold, and ventilation issues.

Sound good?  This program is available to anyone who owns a home in New Jersey and engages the services of an accredited New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star contractor.  Ciel Power specializes in working with New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star participants and has worked with hundreds of New Jersey homeowners to provide a hassle free NJHPwES experience.

Wondering what's involved?  Check out our helpful overview of the NJHPwES program.

Ten Insightful Benefits To Participating In The New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program

New Jersey's Home Performance with Energy Star Program recently announced that their 2014 incentives include up to $5,000 in cash-back and up to $10,000 in zero-interest financing.  We put together this helpful guidebook to highlight the benefits of participation in this award winning program.

The New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star incentives are available to anyone who owns a home in New Jersey who utilizes their "house-as-a-system" approach to making improvements to their home. Improvements must be installed by a New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star accredited provider and include upgrades to insulation levels, heating systems, air-conditioning systems, and the remediation of health and safety concerns.

Want a deeper look into the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program?  View more of our blog posts below, or visit our website for additional information.  New Jersey Clean Energy's website also offers additional information on this groundbreaking program brought to you by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.