How Do You Cut Your Energy Bills? With the Help of Miley Cyrus, of Course

MileyEnergyBillsCIf twerking and foam fingers are not how you rang in the new year (ala Miley Cyrus), don’t abandon the 21-year-old completely because she may be able to help cut your energy bills this winter.

No, music’s newest bad girl and self-proclaimed provocateur is not likely to start tossing $100 bills from atop the Empire State Building, but read on for the tie-in.

According to a recent announcement by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), not only can 90 percent of homeowners look forward to higher heating bills through March, but it also turns out that the average price of electricity hit or matched record highs throughout last year.

Transport Food to Holiday Parties in Style

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With the holidays fast approaching, amateur and professional chefs are busy thinking up new recipes, and tasting and testing them. The problem for many, however, is transporting dishes to their final destination. Often, hot meals become cold in transit. And, let’s face it: holiday parties are only as good as the food that is served.
Rachael Ray has created a line of products specifically designed to help chefs and home cooks transport food so that it looks and tastes as good as when it was made. Below is just a small sampling of the many great products that are available to transport food in style, whether the party is just around the corner or hours away:
* Party on. The 5-piece Foodtastic Party Box features a spacious thermal carrier that fits dishes of almost any size or shape. Inside, the large storage container has an easy-to-secure lid, along with a five-compartment snack tray and a deviled egg tray that holds eighteen eggs. And with SuperFoam high-performance insulation and a zippered garage door opening for easy access, the carrier can be used on its own for transporting all kinds of hot or cold foods.
* Take the double decker. The highly portable Expandable Potlucker has two compartments that can accommodate 9×13 inch baking dishes. SuperFoam high performance insulation plus Therma-Flect Radiant Barrier will keep food hot or cold for hours.
* Go then stow. The Stow-A-Way Potlucker fits 9×13-inch baking dishes. High-density thermal insulation keeps meals hot or cold for hours of transport. And when the fun is over, this great product folds flat for easy storage.
* Get versatile. The 4-in-1 Thermal Carrier with Baker Taker features a glass baker to hold that just-baked dessert (or lasagna). Slip it inside the handy Baker Taker, stow it in the thermal carrier bag and go. The straps are convertible so you can carry horizontally or vertically.
* Keep it cool — or hot. The Chill Out Tote Duo features SuperFoam high-performance insulation plus Therma-Flect Radiant Barrier that keeps food hot or cold for hours. The front pocket holds utensils, and the leak-proof lining is easy to clean. These totes are so easy to carry, you’ll want to take both — one for hot food and the other for cold.
The holidays will be here before you know it. To find the right food transport solution for you, go to www.rachaelray.com.

Re-insulation Projects Offer Year-Round Rewards

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Homeowners seeking to pad their homes and wallets should consider re-insulation projects that maximize energy efficiency year-round. Simple, energy-saving practices will not only reduce heating and cooling bills every month, but also will result in a higher tax return next year.

The federal government expanded the scope of a tax credit program that rewards homeowners for energy-efficiency improvements, giving homeowners a prime opportunity to increase their homes’ efficiency. Homeowners are eligible to receive a 30 percent federal tax credit up to $1,500 for weatherization improvements in their homes through Dec. 31, 2010,

And as far as energy-efficient improvements are concerned, re-insulation is a smart solution for the near and short term.

“Most of the steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency in the cooler winter months are equally as effective in the warmer summer months, when the thermal flows are simply reversed,” said Bohdan Boyko, building science manager with GreenFiber, a natural-fiber insulation product made from 85 percent recycled materials. “In most areas of the country, winter has the greatest temperature differences between inside and outside temperatures, but in either situation -; summer or winter -; a properly insulated home is one that will help cut energy bills, lower the home’s carbon footprint and help keep a family comfortable.”

Homeowners can find information on the benefits of re-insulation, including R-Value education, how to’s and tax credit information from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, at www.greenfiber.com, where researchers engineered a special new blow-in product that aids in retro-fit projects. Older homes or homes where current insulation is inadequate can benefit from attic air sealing, duct sealing, attic insulating and side wall insulating. Because the insulation is literally “blown in” through a tube, it can reach high crevices and deep places in walls. “Re-insulation is a fast and easy way to improve a home’s energy efficiency, often with little up-front cost,” said Boyko. “A blow-in insulation product will perform better than material that is cut to fit, because it provides complete coverage and fills gaps, unlike fixed-dimension insulation products.”

Do-it-yourselfers should have no difficulties renting equipment and tackling a blow-in natural-fiber insulation project in an afternoon. And because natural-fiber insulation is made from recycled content, it provides the greatest benefit to the environment, diverting materials from local landfills and reducing the energy a home could draw.

Small Investments Lead to Reduced Energy Bills

With fuel costs on the rise, many consumers are wondering what they can do to reduce home energy bills. Making your home more energy-efficient can be surprisingly quick, easy and cost-effective.
Next time you’re out running errands, keep these five items on your list of things to buy, and you could start seeing the savings in no time:

1.    Window insulation kit. Properly sealing drafty windows not only increases the comfort of your home, but may also significantly decrease your energy bills. Insulating windows is an inexpensive and effective way to keep warm air in and cold air out. Choose a product that can easily fit a variety of window sizes, such as the Roll-On Window Kit by Duck Brand, which requires no measuring and minimal cutting and is practically invisible.

Earn Federal Tax Credits for Insulated Window Treatments

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In a struggling economy, Americans are taking a closer look at their heating and cooling bills. Keeping a home at a comfortable temperature can use considerable energy — especially if hot and cold air fly out the window.

Windows can be a major area of heat transfer. During winter, cold air comes in through the glass. During the summer, heat enters the home through the window, making the HVAC system work harder to maintain its set temperature.

If your home could use some upgrades, now might be the time to work on energy-efficient home improvement projects. In February, President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act contains benefits for adding energy-efficiency products into existing homes. Specifically, tax credits are available for up to 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 and 2010, for windows, doors, insulation products and systems, roofs, HVAC, non-solar water heaters and biomass stoves.

Replacing existing windows with energy-efficient models isn’t cost-effective in terms of energy savings, but insulating existing windows will help lower your heating and cooling costs while also making you eligible for a tax credit.

One product in particular, the Comfortex ComforTrack Plus Energy Saving Sidetrack Insulation System, uses a double honeycomb cellular shade with removable sidetracks to insulate windows. The insulation system seals all of the gaps between the fabric edge and the window frame, preventing heat transfer through the glass.

Consumers purchasing the ComforTrack Plus Insulation System will reduce energy loss up to two-thirds when compared to an uncovered window.

For more information on home improvement projects eligible for tax credits, visit www.energystar.gov. To learn more about the ComforTrack Plus Insulation System, visit www.comfortex.com.

Reinvesting in the American Dream: Make Tax Credits Work for You

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – A place to call home is a value deeply rooted in American culture. Despite challenging economic times, many homeowners are reinvesting in the American dream by making improvements to their homes. Many smart investments have come to light, which can help homeowners save money on their utility bills while saving money on next year’s tax return.

To simplify taking advantage of the latest tax credits, CertainTeed Corporation has launched a new online resource, www.certainteed.com/energytaxcredit. The site offers an easy-to-understand explanation of the tax credit rebates available to homeowners and how they can reduce the amount of taxes they pay next year by up to $1,500.

Drawing from more than 100 years of experience, CertainTeed offers the following tips and advice to capitalize on energy-saving products and resources including:

– Conduct a home energy audit. An auditor can pinpoint areas where your home loses energy and can suggest ways to conserve heating fuel, hot water and electricity. Visit www.energystar.gov to locate an auditor in your area.

– Stay on top of rising energy costs. Plan ahead and don’t get blind-sided by high utility bills. Organizations like the Alliance to Save Energy, www.ase.org, offer tools that project upcoming energy costs in your state.

– Maximize energy efficiency with solar reflective roofing. Installing affordable, cool roofing products, such as Landmark Solaris, can help homeowners reduce energy costs while giving a boost to their home’s curb appeal. Thanks to new cool roofing technology, solar reflective roofing products are now available in rich, vibrant colors.

– Choose the right insulation for the right area of your home. For example, blow-in insulation, such as InsulSafe SP Premium Blowing Wool, and True Comfort provide uniform coverage that won’t settle and is perfect for attic areas. Fiberglass batt insulation is a popular option for walls and in below-grade areas, such as unfinished basements.

– Consider the “big picture.” Proper home insulation saves energy. This reduces fossil fuel consumption, resulting in less pollution. Considering the average home emits more than twice as much carbon dioxide — the principle greenhouse gas — as the average car, home insulation can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact. Homeowners should also be aware of the recommended R-value in their area. To determine the right R-value for an area, visit the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at www.doe.gov.

For more information or to find a qualified contractor, visit certainteed.com/energytaxcredit.