The UltimateAir® News

Take Advantage of Federal Tax Credits & Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Posted on Fri, Dec 02, 2011

energy efficient homeThe federal government is currently offering two tax credits to help assist with the total cost of energy efficient products or upgrades.  Both credits require a large initial investment in order to produce years of utility savings. . 

The underlying intention and incentive behind this unique government-funded opportunity is a mutually beneficial arrangement for the homeowner to save money while boosting the US economy through market expansion from increased demand. 

Only certain highly efficient products qualify and the credit is only eligible if purchased before the end of December, in which case they can be deducted from your taxes.

Energy Efficiency Tax Credit:

  • 10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 - $300
  • Expires on December 31, 2011
  • Existing home & principal residences
  • New construction and rentals do not qualify.

This credit will offer financial help for both improvements to the home shell and installation of any qualifying energy-efficient heating and cooling systems including:

  • Biomass Stoves
  • Heating Ventilating AC (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Roofs
  • Water Heaters
  • Windows & doors

The extended renewable-energy credit is slightly more flexible, allowing both primary and secondary homes to qualify, as do both new and existing homes.

Renewable Tax Credit:

  • 30% of cost with no upper limit.
  • Expires December 31, 2016.
  • Existing homes & new construction qualify.
  • Both principal residences and second homes qualify.
  • Rentals do not qualify.

Applicable for the following products:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Small Wind Turbines
  • Solar Energy Systems

How to Apply For a Tax Credit On Your Energy Efficient Product

If installed before December 31, 2011, the credit can be applied for qualifying products through your 2011 taxes by filing IRS form 5695.  Dissimilar to a deduction, the credit will function as a reimbursement, lowering your tax burden by up to $500.

Learn more by visiting Energy Star

Tags: Homeowners, Air Filration, energy efficient, Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices, Energy Star

Why You Want to Live in a NetZero Energy Home

Posted on Thu, May 05, 2011

lighthouse01Rising energy costs are changing the way we think about our homes. More and more, homeowners are looking to invest in building solutions that will maximize natural energy and minimize costs. New home models such as those built with NetZero principles, are fast becoming part of home energy efficiency best practices.

In its simplest terms, a NetZero home is one that can produce at least as much energy as it uses in a given year. This amounts to year-round comfort from natural elements and significant savings in energy costs.

NetZero homes are built with high standards of insulation. Doors and windows are designed to regulate temperature control and to provide air-tight sealing. This contains existing energy inside the home. Without compromising aesthetics, net-zero doors and windows allow for sun exposure to let in natural light during the winter months and block out heat in the summer months.

Unfortunately, having strict standards of air tightness means risking exposure to polluted air trapped inside the home. Indoor air quality is critical for health in buildings where insulation and airtightness make up a strong founding pillar of energy efficiency. In extremely airtight conditions, contaminants such as mold, pet dander and second-hand smoke can threaten air quality and lead to asthma and other more serious health complications.

Continuous ventilation, which can dilute contaminants, is key in our strategy for maintaining the circulation of healthy indoor air. Complimentary to the energy-savings principles of NetZero homes, UltimateAir®’s  RecoupAerator® continuously supplies clean filtered air throughout the home.  

Our home energy efficiency solution contains unique features that contribute to the lowest electrical footprint of any whole-house air filtration system. The RecoupAerator’s two brushless DC electronically commutated (BLDC) motors are used to better convert electricity in to power than AC induction motors. This level of efficiency can be found in the motor’s performance curve.

What’ s more, the EconoCool™ feature works like a whole-house attic fan to bring in cool air at night while filtering the incoming air and saving on A/C costs. When the outside temperature exceeds the thermostat set point, the unit restores its energy recovery function, turning away warm, humid air and keeping the cool air indoors.

As the construction and green building industry evolves towards airtight homes, air quality strategies must keep pace. UltimateAir® is committed to supporting the NetZero home building movement with innovation and products that provide thoughtful ventilation, energy-efficient design and secure indoor air quality for homes constructed to the highest standards of airtightness.

Tags: Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices

Ultimate Air Health Risks of Dust Mites, Mold

Posted on Tue, Apr 05, 2011

woman sneezingDust mites and mold are two common unwanted elements in homes and other buildings that can trigger or worsen asthma and hay fever symptoms. These environmental pollutants can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathing problems. In severe cases, dust mites and mold contribute to life-threatening asthma emergencies.

You’ve probably seen mold along bathroom window sills and in other places with damp surfaces and poor ventilation. Mold produces toxic spores that linger in the air, adhere to damp surfaces and grow. Simply learn touching mold can cause sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes---all symptoms of hay fever, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

While dust mites and mold can easily make its way into our homes, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce their threat. Improving your indoor air quality by eliminating or minimizing dust mites and mold can help you stay healthy. Here are some tips from the experts.

  • Keep it clean: A lot of dust mites and mold spores can be circulated throughout the home. Filters in central heating and cooling systems tend to trap dust and other air pollutants so change or clean filters regularly. Wash bedding once a week in hot water, keep stuffed toys off beds or choose washable toys, cover mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture with dust-proof zip covers.
  • Be selective: What you bring into your home can affect the level of dust mites present. Experts at the University of Nebraska recommend avoiding ownership of pets with fur or feathers. However, if you love pets, you can minimize adverse health effects of by selecting a sleeping area for animals far away from your own. When furnishing your home, choose rugs, curtains and other items that can be washed regularly.
  • Set it right: High levels of humidity encourage mold to grow. The EPA recommends keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can use a vaporizer or humidifier to help keep your indoor humidity at the recommended levels. Keeping indoor humidity within this recommended range can combat the threat of both dust mites and mold.
  • Ventilate your home: Not only can you become more energy efficient, but installing an energy recovery ventilator can protect your family from the common health risks that poor air quality, dust mites, and mold can yield.  ERV’s are great for homes of any age, and are greatly beneficial to older homes by better filtering out allergens that enter the home naturally.

Taking care of your home to prevent against environmental toxins such as mold and dust mites all comes down to improving indoor air quality. Take the proactive steps necessary to protect yourself and your family against the effects of these elements.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

The Growing Popularity of the Passive House

Posted on Thu, Mar 31, 2011

SLC Certified Passive House 2New international standards for environmental efficiency have ushered in a global consciousness for clean air and energy savings; and homeowners and builders across the globe are paying attention. Developed in Germany, PassiveHaus, or Passive House is the emerging gold standard for energy efficient building, and has gained popularity for successfully saving money in heating and cooling costs while improving indoor air quality.

On average Passive House dwellings, which are built with airtight insulation that maximizes the use of natural heating systems such as the sun, achieve an energy savings of 90 percent when compared to existing houses.

In the recent past, guidelines such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard (LEED)-- an internationally recognized green building certification program--has sought to standardize basic principles of constructing homes and buildings. These standards apply to energy savings, water efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions and improved indoor air quality. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED guidelines give building owners and operators a best-practices framework for green design, construction, operations and maintenance. Innovative designs like the Passive House model are at the forefront of this movement, pioneering practices to be adopted around the world.

At the most basic level, a unit built to Passive House standards employs good insulation with minimal thermal bridges, contains well designed use of solar and internal resources, maintains an excellent level of airtightness and has a ventilation system that provides efficient heat recovery and good indoor air quality. The home is engineered to be so airtight that little heat can escape through the cracks in doors and windows of most other homes. Thus, there is little need to use expensive temperature-manipulating systems. The Passive House framework, which employs these core principles of efficiency, is fast becoming an international standard for building as the design and ethos take hold across the globe.

In Europe, the European Parliament has proposed that all buildings meet passive-house standards of airtightness and energy efficiency by 2011. In Asia and Canada, builders are replicating the design and principles. Worldwide, there are approximately 17,000 buildings constructed to the Passive House standards.

Passive-house is also gaining popularity in the United States because of the demand for environmental friendliness, long-term energy savings and good indoor air quality.  As consumers strive for more natural resources to power their heating and cooling costs and continue to move away from traditional methods that are costly and inefficient, the principles of passive house will gain in popularity.

What’s more, there are advocates in all sectors--from government to professionals in the architectural world who are spreading the message about this type of design. Architects and homeowners from California to Massachusetts, are replicating the passive house design and meeting a warm reception.

Tags: Passive House Design, Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices