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high rise bulding on fire

Fire & Life Safety Expert Witness Joins IEI

Daniel Bak is Ivey Engineering's fire and life safety expert witness.

Dr. Daniel Bak recently joined IEI as a fire & life safety expert witness.

Dr. Daniel Bak brings fire protection and life safety consulting experience to firm

Ivey Engineering, Inc., (IEI), a forensic analysis and expert witness firm, recently announced the addition of Dr. Daniel N. Bak, a fire and life safety expert witness, to its team of consultants. Bak, a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) and Fire Safety Engineer (F.S.E.), is also a fire protection consultant. Read more

7 Doable Tasks to Winterize Your Home

Winter is on its way, and along with it, colder weather.  As temperatures begin to drop, it’s not as easy to get out and do what’s necessary to protect your home from potential damage or energy leaks. So before temperatures start to dip lower, you may want to take on this list of 7 Doable Tasks to Winterize Your Home. Read more

blue natural gas flames coming from furnace

8 Facts You Should Know to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is more commonly thought of as a deadly poison in the winter. But it’s often the culprit of many incidents during other seasons as well. You probably know that when you use a gas or wood-burning appliance, such as a furnace, you increase the risk of carbon-monoxide (CO) poisoning. However, other appliances and equipment, such as a gas oven, stove or water heater can also produce CO. Read more

man installing solar panels

6 Reasons Why Homeowners Should Go Solar

As a homeowner, have you ever thought about using solar power as an alternative energy source? With a 30 percent increase over the last year, solar power continues to be one of the fastest growing energy sources in the United States. Not surprising, residential solar installations continue to soar. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, by early 2014, residential photovoltaic (PV) installations exceeded commercial installations for the first time.

Switching your home over to solar power is an investment, but one that could prove to be beneficial—not just in the long run. Here we’ve come up with a list of top 6 Reasons Why Homeowners Should Go Solar. Hopefully, these reasons will help you decide whether or not to convert your home’s energy system into solar.

1. Solar Saves You Money

If your system is large enough, you can reduce your utility bill to near zero. Depending on the electric utility rates and structure in your area, you can expect to save enough on your bill to pay for the system in 5 to 10 years. (Your system should easily last 20 years.) The value of the system will also increase as electric utility rates increase.

You might think of it as a hedge against future inflation of utility rates. Rates will likely increase with the pressure and regulations required by utility companies to use more environmentally friendly generation methods (i.e. wind, solar, ocean currents, fuel cells).

solar can save you money


2. Solar is Environmentally Friendly

Another reason homeowners should go solar is to save the environment. The energy that comes from the sun is one of the cleanest forms of energy that can be converted into electricity. Unlike some other forms of energy, solar does not pollute or harm the land, water or animals. (To read about other ways homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint, check out our article on tips to make your home more green.)

If you go solar it helps the environment.

3. Solar Energy is Sustainable and Renewable

Just like wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal power, solar power is sustainable, meaning it has the ability to endure and be productive indefinitely. For energy to be sustainable it needs to meet three requirements: be naturally replenished, improve energy efficiency and be available long term. Solar has been around since the beginning of time, making it a very reliable power source.

As a renewable energy source, solar power can be replenished naturally; it does not harm the environment and has minimal impact to the surrounding environment. What better reason is there to utilize the sun’s energy!

4. Easy Payment Terms are Available

The ability to make  payments on your solar system is yet another reason for homeowners to switch to solar. Contractors, utility companies and local governments will finance the system installation, some with very attractive terms.

Another option is a third-party company—the solar provider— who offers to install the system at no cost to you and then sells the power to you at rates  less than what you would have paid the utility company.

There are also companies that rent out solar panels with no upfront charge. You pay a monthly rental fee to use the panels. The rental company owns and maintains them.

With any of these options, make sure to carefully look at the contract, in case you decide to move or want out of the deal.

man writing a personal check

Image Source: Loans

5. Solar Increases the Value of Your Home

There’s no argument that residential PV systems increase the resale value of a home. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that homes with solar panels sold 20 percent faster than those without solar panels. In addition, homes with  a 3.1 kW system add $17,000 to their value.

solar increases value of a home

Image Source: Watson Solar House

6. The Government Will Pay Part of the Cost

Receiving some extra help from Uncle Sam is another reason why homeowners should go solar. The good news is the federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit. (Yes, a tax credit, not a tax deduction, if the system is installed before Dec. 31, 2016). This means you should get your contractor on board by mid 2016. There may also be some state and local utility incentives depending on where you live.

tax forms

Image Source: Investopedia

So these are our top reasons here at Ivey Engineering why homeowner’s should go solar. Which of the above reasons motivates you to switch to solar? Can you add any others to our list? If so, leave a comment in the section below. For more  friendly tips, check out our piece on ways to make your home more green.

Architectural Engineering Expert Joins IEI

Linus Harth is Ivey Engineering's architectural engineering expert

Linus Harth is Ivey Engineering’s architectural engineering expert.

Ivey Engineering, Inc., (IEI), a forensic analysis and expert witness firm, recently announced the addition of Linus Harth, an architectural engineering expert, to its team of consultants. Harth, a licensed architect and general contractor, is also a water intrusion expert and building envelope consultant.

Read more

5 Things to Do if You Want to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

Are you staring at a clogged kitchen sink? Is the stagnating water in the sink making you feel sick? The good news is you can unclog the sink without calling a plumber or pouring hazardous chemicals down the drain.

You can use everyday materials you have at home to take care of this annoying problem. Read more

8 Hilarious But True Court Cases You Won’t Believe

When we picture the inside of a courtroom, we think of a place where serious and unfortunate issues are debated. But sometimes when you read or hear the news of a person suing another individual or group of people for something downright crazy, you can’t help but smile.  Read more

7 Simple Tips to Make Your Home More Green

When it comes to the environment, being a responsible global citizen starts at home. Making your home more earth friendly doesn’t have to mean starting completely over. From recycling to using alternative cleaning materials, minor changes at home can add up to real benefits for the planet, not to mention your own health and happiness, and save you money while you’re at it.  Read more

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy an Electric Vehicle

For the last 100 years car drivers have relied on combustion fuels like oil and diesel to move their vehicles. This dependence on fuel will eventually create more problems in the future, especially since these types of fuel are limited and the reserves are running out. That is why many automobile companies are coming up with electric vehicles (EV) to meet our transportation needs.

Read more

8 Famous Female Engineers in History

If you ask a handful of fifth graders who Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell were, it’s likely they will all know what these engineers are famous for. But chances are these grade-schoolers would not be able to name a single female engineer. Women have long played a significant role in engineering, many overcoming discrimination to bring some of the most significant advances to the field.  Read more