Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Efficiency

don't go down blog

Daylight Savings Time (DST) began in Ireland on 27/3/16, heralding longer evenings and one additonal hour of sunlight per day. Although an hour’s sleep was lost as a result of the clocks going forward, the extra hour of sunlight gained has many benefits in addition to creating “a grand stretch in the evening”. Despite some people classing DST as a pyrirhic victory, we at House2Home consider the potential to harness energy efficiency yielded by DST to be worth sacrificing an hour’s shut eye!

DST was first used in Thunder Bay, Canada in 1908. Germany was the first country to introduce DST when clocks were turned ahead one hour on April 30th 1916. Although the rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort, many countries reverted back to standard time after WW1 and it wasn’t until war broke out again in Europe that DST made its return.

A mnemonic device commonly used to remember to wind clocks forward at the beginning and back at the end of DST is ‘Spring forward and Fall Back’, which marries the correct horological action with its seasonal partner. We suggest that, in the spirit of springing forward, you spring into action as far as solar energy is concerned. The benefits you’ll receive will deliver savings all year long. 

Now is the optimum time to make this change, in comparison to the preceding season, since the winter sun is much lower down towards the horizon, resulting in less time and distance for it to travel between horizons. Therefore, the sun rises later and sets earlier in winter compared to summer, meaning there’s less daylight in winter. It is these extra hours of daylight that are significant rather than increased temperature, a fact which bodes well for the Emerald Isle.

In fact, although temperature doesn’t affect the amount of solar energy a solar panel receives, it does influence how much power homeowners get out of them. As solar panels get hotter, they produce less power from the same amount of sunlight. Normally, electrons at rest (low energy) are excited by the sun (high energy), and the difference between their excited and rest energies is the potential difference (voltage) that you could ideally get from your solar panel. However, heat also excites electrons (when we heat something we are giving it energy), which raises the energy of the electrons at rest. (“warmer” electrons have more energy at rest than their “cold” counterparts.)

Ireland, owing to its cool, temperate oceanic climate, is actually slightly better placed to harness the power of solar rays than countries in warmer climes. Since power is produced from the difference in the states (at rest and excited by the sun), if the electrons have more energy at rest (your solar panels are hotter), the difference between the rest energy and excited energy (from the sun) is smaller. Thus solar panels will produce less energy.

If you’ve been swayed by the case put forth above, then consider a solar energy system from House2Home. Our team will determine the package that is right for you based on data such as the number of occupants in your home. Both the environment and your pocket will thank you for semiconducting (a little solar panel humour!) your energy harvesting in a more efficient and sustainable fashion. Our solar panels have been specifically developed for the Irish climate and have a life expectancy of 25 years. Furthermore, our technicians are comprehensively trained to install solar systems neatly and effectively.

House2Home’s Energia Centre is also in a position to offer discounts and grants of up to 24% on solar systems to Energia customers. Learn more about the benefits of solar energy here.

Green Consumerism Is Not Just For Patrick’s Day

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With St. Patricks Day on the horizon, Irish and non-Irish alike are contemplating how best to ‘go green’ for the day. While here at House2Home we aren’t immune to celebrating by ‘drowning the Shamrock’ or catching a parade or two, we espouse a more sustainable form of green consumerism. In fact, it is this ethos which underpins our mission statement as a Retrofit company. We would like to encourage you to make Ireland greener not just for one day, but every day by making simple changes to your home and how you use it. Such action will not only save you money but will also reduce your carbon footprint, thereby helping to maintain the Emerald Isles unique hue. Below are a few simple steps you can complete to make your domestic surroundings more sustainable:

1.  Home Energy Rating Survey

This provides a home energy improvement roadmap to homeowners considering carrying out energy efficient works. The survey is conducted by qualified Building Services and Energy Management Engineers employed by House2Home.

This process can prove particularly useful to those trying to isolate where exactly they can save money in their home. Assessment is conducted by evaluating your propertys current energy performances. Once all pertinent data relating to your home is gathered, a full report is compiled for you to review. This report not only helps you to make an informed decision regarding home energy improvement works, but also outlines how much money you stand to save by carrying out such work.

2.  Home Insulation

Optimizing domestic insulation is another tack homeowners looking to improve their green credentials can take. It can be quite daunting to sift through the various types of Home Insulation alone. This is where consulting an accredited  company such as House2Home can prove particualrly beneficial. Each form of domestic insulation has unique properties which add to the creation of a warmer, more energy efficient home. House2Home can help you decipher whether external wall; internal dry lining; cavity wall, attic or a combination of two or more will deliver the increased comfort, sustainability and fiscal savings you desire.

3.  Solar Energy

Solar energy is a genuine alternative to fossil fuels and is one the easiest steps you can take towards becoming more sustainable. Furthermore, generating energy from solar panels will significantly reduce your hot water heating bill. House2Home can help you to assess how best to reap the financial and environmental rewards offered by solar energy. Our experts can determine the right package for you based on factors such as the number of occupants of your home. Once this data has been collected, bigger decisions such as choosing between Flat Plate and Evacuated Tube collectors for solar water heating can be tackled.

4. Windows And Doors

House2Home offer replacement windows and doors as part of our Home Energy Upgrade package, but you should consider replacing them as a separate project even if you are not availing of our package. Studies show that 25% of heat loss can be attributed to windows and doors alone so it behoves you to install the most efficient varieties available. Inefficienct windows and doors in a standard three bedroom house result in a whopping €662.50 worth of heat loss. House2Home install ‘A’ rated windows exclusively and our UPVC range also reduces the need for continuous maintenance over time. We use a combination of manufacturers to provide you with an unparalleled service that is tailored to your specific needs.

We hope these suggestions inspire you to direct your green consumerist leanings in a sustainable fashion. If you’d like to see our products in 3D please visit our showroom on the Killeen Road in Dublin. We’d like to seize this opportunity to thank our valued customers for their continued support and wish you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Turn Your Resolutions Into Renovations

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Now that were a week into 2016 people are beginning to struggle with their New Years resolutions. Whether that diet has gone on hiatus or the yoga class is overbooked, theres invariably a reason (or several) for faltering. This is a perennial feature in the first weeks of January, which is why we at House2Home advocate turning your resolutions into renovations in 2016. Those funds that you have earmarked for pottery classes could be redirected to your construction budget. Results obtained from construction projects standat a better chance of longevity than attempts to learn Mandarin & dance the tango! Continue reading

Seasons Greetings From House2Home

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All of the team here at House2Home would like to wish our valued customers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2016. Since we opened our doors back in 2013 our company has grown substantially from strength-to-strength. Of course this wouldnt of been possible without your continued support & custom.

As we enter our third year in business we will strive to offer the same consistent quality & service to both our new & existing customers. We would also like to express our gratitude to you all for sticking with us this far and long may our journey together continue.

Whether you are considering a full retrofit or home extensions as part of your New Years resolutions, we will always be there to offer the best possible advice & solutions to your needs.

We hope you & your loved ones have a wonderful Xmas and may all of your dreams & resolutions ring true in the New Year. Beannachtaí an tSéasúir 

Three Benefits Of Solar Energy For Your Home

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We often hear people waxing lyrical about how efficient solar energy is and how good it is for the environment.

Although we hear these superlatives about solar energy all the time, what do we actually know about solar energy and how does it benefit us and our homes directly?

Here we take a look at the three key benefits that installing solar energy panels can bring to your home:

Cost Efficient

Solar energy is free from running costs and solar panels only require a little bit of maintenance each year.

Continue reading

Planning Makes Perfect: How we manage your home Extension/Building project

For most people a home extension, renovation or new building project is a chance to put a personal stamp on a house/property. This should be a joyful, exciting occasion with  results that meet the needs of the people living in the building. Unfortunately we at House2Home are seeing a rise in the number of people contacting us with a view to finishing  projects that other contractors have already semi-completed. Some contractors are solely interested in starting and finishing a project, minimising the amount of time it takes to reduce labour costs. The reality is that it will cost the home-owner a lot more to alter/re-do existing work than it would to ensure the planning stage is implemented correctly. Similarly House2Home has seen a sharp increase in the number of enquiries regarding rogue traders: people who start a building/renovation project, after a payment is made they fail to return to complete. Usually upon inspection we find that sub-standard materials and poor workmanship dictates the demolition of the work completed and the project must begin from scratch.

There is a way to ensure that this does not happen to you……..

When choosing your building contractor for your home extension, renovation or new build project, check the following documentation to ensure that the company is tax compliant & fully insured. You should also check that the company is registered for any other relevant authority for specific measures such as insulation. It may seem tedious but it is worth it in the long run. Ask the company for copies of the following documentation:

  1. Tax Clearance Certificate (and verify be clicking here)
  2. Certificate of Insurance
  3. Membership numbers of relevant Authorities (e.g. SEAI, NSAI, RECI, RGI)
  4. Always double check the documentation with the relevant authority (SEAI, RECI, RGI etc.)

This will ensure the company that you are considering is legitimate and competent in the works that they propose.

The House2Home Model…..

House2Home offers clients a personalised service, with dedicated contracts managers on site, and customer service managers located at the showrooms. We ensure that there are communication channels available at all stages of the project. This is how we manage a home extension, renovation or new build project project:

  1. Planning stage: We meet with the Client, Architect, Quantity Surveyor and/or Engineer. At the planning stage we discuss the requirements/reasons behind the project. The reasons for the project are personal and individual and can include requirements such as to enhance a living space, to extend and create more space, to modernise an outdated dwelling or to adapt a home to meet the current & future needs of the home-owner. At this stage, the current building structure will also be assessed and any planning permission will also be sought. The client will inform the team of their budget for the project, which will allow the design stage to begin.

    Planning Makes Perfect

  2. Design Stage: At this stage the assembled team will work together to create a design that meets the needs outlined in the planning stage. When designing the finished project the following needs to be taken into consideration: Practicality of the design; is the finished project relevant to the end user, Feasibility of the design; is the project within the budget constraints, Aesthetics; are the final finishes being chosen in line with the overall design of the house and does the client agree with the designer, Future-Proof; are the measures being applied going to be able to adapt to new technologies as they become available. At this stage, we give clients a disruption report & schedule of works. These documents outline whether the property will be habitable for all or some of the project, and the key stages of the project. A professional services contract is also provided for both parties protection.

    Design is Crucial

  3. Construction Stage: With concrete design and planning completed, the project would be geared for starting. House2Home introduce the client to the Contracts Manager, who will be the permanent point of contact on site. The contracts manager will delegate to a crew of tradesmen and specialist sub contractors, and ensure the timely completion of the contract. Regular site visits will take place with the team of professionals and the client.
  4. Completion Stage: When the contract has ended, and the client moves back in to the home, there are still some formalities that are necessary. First and foremost there is certification and warranties to be presented to the client. Any grant aid that has been applied for will require a declaration of works certificate. The client may also present a list of snags that the contractor will return to rectify. These snags will normally present themselves once the dwelling is ‘lived in’ so a period of time may pass before the client notices them.

If you would like to discuss your project with a member of our team, you can book a free consultation by emailing your details to info@house2home.ie or by calling       Freephone 1800282282

Thermal Heat Store by Gledhill

One of the most exciting developments to hit the Irish heat & renewables market is the introduction of the Gledhill Torrent Thermal Heat Store. Traditionally solar energy was used to heat domestic hot water only and fossil fuels were used to provide for space heating (radiators etc.) By introducing a the Gledhill Torrent to your heating system you can now use solar, oil/gas and a back boiling stove to provide efficient heat to your home.

House2Home has installed the Torrent Thermal Heat Store in Ireland and anticipates that home heating savings of 60-70% will be achieved by combining Solar Thermal, Solid Fuel Stove and Fossil Fuels in one system to achieve maximum efficiency.

The Gledhill Torrent provides high performance mains pressure hot water through a high efficiency heat exchanger. That means your hot water has not been stored in the tank for days on end: eliminating the risk of Legionella.
The Gledhill Torrent also has an electric immersion back-up, in case one or more of your heat sources is not available. This will heat the store for both hot water and it acts as an auxiliary to the fossil fuel secondary heating circuit.

One important factor that home-owners must take into account when replacing boilers & cylinders is future proofing. Although you may not intend adding renewable energies to your home now, it is worth the extra minimal investment that ensures any future measure that you may wish to have can be connected easily.

To obtain a no obligation quote, contact info@house2home.ie
or Freephone 1800 282282 and speak to our team today!

The Home Improvement Tax Incentive – Starts Now

House2Home has welcomed Minister Noonan’s decision to bring forward the date of the Home Improvement Tax Incentive Scheme which will allow Home Owners to claim up to 13.5% of renovation works back, in effect allowing a tax credit for the vat paid on works.

Due to successful lobbying by groups such as the Construction Industry Federation and other interested parties, the date has been brought forward (originally planned for January 2014) and the scheme came into effect on 25th October 2013. This eliminates the need for Home Owners to postpone Home Improvement projects until January which would cause a mini-downturn in an already delicate industry. We believe the benefits of the incentive will have multiple positive effects for industry, the exchequer and society as a whole.

Legitimate contractors will now be able to compete with rogue traders which in turn will benefit the exchequer in the form of tax receipts. Only tax compliant contractors can participate in the scheme. This move is widely welcomed as one the biggest single measures to combat tradesmen & companies that are non tax compliant.

So what does this mean for Home Owners wishing to avail of the incentive? From now on, Extensions, Plumbing, Electrical & Plasterwork as well as Kitchens & Bathrooms  will be included in the scheme and once the value of the contract is over €5,000 and under €30,000 (ex. Vat) home owners can apply for tax credits of 13.5%. Materials must be supplied by the contractor, presumably to ensure that all elements of the work carried out is traceable for tax purposes.

Items covered under any other grant system such as insulation & adaptation grants do not qualify for the Home Improvement Tax Incentive Scheme.

If you would like more information on the scheme, or would like a no obligation quote, please call 1800282282 and a member of our team will gladly assist. Alternatively you can email your query to info@house2home.ie

The Home Improvement Tax Incentive, Budget 2014

Minister Noonan announced in Budget 2014 that there will be a tax credit based incentive for home-owners wishing to carry out renovation/retrofit works to their home. The scheme will be rolled out in 2014 and is widely welcomed by industry and home owners alike. The main points noted are:

• The scheme will include works carried out from 1st January 2014 until 31st December 2015
• Home-owner rebate will be rewarded in the form of Tax Credits
• Tax Credits will be paid over the following 2 years (if work is carried out in 2014, the rebate will apply for 2015 & 2016 tax years)
• Some measures covered by the scheme include Extensions, Plastering, Window fitting and plumbing
• The credit will be calculated at a rate of 13.5% on all qualifying expenditure over €5,000 up to a maximum of €30,000

House2Home welcomes this new incentive. Reputable companies will now be more competitive against the ‘shadow economy. To avail of the scheme, home owners must engage with tax compliant contractors. For a number of years, the rogue traders had the upper hand by having significantly lower overheads; insurance was not paid and tax returns were not adhered to. The Home Renovation Tax Incentive will help build a tax compliant industry through a registered payment scheme governed by Revenue Commissioners.

Mark Courtney (Managing Director at House2Home) commented that “The Home Renovation Tax Incentive is a sensible incentive to stimulate small building works below the value of €30,000. Home-owners can now claim the vat back on home improvement works, which will leave legitimate contractors at a much more competitive standing and hopefully discourage illegal trading in the renovation & retrofit markets” Mark also noted that the scheme will lead on to the Better Energy Financing Scheme: “hopefully in 2015 we will see the introduction of the BEF, and the recently announced Home Renovation Tax Incentive is excellent preparation for this. Consumers will become familiar with the benefits of energy efficient home improvements not just with grant aid, but using tax & finance incentives to achieve energy efficient upgrades. This will help society as a whole, by continuously combatting the issue of carbon emissions and lowering household energy bills”

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.