Tag Archives: Money Magazine

Energy Efficient Home Hacks to Complete Before End of Summer

It’s hard to believe that the end of summer is almost here!  The soaring temperatures of the time come with sky-high energy bills. If you’re looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency as your HVAC kicks into overdrive, consider adding these energy efficient home hacks to your weekend warrior to-do list.

Increase Insulation
Air leakages can occur anywhere in your home, resulting in your AC unit having to work that much harder to keep your home comfortable. Adding a new layer of insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more energy efficient. Best of all, you can do this easy hack yourself! Before laying any new insulation, be sure to plug up any large openings and seal off small cracks, especially around attic hatches, window frames, and electrical outlets.

Smart Home Automation
It seems like almost every electronic device now has a smart alternative on the market. Though it’s easy to write off this technology as a luxury, most of these devices can actually go a long way in helping to reduce your energy usage each month. Whether it’s a thermostat that learns your family’s habits or a dishwasher that only runs during off-peak energy hours, smart home appliances and devices can go a long way in helping curb your family’s energy demands.

Close Your Blinds
Sometimes the best hacks are also the easiest—and cheapest! By simply closing your blinds, especially for south- and west-facing windows, you have the potential to save upwards of seven percent off your energy bill, as well as lowering the ambient temperature by up to 20 degrees. Considering that almost 30 percent of unwanted humid summer heat comes in from your windows, it makes sense to drop the shades on the afternoon sun. Better yet, if it’s in your budget, replace those worn-out windows altogether. Energy Star has found that most homeowners can expect to see an average 12 percent drop in their home’s energy consumption after replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star qualified alternatives.

Landscape to Lower Energy
Think of landscaping as your exterior blinds, and plant a few trees along the south side of your home to help block direct sunlight from ever making it to your windows. Ensure that any tree you plant is a leafy variety, rather than an evergreen, so that you can get exceptional shade in the summer and plenty of warming sun in the leafless winter months. Similarly, plant evergreen shrubs around your home’s foundation to add year-round insulation

Cooking Counts

Summer is virtually synonymous with grilling, but did you ever consider just how much energy you can save by sparking up some charcoal instead of your oven? Not only will you be sparing yourself any operating costs, but you’ll also prevent your HVAC from having to combat the added heat your culinary masterpiece is likely to create.

The best way to make your home as energy-efficient as possible is to have a professional perform an energy audit. The typical audit usually only takes a couple hours of your time, but it has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in reduced energy expenses year round.

With a little planning ahead and a few upgrades, you’ll be saving energy daily!

By Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel – from Housecall

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Here’s how North Carolina’s economy ranks among other states

Where does the Tar Heel State rank in terms of its economy, relative health and innovation potential?

A new report by WalletHub, the personal finance website,ranks North Carolina as the 15th best economy in the country overall.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia, looking at 27 indicators of economic performance and strength. The data it examined ranged from GDP growth to startup activity, according to the report.

North Carolina, with an index score of 57.34 out of 100, also ranked 11th in terms of economic health and 12th for innovation potential. The state placed in the 24th spot in terms of economic activity. Those three categories were looked at to determine states’ overall ranking on the study.

The states with the best economies are Washington, California and Utah. Those with the worst economies are West Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the report.

To see where other states come in, see WalletHub.

by: Jessica Seaman, Triad Business Journal

Survey finds Raleigh appealing for new grads looking for jobs

For recent graduates looking for a place to start their careers, the Triangle has a potent combination of good salaries and reasonable rents, according to a new survey.

Indeed.com and Trulia.com teamed up to take a look at markets that combined strong job opportunities and reasonable costs for housing. That’s a critical combinations for graduates, who don’t want to see their first pay checks disappear when the rent is due.

Some markets, such as San Jose and Washington, D.C., promise high salaries but also have extremely high rents.

That’s not the case in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area, where rental listings on Trulia.com and job postings on Indeed.com looked promising for those starting their careers.

The survey looked at rental costs and also availability of jobs likely to attract recent graduates.

Money crunched the numbers of the top markets and then ranked them by salaries for new graduates. Yahoo’s survey ranked the Triangle No. 15 overall, with graduates making an average of $2,581 a month. That’s not a bad start in a market where Trulia said 9.8 percent of listings in Raleigh and 7.3 percent of listings in Durham-Chapel Hill were affordable.

Money ranked Houston No. 1 ($3,188), followed by Dallas at No. 2 ($2,925)

by: Dane Huffman, Triangle Business Journal