The chores of spring: 7 + 1 solutions to reduce costs

8 actions with multiple benefits can take place in this time of year, with the aim to upgrade the eco-energy of our home and the renewal of the environment in which we live.

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell dirt," says a famous proverb, mentioning in the best way, the fact that spring is the best time to perform tasks related to the house. Small and simple, but also more difficult and expensive work, this can take place on this time of year, with purpose to upgrade the energy output of your home, renew the environment we live in and our mood.

1. Cleaning your Solar Panels

Whether it's solar panels, or photovoltaic panels, a simple cleaning / washing can dramatically increase system performance. A simple washing of the removed dusts and sludges can have now affixed to the panels by means of rain.

To maximize performance, the process must be repeated at regular intervals, with a minor cost.


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2. Cleaning air conditioning filters

By changing the operation of air conditioning from heating to cooling season, it comes the time for cleaning your filter. This procedure must be performed at regular intervals and according to the manufacturer's instructions and the filter type.

In this way they are removed from the filters potentially pathogenic microorganisms, but also reduces the consumption of the air conditioner, as a "flooded" filter requires more energy for the operation of the air conditioner.

Purification of conventional filters, except for washing with water, can be done with specific ecological chemicals, designed to inactivate bacteria and viruses, but also for the removal of dust and smoke. And in this case, the cost is small and limited to the cost of the special chemical cleaning for the filters. Also do not forget the programmed mechanical service, of our air conditioner.


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3. Replacement lamps

Replacing light bulbs, with other on higher energy class, such as saving bulbs or LED lamps can result in significant energy savings, air renewal, or various lighting effects through new technologies.

The Cost and labor is little required and depends on the quality of the bulbs.



4. Ceiling Fans

Although they have a low cost, they can be particularly effective in achieving thermal comfort during the summer season. In their function, they facilitate the circulation of the air in the space and thus offers to the user, the feeling of freshness.

It is much less expensive, than other methods of cooling and air conditioning, both in their acquisition, as well as their function.

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5. Install shades

One of the measures that can significantly reduce solar loads in the house during the summer as awnings and pergolas.

Although their cost is small compared to other measures, such as insulation, the result can be large.

Depending on the orientation,  they can contribute both thermal comfort, and also the visual comfort, minimizing the possibility of dazzle from excessive brightness, and the angle of incidence of solar radiation. The cost depends on the type of blinds, as there are affordable (tents), but also more accurate and effective solutions (mobile awnings, pergolas etc.)


6. Painting

Painting, whether it is indoors or outside the building, can bring about an improvement in the energy situation of the building, but also a significant renewal in the spaces we inhabit every day, improving our mood.

In the recent years,  there have appeared on the market colors, which can be as an additional insulation layer. More specifically, new exterior colors, known as cool colors or heat-insulated, have a much higher emissivity and reflectivity compared to a plain white coating.

Costed about 20-30% more expensive than conventional paints, while the thermal resistance per unit of thickness is much greater than that of conventional thermal insulation. However, they could not contribute as much as the conventional thermal insulation due to the very small layer thicknesses which are.

The interior colors have the particularity that is ecological, without volatile compounds. Ecological are the colors that minimize environmental impact throughout their life, from manufacturing until use and application, and disposal in the environment.



7. Change frames / glazing

It has been much discussed  in the recent years, about changing the frames in our homes. By changing the frames substantially, you can reduce the loss of your home. The use of thermal insulation aluminum frames, guarantees the energy shield of a building, resulting in:

– The significant savings, not only energetic, but also economical, resources in the short and in the long run, by drastically reducing the energy needs of the building

– The drastic reduction in the emission of the building, by significantly improving its energy efficiency (reducing the overall heat transfer coefficient through the frame and consequent reduced need operating heating or cooling systems)

The technical and quality characteristics of the frames are expressed by indicators that describe their behavior, to specific requirements. One of the properties to be identified is the coefficient of heat transmission Uw (W / m2K).

The Coefficient of Heat Transfer window Uw depends on:

– The dimensions and the surface ratio (profiles, windows, etc.)

– The heat transfer coefficient of the center glazing system (Ug)

– In linear coefficient of the heat transfer (Psg) between the windows system and profile.

– The coefficient of the heat transfer profiles (Uf)

The coefficient Ug depends on the number and type of the glass (with or without reflective surfaces), the gap between the glass and the filler material (air, gas, mixture).

With the implementation of the instruction on the thermal performance of buildings, came into use (energy) glasses with special coatings to reflect heat (Low E-glass).

These windows are double layered, where the one surface has a special coating with high thermal reflectivity. Moreover, the filler material in the gap of the glass may be a gas of low heat transfer. Such a glazing system, achieves heat transfer coefficient (Ug) about 1,2 W / m2K. (This rate can be reduced even more.)

By using triple glass with special reflective coatings and the use of gas with a low conductivity for filling the gap, can be achieved coefficients 0,5 W / m2K.

In any case, it should be selected window system that brings excellent energy results in relation to costs.

From the above analysis we can concluded that glazing plays an important role on the energy performance of the building, while the replacement is more economical than replacing windows.

The energy effect that they  give, may be  much better even from  the change of frames and for this reason it is proposed, if the existing frames are compatible with the addition of double or triple glazing, to reduce costs are changing the windows with corresponding energy.

In the market there are several types of frames:

• Opening systems

• Folding systems

• Sliding systems

• Retract systems

Those that have fewer losses and are proposed, in case technical selection can be made,  openable are suggested.

The cost for either the change glazing or a complete change and frames, with modern thermal insulation is a major investment with huge economic and energy benefits.



8. Insulation

For the full energy shielding of a building, a good thermal insulation is the key measure. Depending on the year of construction of a building, there is a possibility that there is some kind of insulation, the internal insulation, the insulation between the core bricks and external insulation.

In older buildings, there was no requirement by law to have some insulation, and this depending on the age, a building can be completely insulated at.

For new buildings these days  is required by building regulations to be well insulated, depending on the region where they are located, while older buildings can be added extra insulation abroad.

Such an intervention, although relatively expensive, has great benefits to both in thermal comfort, and quality of life in the building.

With insulation showcase the economic benefits are very large, especially as regards the cost of heating and cooling air-conditioning of the building.

The thermal insulating materials owe their insulating property, primarily in the presence of a large number of these very small pores containing entrapped air. The motionless air presents less known thermal conductivity. The presence of a significant number of air cells within a material results in the appearance of low bulk density, which is a second common characteristic of the thermal insulation materials.


Insulating materials and advantages of the outer insulation.

The insulating materials are characterized as:

1. Inorganic or organic, depending on the origin and the composition.

2. Natural or artificial origin, depending on the level of treatment that exist before release for consumption.

3. Open or closed cells or wind resources

4. Large or small phenomenon


The materials most commonly used for the insulation of walls is polystyrene foam, the polystyrene, polyurethane, glass wool / rock wool, etc., but also more complex materials that promise better thermal resistance, such as polyesterin granules that contain graphite. Depending on the material the thermal conductivity ranges from 0,045-0,02 W / (mK).

The advantages of adding external insulation are:

– The area retains heat / cool for long periods after cessation of the heating / cooling

– The smooth functioning of the building is not prevented and does not reduce the usable space within it’s placement.

– Ensure the total coverage of the building, even the thermal bridges, such as plates, beams and columns

– Is the masonry protection layer

– It reduces to a minimum the risk of humidity display

In the market there are complete external insulation solutions, easy to install, while its cost is proportional to the material and features that are used.

Moreover, the insulation of the roof is very important and should not in any case be overlooked.

It can be done relatively inexpensively, using composite insulation materials (ready-insulated tiles), while the losses in this case are significantly reduced and always after in-depth study of experts.