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Energy Efficiency Home Maintenance Calendar 

Having an energy-efficient home means you are using less energy to do the same jobs. Using less energy is better for the environment and better for our wallets.    

Like a regular check-up for your health, maintaining a home maintenance routine is essential for every house’s upkeep. Our Home Maintenance Calendar has an energy efficiency focus.   

If you plan to go solar eventually, there is an added benefit in greening your home before going solar.  

If you already have solar, completing additional energy efficiency measures can help you maximize your solar system and increase your return on investment!   

Spring  

 

  • Change your air conditioner filter – a dirty air filter causes the blower fan in the HVAC system to work harder to push air through. When it’s working harder, it’s drawing more energy, leading to higher bills. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%!  
  • Trim trees – If your property has any trees, have them inspected by a certified arborist, who can check for signs of illness or any dead branches and catch problems before they escalate and kill a tree. If you have a solar energy system, identify limbs that may be shading your solar array. Plan to have those limbs cut back.  
  • Check for signs of critters nesting around your solar panels – Neighborhood animals are prone to nesting underneath roof-mounted solar panels. Many of our customers avoid the issue with the use of critter guards. If you don’t have critter guards surrounding your solar panels, you’ll want to check for any signs of life that may pose a threat to the solar array.  
  • Get your clothesline ready – air drying your clothes in the sun adds nothing to your utility bill!  

Summer   

 

  • Have air conditioner checked and servicedRegular A/C maintenance can extend your unit’s life and may reduce the need for costly A/C repairs. And, resist setting the air conditioner thermostat lower than usual to cool your house quickly
  • Switch out faucet aerators – for low flow to reduce summertime water usage.
  • Clean your solar panels (only if needed!) – solar panels that are clean ensure solar installations generate optimal electricity. All panels are designed for minimal maintenance; however, dust, pollen, leaves, and other contaminants often find their way onto the panel and soil the surface. For complete instructions, click here.   

Fall  

 

  • Seal cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping; replace if necessary.  
  • Swap old, drafty windows for more energy-efficient models 
  • Schedule an HVAC inspection in early fall before the heating season begins.  
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages.  
  • Swap lightbulbs for LEDs – Heading into shorter daylight hours means you’ll be using the lights in your home even more. LED bulbs to use about 75%–80% less energy than traditional bulbs. Changing out 5 of your most frequently used bulbs for LEDs could save you up to $75 annually.    
  • Consider new attic insulation for the wintertime – If you have an unfinished attic, consider adding insulation. Adding insulation is the most accessible place to reduce your energy costs. To judge whether you need more insulation in your attic, measure the thickness of the insulation there. If it’s less than 6 inches of fiberglass or 5 inches of loose cellulose, it’s time to add more!   

 Winter   

 

  • Add a hot water blanket to your water heater – insulating a water heater that is warm to the touch can save you 7 – 16% on your water heating bill annually!   
  • Add an attic staircase cover – In many homes, poorly insulated and leaky attic access stairs provide an opportunity to improve comfort and save energy and money. You can air seal and insulate the attic stairs opening by building your own insulated cover box or purchasing a kit or pre-built package.   
  • Add a few energy-saving power strips   
  • Slow the escape of heat through glass windows – hang insulating curtains or draperies in front of windows to reduce the heat loss, especially at night   
  • Prepare for a storm – Consider solar battery backup if your home is prone to power outages or if you have critical appliances that need electricity in the event of a grid failure.   

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Leadership Transition Announcements

If we’ve learned anything over the years — it’s to embrace change.  

Change is inevitable.  

As springtime sets in, we’re reminded how much change we see every year. Trees start to bud, bulbs that have been sleeping under the surface come to flower, gardeners start planting in their gardens 

In the solar installation worldspringtime means more calls from homeowners who see the long daylight hours and are reminded of their solar energy ambitions.  

This Spring Third Sun Solar is experiencing not just the normal changes that the season brings, but some new ones too!  

This month longtime CEO and co-founder Michelle Greenfield is transitioning out of her position as CEO and moving to her new role as part time operator and co-owner.  

We’ve always been inspired by Michelle for being a change-maker.  

In addition to co-owning and managing Third Sun Solar for over 20 years, Michelle served on the board of Green Energy Ohio for 11 years and was the president for 2 of those. She helped organize and  is a current Board Member of the Clean Energy Credit Unionwhich has quickly grown to be $20 million credit union with over 3000 members across the country. She initiated and executed the certification process for Third Sun Solar to become the 3rd Certified BCorporation (BCorp) in Ohio in 2012. As you can imagine, the list goes on… 

And for other folks at the company – we’re proud to see them continue their growth path into new roles 

Company Founder and Co-owner Geoff Greenfield has always been known internally as our Chief Visionary Officer. We are excited to see his visionary spirit guide the company in his new title of CEO.  

We’re ALSO pleased to announce that our Controller and General Manager Roberta Washburn now moves into the position of Chief Operating Officer. As COO, she will help guide the company alongside Geoff.  

“The solar energy industry is heating up,” Roberta says, “Between infrastructure change, job growth, and shifting economies, there is a lot of work to be done. As the industry continues to rise, so will Third Sun Solar. Expect to see more of us in more places around the region soon.”  

Congratulations to Michelle on her new chapter, and to our new Executive Leadership Team 

We know that there is BIG growth and change on the horizon. And Third Sun Solar is ready.  

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Women In Solar – Celebrating Women’s History Month

Third Sun Solar’s third hire was Cathy Gielty.   

In 2004 Cathy was living in an off-grid cabin in eastern Ohio. She had a background in environmental sciences, education, and an ethos to use less.  

When she applied to Third Sun Solar, so much of her background, education, mission, and values were in sync with the way Third Sun wanted to operate and grow. At that time, we knew that hiring mission-aligned allies would serve us well over time.   

And we weren’t wrong. Sixteen years later, Cathy remains the longest-standing employee at Third Sun Solar.   

She’s a dedicated Compliance & Accounting Manager and knows the company’s systems’ ins and outs better than most.     

Like Cathy, folks employed by Third Sun Solar share our core values of service, drive, reliability, and growth. Cathy is just one of many women at Third Sun Solar.  

March is Women’s history month, and this month we have been celebrating the Women in Solar here at Third Sun Solar, who are creating history in their roles in the solar revolution.   

And we aren’t just going to call out Cathy (even though Cathy is fantastic).   

Cheers to Women in Solar!  

Believe it or not – in the solar space, women are vastly underrepresented! According to the 2019 Solar Foundation’s Solar Census, women in solar makeup 26% of the workforce, compared to the US workforce overall, where they represent 47%    

And when you look closely, women often make up even less of the engineering, design, and installation teams in solar companies.   

We want to highlight our women in solar. Maybe they can serve as role models for young women interested in entering solar STEM or a technical career!   

Michelle Greenfield – Co-Founder and Owner/Operator   

For the past 20 years, Third Sun Solar founder and CEO Michelle Greenfield contributed tirelessly to solar advancement. These contributions include the increased participation & contributions of women in the solar field. Her leadership can be seen in many areas, as a contractor, policy advocate, and educator. Over the years, Michelle’s leadership has had a ripple effect. Her work has opened doors and driven female participation across the industry.     

This year Michelle was recognized as a top 100 Women Leaders – Real Women in Impact.   

As Michelle reflects on “building the architecture of the solar coaster,” – check out this video that covers a lot of that history – milestones, lessons learned, and how the solar field has developed in Ohio.   

Kathryn – Solar Assistant Designer   

Assistant Solar Designer, Kathryn Biggler. She’s a whiz at designing residential solar systems & is a Tesla Powerwall Pro.   

When Third Sun Solar become a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer in 2019 – Kathryn made it her mission to understand the ins and outs of this exciting, complicated, brand new technology. She knew this was important for the service of our customers and the service of other team members.  

Now anyone with a question about Tesla Powerwall (or solar batteries anything) comes straight to Kathryn.   

Jamey –  Solar Consultant 

Jamey’s 13 years of experience with Third Sun Solar qualifies her to answer any solar question you may have. She has had the pleasure of helping over 350 homeowners install solar while continuing to assist individuals daily in their solar journey.  

What motivates Jamey: knowing that her job is positively contributing to our green energy future 

“I love EARTH. Green, deciduous forest, cave, flora and fauna, waterfall, pond, bug, and animal earth. This is home. The place all living things share & the gift I feel compelled by a force beyond myself to protect. When Third Sun Solar advertised for an office administrator position 11 years ago, I jumped at the chance to apply.” Jamey says, “I saw this as an opportunity to create a career that aligned with my personal values. At the time, I knew nothing about solar except that solar was green and cool. But, I liked the way solar panels looked.”  

Not everyone comes to Jamey liking the way solar panels look, but at this point, she can make them look good to just about everyone.   

Find more of our women in solar this month on our social media pages. We’ll introduce you to more inspiring women. We hope you’ll follow along!   

 

Interested in getting in touch? Fill out the form below and we’ll give you a call.

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