All Blog Posts (921)

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky, Especially their Capacity

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky and Still Effective

The name "mini-splits" generally refers to heat pump systems with one outdoor unit and one or several smaller capacity air handlers. The efficiency of their operation comes via the inverter compressor and variable refrigerant…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on September 17, 2014 at 1:32pm — 1 Comment

A Furnace that Produces Electricity

Hello all.

It seems that we hear about new technology every day. New energy efficiency products. Many times I have been lead down the path, as I am sure all of you have, that leads to a disappointment.

I am writing this blog - my first one on Home Energy Pros - to inform all of you who really care, that I have been blessed to be able to work alongside someone who has invented a micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) that is ground breaking. In short, it's a furnace that produces…

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Added by Peter Cantone on September 11, 2014 at 9:08am — No Comments

When windows aren't the culprit of a leaky building, solve the mystery with an energy audit.

Liz Vogel replaced the windows and updated the heating system in her small multifamily building in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. But she still noticed that parts of her home were not staying warm in winter. So she set out to solve the mystery of the missing heat. She saw icicles hanging from her roof, and that was a clue that pointed to where heat was escaping. The presence of these “ice dams” meant that Liz was paying to heat her roof and melt the snow instead of heating her…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 11, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

Let the games begin! Please note that registration has opened for the upcoming 2015 Race to Zero Student Design…

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Added by Stacy Hunt on September 5, 2014 at 1:49pm — No Comments

Driving Demand for Energy Upgrades in Michigan

We're testing a newly-produced informational video, which our Michigan home inspectors share with their recent home-buying clients, to see how effective it is in driving demand for energy upgrades. Watch it at http://www.nachi.org/michigan-home-inspection-follow-up-survey.htm and share your thoughts.

Added by Benjamin Gromicko on September 5, 2014 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

How an Energy Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Tax Credits Flickr Cut Up Money

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

Energy efficiency rebate programs from gas and electric utilities have become pretty common nationwide. They give rebates for replacing your furnace or adding insulation to your home. While these programs seem like a good idea, they can actually…

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Added by Nate Adams on September 5, 2014 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

Home Energy Magazine Features 30 Home Performance Leaders Under 30 to Celebrate 30th Year in Print

The September/October 2014 issue of Home Energy marks the magazine’s 30th year in print. To celebrate that milestone, an industry-wide call for nominations found noteworthy professionals in home performance who were 30 years of age or younger. The feature article introduces the young people who the industry can count on to lead the home performance industry for the next 30 years. 

Home Energy’s associate editor, Macie Melendez, compiled the nominations and…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2014 at 2:56pm — 1 Comment

Should this Duct Layout be Banned?

When is it ok to put your ducts into an attic, tight up against the Roof Deck?  With more conventional building techniques, I would have to argue: NEVER!  I do not care how the homeonwer pleads to keep their storage space, you cannot count on delivering cool air to the conditioned space with said branch duct.  Even if you did figure out a way to secure the duct to the peak without crushing the inside diameter, the CFM is not the problem.  The real issue becomes the dry bulb temperature of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 3, 2014 at 6:24pm — 3 Comments

Not too Late to Join the RaterFest! Party THIS Weekend!

RaterFest! kicks off this Friday, September 5, at Covenant Heights in Estes Park, CO. We still have a few spots left in the bunkhouse!

The registration cost of $375 includes meals from Friday dinner until Sunday lunch, zip-lining, Colorado craft beers, 10 fantastic sessions, and housing for Friday and Saturday night.  We also have the option to choose a Saturday day pass.

And don't forget... RaterFest! is proud to be certified for 12 RESNET Rater Professional…

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Added by Hannah Finch on September 2, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments

Top 5 Changes to ACCA Manual S

      As I had brought up years ago, ACCA's Manual S was in dire need of an update.  Written in 1995, Manual S Residential Equipment Selection was passed by with huge technical and efficiency strides within the…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 27, 2014 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

After 70 years on the fence, knotty LED light fixtures hide the Ductless in splendor

After the first week, the ductless heat pump and I became so close that could never even think of her as ugly. But some folks don't like the look.

In an analogy to current medical practice, the mini-split heat pump is fabulous but the side effects are minimal for some people. In those cases, we have a cure for the side effect, the LED sandwich light that mesmerizes the eyes softly and makes heat ugly pumps disappear right before your very eyes.…

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Added by Joseph Lamy on August 19, 2014 at 4:09pm — No Comments

UPDATED: Big Changes for Duct Testing in MA

   If you have not been asked to complete a duct test by your local Massachusetts Inspector, it is just a matter of time before you are surprised by this stringent/updated code requirement.  Despite some push-back from Contractors  and Inspectors, all of MA is required to test new or altered duct systems.  All of MA adopted the 2012 International Energy…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 17, 2014 at 4:59pm — 9 Comments

Assessing long-term PV performance in a low-energy home

Zero Energy Home Friends,

My daily PV output from a 6.56 kW PV system has averaged 22.7 kWh/day over the last two years.

kWh= AC kWh from inverter to grid

irrday= cumulative kWh/m2/day plane of array

pvptmp= array temperature (F) taken on back on one of the modules

obs= elapsed…

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Added by Danny S. Parker on August 17, 2014 at 12:55am — No Comments

Jeremy Draper & the Craiglist Adventure

RaterFest! has many traditions... Bon-fires, Rater Jams, Rater Olympics, Colorado Craft Beers...

Perhaps one of the less well known, but dearly loved, is the tradition of Raters sharing stories about their own homes.

This year we are excited to have Jeremy Draper, who will tell his unique story of building his first home using as much recycled or re-used materials as possible.  He is nothing short of a Craiglist master.…

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Added by Hannah Finch on August 13, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments

No Bubbles, No Troubles!

Or is there? This saying is an old adage in our industry to let the technician know that the refirgerant charge is "all set". You see, there must be a steady stream of liquid to the metering device for it to function properly. For sake of conversation, let's use the TXV. In order for most TXV's to throttle and correctly maintain the desired Superheat, there must be a minimum of 2F of subcooled liquid at the valve (not where it is measured, near the condenser). If the liquid were to flash off… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on August 12, 2014 at 1:19pm — No Comments

Casa Automatica - Aiming for Zero consumption in acclimatization

Hi there, I'm new here. Not sure if this make sense here. But for sure, you will tell if it's not. 

I'm Portuguese, I've 47 years old, 3 children, and spent the last 3,5 years of my life on a project I've called Casa Automatica.

The project started by being just an home control system, where I've tried to combined some security features, water control and home network, in a package, using and sharing an internet connection. The system is presented here…

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Added by jose caramelo on August 11, 2014 at 3:30pm — 7 Comments

FALL FAST TRACK to Revolutionize Home Performance Business, Rock the Houses on Sept 1 2014

You took a class, or read a book, got BPI or HERS Rater certified, or just bought some diagnostic equipment. Your company was heading in the right direction in the beginning, but NOW WHAT? Earning certifications and owning diagnostic tools is a step in the right direction, but it’s only a step… the real power of your home performance focus is in practicing what you preach with testing on every job, and using it to…

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Added by Corbett Lunsford on August 9, 2014 at 11:01am — No Comments

The One Month Countdown to RaterFest! has Begun!

RaterFest! (September 5-7) is less than one month…
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Added by Hannah Finch on August 8, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Announcing BPI Infiltration and Duct Leakage Certification

On August 4th, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) announced a new certification focused specifically on blower door and duct blaster concepts. The announcement came during a monthly meeting for approved BPI Test Centers. The official announcement is slated to come soon. BPI Infiltration and Duct Leakage, or BPI IDL for short, will be a standalone certification that emphasizes proper handling of energy auditing equipment - and you heard it here…

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Added by Everblue on August 7, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

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