Featured Blog Posts – January 2014 Archive (9)

Let's Hear It for People Who Sweat and Get Dirty!



I worked as a janitor at St. Camillus elementary school after school and in the summers when I was in high school. I enjoyed the camaraderie with the other high school kids I worked with, and the crusty Dutch man who was our boss. We cleaned every afternoon in the school year and on weekends, and then painted, cut the grass, and did maintenance on the heating system and other equipment in the summer. We took pride in our work, but we also had fun—once in a while playing a game…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 30, 2014 at 2:20pm — 12 Comments

Claim Tax Credits for Home Energy Efficiency Improvements Done in 2013

If you completed certain eligible energy efficiency improvements last year, you may qualify for credit when you file your 2013 taxes this year.

Remember, though, improvements must have been installed in 2013, not just purchased, and generally, claims can only be made on your primary residence.

Eligible measures may include doors, windows, and…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on January 23, 2014 at 11:04am — No Comments

Is the Nest Learning Thermostat Disruptive Technology?

There’s my thermostat now, a squared-off plain looking fellow named White Rogers. He hangs over my shoulder and mocks me three or four times a day for not being smart enough, or responsible enough, to program him. "Hey! I’m BUSY HERE, TRYING TO TRANSFORM THE MARKET FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY, and you, Mr. White Rogers, are a daily pain in my side. I can’t read you. You don’t even know what time it is, but I do, it's time you get dumped! I’m going over to the Apple store to pick up my own personal…

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Added by Brian Brainerd on January 22, 2014 at 9:21am — 6 Comments

Apply Now to Serve on a Multifamily Certification Scheme Committee

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is currently seeking enthusiastic multifamily industry practitioners with the experience and vision to help define and promote advanced professional certifications for Multifamily Quality Control Inspectors and Multifamily Retrofit Project Managers in the home performance industry.

Individuals who are interested in serving on a multifamily certification scheme committee are invited to submit their credentials via an …

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Added by Steve Lommele on January 17, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Basics: Superheat

Vital to the operation of the refrigeration cycle, superheat must be maintained and stable to protect the compressor.  We all know that the heart of the system cannot compress liquid (slug) without bad things happening.  This would represent low/no superheat.  But, did you know high superheat can cause valve and compressor problems as well?  No matter the reason for attaching your gauges to the system, you must check the superheat, in the air-conditioning cycle.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 10, 2014 at 12:03pm — 3 Comments

Getting Out the Message on Home MPG

We've created a blog post at AlabamaWISE.com comparing home energy efficiency to auto energy efficiency over time, using photos to help people visualize the prevailing technology when homes were built: http://www.alabamawise.org/whats-your-home-mpg-rating/

Added by Brian Brainerd on January 8, 2014 at 3:48pm — 2 Comments

How Change Happens in Home Performance

I was reviewing an article in Home Energy by Steve Mann that came out in the January/February issue (“DOE’s Challenge Home,” p. 6). He wrote on the latest iteration of DOE’s Challenge Home Program. Steve points out, in his usual insightful and articulate way, what he sees as the strengths and weakness of this program. I hope you’ve read it, or will read it. Send us your comments by email, or on the Home Energy website.

Reading Steve’s article made me think, “Wow, do…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 6, 2014 at 3:00pm — 8 Comments

Ode to Efficiency

Ode to Efficiency

The cellulose was blown in the attic with care

In hopes a cold winter soon would be there

The leaks and the cracks and the holes are all foamed

Plugging up spaces…

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Added by Matthew Damon on January 2, 2014 at 10:31am — No Comments

Thirty Years of Waterbeds and Home Energy Magazine

The January/February 2014 issue of Home Energy magazine officially kicks off our 30th year in print. In commemoration of our 30 years we will be reprinting some of our earliest articles. We hope that these articles are both entertaining and informative.

This first…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2014 at 10:14am — 2 Comments

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

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Kaushal Bharath Raju posted a discussion

Affordability & Deep Energy Upgrade/Passive House Retrofit in Berkeley, California.

We have a small 1940s single level house (1005sqf) in Berkeley, California that is in need of a…See More
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Christopher Morin posted a blog post

5 Things New Energy Efficiency HVAC Contractors Need to Know

1. Do not sell on Price! Use 'Simple Payback'The price of High-efficient equipment will undoubtedly…See More
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David Eggleton commented on David Eggleton's group Considering Permaculture &/or Transition
"In August 2014, in Minnesota, there's another unprecedented opportunity to meet and mix with a…"
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Glen Gallo commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"Nate, RE: Duct test On my own home and a rental I have tested more than once over the last many…"
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Tools of the Trade

A hammer and a saw used to be the key tools for home contractors. Today, the best-in-breed also use…See More
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Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
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Considering Permaculture &/or Transition

Some who work to increase energy efficiency and intelligent/wise use of energy are, and some will…See More
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Jim Gunshinan commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"Thanks for all the comments. Yes, it is interesting how the duct leakage grew over the years. Maybe…"
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Ed Minch commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"What sort of energy bill do you have now, what is  your target bill, and what will it cost to…"
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"I look forward to hearing more about the inside of the program! The big question that came to mind…"
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Glen Gallo commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"It is curious to see a 15% difference in the duct test from the test out of 2007 to the current…"
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