All Blog Posts (1,141)

Energy, Faith, and the Narratives We Live By

(This post first appeared as an article in America Magazine, a Jesuit, Catholic, national weekly journal, in the May 6, 2012 issue.)

Since the beginning of the 20th century, oil has played the role of cheap labor in the U.S. economy and in economies around the world. Traditionally, we have been interested in the horsepower of our car engines, but what if we measured the energy we use in terms of human labor? To power a typical…


Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 7, 2012 at 4:47pm — No Comments

The Google Earth of IR Images—Q&A With Storm Duncan

By now you may have heard about drive-by energy audits. But have you heard of drive-by energy audits performed on entire cities at the same time? Say hello to the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, Essess. Essess (pronounced like “recess” without the “r”) has recently entered the home performance scene, and they’re making a lot of noise. In just a couple of weeks, we here at Home Energy received multiple emails from friends and partners in the industry…


Added by Macie Melendez on June 5, 2012 at 5:07pm — 4 Comments

Heat Pump Break-Even COP's

How do you know if  should upgrade your air-conditioner to a heat-pump and create a dual-source application during replacement this Summer?  I personally always prefer the option of multiple fuel sources, particularly since energy prices have been all over the place during the last decade.  Fortunately, based on average energy prices, there is some simple math to figure out if an aggressive assessment should be made for a dual-source heat pump application, based on equations from ACCA's…


Added by Christopher Morin on June 3, 2012 at 12:23pm — 5 Comments

Conversations from the Wx Frontlines: Terry Emelander

Another winner of the 2011 Weatherization Assistance Program National Recognition Award, presented at the National Weatherization Training Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, was Terry Emelander. (You can view an entire list of winners here.)

Terry is the owner and president (along with being a licensed Michigan builder) of T & L…


Added by Macie Melendez on May 30, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Portland’s First Passive House (Passiv Haus)

Jake Staub and Sonia Barrantes, two veteran former U.S. Navy Test Pilots in Portland, and Chris Corson, of EcoCor Design/Build in Belfast, have embarked on Portland’s first Passive House journey set to break ground in Spring 2012.

For Staub and Barrantes, the Passive House, or Passiv Haus for…


Added by Samuel Strickland on May 24, 2012 at 8:08am — No Comments

A Solar House with Soul in Wiscasset, Maine

A brand new passive solar house completes the first piece of a long held dream for homeowner Jason Peacock. A builder and LEED Accredited Professional, B.A. Jason also works at Maine Green Building Supply where he has honed his sustainable knowledge. Passionate about green, when Jason bought 36 acres of land just outside of Wiscasset, Maine he had a very specific vision in mind.…


Added by Samuel Strickland on May 23, 2012 at 1:45pm — No Comments

Diagnosing Improper Fixed Orifice Sizes

   I have found that this topic often goes unnoticed, or can be a guessing game out there in the field.  Diagnosing improper fixed orifice sizes is actually a fairly simple, cut and dry procedure.  First, I would argue for efficiency reasons, as well as ease of proper charging, you should just field install a TXV.  Of course, when you are on the job site you don't want to spend precious time attempting to adjust refrigerant charge with the incorrect orifice. You would never be able to get…


Added by Christopher Morin on May 23, 2012 at 5:31am — 2 Comments

Conventional AC is not COOL

In order to feel comfortable in the cooling season conditioned air has to be at the right air temperature AND relative humidity. Conventional AC dehumidifies when it is running but it is thermostatically controlled by air temperature only. Which means that when air temperature is reached the AC turns off and stops dehumidifying. Not a big problem if you live in an arid climate such as Pheonix but if you live in New England where the summers are very humid and not…


Added by Joseph Novella on May 22, 2012 at 6:36pm — 12 Comments

Conversations from the Wx Frontlines: Robert Parkhurst

At the most recent National Weatherization Training Conference that took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, six people were presented with a 2011 Weatherization Assistance Program National Recognition Award.

The Recognition Awards acknowledge outstanding contributions that advance the goals of WAP through individual or group achievement, inspiration, or innovation. The Recognition Awards program is open…


Added by Macie Melendez on May 17, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Home Performance and the Real Estate Market: A Perfect Match

If the home performance industry had an online dating profile, it would likely be looking for someone with a great network of friends that he could get to know. Home performance would also be looking for someone with a rich history (like himself), good looks that go beyond the surface, and someone who may be able to get some of his friends a job (hey, not everything in a relationship is about romance). Someone like the real estate market, for example. Unfortunately for home performance’s…


Added by Macie Melendez on May 15, 2012 at 12:53pm — 4 Comments

A Tipping Point for Energy Efficiency?

In a post-foreclosure world, home buyers want homes that cost less to own - and energy efficient homes are the means to that end. …


Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on May 15, 2012 at 9:39am — No Comments

Rooftops Provide Huge Opportunity For Solar Development

Los Angeles is a prime area for solar power, and its development space is growing. More than 12,000 acres are available on rooftops across the city, which could net families and business owners up to five gigawatts of power. This clean energy reduces oil dependency, helps the environment, and over time cuts energy costs. This broad new opportunity provides the perfect time for solar training.…


Added by Fida Hossain on May 13, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Correctly Sizing a Capacitor

I don't know how many times a technician has said that they installed a part based on what was on their service truck.  I have heard of technicians wasting money over-sizing contactors, cutting down air filters, and even using controlled substances to clear condensate drains!  Of course, these scenarios all get the job done, but I would argue the many reasons why not to do these.  The one thing that gets to me is when a technician doesn't verify they are installing the correct size dual run…


Added by Christopher Morin on May 13, 2012 at 11:43am — 2 Comments

How Does Air Conditioning Work

Author Note: Here's
 a link to the original post on
 Energy Auditing Blog. Also, it was written to prove that a Mainer does understand air conditioning, at least for the 9 days a year we need it.


It's time to turn to cooling thoughts, even though Maine didn't actually get a winter this year. It's true; we had an…


Added by Erik North on May 12, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Missed Opportunity? Energy Audits @ Home Purchase

It may be the…


Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on May 8, 2012 at 9:30pm — 12 Comments

Spending on PV Equipment in Q2’12; Strong Growth Forecast from 2013 - 16

With the modern innovations made possible through technological breakthroughs, now occurring almost daily, many are becoming increasingly concerned with the negative impact these modern conveniences have on our environment. Never has there been a higher demand for individuals who have gone through solar panels sales training and possess NABCEP Certification.

Most people, when posed with the question of how they can make a positive difference on the environment, are sure to mention…


Added by Fida Hossain on May 7, 2012 at 1:30am — No Comments

Realistic Expectations and "The Occupied Zone"

How many times as a technician have you gone out to the same customer's home because of unrealistic expectations?  Some homeowners expect air-conditioners to work like an ice box, want you to size them for their big party on Fourth of July weekend, and expect you to show up at the drop of a dime when it doesn't meet their impossible notion.  Of course, this could be avoided by establishing a standard during the sales process or a little customer education.  I liked to talk about "The…


Added by Christopher Morin on May 5, 2012 at 8:07pm — 1 Comment

Solar Power Moving Forward at Light Speed

Just decades ago, solar power was an idea that had not yet reached its time. However, that has changed dramatically as the global community seeks alternative sources of power. The demand for solar energy rose 40% in just one year alone, making this renewable resource one of the fastest growing industries. The earning potential of businesses involving solar power could be astounding in the near future. Individuals qualified in the industry will no doubt have the advantage over their…


Added by Fida Hossain on May 3, 2012 at 4:00am — No Comments

Editorial: Reflections on ACI

An industry's health is sometimes measured by the enthusiasm of its trade shows. Arguably, ACI is not a trade show, but it certainly is a bellwether for the home performance industry. And it rocked. By all measures, ACI was larger, broader, and more exciting than past conferences.

ACI continues to be a magnet for audiences ranging from contractors just starting out and receiving blower door training to engineers and building scientists. In this way, it serves as the premier…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 1, 2012 at 10:34am — 5 Comments

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