All Blog Posts (1,393)

Home Non-Energy - Preparing Homes for Future Blackouts

We all have stories about losing power in our home for several hours—or days—and many people suspect that power interruptions are becoming more frequent. They may be right; unfortunately, the utility data are so sketchy that nobody can say for certain. But declining investment in maintenance on the part of utilities, plus the increased frequency of extreme weather caused by climate change, are almost certain to keep the blackouts coming.

One response is to buy a home generator. That’s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2013 at 9:54am — 6 Comments

Houston, We Have ANOTHER Problem !

From the great region of the country that gave us rock, blues, country, dubstep, and Tejano music origins, not to mention the space program, horns mounted on pickup trucks, and Gilley's (everywhere, now) comes the newest invention and innovation, the …

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Added by Tom DelConte on December 28, 2012 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

On-Call for the Holidays?

   This seems to be one of the unluckiest weeks to draw in the on-call pool for a technician.  You see, over the Winter you have to respond to no-heat calls much faster than a residence without cooling on Memorial or Independence Day.  I remember visiting homes many Festivus evenings and getting the old clunker of a boiler running, without the swears from "A Christmas Story".  But, even over the last fifteen years, being on-call has changed.  If you were not able to  barter your way out of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 22, 2012 at 10:07am — 1 Comment

What Deregulation Means for You

Hey guys - long time reader, first time poster.  Happy to be here!

How many of you live in deregulated energy markets, by chance? If you're not familiar with them, the way they work is pretty simple. Just like deregulation across other industries, deregulated energy markets spread the regulatory power for your electricity service across a few different areas rather than condensing it all under one body. Basically, deregulated markets like Pennsylvania and Texas allow citizens…

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Added by Kristina Ross on December 19, 2012 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Simple Energy Messages from the Property Brothers

As I recently reviewed in my “Storytelling from BECC” blog, media provides a huge opportunity for the home performance industry to make it into the mainstream. That’s why I was pleased to see recently that HGTV’s show “Property Brothers” was dolling out advice that I’ve heard more than once at industry conferences.

For those of you unfamiliar, the “Property Brothers,” also known as Drew and Jonathan…

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Added by Macie Melendez on December 18, 2012 at 1:15pm — No Comments

Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change

The insurance industry, the world's largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

"Weather- and climate-related insurance losses today average $50 billion a year. These losses have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation," says the study's author Evan Mills, a scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 18, 2012 at 12:58pm — No Comments

Why Tankless, Hybrid Electric, and Solar Water Heaters Just Don't Work!

Tankless- expensive, high maintenance, high failure rates, high install costs, limited flow rates, poor winter performance, long payback.

Hybrid Electric- too tall, need surrounding space for heat exchange, poor durability, noisy, may need condensate pump.

Solar- requires southern exposure, cold & cloudy days: poor performance, very long payback, high install costs

What works?

The good old Storage Tank water heater- electric is OK, fast…

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Added by Tom DelConte on December 18, 2012 at 11:00am — 35 Comments

TRACKING RESULTS - Making Excellence A Competitive Advantage

Promises of savings without tracking DRIVES ME NUTS.  People are being harmed and we don't have any idea how big the harm is.  Comprehensive Home Performance really takes off once you connect tracking results because now you can offer a thing very rare.  

You can offer TRUTH.  You can offer PROOF that what you say will happen, will happen.  Delivering the "5th 

How do we create pressure for Utilities to open up their data so tracking can be automated?…

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Added by tedkidd on December 13, 2012 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Why Don't Architects and Interior Designers Care About HVAC Systems?

GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they'd ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in.

"Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???"

They might have also ask me for dropped soffits and vertical chases to run the ductwork through. To which I would reply:

"What?!?! That's not consistent with my innovative and beautiful design! The…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on December 13, 2012 at 7:54am — 2 Comments

Window Replacement - wading through the maze of options and sales

Background:

In 2012 we decided it was time to replace our 27-year old contractor grade double paned aluminum widows. Some of the seals had failed. Some of the window were leaking (water).

We planned to replace 19 windows initially and ended up replacing 21 in total. 11 of which were single-hung 3-0x6-0 that we replaced with double hung windows. Three had arched eye-brows and had to remain single-hung.

From my online research I was…

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Added by Dale Stephens on December 11, 2012 at 9:08am — 1 Comment

How will People Afford to Heat their Homes?

The inability to heat one’s home is known as ‘fuel poverty’ and it is at an all time high across the UK. Around 8,000 people die each year because of it and there are urgent calls for more energy efficiency to prevent fuel poverty…

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Added by Lenka Rihova on December 11, 2012 at 6:35am — 2 Comments

LED Lighting - Garage Door opener interference

Background

In November 2012 I started replacing all CFL and Incandescent lighting in the home with new LED bulbs. At our local 'big box' home improvement store I purchased several (35) LED bulbs and began making the switch to LEDs. Over the past several years most of our incandescent lights had been replaced with CFLs. I was not happy with the performance of the CFLs both in terms of light quality and life of the bulb. It seems like every other month I was…

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Added by Dale Stephens on December 11, 2012 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

Home Energy Improvements 2012 in Plano, Texas

During the past 12 months (2011/2012) we have completed several energy efficiency and other projects in our home in Plano, Texas.

Background:

Brick Veneer, slab on grade home built in 1985.

Living           1938 sq. ft.

Under Roof   2560 sq. ft.

Home faces Southeast. All rooms have ceilings above 8' with ceiling treatments (vaulted, boxed, splayed,). Home built with 24 contractor-grade windows mostly 3-0x6-0. Home…

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Added by Dale Stephens on December 11, 2012 at 5:30am — No Comments

A Successful Technician

I am sure I am not the first to write about this, but it doesn't change expectations of homeowners or trade employers.  Why is it that millionaire ball players can be successful batting .300?  A pitcher can have thirty starts, win 20 games and could be named for the Cy Young?  Or that a successful quarterback can throw 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions?  The reason: they are much better than their peers.

     Imagine, as an HVAC Tech, you got the diagnosis correct  one-third of the…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 4, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Combi System Animations

Reposted from i.e., the Center for Energy and Environment's Innovation Exchange blog -- http://mncee.org/Innovation-Exchange/ie/…

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Added by Lester Shen on December 3, 2012 at 9:30am — 25 Comments

What happens when you get snow on solar panels?

Greener living starts at home!There are plenty of things you can do to save energy and water around the house and reduce your bills. One of these things is to install solar panels. Solar panels on your roof can generate electricity and can help you to…

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Added by Lenka Rihova on December 3, 2012 at 4:10am — No Comments

Energy efficiency and a cold marriage

We know energy efficiency can save the world, but can it save a marriage?

Leave it to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to take on that question. The agency is known for its vanguard energy research.  But it is one thing to produce papers on topics like ‘Air Bypass in Vertical Stack Water Source Heat Pumps’ and another to delve into what a cold room can do to a new marriage.

That’s  the premise behind Irreconcilable Temperatures,  a…

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Added by Elisa Wood on December 1, 2012 at 3:30am — 1 Comment

The Installed Price of Solar PV Systems Continues to Decline

The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). 

The median installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2011 fell by roughly 11% to 14% from the year before, depending on system…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:23am — 1 Comment

Storytelling from BECC

When I attend a conference I can always tell which sessions I find most inspirational by the amount of notes I take. While attending the annual Behavior Energy and Climate Change (BECC) conference on Monday of this past week in Sacramento, the note test proved itself once again. Hands down, I found the most inspiration from the afternoon Spotlight Panel titled “Hollywood, Media and Messaging.”

To be fair, I was excited about…

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Added by Macie Melendez on November 28, 2012 at 10:20am — No Comments

From Construction to Collaborative Training—Q&A with Chris Dorsi

What do you call a former construction worker that knows how to dance the tango? Chris Dorsi. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best punch line, but it is certainly interesting. And that’s not the only thing we learned about Dorsi in the following interview.

Currently gearing up for regional conferences to be hosted by his newly founded company Habitat X in Portland and San Francisco, Dorsi is focused on combining professional training with…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:18am — No Comments

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