All Blog Posts (1,141)

Housing Bale-Out - Boulder Architect Streamlines Green Building


Straw-bale houses have come a long way since Midwestern homesteaders used to stack sod on the Great Plains and call it home.  More recently, 20th century straw-bale builders were either crunchy, granola types hand-crafting their own über-green homes, or affluent greenies seeking to create off-grid trophy houses, budgets be damned.  In all cases, though, straw-bale has been the preserve of the one-off – designed and built one at a time.  Until now.




Added by Melissa Baldridge on September 14, 2011 at 10:51am — 1 Comment

Industrial-sized Energy Efficiency Program Still Growing

A new program by Xcel Energy, a utility supplier of electricity and natural gas to eight Western and Midwestern states, is racking up serious energy efficiency gains by targeting some of the biggest energy users around – large industrial customers.


The Process Efficiency program analyzes customers’ total energy use – from manufacturing equipment to HVAC and lighting – and creates a custom plan to help them save on energy costs.


The initiative…


Added by Andrew Navolio on September 12, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments

9/11 Sad Reality

I am spending the morning sadly watching the 10 year 9/11 commemorations on TV.  Listening to the mindless news reporters trying to lend meaning to one our nations saddest events is pathetic because they are wholly unaware that 9/11 was an energy event. Oil rich nations that promulgated hatred of the United Stated to divert their citizen’s misery actually caused by their own despotic leadership. Thankfully and amazingly many of these governments are falling. Not due to a $1,000,000,000 war…


Added by Joseph Novella on September 11, 2011 at 8:48am — 1 Comment

New PHPP 2012 v6.1 for passive houses

New PHPP 2012 v6.1 for passive houses in German

Added by Guido Schuler on September 10, 2011 at 4:00am — No Comments

Energy efficiency is so in right now part II: The delight factor (and more energy puns)

Guest blog by Cara Miale

Last week, we looked at how the energy efficiency industry is working on its cool factor (Dare I say sex appeal?), to make clean energy more accessible to the masses.

Perhaps a bikini charger doesn’t make much difference when the grid is under great strain as it was this summer; but it does get people thinking about alternatives that…


Added by Elisa Wood on September 9, 2011 at 4:03am — No Comments

Energy Star Bay Window- Designed, Built, and Installed

Final Bay Window Build Pictures

Energy Star Bay Window Build Photos by Scotts Contracting…


Added by scottscontracting on September 7, 2011 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Celebrating Early Adopters of Energy Efficiency

Andrew Rudin's article in the latest issue of Home Energy describes his experiences with a PV and a solar thermal system. The results are not encouraging because the energy savings were modest at best and financial benefits possibly non-existent. The real-world performance described by Rudin is a depressing reminder that good intentions alone can't wring energy savings from an expensive, imperfect…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 6, 2011 at 1:41pm — 2 Comments

The Cost of doing Nothing


In these tough economic times everybody is looking to save where they can. In our quest to reduce our costs often times we decide to do nothing at all. It seems like sound economic policy because doing nothing cost nothing right….…


Added by Glen Gallo on September 4, 2011 at 8:50am — 2 Comments

Are there green premium "Hot Spots"?

There is much talk and some progress towards an elusive premium for green homes.UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn breaks it down. He uses three criteria to predict areas more likely to have a green premium:

  • High electricity prices.
  • More environmentally-minded citizens.
  • MPG-type labels that certify energy…

Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on September 3, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Energy efficiency is so in right now

Guest blog by Cara Miale

In the movie The Social Network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want ads on an early version of his social network; he understands that first and foremost, his site has to be cool. And ads, he says, aren’t cool.

Unlike Zuckerberg (well, at least in the beginning), the energy efficiency industry hasn’t quite grasped the value of being cool. It’s an industry that hopes to be popular because it’s right, and it uses…


Added by Elisa Wood on September 2, 2011 at 9:13am — 6 Comments

Ode to a Home Performance Contractor

For 11 years people at Home Energy have bugged me to write a "home performance poem" because they know I am a poet as well as an editor. Well, it finally happened. I participate in a writing group and the last time we got together we decided as an exercise to write about something we have never written about before. Hope you like it!


Ode to a Home Performance Contractor


My name is House. I stood before you empty

and foreclosed upon.…


Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 1, 2011 at 11:50am — No Comments

Energy Efficiency Program for Grocers Offers Fresh Ideas – and Produce

DTE Energy helped Detroit’s grocers keep their broccoli – and their billfolds – a little greener this year with its energy-saving Grocer’s Incentive Program. The initiative won the 2011 Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Inspiring Efficiency Innovation…


Added by Andrew Navolio on August 31, 2011 at 8:30am — No Comments

What's Happening in the Industry, 101


Here's hoping this slide show might assist those of you who administer programs.  It can be confusing!

Added by A. Tamasin Sterner on August 30, 2011 at 4:06pm — No Comments

Attic Fans Can Cause Headaches for Technicians

Attic fans can suck air down flues causing spillage.  Spillage can cause CO poisoning.  Attic fans can't always be easily accessed or controlled.  Read on:


While doing a comprehensive quality control visit last week, our Pure Energy Final Inspector noted that both the atmospheric draft water heater and atmospheric draft boiler failed these safety tests:

  • Both spilled fumes for longer than one minute (the spillage tests failed)
  • Both had inadequate draft…

Added by A. Tamasin Sterner on August 30, 2011 at 4:00pm — 18 Comments

Wash Post reports on Green is Good for Resale!

Hopefully you caught this article over the weekend. It has been picked up and repeated like crazy!  


Kenneth Harney of the Washington Post wrote a column entitled Is green good for home resale?  The article highlights studies from Seattle, Portland and California.  It offers nice perspective on why these…


Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on August 29, 2011 at 9:01pm — No Comments

Efficient + Disaster Resilient = Sustainable

Picture a so-called “green” building in a floodplain.  Now picture a storm-hardened home guzzling gas like there is no tomorrow.

For me, neither of these conjures up an image of true sustainability.

By virtue of being built unconsciously (or defiantly) in harm’s way, a building is not durable and thus not (in my book) sustainable.  Similarly, a disaster-resilient building belching out greenhouse gases that any scientist worth their salt will tell you is contributing to present…


Added by Evan Mills on August 28, 2011 at 12:00am — 4 Comments

Part 2 Home Weatherization Series

Example of How a Box Sill is Constructed using Standard Building Techniques

Box Sill-What is it? And How to Insulate the Area 

In this Article I'm going to explain how to Seal and…

Added by scottscontracting on August 27, 2011 at 12:30pm — 3 Comments

Part 1 on Home Weatherization Series

Weatherization Tips- Home-re-posted 

Attic Insulation-Energy Solutions- 
  • Part 1 on Home Weatherization Series

Attic Insulation-I've…


Added by scottscontracting on August 27, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments

USDOE ORISE/ NYSWDA Train the trainer workshop, Sept 12-16



Added by Matthew Redmond on August 26, 2011 at 9:35am — No Comments

How much money can new lighting save your business?

Am I average?

That’s the question that often hits me when someone quotes an ‘average’ statistic. The ‘average’ business or household seems almost mythological. Few of us fall right on that point on the line.

The same is true when it comes to often quoted energy efficiency savings statistics. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency says that replacing one old-fashion incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light will save on average $69 over the product’s…


Added by Elisa Wood on August 26, 2011 at 8:23am — No Comments

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