Featured Blog Posts (513)

From Energy Audits to Home Performance - 30 Years with Home Energy Magazine

Home Energy magazine (HEM) has been publishing articles about residential energy efficiency for 30 years. Our articles, editorials, letters, and advertisements provide a kind of window into the evolution of energy conservation technologies, policies, and organizations. Initially, the focus was on audits and simple retrofits, such as weather-stripping and insulation. In those…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 24, 2014 at 12:13pm — No Comments

A Day in the Life of Learning

We now know that people learn effectively when they construct their own learning, rather than being told about it. The instructor moves off the stage and becomes the Guide on the Side.…



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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 25, 2014 at 3:40pm — 2 Comments

Rob Nicely, Warrior for Sustainability

I was first impressed by Rob Nicely when I heard him speak these words to an audience of builders, designers, and building scientists: "We’re the warriors of sustainability...We already know everything we need to know to build sustainable buildings—the question is, Can we internalize it into our culture and incorporate that learning into our practices?"

Rob is the president of Carmel…

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Added by Tom White on September 24, 2014 at 10:30am — No Comments

Highlights from the NASCSP Annual Training Conference, 2014

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) met in Raleigh, North Carolina, for its annual training conference. Here are some personal highlights:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina, is a beautiful town but hard to take in from the 6th floor of my hotel room. All I saw…
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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 23, 2014 at 2:03pm — No Comments

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 — 6 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

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

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

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

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

Learning Applied Building Science is Still Hard to Do

As part of Home Energy’s 30th birthday celebration, we are pleased to reprint a 1994 article by Michael Uniacke describing the way he taught building science in a community college (see the article here). Mastering the intricacies of the building science related to energy performance is no…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 6, 2014 at 8:40am — 4 Comments

12 Things Every Home Performance Contractor Should Have on Their Work Truck

Every home is unique and differs from the last. It would be a perfect world (from a project planning standpoint) if every home were a cookie cutter from the previous install, however this is not always the case. I have been in the construction industry doing remodeling and even building new residential homes for over 25 years. Along the way I have run into some interesting situations in which I was not prepared and wished I was. Although this has been sometimes fun and challenging at times,…

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Added by Brandon Walton on July 27, 2014 at 12:19pm — 2 Comments

How do You Test a TXV?

  Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV or TXV), one of the most popular metering devices for residential, high-efficient air conditioning and heat pumps, have performed almost impeccably for decades.  Unfortunately, some manufacturers in the past few years have identified batches of valves that have had high superheat issues.  Have we just been blind for so long, not realizing these problems existed?  Or have these valves really been so reliable for such a long time?

  If you think you…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 21, 2014 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

What is your opinion about members promoting products here?

Hello,

I am a whole house fan and attic ventilation expert in Temecula CA. I started studying whole house fans in 2008 when my wife, Darlene, and I moved from Manhattan Beach. I would really like to share my knowledge with all of you but I want to be sure I don't antagonize you with more commercialization than you want. Please let me know your opinion and if you can, send me some examples of acceptable blogs and unacceptable ones. 

Added by Kurt Shafer on July 18, 2014 at 9:02am — 11 Comments

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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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2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition at Registration open now!

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HVAC AC Compressors Training

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Sean Lintow Sr replied to Robert Cameron's discussion Air duct testing questions.
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