Featured Blog Posts (510)

Book Review: An Introduction to Green Homes

The Appraisal Institute’s An Introduction to Green Homes is yet another valuable tool from the Institute, paving the way for appraisers to handle green home assignments. The book, authored by long-time appraiser, REALTOR, and educator Alan Simmons in 2010 helps appraisers new to this work “know what they don’t know.” The book equips appraisers to identify green building certifications, techniques,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 9, 2013 at 10:11am — No Comments

Bang for the buck: deep-energy retrofit approach

"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."                                                                                                      Winston Churchill

How much does it cost to perform a deep-energy retrofit at a 100-year-old single-family home? Thanks to a recent study in Utica, New York, we now know the answer: about $100,000.…

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Added by Igor Zhadanovsky on January 3, 2013 at 1:44pm — 32 Comments

High CO Reading, Now What?

Things used to be so easy when working in this business back in the day. When carrying tools for some old timers, I remember some replacing an air filter and kicking the furnace while saying"Yup, still here!" Maintenance these days, for great reason, has taken a more efficient operation mentality, mainly because energy prices have started to affect our wallets. These days, 68% steady state efficiency oil boilers and gas furnaces with high carbon monoxide readings mean something. But, does it… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on January 3, 2013 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EE + RE? Top 10 Takeaways from Realtors' Annual Conference

NAR Image

 

Five very full days in Orlando at NAR Annual 2012 creates a full slate of new ideas, opportunities and new thinking about old obstacles. Here are my Top 10 ideas and…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on November 23, 2012 at 12:51pm — 2 Comments

Great Home Energy Magazine HPwES article.

Great article.  I think Courtney Moriarta may be one of the brilliant original designers of Comprehensive Home Performance:

Home Energy Magazine - Home Performance with Energy Star :: Home Performance with Energy Star - Looking Back to See the Future 

Hopefully the current obsession with "cost effectiveness" will soon be replaced with focus on Comprehensive…

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Added by tedkidd on November 24, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Financing as Follow-Through

High initial costs can discourage homeowners from making large investments in energy improvements such as new heating equipment or insulation. Our Community Energy Services (CES) residential program tries to remove this barrier by helping identify available rebates as well as offering financing options such as low interest loans. Homeowners who complete a CES home visit qualify for a…

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Added by Anna Jursik on November 27, 2012 at 9:00am — No 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.

Latest Activity

Chris Laumer-Giddens posted a blog post

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky, Especially their Capacity

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky and Still EffectiveThe name "mini-splits" generally refers to heat…See More
7 hours ago
Jan Green posted an event

Solar Course for Appraisers at SRP's Pera Club

November 13, 2014 to November 14, 2014
"As the US continues to search for energy alternatives, properties improved with solar PV…See More
7 hours ago
Hal Skinner replied to Hal Skinner's discussion What an RCC can do with no R- insulation in the walls.
"Just like paint.  RFoller and brush or strong airless sprayer.  It has the consistency of…"
11 hours ago
Hal Skinner replied to Hal Skinner's discussion What an RCC can do with no R- insulation in the walls.
"ty and thermal emission leveld of many materials including bricks and white paint.  They do…"
11 hours ago
Hal Skinner added a discussion to the group The RCC Classroom (Radiant Control Coatings)
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Walmart goes green in Texas

We applied cour RCC to 5 Walmart superstores in Texas.  Worked great and they wanted it.  Then they…See More
11 hours ago
Kim Tanner replied to Trip Smith's discussion Where to spend my marketing dollars?
"Direct mail doesn't do very much, in my opinion, unless you have awesome coupons! Honestly,…"
12 hours ago
Hal Skinner replied to Hal Skinner's discussion What an RCC can do with no R- insulation in the walls.
"Mornn Trip and Bud, In this case all I can do is report it exactly as it was told to me.  I…"
12 hours ago
Bud Poll replied to Hal Skinner's discussion What an RCC can do with no R- insulation in the walls.
"Hi Hal, I have no experience with your RCC product, but I can comment in regards to using a radiant…"
15 hours ago

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