Featured Blog Posts (671)

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…


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…


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…


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,…


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…


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

What is your opinion about members promoting products here?


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

Please, Make the Transition!

  For as long as I can remember, the agreed epidemic with ductwork was always undersized return ducts.  Although we are far from perfect with duct sizing in New England, I have frequently seen great strides in fixing this issue - particularly with replacement systems.  Lets face it, you should just be properly designing the duct system on new installations.  Undersized ducts cause great restrictions in airlfow, raising…


Added by Christopher Morin on July 17, 2014 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance

Homeowners are often aware of the different problems they experience in their homes: uncomfortable rooms, high utility bills, poor indoor air quality, etc. However, homeowners are generally unfamiliar with the concept of Home Performance, the Whole House approach, and how energy efficiency upgrades can address these concerns. We regularly hear these stories and find that by listening, asking the right questions, educating, and providing guidance, we can help homeowners feel…


Added by Scott Mellberg on July 16, 2014 at 10:29am — 13 Comments

My Energy Upgrade California—The Numbers Are In

Here are the final numbers for my Energy Upgrade California home retrofit.

Table 1. Air…


Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 10, 2014 at 11:30am — 26 Comments

Detroit Rises from the Ashes

On the flight home from ACI’s 2014 National Home Performance Conference, I read Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy. It’s a gritty, sad story about the decline of one the greatest U.S. industrial cities. It was fitting that ACI’s conference was held in Detroit–thanks to the growth of the auto and wartime industries in the early 20th century, Detroit was the birthplace of the U.S. middle class. But according to LeDuff, Detroit, which “once led the nation in home ownership,…


Added by Tom White on July 7, 2014 at 4:19pm — 5 Comments

"Moisture Control Guidance for Building Design, Construction, and Maintenance"- new free guide from EPA

This is a great free resource for building pros everywhere- to hear the interview about its creation, check out the latest Building Performance Podcast with my hero Lew Harriman and his co-conspirator Terry Brennan:


To download the guide,…


Added by Corbett Lunsford on July 7, 2014 at 4:19pm — No Comments

More HERS Ratings Expected in 2015

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) announced its collaboration with the International Code Council last week in an effort to help home builders transition to the new 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In the upcoming version of the residential building code, RESNET's HERS Index will be an optional compliance path — some people are saying that this compliance path represents the most significant change coming to 2015 IECC

What is the…


Added by Everblue Training on June 20, 2014 at 5:30am — 1 Comment

Strategies To Keep Millennials At Their Peak Performance In A Home Performance Company

Let me first start by confessing my guilt... Guilt for being bored easily, guilt for wanting praise, even if it is a pat on my own back for an achievement... Guilt for being a millennial... On the other hand I enjoy working in teams and I encourage frequent communication between all team members from admin staff to auditors, sales staff and crew members to improve our workflow. Yes, I am a millennial, but let me add that there is nothing that makes me cringe more than the excuses I get from…


Added by David Byrnes on June 24, 2014 at 4:30am — 3 Comments

Off-the-Shelf – LEED & National Green Building Standard as Residential Building Code

Cities grafting green-building certifications like LEED into commercial building codes is nothing new, and a number of places like Dallas, Atlanta, Boston and Scottsdale have had such requirements in place for a decade or more.


What’s happening now is that cities are doing likewise with…


Added by Melissa Baldridge on June 14, 2014 at 5:43pm — 1 Comment

1825 Home Becomes an Energy Efficiency Role Model - Remodeling Magazine

Recently, Jodi and I sat down with freelance journalist, Scott Sowers, to discuss the design challenges of the Historic Molette House in Molettes Bend, Alabama. Below is…


Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on June 11, 2014 at 4:58am — 13 Comments

'Oh Wow' Tech and Trends from Energy Efficiency Insiders at Washington, D.C. Gathering

Brainy light bulbs. Refrigerators that heat dishwasher water. Elevators that use no more energy than toasters. These are just a few of the “Oh Wow’ topics last week at the annual EE Global conference.

But it was growth in cities – and their buildings – that was clearly on the minds of industry leaders, 500 in total who gathered at the Washington, D.C. event, sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy.

The US spends $432 billion per year on energy for buildings –…


Added by Elisa Wood on May 27, 2014 at 3:39pm — No Comments

What Ballerinas and EPros Have in Common...

I'm pretty new to this whole industry... And by new I mean that the jumble of acronyms and terminology are still enough to leave me a bit dazed when some well meaning individual spurts off several in one sentence.  

Home efficiency is not a field I ever could have imagined being involved in.  By training, I'm an a ballerina.  I've danced since I was three, trained in NYC, graduated from a conservatory... the works. And yet here…


Added by Hannah Finch on May 29, 2014 at 12:17pm — 5 Comments

Despite record breaking cold winter our MI GreenStar Certified home saved 50% Energy!

Despite the extreme record breaking cold this winter, we still saved nearly 50% energy compared to the home prior to the remodel and about the same compared to conventional homes in West Michigan.…

Added by Brett Little on May 31, 2014 at 5:30pm — 14 Comments

Top 5 A/C Code Requirements not Enforced

  This list does not represent the entire code, or even all municipalities.  Everyone knows those towns that will hit you on every piece of the local code requirements, word for word from the text.  But, don't be surprised when code officials, both building and mechanical inspectors, start failing permit inspections for these previously rarely enforced portions of the code!  Are you going to wait until enforcement, or lead the industry in doing what the minimum is required by…


Added by Christopher Morin on June 5, 2014 at 5:34pm — 8 Comments

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