Featured Blog Posts (549)

Do Words Matter for High Performance Homes?

When people consider high performance homes the term “label” gets used most broadly – in both a positive or negative context.  In general, when people talk about…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on January 18, 2013 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Oil Tanks in Your Home

 For a technician or auditor that works outside of the Oil Heating Industry, seeing a tank leaking in a basement can send you into a moment of shock.  Then of course, the dreaded conversation with the Homeowner will cast a cloud.  The key is to have a plan, and know what to do.  The smallest amount of knowledge in this subject could make you the hero.  Simply stating, "Call your Oil Company!" can leave them feeling helpless.  Of course, that oil delivery company must know about a leaking…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 15, 2013 at 11:52am — 3 Comments

Sacred Work

A building is not sacred. A church or a temple, no matter how old, or big, or beautiful, by itself is not sacred. It’s the attitude of the people and the things that people do in a building that make it sacred or not. I have met many people in the home performance field who quietly go about the work of…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 11, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Secondhand Smoke 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 January 8, 2013 at 8:21am — No Comments

Clocking a Gas Meter

  After writing last week's post: "High CO Reading, Now What?" it occurred to me that not as many people out there: technicians, raters, or auditors; are up to speed on the age old firing rate calculation.  I hope this simple procedure is easily understood as you may find it useful if you are working with negative pressure gas valves, with Energy Star Homes, or just simply forgot your manometer at the shop.  I…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 8, 2013 at 6:29pm — 4 Comments

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

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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.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

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Wireless Air Leakage Testing

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Breaking the link between unhealthy homes and unhealthy kids

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Breaking the link between unhealthy homes and unhealthy kids

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Some Useful Information about Furnace Air Filters

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