Featured Blog Posts (505)

French Perspective: Thermal Regulation for New Residential Buildings

This summer, the Innovation Exchange is thrilled to host Alice H. from Paris, France!  Alice is a project manager on energy retrofit of residential buildings at the research division of an energy utility company in France. She’s volunteering at CEE for a few weeks to discover the nice people of Minneapolis and also learn about energy efficiency in American buildings. So far, she’s really enjoying her stay!…



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Added by Anna Jursik on August 22, 2012 at 8:32am — No Comments

10 Ways to Cool a House Without Air Conditioning

Sleeping on the front porch after a hot summer day was a straight out necessity. The upstairs of the 1940’s farm house had turned into a sauna and sleeping in the upstairs bedrooms was not possible. Even after the sun went down, the upstairs seemed to get hotter. Let's look at some ways to cool a house without air conditioning?

Now that I spend time trying to figure out how a home can be more energy efficient, I think back to those hot summer days and wonder two…

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Added by Don Ames on August 22, 2012 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

Dispatches from Summer Study: A Night in the Life of the Summer Study

The Monday night plenary speaker at the 2012 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study of Energy Efficiency in Buildings, held every two years in beautiful Asilomar, California, was Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Wellinghoff described his coming to FERC in 2006 as a border crossing from the world of energy efficiency—according to Steve Nadel, before joining FERC, Chairman Wellinghoff attended 12 Summer Studies—to the…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 21, 2012 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Dispatches from Summer Study: Watch Japan and Expect a Great Deal

What’s happening in Japan? Quite a lot according to the 2012 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Tuesday night plenary speaker, Andrew DeWit, Professor in the School of Policy Studies at Rikkyo University. Professor DeWit described nothing less than a battle taking place upon the ruins of the Fukushima power plants, between sustainability and crushing debt; same-old same-old, and the new green economy.

DeWit described the “Hashimoto Phenomenon”. Hashimoto is an Osaka-based…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 21, 2012 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Where do the presidential candidates stand on energy efficiency?

We know that what a political candidate says during a campaign often differs from what the eventual office-holder does. We also know that candidates choose their words carefully to give themselves wiggle room for modifications in course.

So we listen for innuendo and subtleties when candidates talk about our special interests. What kind of qualifying language do they use? Are they truly against X, Y and Z, or only under special circumstances?

 Below are some quotes on energy…

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Added by Elisa Wood on August 21, 2012 at 7:55pm — 1 Comment

Dispatches from Summer Study: Something of a Study in Contrasts

Another American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings has come and gone from the beautiful Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. But the reverberations of the talks, discussions, and connections made will reverberate until the…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 20, 2012 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Walking The Talk

Carol Markell, our sales manager extraordinaire, always appreciated the people in this industry because she found them to be conscientious, hardworking, and generally a kind and socially engaged community who walked their talk. To honor her memory, we (the staff at Home Energy) asked ourselves how we walked our own talk. Following is what we discovered about each other:

Kate, our production manager, reported that every night she turns off all her electronics…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 20, 2012 at 10:45am — 1 Comment

Part II: Designing for High Performance, Controlling Heat Flow in Slab-On-Grade

In Part I of this series on designing for high performance, we discussed the control…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on August 15, 2012 at 3:15am — No Comments

Green Roofs for Homeless Youth

In August 2011, Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) celebrated the completion of Harmon Gardens, a multifamily apartment building that provides shelter and supportive services for 15 transition-age youth, ages 18–24, which are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Designed by HKIT Architects, and constructed by Midstate Construction Company, Harmon Gardens aims to be a model for sustainable design. Located in Berkeley, California, the development utilizes existing infrastructure and PV…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 15, 2012 at 3:02pm — 3 Comments

Designing for High Performance: Slab-On-Grade, Part I – Controlling Moisture Flow

We’re just a few weeks away from a computer generated, self-guided interactive virtual tour of the Serenbe Residence near Atlanta, Georgia (Climate Zone 3a). We’re using REVIT software to generate the 3D model, then  …

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on August 13, 2012 at 4:00am — 6 Comments

Will the Green Button Report Real Time Power Usage?

When I think about real time power usage data, I am thinking about data that is being made available that very second. Data that is being reported in real time is like watching a football game live. You know that the running back just added 10 yards on to his total because you just saw the run on the T.V. That's real time.

It is being reported that the Green Button program being offered by many power companies allows customers with a Smart Meter to see their power usage in real time,…

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Added by Don Ames on August 9, 2012 at 8:00pm — 6 Comments

$250 for a Thermostat?!

Reposted from i.e., the Center for Energy and Environment's Innovation Exchange blog -- http://mncee.org/Innovation-Exchange/ie/

Last October, former Apple employees garnered a lot of media attention when they announced that they were designing the Nest: a smart and aesthetically pleasing thermostat. We …

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Added by Lester Shen on August 13, 2012 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

Our Youth and Our Planet—Q&A With Berkeley High’s Green Academy

Hello Readers! My Name is Toni White. I came to Home Energy magazine a little over a year ago as an office assistant intern. My home city is Berkeley, California (which is also where HE Mag is located). Berkeley is a small city that neighbors San Francisco and Oakland, and has a population of about 112,000. I call Berkeley the “Hippie City” as it’s very open-minded, liberal, has a mixture of different people, and a sense of calm. We are also home to one of the best schools,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 9, 2012 at 1:20pm — No Comments

Pushing This Green Button Will Lower Your Power Bill

Let's take a closer look at the Green Button and see if it is more than just an adult toy. According to Obama and other government supporters, the Green button is going viral. Ya, right, I don't believe it.

There has been several efforts in previous years to get power companies to "sign on" to programs that allow electric and gas customers to see how much energy they are using right there and then. The theory is that households that have energy usage data readily available will use…

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Added by Don Ames on August 2, 2012 at 8:06pm — 12 Comments

The Most Awaited Thermal News of Summer 2012!

It's out! The news you were waiting for! It's not from the Feds, since they gave up on thermostats three years ago, finding them too difficult to test! Some independent agency did it, and it's still a mystery:

User friendly thermostats report

Venstar(top three) & Nest(top three?) are mentioned, but who are the others? Is Lux at the…

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Added by Tom Delconte on August 1, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

From the Field: Residential Energy Programs and Mobile Devices

CEE has always been attuned to advances in technology, whether assessing improvements in appliances and energy systems or applying new communication tools to innovate around program delivery. We recently interviewed Tom Spielman, Director of IT, and Rich Szydlowski, Director of Business Development and…

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Added by Anna Jursik on July 25, 2012 at 8:13am — 2 Comments

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the HERS Index

A lot of home builders and homeowners are getting certified home energy ratings to find out how efficient their homes are. There's also a lot of buzz about HERS ratings, with builders looking at them…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on July 25, 2012 at 1:25pm — 2 Comments

Book Review: Would Gordon Gekko Go Green?

By Elisa Wood

July 17, 2012

 

Energy books tend to be either jargon-filled tomes or hand-wringing, end-of-the-world, please-just-shoot-me-now reprimands. So it was a relief to see that Brian Keane avoids both of these worn-out roads in his new book, “Green is Good: Save Money, Make Money, and Help Your Community Profit from Clean Energy.”

 

Keane expertly tells the clean energy story…

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Added by Elisa Wood on July 23, 2012 at 11:33pm — 1 Comment

4 Mini-Splits and Heat Pump Efficiency, Will It Work?

Yes, I drive tractors too. Along with the home energy audit work, I’m a farmer at heart. I received a call from a gentlemen that needs some help backfilling and leveling out the dirt around the foundation of his homes new addition.

Now that the ground is dry enough, I load up my 24 horsepower Kabota tractor with bucket, attach the tiller and head over to his place. I find an old original house that was constructed shortly after the wagon trains arrived. Attached to the side is the new…

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Added by Don Ames on July 22, 2012 at 12:32pm — 1 Comment

In Memoriam: Carol Markell

We are very sad to announce the sudden passing of our colleague, Carol Markell. Carol died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 19, in the company of her closest friends while on vacation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As Home Energy’s Advertising and Marketing Manager for over a decade, Carol developed relationships with scores of Home Performance industry professionals and advertisers, networking at…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 24, 2012 at 3:30pm — 4 Comments

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