Featured Blog Posts (513)

A Pattern Language for Residential Energy Efficiency

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

"The overall name of these interrelated structures is system. The motorcycle is a system. A real system. ...There's so much talk about the system. And so little understanding. That's all a motorcycle is, a system of concepts…

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Added by Lester Shen on September 10, 2012 at 8:30am — 8 Comments

The RETS Way to Green MLS

Those that are interested in a tipping point for residential energy efficiency often look to real estate, and Multiple Listing Services (MLS) as the Holy Grail.

Slowly but surely, one MLS at a time is adding fields for green features.  The last official count in 2010 showed that about 15% of the 850+ independently owned and operated MLS offered at least one green field.  Another 10% were planning to add fields. But anecdotal information since then indicates that some of the planning…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on September 8, 2012 at 1:19pm — 4 Comments

Borrowing from solar thermal system - Why not use two tank systems with heat pump water heaters?

We are starting to roll out heat pump water heaters in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming).  One of the concerns we have in colder climates is the recovery time when the ambient air is cold. The lower the ambient temperature the less effective the heat pump water heater will be in generating hot water causing issues in households with more people, more bathrooms, and in colder months if the heat pump water heater is installed in garages or…

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Added by Roch Naleway on September 7, 2012 at 7:14pm — 40 Comments

Beyond the Cover—Q&A with Chuck Watkins, Veterans Green Jobs

The latest cover (right) of Home Energy features a photo of a man named Scott Willingham. Scott is pictured while working as part of the Veterans Green Jobs program, which trains veterans to work in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), as well as other green jobs.

That cover photo leads readers to a…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 5, 2012 at 3:37pm — No Comments

Editorial: The Rising Cost of Water

The chart below recently caught my attention (1). It shows the changes in prices over time of residential “utilities,” that is, electricity, natural gas, water and sewage, and telephones. My attention normally goes directly to the familiar energy utilities, electricity and natural gas. But wait! Water and sewage prices—they are typically billed together—have outstripped all others. The prices for water and sewage have been climbing so rapidly that water-related expenditures now exceed those…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2012 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

Home Energy Consumption for your region and your rates

Below is a post I published on calculating a home energy use by region using a tool my utility (Georgia Power) provided (made by Apogee).  It's a nice tool to show homeowners if their utility provides something similar.  It could help you validate how improvements to the home can help save energy.

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Added by Chris Kaiser on September 3, 2012 at 10:30am — 6 Comments

Why Isn't the South Green? Or is it?

Everyone is seeking the elusive killer app that will revolutionize energy. Most expect it to be a high tech gadget, or new form of generation or a way to finally store mass quantities of electricity.

Not anthropologist Susan Mazur-Stommen. She’s looking in a completely different place: inside our heads, or more specifically inside the heads of those who live in the Deep South.

Mazur-Stommen, who is the director of behavior and human dimensions for the American Council for an…

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Added by Elisa Wood on August 31, 2012 at 8:44pm — 9 Comments

Replaced my A/C this weekend, results of downsizing by 1/3.

Recently my 13 yr old Carrier A/C devolved a leak and I chose to replace the system rather than track down the leak and repair the coil. I had been reading about doing manual J calculations and how contractors are scared to death to undersize. I had been talking to co-workers about this and it's an uphill battle getting them to think different than 1 ton per 500sq ft. So I decided to take confidence in correct sizing and "put my money where my mouth is" and install a 2 ton sized…

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Added by Bob Blanchette on September 2, 2012 at 4:39pm — 2 Comments

Lead Generation Services for Home Energy Professionals?

Home Energy Pros,


Has anyone used a lead generation service that they have had success with? 

What are your general thoughts about lead generation?

At Mapawatt.com, we think that linking educated consumers with home energy pros is a much needed service.  Of course there is Angie's list, but that is a paid service and I dont think it's that strong in Home Energy services.

Added by Chris Kaiser on September 1, 2012 at 8:36am — 2 Comments

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation of your home is a good idea. That means a fan running 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It provides a means of reducing indoor air pollutants and improving IAQ. It’s good for you and your whole family. We have a cute saying “dilution is the solution to indoor air pollution”

 

But aren’t you supposed to show me ways to save money and use less electricity? I don’t get it

True…

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Added by Glen Gallo on August 31, 2012 at 3:03pm — 14 Comments

Window Film Gets Respect in California

Recently the California Energy Commission (CEC) put window film on the fast track to get it into the new building code—to be effective in 2014. As the first state in the nation to place window film in the next building code, California has officially recognized window film as a legitimate, cost-effective energy saver.

This change in thinking is due to recent reports and studies that show just how effective window film, a thin polymer adhered to the inside of glass, is. One such study…

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Added by Macie Melendez on August 23, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

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

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