Featured Blog Posts (703)

This is the Future

Last week an opening ceremony kicked off the Solar Decathlon in sunny Irvine, California. While the crowd listened to the major sponsors of the event welcome us, we heard excitement and anticipation in their voices. After all, this has been an event two years in the making.

Usually held in Washington, D.C., the mayor of Irvine, Steven Choi, was proud to welcome this international event to his home. “Even though the federal government is shut…

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Added by Macie Melendez on October 10, 2013 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Leading from Within

When I was still active as a minister in the Catholic Church, I did not enjoy very much presiding at weddings. I had an inkling of the reason at the time, but now I can admit clearly that I was jealous. I didn’t want to bless someone else’s sacramental union as much as I wanted to be in a sacramental union.

I had another, similar insight while participating in an Emerge workshop last weekend. Emerge is a leadership program…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 10, 2013 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Check the Flue?

Seems pretty elementary doesn't it?  What should be a simple safety check on fossil fuel burning appliances, particularly for boilers with regards to ease of inspection, often is assumed with complacency or even goes unchecked.  I know everyone's maintenance schedule is packing up in the Northeast…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 24, 2013 at 6:11pm — 2 Comments

Do We Give People Energy or Help Them to Save It?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was budgeted $2.5-billion by Congress in 2013. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was allowed $68-million. Does anyone see a contradiction here?

LIHEAP provides, primarily, emergency help for households who can’t afford to heat their homes in the winter or cool their homes in the summer. It saves the health and sometimes the lives of vulnerable people. It’s a great program. But it is designed to provide help during…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 23, 2013 at 3:28pm — 6 Comments

About Fry Bread and Hope for a Greener Planet

Last evening my wife Michele and I walked a few blocks from the hotel in Phoenix where the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) is holding it’s Annual Training Conference, to an Open Market. There were a circle of food trucks and tables offering fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 12, 2013 at 11:50am — No Comments

Adding Up - Couple Finds Green Adds Value to Their Home

Rick and Joann Sandoval live in a green Ferrari – a souped-up, high-performance home loaded with energy-sipping systems and green-home features.  But when it came time to refinance their house and capture value from those items, the Sandovals were going nowhere…

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on September 3, 2013 at 7:00am — 2 Comments

Lighting Controls and Zero Energy Homes

An article in the September/October issue of Home Energy, "Boosting Multifamily Energy Savings Through Lighting Control Settings" (page 38), has implications beyond dramatic savings in stairwells in apartment buildings. Ostensibly the article is about proper settings for motion sensors and the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 3, 2013 at 12:22pm — 1 Comment

Making the Invisible Visible: Valuing Energy Efficiency Improvements in a Real Estate Transaction

Often, when homeowners make improvements to an existing house, the most important aspects of home performance – including safety, comfort, energy efficiency, durability, and environmental impact – are literally invisible during key steps of any home sale or refinance transaction.

One result is that energy…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on August 19, 2013 at 1:44pm — 3 Comments

The Enthalpy Method

Imagine knowing the refrigerant charge was correct on a Central Heat Pump or A/C without attaching gauges!  No, I am not referring to the Lennox "Approach" calculation, which I have found to be very unreliable to predict refrigerant charge, but instead using the simple total capacity calculation with the correct tool.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 21, 2013 at 5:15pm — 4 Comments

Volunteer for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO!

Volunteer for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO!

Confluence Communications is pleased to be involved in managing the volunteer program for this exciting event, taking place Oct. 3-13 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Volunteers are an important part of this exciting event. To register or find out more about volunteering, visit:…

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Added by Stacy Hunt on August 25, 2013 at 8:00am — No Comments

Leveraging Human-Building Interaction (HBI)

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

 

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.



-Archimedes

My colleague Jenny Edwards often describes the…

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Added by Lester Shen on August 8, 2013 at 8:34am — 9 Comments

What Sustainability Is Really About

Just read a book about the work of an environmental mediator, Lucy Moore, Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator (Island Press). What I liked most about this book was that it was a series of ten stories. There…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 12, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

Be a Little Like a Used Car Salesperson

Used car salesmen get a bad rap, and there are good reasons for that. But I think the home performance community can learn from them in some important ways. I say that as someone who once had a serious case of buyer’s remorse, but got over it.

When I first moved to California I was working at an independent bookstore in Berkeley, and I liked the idea of not having a car. But after a year I realized that I couldn’t get everywhere I wanted to go in a timely manner on BART (Bay…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 5, 2013 at 3:30pm — No Comments

What do Ducted Mini-Splits Look Like?

The most recognizable and commonly used mini-split system is the wall-mounted ductless system. They’re seen all over the world and are starting to become noticed and used here in North America, particularly in homes with small heating and…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on July 31, 2013 at 5:18am — 11 Comments

PED's for an HVAC Technician?

An acronym for what is synonymous with all that is bad with the American Pastime, Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) have been proven to inflate a ballplayer's performance.  Most important in contract years, a player's performance is measured in specific statistics.  So, what if there was a pill, or cream, that an HVAC Technician or Salesperson could take to inflate their numbers.  Make them perform at the top of their field and get them the highest pay in the industry?  Would you take it?…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 25, 2013 at 11:29am — 4 Comments

Checklists—The Professional's Best Friend

Want to know why air travel is still, by far, the safest way to go? Do you want to know how hospitals around the world can cut the risk of post-surgical complications and death by more than half? Do you wonder why the greatest triumphs of engineering, buildings and infrastructure, are beautiful, as well as safe and functional? The answer is checklists. I was inspired by this simple and powerful tool after reading The Checklist…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 24, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Seeking Multifamily Building Operators, Quality Control Inspectors, and Retrofit Project Managers

Due to the need for additional responses, the Multifamily Housing Job Task Analyses Validation Study is being extended until Friday, July 26 at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).  In particular, we are seeking responses from Multifamily Building Operators, Multifamily Quality Control Inspectors, and…

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Added by Steve Lommele on July 22, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

A/C a Necessity in New England?

  I remember not all too long ago, yes I am still on what I hope to be the first half of my life, that Central Air-Conditioning was a luxury.  Like the radio, then the television; next the telephone, and now the cell phone, Air-conditioning has become a necessity.  What was before Air-Conditioning?  What did the weather people (yes, politically correct here on Excess Air) say to the elderly before they would recommend "staying inside, out of the heat"?

  I remember what I used to do…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 7, 2013 at 6:00pm — 3 Comments

Public Art to Promote Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can be a tough sell. Providing detailed information about financial savings and environmental benefits doesn’t always motivate conservation. So when rational arguments don’t work, how can we influence energy behavior? Perhaps by creating an emotional response with inclusive and engaging public art installations, such as the upcoming Northeast Green Light Project.…

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Added by Anna Jursik on July 9, 2013 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Modernizing the Residential Utility Disclosure Ordinance in Chicago

Back in the ‘80s, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and others helped the City of Chicago pass a residential utility disclosure ordinance that required the disclosure of heating bills when residential properties are sold or leased in the city. Why? Heating expenses constitute a significant home expense, and it’s important for consumers and Realtors to have access to this information.

Until now, complying with the ordinance could take up to two weeks: a Realtor submitted an…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on July 9, 2013 at 1:23pm — 3 Comments

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