Featured Blog Posts (615)

Hurricane Sandy and the Home Performance Industry

Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend a webinar put on by Energy Circle titled “Hurricane Sandy and the Home Performance Industry: How Do We Respond?” Peter Troast, CEO of Energy Circle, shared that when he woke up on Friday, he felt the need to start a bigger conversation—thus a webinar was born. For being a last-minute idea, the webinar was a huge success with a lot of response, which serves as yet another testament to the great people of this industry.…

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Added by Macie Melendez on November 5, 2012 at 1:21pm — No Comments

Book Review: The New New Deal Finds that “Weatherization Works”

This is personal. When I heard reports about rampant waste and abuse in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that turned out to be false, I thought of all the people I know who worked tirelessly to meet one goal of ARRA—to weatherize 600,000 homes before March, 2012—and it made me very angry. The men and women of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) met and exceeded that goal, with minimum fraud, abuse, and waste. In fact, they reached 1-million homes weatherized…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2012 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

Editorial: Energy Efficiency Advice to the Next Administration

As I write this editorial in early October, the outcome of the election remains uncertain. That’s just fine, because it allows me to offer early advice to whichever candidate wins. Here are some recommendations based on my years with Home Energy.

The government plays an important role in lowering energy demand. If Americans expect the government to establish policies to regulate natural-gas fracking and power plant emissions, then it should also address energy efficiency. The…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2012 at 10:26am — 2 Comments

Building Science is not really science

Building Science is not really science; it is more of a concept. While the concepts were developed by scientists the system itself is not really hard science. The concepts are generally employed by building analysts and construction professionals. While I consider myself a student of building science I do not consider myself a building scientist. I am simply a tradesman with special training. While some in the field might have different opinions about their role in this industry I am…

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Added by Glen Gallo on October 29, 2012 at 11:26pm — 7 Comments

'Energy democracy' becomes more real

Will new technologies democratize energy much the way the Internet did information?

Industry movement seems to point in that direction with the rise of the smart grid, time-of-day pricing, distributed solar, and the electric vehicle. Together these technologies offer a vision of a less centralized energy system, one where communities and households ‘vote in’ or shape the electric grid by how they decide to consume energy, a phenomenon also called the …

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Added by Elisa Wood on October 25, 2012 at 9:10am — 4 Comments

Building Code: ACCA Manual S

     A seldom practiced design procedure, equipment selection, has been part of the International Residential Code for many years, and local MA/RI code at least since 2010.  This critical step is the second part of residential system design, following a Manual J load calculation and prior to the Manual D duct design.  I think confusion around the dated manual has contributed to lack of use and enforcement.  Whether you are installing an air-conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or boiler, there…

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Added by Christopher Morin on October 24, 2012 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

401(e): Workplace Energy Saving Program

Community Energy Services draws from CEE’s experience applying community organizing principles to…

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Added by Anna Jursik on October 22, 2012 at 7:04am — 1 Comment

Why Test?

I've been wondering lately why we're so hell bent on testing houses. After all, we're a bunch of smart building scientist type guys and gals, right? We may not be Joe Lstiburek's (for which our families and fiends, unbeknownst to them, are mighty grateful), but we have a working knowledge of air and moisture movement, thermal and pressure boundaries, various Deltas (T, P, and the rest), and all that other stuff BPI made us learn. We don't assess houses one day in Tallahassee, the next in…

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Added by Ron Jones on October 18, 2012 at 1:00pm — 6 Comments

Words That Turn Home Energy Pros Into Building Science Dorks

"Ma'am, we've just tested your house and found your infiltration rate to be 16.7 ACH50, your R-values to be only 26% of the IECC…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on October 18, 2012 at 8:01am — 4 Comments

Born Into Home Performance—Q&A with Maureen Mahle

Maureen Mahle is the vice president and director of Sustainable Housing Services for Steven Winter Associates, Inc. She’s also new to the Home Energy Board of Directors. As a welcome to the board, and as an introduction to our readers, we decided to get to know Maureen a little better. Below is our conversation.

Home…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 18, 2012 at 9:16am — 1 Comment

Speaking to the Heart and Soul of Home Performance

It was my first weatherization conference since becoming the editor of Home Energy. I remember sitting in the crowd listening to the opening speaker and being very inspired. We’re soldiers, I thought. Some of us are on the front lines—the weatherization workers—and some of us, like the staff at Home Energy, offer support from the safety of our offices in Berkeley. We are fighting for our nation’s energy security, and for the health of children and adults, and for the survival…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 17, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Soon photovoltaic from any materials

 The discovery of new materials for making cheap and efficient solar cells is the Holy Grail for solar panels industry. 

 Some recent findings represent a significant step towards achieving that goal.…

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Added by Gjorevski Saso on October 15, 2012 at 10:02am — No Comments

Know Your Enervee Score: Energy Efficiency Made Easy

Back in May, I was looking to buy a new flat screen computer monitor for my home office. After spending ten minutes searching online, I found the best deals at J&R Electronics and decided to go down to their Sunnyvale store to make sure that I could find a model that would connect successfully to my MacBook Air laptop. I was overwhelmed by the vast selection of flat screen monitors and really had no idea which one to go for after I narrowed my search down to a 23" size monitor and a…

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Added by Alex Katzman on October 11, 2012 at 8:49am — No Comments

CA Title 24 will require RTUs to have automated fault detection and diagnostics

When your "check engine" light comes on in your car, your mechanic (or you, with a low-cost codes reader) can get a quick readout about the possible problem(s).  Now, CA's Title 24 will require something similar for Rooftop HVAC units by 2014.

See this article:…

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Added by Elizabeth Stuart on October 11, 2012 at 1:50pm — 2 Comments

What Is a Home Performance Contractor?

Lately we've been thinking about how readers who know nothing about Home Energy magazine, or home performance for that matter, would react if they stumbled upon our website. Yes, our magazine is aimed at home performance professionals, but what about the people that are just entering the profession? Or those that are thinking about it?

In an effort to help those individuals understand what our industry does, and how our magazine is connected, we came up with the following…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 11, 2012 at 1:31pm — No Comments

Innovation and Design Thinking

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

The business and technology worlds make much of innovation and how it will power the future. One process that has become popular as a means to foster innovation in companies is design thinking. Tim Brown, the CEO and president of …

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Added by Lester Shen on October 7, 2012 at 10:00am — 12 Comments

What does the the N factor stand for

I have a theory for what the N stands for in the N factor but really no clue. I understand what the n factor intends to do and how to use it but fail to understand how it applies in the real world and in particular to San Diego.

The N factor is a correction number that smooths the data for blower door numbers in multiple climate zones of homes of different size and height and brings the homes into a level playing field. We then can use this number…

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Added by Glen Gallo on October 6, 2012 at 11:20am — 7 Comments

One Millionth Home Weatherized

Today the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) and the Community Action Partnership celebrated the one-millionth home weatherized nationwide since April 2009. Partnering with state and local…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 27, 2012 at 4:01pm — No Comments

NASCSP National Carbon Trading Project

While attending the NASCSP conference last week in Atlanta, Georgia, the overall message was: How do we keep the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) relevant in the future? Also, how do we find more funding to keep our programs alive post-ARRA?

Along with a lot of brainstorming and industry conversation happening around the two questions posed above, NASCSP took one of the sessions to tell attendees about their initiatives for…

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Added by Macie Melendez on September 25, 2012 at 11:53am — No Comments

Real Numbers for a LEED for Homes Indiana Success Story

The Gulyas residence in Bloomington, Indiana was one of the first homes in Indiana to receive LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Through the use of passive house techniques and additional sustainable design strategies this project easily met and surpassed the criteria for LEED.



A home energy metric measuring energy per square foot calculation and spreadsheet was created by Allison Bailes III, PhD, to help effectively measure electric and gas usage in a house.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 25, 2012 at 11:51am — No Comments

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