Featured Blog Posts (512)

Energy Planning, Energy Action

Vermont has a new comprehensive energy plan that is full of thoughtful - though non-binding and unfunded - ideas. The plan calls for meeting 90% of the state's energy needs through renewables by 2050.

Energy professionals know that it makes sense to dramatically reduce the energy requirements of homes and meet a large portion of remaining needs with renewables. We know how to do the work, what we don’t know is how to pay for it – solar panels and insulation are just…

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Added by Paul Scheckel on January 19, 2012 at 6:42am — 1 Comment

Today's Power Trip - Heating Duct Insulation and Raccoon Paradise

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Please read the article and catch the screen cast at the end of the article.

Earlier in the week, I spoke about construction flaws and how builders have a tendency to build energy waste right into the structure of a home. The contractors really don't mean too, we all understand that, but , never-the-less, poor construction design, short cut methods, and lack…

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Added by Don Ames on January 8, 2012 at 10:00pm — 3 Comments

US beats expectations saving energy

Americans tend to beat themselves up over their imperfections. We eat too much, watch too much TV and owe China too much money. Despite all of our sloth, we can feel good about one area: our progress saving energy.

report issued this week by the Institute for Electric Efficiency found that we saved enough electricity to power almost 10 million homes in 2010 (about 112 MWh). That’s 21…

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Added by Elisa Wood on January 8, 2012 at 5:42pm — 1 Comment

Becoming a LEED AP: Habitat for Humanity, BOULD, and You?

So you have decided you want to earn or become a LEED AP. There is just one small issue, unless you have or are working on a LEED project, just how are you supposed to gain the experience & show documented involvement on a project registered or certified for LEED? (AKA a letter of attestation) As some well know, finding or being able to gain the needed project experience can be a rare opportunity. Fortunately though, the chances for many looking in have an opportunity through a…

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Added by Sean Lintow Sr on January 8, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Tortilla, The Kitchen Fan and The Energy Auditor

The Tortilla, The Kitchen Fan and The Energy Auditor

So, I was getting ready for my morning bike ride to the coast and decided I needed some calories. Part of my choice was some tortillas. I placed them in the toaster oven and went about my morning. This included drinking my morning coffee and checking my email.

Mmm what is that smell? I had inadvertently put the…

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Added by Glen Gallo on January 9, 2012 at 6:30am — 4 Comments

Acronym CRAZY...

I don’t believe this is an industry specific issue but we do seem to have an excess of acronyms. 

For example we have RESNET, HERS, BPI, LEED, CSG, ACCI, ANSI, OSHA, WISHA, OMG, & LMAO! 

Confused yet?  No – then let’s try these on for size… ACH50, ACHNAT, SIPS, DMHP, HP, WH, HVAC, CFM, ELA, SLA and IECC, MEC, ASHRAE but don’t forget NYC! 

BTW can you name EPA, HERC, OSB, PVC, ABS, BD, DB, MDF, MDO, SEER, HSPF, HRV’s, ERV’s, DOE, NGBS, BIA, PV, UV, UVA, UVL, DHW, IAQ,…

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Added by Kent Mitchell on January 5, 2012 at 5:30pm — 4 Comments

Texas Worried About Not Having Enough Electricity in 2012

2011 was a challenging year for the operators of the Texas electricity grid.  2012, however, isn’t likely to be any easier. This according to ERCOT who holds the responsibility of insuring the reliability of the Texas grid. There are a large number of power plants that are scheduled to be decommissioned over the…

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Added by Holbert Janson on January 2, 2012 at 7:54pm — 3 Comments

Measuring Matters

Perhaps the greatest challenge to promoting energy efficiency is that you can’t see it. People understand electricity produced from a PV collector on the roof, and a kWh meter can easily report precisely how much energy was generated. But with more-efficient products, savings cannot be directly measured; instead, one must reckon the difference between a real and a hypothetical situation. This complexity creates a lingering uncertainty whether the promised savings did or did not actually…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 5, 2012 at 9:36am — No Comments

Today's Power Trip - Weatherization and Infrared Camera

by Don Ames,  www.detectenergy.com

Got a phone call from a Son today, he was down at the local Mall looking to exchange a shirt he got for Christmas. This is one of those times when I wish that cell phones would just go away. Why do we need to be in constant touch with everybody all the time?

"Yes son, I bought the shirt there and I don't know why I cut the tag off and I don't know what happened to the…

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Added by Don Ames on December 29, 2011 at 12:00pm — 3 Comments

Applied Passive-solar Structural Design

Passive-solar has been known to work well but certain things about our architecture fail the thermodynamic efficiency test and there are reasons why.

First is heat-transfer through conduction, the wood, drywall, sheathing all having rather high heat-transfer coefficients. Next is convection from a heat-riser which takes the warmth of the floor and moves it to the ceiling.

Until these are dealt with they cost a lot of energy, if one is trying to not require external heating for…

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Added by Tom Mallard on December 21, 2011 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Part 2 of: The "1-2 Punch" to HVAC "Not Understoods"

Proper sizing of HVAC equipment is smaller, and smaller means more comfort.

Probably the usual thought in the HVAC industry by technicians is that the units need to be made bigger for comfort. Perhaps this comes from the idea of coming home from work, and needing a set back thermostat to do its magic, and get the home comfortable fast,…

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Added by Christopher Cadwell on December 13, 2011 at 8:30am — 4 Comments

On-bill financing: Why isn't everybody doing it?

If someone told me they could improve the efficiency of my computer so that it operates quicker, at no extra cost to me, I can’t imagine I’d turn them away. Yet, the energy efficiency industry offers a similar option for homes and businesses and at least so far, consumers aren’t flocking to the programs.

On-bill financing gives customers the ability to finance energy efficiency improvements made to their homes and businesses at no upfront cost. Customers pay for the insulation,…

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Added by Elisa Wood on December 16, 2011 at 8:22am — 2 Comments

Predicting GreenMLS Market Progress

CNT Energy just released a report with the results of the Green MLS/Better Buildings Roundtable convened this fall.

The…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on December 9, 2011 at 12:10pm — No Comments

Fixing people, not just buildings

Electric utilities operated under a rarified business model for decades. Their customers were captive so they rarely had to think about what motivated them to buy. New government energy efficiency mandates have changed that, and done so with an ironic twist. Now utilities must figure how to get their customers to refrain from buying.

It’s not easy persuading people to stop using something they like as much as electricity. But behavioral science is coming to the rescue – or at least…

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Added by Elisa Wood on December 9, 2011 at 7:30am — 7 Comments

Calling All Inventors, Entrepreneuers, and Venture Capitalists!

One morning I realized that I could cut down my showering time by at least one minute if I could combine my shampooing and conditioning into one step. Inspired, I went to a high-end grocery store that I will call, “Whole Paycheck” looking for what has been an illusive item for me—a combination shampoo and conditioner that really works; someone stacking items in the hair-care section told me that no such thing exists.

It’s a tough invention, since shampoo and conditioner are supposed…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on December 14, 2011 at 3:11pm — No Comments

Energy Efficiency Jobs: Another Well-Meant Hustle?

Are Energy Efficiency programs we are participating in another well-meant hustle, or is there lasting prosperity to be had in our industry? Beyond anecdotal reports, ARRA-funded enthusiasm for excellent Energy Efficiency (EE) programs like Energy Upgrade California and Evergreen, San Jose’s “Project 5002,” are EE endeavors really…

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Added by Nichole Edraos on December 2, 2011 at 2:55pm — No Comments

Know true costs; Save real energy

By Guest Blogger Kara Saul Rinaldi

More than half of the states in the nation have created programs to increase the energy efficiency of homes through a comprehensive approach that looks at all opportunities to save energy, from insulation to upgrading heating and cooling systems. When taxpayer and ratepayer dollars are used, it is essential that these programs are reviewed with a cost-effectiveness test that provides policymakers with adequate knowledge about the programs’…

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Added by Elisa Wood on December 4, 2011 at 3:24pm — No Comments

What is Humidity and How Does it Effect Home Energy Savings?

What is Humidity and How Does it Effect Home Energy Savings

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

We all know what humidity is - it is the cause of the mold on the ceiling in the bathroom. Humidity is what happens to the bathroom mirror during a shower. Humidity is why we have an exhaust fan in the ceiling of the bathroom. Humidity is why a hot summers day in …

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Added by Don Ames on November 30, 2011 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Are Realtors doing enough for “Future Generations?”

This time two weeks ago I was in Anaheim, California, at the National Association of Realtors’ Annual Conference, themed “Seize the Day“.

I am still struck by the bigness of it all. Not just the sheer numbers (over 20,000 of us!), but by the strength of the passion and the vision.  Yet I am still wondering, are we delivering what future generations of home owners need…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on November 28, 2011 at 7:54pm — 1 Comment

Solar Power Panel and the Pergola

Getting the Most out of Your Pergola, Think Solar Power Panel

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Sitting in a meeting the other day, I was listening to a discussion on where to put half-a-million dollars worth of solar power panels. The discussion considered placing panels on roofs, on picnic shelters, and carports - it's not easy trying to find a place for a bunch of solar panels. After all, there are things to keep…

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Added by Don Ames on November 27, 2011 at 10:20am — 2 Comments

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