Featured Blog Posts (527)

When windows aren't the culprit of a leaky building, solve the mystery with an energy audit.

Liz Vogel replaced the windows and updated the heating system in her small multifamily building in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. But she still noticed that parts of her home were not staying warm in winter. So she set out to solve the mystery of the missing heat. She saw icicles hanging from her roof, and that was a clue that pointed to where heat was escaping. The presence of these “ice dams” meant that Liz was paying to heat her roof and melt the snow instead of heating her…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 11, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

Let the games begin! Please note that registration has opened for the upcoming 2015 Race to Zero Student Design…

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Added by Stacy Hunt on September 5, 2014 at 1:49pm — No Comments

Driving Demand for Energy Upgrades in Michigan

We're testing a newly-produced informational video, which our Michigan home inspectors share with their recent home-buying clients, to see how effective it is in driving demand for energy upgrades. Watch it at http://www.nachi.org/michigan-home-inspection-follow-up-survey.htm and share your thoughts.

Added by Benjamin Gromicko on September 5, 2014 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

How an Energy Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Tax Credits Flickr Cut Up Money

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

Energy efficiency rebate programs from gas and electric utilities have become pretty common nationwide. They give rebates for replacing your furnace or adding insulation to your home. While these programs seem like a good idea, they can actually…

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Added by Nate Adams on September 5, 2014 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

Home Energy Magazine Features 30 Home Performance Leaders Under 30 to Celebrate 30th Year in Print

The September/October 2014 issue of Home Energy marks the magazine’s 30th year in print. To celebrate that milestone, an industry-wide call for nominations found noteworthy professionals in home performance who were 30 years of age or younger. The feature article introduces the young people who the industry can count on to lead the home performance industry for the next 30 years. 

Home Energy’s associate editor, Macie Melendez, compiled the nominations and…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2014 at 2:56pm — 1 Comment

Should this Duct Layout be Banned?

When is it ok to put your ducts into an attic, tight up against the Roof Deck?  With more conventional building techniques, I would have to argue: NEVER!  I do not care how the homeonwer pleads to keep their storage space, you cannot count on delivering cool air to the conditioned space with said branch duct.  Even if you did figure out a way to secure the duct to the peak without crushing the inside diameter, the CFM is not the problem.  The real issue becomes the dry bulb temperature of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 3, 2014 at 6:24pm — 3 Comments

Top 5 Changes to ACCA Manual S

      As I had brought up years ago, ACCA's Manual S was in dire need of an update.  Written in 1995, Manual S Residential Equipment Selection was passed by with huge technical and efficiency strides within the…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 27, 2014 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Assessing long-term PV performance in a low-energy home

Zero Energy Home Friends,

My daily PV output from a 6.56 kW PV system has averaged 22.7 kWh/day over the last two years.

kWh= AC kWh from inverter to grid

irrday= cumulative kWh/m2/day plane of array

pvptmp= array temperature (F) taken on back on one of the modules

obs= elapsed…

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Added by Danny S. Parker on August 17, 2014 at 12:55am — No Comments

UPDATED: Big Changes for Duct Testing in MA

   If you have not been asked to complete a duct test by your local Massachusetts Inspector, it is just a matter of time before you are surprised by this stringent/updated code requirement.  Despite some push-back from Contractors  and Inspectors, all of MA is required to test new or altered duct systems.  All of MA adopted the 2012 International Energy…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 17, 2014 at 4:59pm — 9 Comments

No Bubbles, No Troubles!

Or is there? This saying is an old adage in our industry to let the technician know that the refirgerant charge is "all set". You see, there must be a steady stream of liquid to the metering device for it to function properly. For sake of conversation, let's use the TXV. In order for most TXV's to throttle and correctly maintain the desired Superheat, there must be a minimum of 2F of subcooled liquid at the valve (not where it is measured, near the condenser). If the liquid were to flash off… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on August 12, 2014 at 1:19pm — No Comments

Casa Automatica - Aiming for Zero consumption in acclimatization

Hi there, I'm new here. Not sure if this make sense here. But for sure, you will tell if it's not. 

I'm Portuguese, I've 47 years old, 3 children, and spent the last 3,5 years of my life on a project I've called Casa Automatica.

The project started by being just an home control system, where I've tried to combined some security features, water control and home network, in a package, using and sharing an internet connection. The system is presented here…

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Added by jose caramelo on August 11, 2014 at 3:30pm — 7 Comments

Learning Applied Building Science is Still Hard to Do

As part of Home Energy’s 30th birthday celebration, we are pleased to reprint a 1994 article by Michael Uniacke describing the way he taught building science in a community college (see the article here). Mastering the intricacies of the building science related to energy performance is no…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 6, 2014 at 8:40am — 4 Comments

12 Things Every Home Performance Contractor Should Have on Their Work Truck

Every home is unique and differs from the last. It would be a perfect world (from a project planning standpoint) if every home were a cookie cutter from the previous install, however this is not always the case. I have been in the construction industry doing remodeling and even building new residential homes for over 25 years. Along the way I have run into some interesting situations in which I was not prepared and wished I was. Although this has been sometimes fun and challenging at times,…

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Added by Brandon Walton on July 27, 2014 at 12:19pm — 2 Comments

How do You Test a TXV?

  Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV or TXV), one of the most popular metering devices for residential, high-efficient air conditioning and heat pumps, have performed almost impeccably for decades.  Unfortunately, some manufacturers in the past few years have identified batches of valves that have had high superheat issues.  Have we just been blind for so long, not realizing these problems existed?  Or have these valves really been so reliable for such a long time?

  If you think you…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 21, 2014 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

What is your opinion about members promoting products here?

Hello,

I am a whole house fan and attic ventilation expert in Temecula CA. I started studying whole house fans in 2008 when my wife, Darlene, and I moved from Manhattan Beach. I would really like to share my knowledge with all of you but I want to be sure I don't antagonize you with more commercialization than you want. Please let me know your opinion and if you can, send me some examples of acceptable blogs and unacceptable ones. 

Added by Kurt Shafer on July 18, 2014 at 9:02am — 11 Comments

Please, Make the Transition!

  For as long as I can remember, the agreed epidemic with ductwork was always undersized return ducts.  Although we are far from perfect with duct sizing in New England, I have frequently seen great strides in fixing this issue - particularly with replacement systems.  Lets face it, you should just be properly designing the duct system on new installations.  Undersized ducts cause great restrictions in airlfow, raising…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 17, 2014 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance

Homeowners are often aware of the different problems they experience in their homes: uncomfortable rooms, high utility bills, poor indoor air quality, etc. However, homeowners are generally unfamiliar with the concept of Home Performance, the Whole House approach, and how energy efficiency upgrades can address these concerns. We regularly hear these stories and find that by listening, asking the right questions, educating, and providing guidance, we can help homeowners feel…

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Added by Scott Mellberg on July 16, 2014 at 10:29am — 13 Comments

My Energy Upgrade California—The Numbers Are In

Here are the final numbers for my Energy Upgrade California home retrofit.

Table 1. Air…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 10, 2014 at 11:30am — 26 Comments

Detroit Rises from the Ashes

On the flight home from ACI’s 2014 National Home Performance Conference, I read Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy. It’s a gritty, sad story about the decline of one the greatest U.S. industrial cities. It was fitting that ACI’s conference was held in Detroit–thanks to the growth of the auto and wartime industries in the early 20th century, Detroit was the birthplace of the U.S. middle class. But according to LeDuff, Detroit, which “once led the nation in home ownership,…

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Added by Tom White on July 7, 2014 at 4:19pm — 5 Comments

"Moisture Control Guidance for Building Design, Construction, and Maintenance"- new free guide from EPA

This is a great free resource for building pros everywhere- to hear the interview about its creation, check out the latest Building Performance Podcast with my hero Lew Harriman and his co-conspirator Terry Brennan:

http://buildingperformancepodcast.com/how-to-walk-on-water-the-epas-new-guidance-for-moisture-control



To download the guide,…

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Added by Corbett Lunsford on July 7, 2014 at 4:19pm — No Comments

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