Featured Blog Posts (691)

'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

Bundling of Products & Services - How to Survive and Grow A Home Performance Business in 2013 and Beyond?

Working with my customers and friends that are home performance contractors we always seem to be seeking answers to questions such as:

What will make my business survive in the short term?

What does it mean to run a successful home performance business?  

What can I do if my local utility rebates, tax credits, and programs change?

For the most part it is true that individuals and…

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Added by Roch Naleway on September 22, 2012 at 8:00am — 14 Comments

Women in Energy: Students

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

Center for Energy and Environment research and programs focus on Minnesota buildings and homes, but advances in energy efficiency impact people all over the world. The…

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Added by Anna Jursik on September 17, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Are there Home Performance Contractors in your area working together to promote their industry?

We have a pilot project kicked off here in Portland. Contractors have joined forces to evaluate lead generation resources.

These contractors are going to all pitch in money and try different lead generation services/marketing tools. They will evaluate what works and what doesn't and report back to their peers.

What a fantastic idea. I have a lot of ideas and can't wait to hear what the group has to share.

In Portland we have a unique mix of educated homeowners. Some want…

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Added by Tammy Kenworthy on September 14, 2012 at 11:11am — 8 Comments

Humidification: Forced-Air Systems

Months fly by, and it is closer to Fall in New England.  Soon most local Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling companies will be consumed with Fall maintenance programs.  I remember spending countless hours a week dealing with humidifiers, whether it was the old Skuttle drum style, the Aprilaire bypass version, or even the steam models that have actually been improved over the years - particularly Honeywell's Truesteam.  The one…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 11, 2012 at 1:17pm — 4 Comments

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