Featured Blog Posts (505)

The New Rules of Home Improvement

Many homeowners are beginning to recognize the higher standards that are being demanded from home improvement contractors.The new rules of certification, accreditation and independent verification have complemented well the old ways of selecting a contractor so that the two establish a benchmark that bodes well for the professional perception of the industry. It is not a coincidence that in 2010 credentialing and training organizations have achieved their highest…

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Added by David Allen on January 27, 2011 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

Extending Energy Efficiency Financing To Underserved Households

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just released a new Policy Brief on NYSERDA’s Green Jobs-Green New York Program.  It focuses on their recent effort to extend EE financing to underserved households. Prior to the launch of GJGNY, NYSERDA used Fannie Mae Energy Loans to provide program participants with access to financing to overcome the upfront cost barrier of energy upgrades.  The underwriting standards for this unsecured loan product, including a minimum decision credit score of 640, …

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Added by Merrian Fuller on January 25, 2011 at 3:13pm — 2 Comments

How to make energy efficiency affordable

Energy efficiency is a tortoise in the green energy race. Not glamorous like solar, wind or smart grid, it tends to plod along in the back of the pack, attracting little media attention. But being last can be a good thing; you learn from the frontrunners.

Such is the case when it comes to financing. EE is beginning to borrow from strategies that have spurred tremendous growth for solar and other energy resources. These include customer aggregation and a kind of power purchase…

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Added by Elisa Wood on January 24, 2011 at 8:30am — No Comments

How to Talk to a Builder

Recently I was talking to one of our HERS raters who said that one of the reasons he prefers going after the existing home market is that he’s more comfortable talking with homeowners than with builders. He’s afraid that builders will see his lack of construction knowledge and send him packing.

What can you do to overcome this fear? Take heed of these points, and you’ll be fine:

  • Realize that you don’t need to know everything about building.
  • Let the builder know…
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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on January 20, 2011 at 7:07pm — 2 Comments

Energy Efficiency and the Big Picture

I keep striving to see the Big Picture, which some consider a flaw, but while in that mode I chanced upon a book that may have given me a Glimpse.



I recommend reading, “The Plundered Planet: Why We Must—and How We Can—Manage Nature for Global Prosperity,” the latest work by Paul Collier. Collier is Professor of Economics at Oxford University, and a former director of Development Research at the World Bank. He demonstrates an understanding of how countries and economies work--and…

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Added by Gary Kahanak on January 16, 2011 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

Goodbye to the Light Bulb We All Know and Love

You know which light bulb I mean. It’s the one you’ve burned your hands on when trying to unscrew it too soon after it’s been turned off. It’s the one you put in the lamp in your living room to read by in your comfortable chair; the one you use to light the stairways at night. It’s the 100-watt incandescent that uses… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 14, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

Auditors Offering Contracting Services - Conflict of Interest?

This very question was recently posed in the BPI Group.  Is there a conflict of interest when an energy auditor also offers contracting or weatherization services to their clients?  At first glance, many would say that the easy answer is "yes". The common reasoning is that people will steer their clients towards the products they sell in order to make as much money as possible.  After all, that's what we are all in business for, isn't it?  The other answer was "it's just human…

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Added by Jon LaMonte on January 14, 2011 at 8:35am — 10 Comments

A Game Changer for New Home Construction

Meritage homes, a big national production home builder, has announced its intention to only offer ultra energy efficient homes.  They will document this by using the HERS Index (Home Energy Rating System), which is currently used for ENERGY STAR qualified homes, and is a standard of the U. S. mortgage industry.  A home built to the current 2006 IECC energy code has a HERS Index of 100, and is considered the "reference" home for a given design.  To meet ENERGY STAR requirements in our climate…

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Added by Gary Kahanak on January 9, 2011 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

Energy Efficiency Programs in Progress!

On Wednesday,  January 5, 2011 Home Energy Consultants attended a marketing training seminar in Fayetteville sponsored by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and presented by CLEAResults Consulting, which is implementing the SWEPCO Residential Solutions incentive program.  The training session was intended for any participating contractor of the SWEPCO program, including contractors for heating and air conditioning, insulation, duct sealing, air sealing and energy…

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Added by Gary Kahanak on January 7, 2011 at 4:30am — No Comments

Looking for Air Leakage Data

 

Thanks to all those who have contacted us!

 …

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Added by Wanyu Rengie Chan on January 5, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Next Big Leap

“So what can we do to keep homes improving from an energy efficiency standpoint?”

For a long time, answers such as “improve insulation” or “designed better HVAC” systems would have likely been what first came to mind. However, with new building guidelines,…

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Added by Nathan Christensen on January 5, 2011 at 7:03am — 3 Comments

Indoor Air Quality and Energy Audits

Can you improve indoor air quality with an energy audit?  You bet.  Recently our company was asked to do some troubleshooting on a 50 year old home in Northwest Arkansas.  The occupant has environmental sensitivity and respiratory issues, and was having difficulties staying in her home due to her physical reactions and symptoms.  The homeowner suspected the culprit was cellulose fibers from attic insulation added several years previously.

 

We showed up with our diagnostic…

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Added by Gary Kahanak on January 3, 2011 at 4:30am — 3 Comments

My Friend the Smart Meter

I am an unabashed supporter of smart meters. While testifying about energy efficiency at the European parliament, I logged into my home’s smart meter (in California) and showed them my current energy use. The members of Parliament were so impressed—none of them had ever seen output from a smart meter—that I may have influenced energy efficiency legislation in Europe. I teach a course about energy efficiency at the University of California, Davis, and I make every… Continue

Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 1, 2011 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Getting Past the Cost Objection

It's amazing what excuses homeowners will come up with when it comes to avoiding spending money.  Even though I have found that most people in our field truly feel they are helping people, salesmanship (often uneasily) still comes into play based on homeowner perception of sales people (and based on all the BS that floats around out there do you blame them). Getting past objections can sometimes become an art form.

 

I recently performed a full energy audit on the home of a…

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Added by Jon LaMonte on December 20, 2010 at 7:00pm — 7 Comments

5 Reasons House Wrap Is Not an Air Barrier

It took me a while to figure out that a building is basically just a structural framework with control layers. Yeah, there's also electrical, plumbing, mechanical systems, and finishes, but the heart of a building is the stuff that holds it up and that moderates the flows of heat,…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on December 17, 2010 at 1:10pm — No Comments

Berkeley Lab Needs Your Air Leakage Data

Added by Wanyu Rengie Chan on December 16, 2010 at 9:18am — 1 Comment

Restoring Credibility in the Efficiency Marketplace

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and nowhere is this adage truer than with the assurance of a manufacturer’s compliance with energy efficiency standards and endorsement programs. If any link is broken in this process, then it is impossible to “haul up” those energy savings for the consumer. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are finally taking actions to repair some of the more fragile links in this chain, beginning with the actual…

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Added by Carol A. Markell on December 15, 2010 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Why We Save: When the Cost of Energy Hits Home

As we work to save energy, one of our goals is to save dollars for consumers. But there are other costs that energy professionals can minimize as well, for example, obtaining and transporting energy and building materials. Knowing that we are helping to minimize these 'external' costs will renew our motivation to save energy, and hopefully inspire home energy users to save…

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Added by Tom White on December 13, 2010 at 3:59pm — No Comments

Energy Performance Does Add Value! Just look at the HERS Rating!

Trying to demonstrate to the unknowing that enhanced home energy performance translates into enhanced resale value is not an easy task. But actually it is right there in the HERS Rating!?



Even though most of us 'energy pros' understand that the increased comfort, health, durability, and lower energy bills means that the property should be more desirable and more valuable, it is hard to get this going due to the true way that properties are valued.



We…
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Added by Jamie Kaye on December 11, 2010 at 7:30am — 3 Comments

Persuading 5-Million Home Buyers to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Federal and state governments are deploying billions of dollars in an unprecedented push to weatherize America’s existing homes in order to save energy and create jobs. However, the programs piloted by the government during the past decade, and more recently by the utilities, do not yet come close to being able to meet these goals. America can no longer afford to measure program ramp-up time in terms of years, nor should the public have to spend thousands of…

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Added by Doris Ikle on December 10, 2010 at 10:44am — 5 Comments

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