Straw-bale houses have come a long way since Midwestern homesteaders used to stack sod on the Great Plains and call it home. More recently, 20th century straw-bale builders were either crunchy, granola types hand-crafting their own über-green homes, or affluent greenies seeking to create off-grid trophy houses, budgets be damned. In all cases, though, straw-bale has been the preserve of the one-off – designed and built one at a time. Until now.
Voices from the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), Wednesday, September 21:
(Some are direct quotes, some are loose paraphrasing, and some are what I think I heard them say. Meanings are 100% accurate!)
WAP has weatherized 520,000 homes through August and spent $3.5 billion of the $5 billion we were given through ARRA. WAP is the 8th largest job creator of all the ARRA projects; we've created…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 21, 2011 at 7:30pm — No Comments
Recently, Home Energy Publisher Tom White participated in an interview with "Replacement Windows for Dummies," the popular book series known for approachable information on nearly every topic. They discussed what's new in the world of windows, tips on hiring qualified window installers, and much more. Below is a snippet of their conversation.
RWFD: What are some of the most significant new developments in energy efficient windows that benefit…Continue
In these tough economic times everybody is looking to save where they can. In our quest to reduce our costs often times we decide to do nothing at all. It seems like sound economic policy because doing nothing cost nothing right….…Continue
There is much talk and some progress towards an elusive premium for green homes.UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn breaks it down. He uses three criteria to predict areas more likely to have a green premium:
Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on September 3, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments
Guest blog by Cara Miale
In the movie The Social Network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want ads on an early version of his social network; he understands that first and foremost, his site has to be cool. And ads, he says, aren’t cool.
Unlike Zuckerberg (well, at least in the beginning), the energy efficiency industry hasn’t quite grasped the value of being cool. It’s an industry that hopes to be popular because it’s right, and it uses…Continue
Andrew Rudin's article in the latest issue of Home Energy describes his experiences with a PV and a solar thermal system. The results are not encouraging because the energy savings were modest at best and financial benefits possibly non-existent. The real-world performance described by Rudin is a depressing reminder that good intentions alone can't wring energy savings from an expensive, imperfect…Continue
Attic fans can suck air down flues causing spillage. Spillage can cause CO poisoning. Attic fans can't always be easily accessed or controlled. Read on:
While doing a comprehensive quality control visit last week, our Pure Energy Final Inspector noted that both the atmospheric draft water heater and atmospheric draft boiler failed these safety tests:
Hopefully you caught this article over the weekend. It has been picked up and repeated like crazy!
Kenneth Harney of the Washington Post wrote a column entitled Is green good for home resale? The article highlights studies from Seattle, Portland and California. It offers nice perspective on why these…
Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on August 29, 2011 at 9:01pm — No Comments
For 11 years people at Home Energy have bugged me to write a "home performance poem" because they know I am a poet as well as an editor. Well, it finally happened. I participate in a writing group and the last time we got together we decided as an exercise to write about something we have never written about before. Hope you like it!
Ode to a Home Performance Contractor
My name is House. I stood before you empty
and foreclosed upon.…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 1, 2011 at 11:50am — No Comments
Picture a so-called “green” building in a floodplain. Now picture a storm-hardened home guzzling gas like there is no tomorrow.
For me, neither of these conjures up an image of true sustainability.
By virtue of being built unconsciously (or defiantly) in harm’s way, a building is not durable and thus not (in my book) sustainable. Similarly, a disaster-resilient building belching out greenhouse gases that any scientist worth their salt will tell you is contributing to present…Continue
Thank you for your continued interest in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score pilots. The pilots wrapped up their scoring efforts last month, with more than 1,000 homes assessed and scored in total. We are now in the process of analyzing the pilot data as well as the wealth of information our pilot partners provided to us last week at a pilot wrap-up meeting in Washington,…Continue
We got tired of sharing a bathroom, we were afraid as we grow older that we would trip and break our hips on the stairs leading from the kitchen into the garage and to our backyard; and since the only route from inside the house to our back yard was through the garage, we decided to remodel our 1,200 square foot cottage in Walnut Creek. It seems so long ago.
We did it right. We interviewed several architects and design/build companies, had an architect work with us to draw up…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 19, 2011 at 2:20pm — No Comments
Why do so many energy insiders insist that home energy automation will fail? Many whom I respect say the typical householder will never take the time to fiddle with smart gadgets that reduce energy costs.
Their skepticism, however, just elicits a verbal shrug from Peter Porteous, CEO of…Continue
Talk about a light bulb moment.
A professor of engineering at Edinburgh University recently demonstrated for the first time to a wide audience his technology that uses common every day lights to transmit data.
Harald Haas streamed a video through a desk lamp at Ted Global 2011at Scotland’s Edinburgh International Conference Center in July.
If commercialized, the technology not only creates a vast new application for light, but also dramatically expands our now limited…Continue
The candle has been around the cave and the realm of weatherization and energy efficiency for some time now, but here’s an app which few have ever conceptualized.
In the early days of weatherization, before the thermagraph, even before the blower door, the trusty candle provided us several enlightening concepts. It would flicker when breezes brushed against its flame as a clear indicator of infiltration. Before the fancy schmancy digital manometers, a few old timers would…Continue
This blog is cross-posted with Remodeling Magazine with the kind permission of the editor.
Let me recommend an excellent, well-written blog indeed. Melissa Baldridge goes well beyond the nuts-and-bolts conversations in which we so often engage, and she presents ideas from a broader perspective. At the point where remodeling meets building performance, the industry necessarily concerns…Continue
Here’s something you don’t hear people complain about much these days: worker shortages. That is, unless you’re in energy efficiency, an industry that is booming as others are busting.
Sixty percent of those responding to a recent survey by the Association of Energy Services Professionals cited a lack of talented workers in energy efficiency.
“Energy efficiency is a rapidly growing segment of the overall energy industry and we…Continue
*This post was drafted by Isaac Elnecave and Michael Hairston of the MEEA Policy Team
At the recently concluded ASHRAE Winter Meeting in Montreal, significant changes occurred to the development of the ASHRAE 90.2 standard (ASHRAE 90.2 is the companion standard to ASHRAE 90.1 and applies primarily to residential dwellings). Prior to the…Continue
Added by Andrew Navolio on July 14, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments
By Alan Meier
It’s easy to lose the longer perspective when we are involved in day-to-day efforts to save energy. That’s why I want to focus on a single home—Danny Parker’s house in Florida—to illustrate the bumpy road to zero energy use. The figure on the right shows 21 years of electricity use, along with many of the major events in Danny’s household. (Follow the green…Continue