Featured Blog Posts (630)

Advice from a Homeowner

Working at Home Energy would seem to have prepared me for having an energy efficiency retrofit done on my own home, at least to ask all the right questions.  But Murphy’s Law intruded nevertheless, and you may learn from my experience.  We live in the SF Bay Area in a 970-sq ft wood-framed stucco single-family home on one floor over a basement and garage, no air conditioning, with central heat.  Our goal for the audit was to improve comfort, as hot days were hotter inside the house,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 20, 2011 at 11:37am — 10 Comments

Innovators 'home' in on energy

Fortunately for the rest of us, some people missed the message, the one that says we’re in an economic slide so slippery there is no climbing back up.

I had a chance to speak to several of these optimists recently. No, they are not members of the Pollyanna Club; they are green energy entrepreneurs, those who are innovating and growing companies as the rest of the world downsizes. (See …

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Added by Elisa Wood on October 13, 2011 at 9:58am — No Comments

A Solution for Appraising Efficiency- The buyer's point of view

How much is it worth to a home buyer to invest in energy efficiency improvements? A minimum estimate is that the annual savings on the energy bill pay for the annual cost of the investment when financed. This removes the primary reason for home buyers not to invest in energy efficiency -- lack of money. When faced with a choice of continuing to pay for wasted energy or making improvements that will make the house more comfortable and more valuable, buyers will opt for the…

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Added by Doris Ikle on October 11, 2011 at 9:00pm — 20 Comments

Steve Jobs's Lessons for the Home Performance Industry

Mac vs PC Home performance is to Apple as standard building practices are to the generic PC industry. We, the adherents to the whole house, high quality approach to assessing and managing the performance of homes, are Apple. The standard, old school, business-as-usual approach to building and renovating homes is the rest of the computer industry.

This idea got seeded after reading James Stewart's article,…

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Added by Peter Troast on October 11, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Energy Valuation

I've been a contractor since 1972 and an accredited appraiser and real estate broker since 1990 and a HERS Rater since 2006. I'd like to know why everyone thinks poking sharp sticks at appraisers will get you more help? If I came to your job and started telling you how to do your business do you think I'd get your cooporation? I think a lump sum line adjustment will be easier to get into the mainstream valuation arena. Appraisals are not Energy Reports. Most appraisers aren't energy raters…

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Added by Chris J Folse on October 10, 2011 at 1:31pm — 1 Comment

Cost-Effectiveness of Home Energy Retrofits

Are Energy Saving Retrofits Cost-Effective?

by Don Ames

weatherization program

Government and Utility based programs that offer weatherization and other energy saving…

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Added by Don Ames on October 10, 2011 at 1:00pm — 5 Comments

Getting What It's Worth - Green Home Value

EcoHome Magazine provides a great case study on a home builder that takes the extra steps to provide the data points an appraiser needs during a green home appraisal.

Yup, it's too bad we need to take these extra steps right now.  And yup, you'd be crazy not to do the extra work!  The new…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on October 7, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

A Solution for Appraisers--the Weak Link

"Money makes the world go 'round," goes the old saying, and it's certainly true in the world of residential energy efficiency.  Many worthy home House and dollar sign symbols energy upgrade projects are cancelled or put on hold because the owners feel they won't get their investment back if they should sell soon.  Likewise for new construction, many builders in the speculative home market feel forced to build to the lowest performance standard, because energy upgrades won't "appraise out."

Plainly put,…

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Added by Gary Kahanak on October 1, 2011 at 5:00am — 21 Comments

Climate Policy Initiative Analysis Finds US Building Energy Codes Work

The Climate Policy Initiative has completed a study to measure and evaluate the impact of residential building energy codes on total household energy consumption, “Codes to Cleaner Buildings: Effectiveness of US Building Energy Codes”, was released by the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) of San Francisco, California on September 7, 2011. Conducted by Jeff Deason and Andrew Hobbs of CPI, the study was done to see if building energy codes make an impact on home energy use and greenhouse gas…

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Added by Andrew Navolio on September 28, 2011 at 2:30pm — No Comments

What's Next? Getting off the fossil mainline - and proving it!

This is a long one, for intrepid geeks and those who appreciate energy intrigue - I couldn't help myself, I'm sure you understand... There is so much fun to be had in the energy world these days, the limits to your imagination are bounded only by your budget.

Allow me to introduce myself first, then on to the meat of hot water, off-grid, and energy monitoring. Lots of links and name dropping here for those who want some nitty gritty how to.

 

I've been a hands-on energy…

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Added by Paul Scheckel on September 27, 2011 at 3:24pm — 1 Comment

My opinion on Why Google PowerMeter failed

http://rede3.com/Why_Google_PowerMeter_failed.html

 





Why was the plug pulled on Google PowerMeter?





Google’s philanthropic branch launched Google PowerMeter in February 2009. Its goal was to put the power of seeing electricity usage into the hands of the consumer. The idea was born of a study that showed that those that had access to daily energy data reduced usage by 10…

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Added by Glen Gallo on September 25, 2011 at 12:15pm — 4 Comments

Only Dummies Replace Windows



It's amazing to me how we keep chasing windows in the Building Performance industry as if they were an important energy component. They are not (except when they are, I'll explain). Let’s look at some basic realities.

Joe’s Crazy Window Facts

 

  1. All windows are bad
  2. There are no HIGH performance windows, it's an oxymoron, refer back to item #1
  3. Windows are not drafty
  4. Low E windows don’t save on heating
  5. Occupants don’t…
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Added by Joseph Novella on September 26, 2011 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

What Do We Do Now?

 

After the ARRA funding runs out at the end of March, 2012, what do we do? That was the big question on the minds of attendees today at the 2011 National Association for State Community Services Program (NASCSP) Training Conference in Seattle. At the same time everyone felt the need to recognize the huge success achieved by WAP in the three years covered by the ARRA finding, especially because of recent criticism of the WAP program in Congress: WAP is on track to weatherize up to…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 22, 2011 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Housing Bale-Out - Boulder Architect Streamlines Green Building

 

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.

 

One…

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on September 14, 2011 at 10:51am — 1 Comment

Voices from the 2011 NASCSP Training Conference, Seattle

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…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 21, 2011 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Replacement Windows for Dummies

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…

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Added by Macie Melendez on September 19, 2011 at 11:10am — 9 Comments

The Cost of doing Nothing

http://rede3.com/The-Cost-of-Doing-Nothing.html

 



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….…

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Added by Glen Gallo on September 4, 2011 at 8:50am — 2 Comments

Are there green premium "Hot Spots"?

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:

  • High electricity prices.
  • More environmentally-minded citizens.
  • MPG-type labels that certify energy…
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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on September 3, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Energy efficiency is so in right now

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on September 2, 2011 at 9:13am — 6 Comments

Celebrating Early Adopters of Energy Efficiency

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…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 6, 2011 at 1:41pm — 2 Comments

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