Featured Blog Posts (504)

Air Leakage Testing a New Off-Grid High Performance House

We had the great pleasure of air leakage testing a new off-grid, high performance house last week. It was the most air tight building we’d ever tested!

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Situated on a hill overlooking the sweep of the Saugeen River below.

Builder Steven…

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Added by Greg Labbe on November 12, 2013 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Electric Thermal Storage vs. Heat Pump Water Heaters

Contributing Author: Ben Schoenbauer 



Which residential water heating technology is best for meeting electricity savings goals? It will depend if the goal is reducing total consumption or lowering peak demand



In Minnesota,…

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Added by Anna Jursik on November 5, 2013 at 8:40am — 39 Comments

Perception: The Service Technician

It was not too long ago that the HVAC Service Technician took great pride in representing the company he or she worked for. They would be at work early, enthusiastic for the day ahead; helping the elderly without heat first after the big snow storm. They would answer their emergency calls within minutes after the noise of the dreadful beeper, and later cell phone. It only took about five minutes, but shining their boots before heading out the door felt like an eternity. Removing them when… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on November 10, 2013 at 11:35am — No Comments

We're Too Serious

While preparing for Home Energy’s 30th anniversary, we leafed through some of the earliest issues. Today’s issues are slick compared to those early years. It was amateur hour then because an untrained staff researched and wrote articles, prepared artwork, edited, typeset, proofed, and much more. Still, the topics have not changed much and—sadly—some of the editorials from the 1980s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 5, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments

Check out the latest "Housing and Home Environment News"

Home Energy authors and Cornell College of Human Ecology professors Joe Laquatra and Mark Pierce and colleagues provide important information for anyone interested in energy efficient and healthy homes. In this issue they cover the presence of dangerous levels of radon in natural gas extracted through…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on November 4, 2013 at 3:30pm — 3 Comments

Tucking a garage under the second floor is a common practice, but is it a GOOD one?

As the price of land edges up, the practice of tucking a garage under the second floor of a house is common practice, but is it good practice? The bedroom above the garage has earned the moniker of “The Bonus Room” as it tends to be the most troublesome room in the house with the most comfort complaints from home owners.

 …

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Added by Greg Labbe on October 28, 2013 at 3:30pm — 3 Comments

High Efficiency Should Be a Drain: A Closer Look at Condensing Boilers

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

The market share of condensing boilers, sometimes called high efficiency boilers, has increased dramatically over the last several years, thanks in part to utility programs that provide rebates. Unfortunately, many of these newly installed condensing boilers…

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Added by Lester Shen on October 29, 2013 at 12:30pm — 5 Comments

Why I refuse to participate in Energy Upgrade California

When I first heard of Energy Upgrade California I was excited. Energy upgrade packages for existing homes with rebates sounded awesome. I attended the ACI conference in LA which was the kick off. The event was interesting as we heard from program developers of how the program would be initiated. I also attended some orientation sessions at the CCSE. I liked what I heard. As my business is primarily residential repairs and upgrades I thought this would be a perfect fit.

What I have…

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Added by Glen Gallo on October 10, 2013 at 11:59pm — 4 Comments

Spot the Design Weakness - For Northern Climates

If we had a dime for each weak building assembly detail we saw, we’d be rich. In our 14 years of diagnosing comfort problems for clients; the exposed floor ranks as one of the most stark discomfort features of a home, new or old.

Walking home from the coffee shop Sunday and came across the feature below. Have a look at the photo and see how many design errors you can pick out:…

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Added by Greg Labbe on October 22, 2013 at 7:49pm — 11 Comments

Green Stamps - Real Estate Investor Sells "Green-and-Flips" for More

Real estate investor Kassi Pelley had bought and sold a number of “fix-and-flip” homes in metro Denver when she fell down the rabbit hole of green building and certifications.  She’s gotten a price bump – the “green premium” – on every home she’s upgraded and certified since, and she hasn’t…

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on October 16, 2013 at 3:00pm — 5 Comments

This is the Future

Last week an opening ceremony kicked off the Solar Decathlon in sunny Irvine, California. While the crowd listened to the major sponsors of the event welcome us, we heard excitement and anticipation in their voices. After all, this has been an event two years in the making.

Usually held in Washington, D.C., the mayor of Irvine, Steven Choi, was proud to welcome this international event to his home. “Even though the federal government is shut…

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Added by Macie Melendez on October 10, 2013 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Leading from Within

When I was still active as a minister in the Catholic Church, I did not enjoy very much presiding at weddings. I had an inkling of the reason at the time, but now I can admit clearly that I was jealous. I didn’t want to bless someone else’s sacramental union as much as I wanted to be in a sacramental union.

I had another, similar insight while participating in an Emerge workshop last weekend. Emerge is a leadership program…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 10, 2013 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Check the Flue?

Seems pretty elementary doesn't it?  What should be a simple safety check on fossil fuel burning appliances, particularly for boilers with regards to ease of inspection, often is assumed with complacency or even goes unchecked.  I know everyone's maintenance schedule is packing up in the Northeast…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 24, 2013 at 6:11pm — 2 Comments

Do We Give People Energy or Help Them to Save It?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was budgeted $2.5-billion by Congress in 2013. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was allowed $68-million. Does anyone see a contradiction here?

LIHEAP provides, primarily, emergency help for households who can’t afford to heat their homes in the winter or cool their homes in the summer. It saves the health and sometimes the lives of vulnerable people. It’s a great program. But it is designed to provide help during…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 23, 2013 at 3:28pm — 6 Comments

About Fry Bread and Hope for a Greener Planet

Last evening my wife Michele and I walked a few blocks from the hotel in Phoenix where the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) is holding it’s Annual Training Conference, to an Open Market. There were a circle of food trucks and tables offering fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 12, 2013 at 11:50am — No Comments

Adding Up - Couple Finds Green Adds Value to Their Home

Rick and Joann Sandoval live in a green Ferrari – a souped-up, high-performance home loaded with energy-sipping systems and green-home features.  But when it came time to refinance their house and capture value from those items, the Sandovals were going nowhere…

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on September 3, 2013 at 7:00am — 2 Comments

Lighting Controls and Zero Energy Homes

An article in the September/October issue of Home Energy, "Boosting Multifamily Energy Savings Through Lighting Control Settings" (page 38), has implications beyond dramatic savings in stairwells in apartment buildings. Ostensibly the article is about proper settings for motion sensors and the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 3, 2013 at 12:22pm — 1 Comment

Making the Invisible Visible: Valuing Energy Efficiency Improvements in a Real Estate Transaction

Often, when homeowners make improvements to an existing house, the most important aspects of home performance – including safety, comfort, energy efficiency, durability, and environmental impact – are literally invisible during key steps of any home sale or refinance transaction.

One result is that energy…

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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on August 19, 2013 at 1:44pm — 3 Comments

The Enthalpy Method

Imagine knowing the refrigerant charge was correct on a Central Heat Pump or A/C without attaching gauges!  No, I am not referring to the Lennox "Approach" calculation, which I have found to be very unreliable to predict refrigerant charge, but instead using the simple total capacity calculation with the correct tool.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 21, 2013 at 5:15pm — 4 Comments

Volunteer for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO!

Volunteer for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO!

Confluence Communications is pleased to be involved in managing the volunteer program for this exciting event, taking place Oct. 3-13 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Volunteers are an important part of this exciting event. To register or find out more about volunteering, visit:…

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Added by Stacy Hunt on August 25, 2013 at 8:00am — No Comments

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