Featured Blog Posts (528)

Zero to 60 - Scores of Green Appraisers Hit the Streets Overnight in Colorado

Home builder Sean Smith feels like Sisyphus – the Greek mythological figure doomed for eternity to push boulders uphill only for them to crash downhill when he neared the top.  Smith’s boulder?  Higher appraisal prices for the green homes he builds in metro Denver.

 

“We built a house a couple of years…

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on June 21, 2013 at 7:05am — 31 Comments

The Process Approach of Human-Building Interaction (HBI)

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

In the early nineties, I began developing interactive CD-ROMs to teach school age children about energy and environmental issues. We created games to teach these concepts. An essential step in our process was…

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Added by Lester Shen on June 26, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Weatherization Program Brought Back to Stability for FY 2013 and 2014

I recently received the email below from a fellow supporter of the Weatherization Program regarding the current status of Federal funding for the Low Income Weatherization program.  

Relatively speaking, while I have done little in terms of personal lobbying in DC at the Federal level on Weatherization, Brad Penney deserves credit as one of the greatest leaders in personally convincing members of Congress to fund the Weatherization program during the FY2013 and 2014 - the two years…

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Added by Stan Harbuck on June 30, 2013 at 5:34pm — No Comments

Not getting it

I live in New England, New Hampshire, to be specific, and I just don't get the lack of seriousness about weatherization and credentials here. I'm BPI Certified Building Analyst and Envelope Specialist, have taken the Resnet Energy Smart Contractor test, have OSHA 10, lead certified renovator, the list goes on and on. Means nothing here. Area contractors insulate to be just good enough and nothing more. I can't tell you how many times that I have gone to a new construction job and have been…

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Added by Robert D York Jr on July 4, 2013 at 6:50am — 3 Comments

Three WWWs to completing the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum

The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum is a form used to standardize the reporting of high performance house features from green certifications to incentives offered.  The Addendum can be downloaded in a PDF format from the Appraisal Institute’s Website.  It is seems there is much confusion on who should be completing the Addendum, why they should complete it and what they…

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Added by Sandra K. Adomatis, SRA on June 16, 2013 at 6:18pm — 3 Comments

Home Performance and HVAC Contractors: Recent Legislative Initiative In Texas

As energy auditors and raters went about their business of testing homes, performing energy audits and HVAC system inspections, they discovered and reported certain “problems” to the homeowners of Texas. For example, they reported that HVAC systems were oversized, or suffering from massive duct leakage! In late 2011, The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which oversees the HVAC industry,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 11:07am — 3 Comments

Code Conflict Between 2012 IRC and 2012 IECC

It has come to my attention that there may be a building science-based conflict in the language of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The 2012 IECC sets the mandatory blower door tested and certified air infiltration rate at 5 ACH50 in CZ1 & 2 and an even tighter 3 ACH50 in CZ 3 and above. The problem lies in the fact that the new…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 1:09pm — 1 Comment

More Evidence of Link Between Energy Efficient Homes and Occupants' Health.

New Study: "Impact of LEED-Certified Affordable Housing on Asthma in the South Bronx"

Here is more evidence that the occupants of energy efficient, healthy, and affordable housing enjoy better health compared to those in traditional low-income housing. The results of an in-depth study by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City of residents who recently moved into LEED-certified low-income multifamily housing showed:

  • Decreases in continuous daily respiratory…
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Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 20, 2013 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Passive Proponent—Q&A with Brandon Weiss

President and founder of Chicago-based Weiss Building & Development, Brandon Weiss is a third-generation builder who credits time spent in Europe to his sustainable approach to life.

While he’s built more than 90 high-performing homes since he started his company in 2005, it wasn’t until recently that he started work on his own family home.…

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Added by Macie Melendez on June 13, 2013 at 8:32am — 3 Comments

Scrutinizing Condensing Boilers With the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLT)

“It’s amazing. Every year, we find somebody who comes up with a way of going around the second law (of Thermodynamics) and somehow convinces people who are very smart that it will work.”      MIT lecture on  Thermodynamics and & Kinetics, Spring 2008

 

 

Since the 1980s, hot water condensing boilers (CB) have…

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Added by Igor Zhadanovsky on May 29, 2013 at 9:31am — 15 Comments

Momentum builds for energy efficiency...but is the wolf at the door?

It says something that Ernest Moniz chose to deliver his first public talk as US energy secretary to an energy efficiency crowd.

His appearance last week at EE Global in Washington, D.C. was a surprise of sorts. And the timing was significant. Moniz had only been confirmed as energy secretary three hours before taking the podium at the Alliance to Save Energy’s annual conference.

Why did he make the stop?

Probably not because of the size of the crowd. About 550 people…

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Added by Elisa Wood on May 30, 2013 at 9:04am — 25 Comments

Change is Hard—How Do You Get People to Accept It?

Changing one’s daily routine and making big decisions about money is hard. When a home performance contractor asks a customer to consider an audit, they are asking a lot. Besides the cost of the audit and any retrofit measures the homeowner chooses to pay for, which is probably the biggest challenge, there is also the inconvenience. The audit and retrofit may require the homeowner to take time off from work. Having workers climb in and out of the attic, under the crawlspace, and drill holes…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 28, 2013 at 2:37pm — No Comments

Selling with Rebates: The Simple Payback

  The easiest way to show a homeowner how their investment in high-efficient equipment will help their wallet is to use the "Simple Payback" Calculation.  This 'tried and true' sales tactic will quickly explain how many years before the additional investment to upgrade is paid off.  Of course, there are many features that a high-efficient system provides, like superior levels of comfort, wether it be climate control or just condenser noise just outside their children's bedroom.  These…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 15, 2013 at 6:50pm — 16 Comments

Preparing to Update the Heat Pump

This is the latest from Foskey Road News, a business blog that is strictly consumer focused.

by Edward Foskey

Based on the life expectancy of the heat pump that came with my house when I bought it, I know that I am already living on borrowed time. I just recently had a minor repair and the semi-annual check-up. My plans are to start preparing to replace it by next spring.

I know…

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Added by Edward Foskey on May 16, 2013 at 8:46am — 3 Comments

HOMES Act introduced with Bi-Partisan Sponsorship

We don't see a lot of bi-partisan bills in Congress these days. Here's one focusing on home energy-efficiency from a WV-R and a VT-D, both on the energy committee, the HOMES Act, HR 2128 (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.113hr2128) introduced yesterday.  Now, I'm not holding my breathe on passage, but I take it as a good sign that energy-efficiency is part of the…

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Added by Mike Rogers on May 24, 2013 at 12:46pm — 3 Comments

The Universe Is Made of Stories

The late poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser famously said, The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. It’s not just words that make up stories. A scientific equation is a story, and so is getting up from my seat and stretching—it’s the story of back care for an editor. We can tell a story with the expression on our faces. What does it tell you when a loved one rolls her eyes at you, or blows you a kiss? How do you feel when a stranger winks at you? Flips you the bird? That last…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 17, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

Oodles of Acronyms & Initials for Home Energy Pros

Acronyms and initials (let's call that AI, for short, not to be confused with the other AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, or AIA, which stands for…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on May 13, 2013 at 6:54am — 1 Comment

Robert Shiller Says Retrofits Are Never Worth It!

His economic truth about homeownership:

By contrast, real home prices should decline with time, except to the extent that households shell out some money and plow back some of their incomes into maintenance and improvements, because homes wear out and go out of style.

"Here is a harsh truth about homeownership: Over the long haul, it’s hard for homes to compete with the stock market in real…

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Added by Tom DelConte on May 3, 2013 at 5:00am — 9 Comments

Behavior and Usability: At the Interface of Human-Building Interaction

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



Of course, behaviorism works. So does torture. Give me…

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Added by Lester Shen on April 25, 2013 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

Good Drainage Planes stop Capillary Action

We use drainage gaps or planes in wall systems to stop water from entering the building shell and causing deterioration or mould. This air gap does two things if wide enough; it prevents water’s surface tension from staying or even climbing up the wall and the gap also disperses the forces of wind driven rain or solar vapour drive. Let’s look at…

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Added by Greg Labbe on April 22, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

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