Featured Blog Posts (504)

Advances in Spray Foam

Last December, Building Science Corporation (BSC) Principal Dr. Joe Lstiburek presented a full day webinar session on spray foam concerns and solutions, using information based on field experience and laboratory research. The webcast featured reports on BSC…

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Added by Anna Jursik on February 4, 2013 at 12:34pm — No Comments

Natural Draft Orphaned Hot Water Heater

We keep running into these.

Natural Draft Orphaned Hot Water Heaters that will not pass Draft.

Any thoughts on economical solutions?

These are typically in a pre-Weatherized house.

Added by Jim Peck on January 30, 2013 at 6:44am — 12 Comments

5 Common Mistakes of New Energy Auditors

Energy Auditor No doubt if you follow energy or environmental issues, you’ve heard over and over again that the least expensive way to tackle our energy difficulties is through efficiency. One report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) suggested that $168.6 billion could be saved through energy efficiency by 2020. Still, some of those close to the ground have heard horror stories on how the whole process is sometimes carried out in real life.



Significant…

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Added by CleanEdison on January 30, 2013 at 12:41pm — 4 Comments

Transaction Process Summit on High Performance Houses in Washington DC on January 30, 2013

I attended a meeting yesterday in Wash. DC sponsored by DOE and titled, Transaction Process Summit, - intended as a first attempt to develop a strategic road map to help the residential transaction process recognize the value of high performance homes.  Sam Rashkin of DOE led the lively discussion on the issues that surround the residential high performance home transactions.  Champions in the room included representatives from government agencies, MLS, NAR, NAHB, Mortgage…

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Added by Sandra K. Adomatis, SRA on January 30, 2013 at 2:46pm — 3 Comments

A Greener Deal from Across the Pond

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

 

From Sep 2010 to Apr 2011, CEE’s residential program staff had the…

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Added by Lester Shen on January 23, 2013 at 10:04am — 4 Comments

7 Reasons to Come to the RESNET Conference This Year

I've been going to the RESNET conference at the beginning of each year since 2009. I also went in 2004, and I can tell you that it's a great learning and networking opportunity if you're in the home energy industry. Are you on the fence about coming to the RESNET conference this year? Are you not on the fence but just haven't registered yet? Even if neither of those apply, see…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on January 25, 2013 at 12:22pm — No Comments

HVAC Contractors: Survive and prosper in hard times

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2009 and 2012) requires HVAC ducts to be tested to prove a minimum leakage.  While many states and localities will adopt this code outright, it is likely that many will also amend it to allow inspection and sealing alternatives. Many HVAC contractors are bound to breathe a sigh of relief at not having to face potential failure and the subsequent looking for the 'leak in the trunk line' that will eat up their profit margins by the…

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Added by Scott Graham on January 17, 2013 at 2:11pm — 1 Comment

Do Words Matter for High Performance Homes?

When people consider high performance homes the term “label” gets used most broadly – in both a positive or negative context.  In general, when people talk about…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on January 18, 2013 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

What the Green Building Industry Can Learn From Motorola

LEED Six Sigma Whether driven by a genuine desire to reduce their environmental footprint, or simply to insulate themselves against rising costs, energy efficiency is becoming a significant organizational goal for many companies around the country. In order to achieve these goals, businesses are looking for direction on how they can have their buildings’ designed and/or operated to consume as little energy as possible. Many have looked to the LEED Rating System to provide both the guidance for,…

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Added by CleanEdison on January 17, 2013 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Oil Tanks in Your Home

 For a technician or auditor that works outside of the Oil Heating Industry, seeing a tank leaking in a basement can send you into a moment of shock.  Then of course, the dreaded conversation with the Homeowner will cast a cloud.  The key is to have a plan, and know what to do.  The smallest amount of knowledge in this subject could make you the hero.  Simply stating, "Call your Oil Company!" can leave them feeling helpless.  Of course, that oil delivery company must know about a leaking…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 15, 2013 at 11:52am — 3 Comments

Sacred Work

A building is not sacred. A church or a temple, no matter how old, or big, or beautiful, by itself is not sacred. It’s the attitude of the people and the things that people do in a building that make it sacred or not. I have met many people in the home performance field who quietly go about the work of…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 11, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Secondhand Smoke Animations

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

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Added by Lester Shen on January 8, 2013 at 8:21am — No Comments

Clocking a Gas Meter

  After writing last week's post: "High CO Reading, Now What?" it occurred to me that not as many people out there: technicians, raters, or auditors; are up to speed on the age old firing rate calculation.  I hope this simple procedure is easily understood as you may find it useful if you are working with negative pressure gas valves, with Energy Star Homes, or just simply forgot your manometer at the shop.  I…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 8, 2013 at 6:29pm — 4 Comments

Energy Benchmarking - A $9 Billion Saving Plan

Multifamily Benchmarking Energy benchmarking can unlock $9 billion in energy savings by 2020, suggests a recent report by the Institute of Market Transformation. Despite our lofty aspirations of energy independence and tackling global climate change, we are only beginning to implement the first step in the multifamily building sector – understanding our energy use. Multifamily housing has a number of characteristics that should make green retrofits an appealing investment, but only a fraction of the…

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Added by CleanEdison on January 9, 2013 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Book Review: An Introduction to Green Homes

The Appraisal Institute’s An Introduction to Green Homes is yet another valuable tool from the Institute, paving the way for appraisers to handle green home assignments. The book, authored by long-time appraiser, REALTOR, and educator Alan Simmons in 2010 helps appraisers new to this work “know what they don’t know.” The book equips appraisers to identify green building certifications, techniques,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 9, 2013 at 10:11am — No Comments

Bang for the buck: deep-energy retrofit approach

"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."                                                                                                      Winston Churchill

How much does it cost to perform a deep-energy retrofit at a 100-year-old single-family home? Thanks to a recent study in Utica, New York, we now know the answer: about $100,000.…

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Added by Igor Zhadanovsky on January 3, 2013 at 1:44pm — 32 Comments

High CO Reading, Now What?

Things used to be so easy when working in this business back in the day. When carrying tools for some old timers, I remember some replacing an air filter and kicking the furnace while saying"Yup, still here!" Maintenance these days, for great reason, has taken a more efficient operation mentality, mainly because energy prices have started to affect our wallets. These days, 68% steady state efficiency oil boilers and gas furnaces with high carbon monoxide readings mean something. But, does it… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on January 3, 2013 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

Home Non-Energy - Preparing Homes for Future Blackouts

We all have stories about losing power in our home for several hours—or days—and many people suspect that power interruptions are becoming more frequent. They may be right; unfortunately, the utility data are so sketchy that nobody can say for certain. But declining investment in maintenance on the part of utilities, plus the increased frequency of extreme weather caused by climate change, are almost certain to keep the blackouts coming.

One response is to buy a home generator. That’s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2013 at 9:54am — 6 Comments

Houston, We Have ANOTHER Problem !

From the great region of the country that gave us rock, blues, country, dubstep, and Tejano music origins, not to mention the space program, horns mounted on pickup trucks, and Gilley's (everywhere, now) comes the newest invention and innovation, the …

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Added by Tom Delconte on December 28, 2012 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

On-Call for the Holidays?

   This seems to be one of the unluckiest weeks to draw in the on-call pool for a technician.  You see, over the Winter you have to respond to no-heat calls much faster than a residence without cooling on Memorial or Independence Day.  I remember visiting homes many Festivus evenings and getting the old clunker of a boiler running, without the swears from "A Christmas Story".  But, even over the last fifteen years, being on-call has changed.  If you were not able to  barter your way out of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 22, 2012 at 10:07am — 1 Comment

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Advice for heating a 3-story Vermont home built in 1900?

I'm a science writer, as opposed to an energy professional, and I joined this group to try to keep…See More
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Heating with Tankless Water Heater & Hydronic Air Handler vs. Gas Furnace

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