Featured Blog Posts (671)

Lighting Services for Aliens

You have probably seen those amazing images of the world at night as observed from space—hundreds of times. Below is one photo, but many others show expanded views of smaller areas. I still marvel at how those necklaces of light show the shapes of our cities. The lights tell stories, too. For example, the Korean peninsula appears surgically sliced at the Demilitarized Zone,…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 12, 2014 at 1:31pm — 2 Comments

Top Worst Crawl Space Insulation Ideas

With winter right around the corner, many of us start looking at various ways to reduce heat loss and improve energy savings. One of the most common practices of improving energy savings is by installing or improving our homes insulation. This is especially true for those of us who have the luxury of living above a crawl space. Installing or improving crawl space insulation can be very beneficial. But it can also have expensive, negative effects if not done correctly. Here is a list of a few…


Added by Adam Swain on October 28, 2014 at 11:40am — 4 Comments

More 'clean' products that might not make the grade

While hard-surface flooring is on every list for improving indoor air quality, the type of hard-surface flooring may be problematic, especially if your clients' health is already compromised.

This article on formaldehyde levels in laminate flooring emphatically waves the health flag. The article is based on testing of Chinese-made laminate…


Added by Shawna Henderson on October 10, 2014 at 10:50am — No Comments

Efficient Windows Collaborative Releases Window Selection Tool Mobile App

The Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) has released a mobile app based on it web-based Window Selection Tool. The app is currently available and can be downloaded on iTunes

The Window Selection Tool mobile app is a step-by-step decision-making tool to help…


Added by Kerry Haglund on September 30, 2014 at 10:57am — No Comments

New Energy Code in Massachusetts

In July 2013, the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) voted to adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (2012 IECC) and ASHRAE 90.1-2010 with MA amendments as the new baseline energy code. The BBRS allowed for the new regulations to run concurrently with the current energy regulations until July 1, 2014. During that time, either set of energy regulations could be used when applying for…


Added by Everblue Training on October 8, 2014 at 6:56am — No Comments

Inventors of LEDs for general lighting win Nobel Prize in Physics

Three people who together helped increase the energy efficiency of lighting systems across the world have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday.…


Added by Diane Chojnowski on October 9, 2014 at 7:32am — No Comments

Why Is RESNET Limiting Its Options for Improvement?

In case you haven't heard, last year RESNET created a task force to look at ways to improve the consistency of results among certified home energy raters (aka HERS raters). In mid-August, executive director Steve Baden sent an email about the latest developments in the process. He also attached a document titled…


Added by Allison A. Bailes III on October 2, 2014 at 11:34am — No Comments

From Energy Audits to Home Performance - 30 Years with Home Energy Magazine

Home Energy magazine (HEM) has been publishing articles about residential energy efficiency for 30 years. Our articles, editorials, letters, and advertisements provide a kind of window into the evolution of energy conservation technologies, policies, and organizations. Initially, the focus was on audits and simple retrofits, such as weather-stripping and insulation. In those…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 24, 2014 at 12:13pm — 1 Comment

A Day in the Life of Learning

We now know that people learn effectively when they construct their own learning, rather than being told about it. The instructor moves off the stage and becomes the Guide on the Side.…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 25, 2014 at 3:30pm — 7 Comments

Rob Nicely, Warrior for Sustainability

I was first impressed by Rob Nicely when I heard him speak these words to an audience of builders, designers, and building scientists: "We’re the warriors of sustainability...We already know everything we need to know to build sustainable buildings—the question is, Can we internalize it into our culture and incorporate that learning into our practices?"

Rob is the president of Carmel…


Added by Tom White on September 24, 2014 at 10:30am — No Comments

Highlights from the NASCSP Annual Training Conference, 2014

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) met in Raleigh, North Carolina, for its annual training conference. Here are some personal highlights:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina, is a beautiful town but hard to take in from the 6th floor of my hotel room. All I saw…

Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 23, 2014 at 2:03pm — No Comments

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky, Especially their Capacity

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky and Still Effective

The name "mini-splits" generally refers to heat pump systems with one outdoor unit and one or several smaller capacity air handlers. The efficiency of their operation comes via the inverter compressor and variable refrigerant…


Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on September 17, 2014 at 1:32pm — 6 Comments

When windows aren't the culprit of a leaky building, solve the mystery with an energy audit.

Liz Vogel replaced the windows and updated the heating system in her small multifamily building in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. But she still noticed that parts of her home were not staying warm in winter. So she set out to solve the mystery of the missing heat. She saw icicles hanging from her roof, and that was a clue that pointed to where heat was escaping. The presence of these “ice dams” meant that Liz was paying to heat her roof and melt the snow instead of heating her…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 11, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

Let the games begin! Please note that registration has opened for the upcoming 2015 Race to Zero Student Design…


Added by Stacy Hunt on September 5, 2014 at 1:49pm — No Comments

Driving Demand for Energy Upgrades in Michigan

We're testing a newly-produced informational video, which our Michigan home inspectors share with their recent home-buying clients, to see how effective it is in driving demand for energy upgrades. Watch it at http://www.nachi.org/michigan-home-inspection-follow-up-survey.htm and share your thoughts.

Added by Benjamin Gromicko on September 5, 2014 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

How an Energy Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Tax Credits Flickr Cut Up Money

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

Energy efficiency rebate programs from gas and electric utilities have become pretty common nationwide. They give rebates for replacing your furnace or adding insulation to your home. While these programs seem like a good idea, they can actually…


Added by Nate Adams on September 5, 2014 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

Home Energy Magazine Features 30 Home Performance Leaders Under 30 to Celebrate 30th Year in Print

The September/October 2014 issue of Home Energy marks the magazine’s 30th year in print. To celebrate that milestone, an industry-wide call for nominations found noteworthy professionals in home performance who were 30 years of age or younger. The feature article introduces the young people who the industry can count on to lead the home performance industry for the next 30 years. 

Home Energy’s associate editor, Macie Melendez, compiled the nominations and…


Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2014 at 2:56pm — 1 Comment

Should this Duct Layout be Banned?

When is it ok to put your ducts into an attic, tight up against the Roof Deck?  With more conventional building techniques, I would have to argue: NEVER!  I do not care how the homeonwer pleads to keep their storage space, you cannot count on delivering cool air to the conditioned space with said branch duct.  Even if you did figure out a way to secure the duct to the peak without crushing the inside diameter, the CFM is not the problem.  The real issue becomes the dry bulb temperature of…


Added by Christopher Morin on September 3, 2014 at 6:24pm — 3 Comments

Top 5 Changes to ACCA Manual S

      As I had brought up years ago, ACCA's Manual S was in dire need of an update.  Written in 1995, Manual S Residential Equipment Selection was passed by with huge technical and efficiency strides within the…


Added by Christopher Morin on August 27, 2014 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Assessing long-term PV performance in a low-energy home

Zero Energy Home Friends,

My daily PV output from a 6.56 kW PV system has averaged 22.7 kWh/day over the last two years.

kWh= AC kWh from inverter to grid

irrday= cumulative kWh/m2/day plane of array

pvptmp= array temperature (F) taken on back on one of the modules

obs= elapsed…


Added by Danny S. Parker on August 17, 2014 at 12:55am — No Comments

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