All Blog Posts Tagged 'energy' (138)

4 Mini-Splits and Heat Pump Efficiency, Will It Work?

Yes, I drive tractors too. Along with the home energy audit work, I’m a farmer at heart. I received a call from a gentlemen that needs some help backfilling and leveling out the dirt around the foundation of his homes new addition.

Now that the ground is dry enough, I load up my 24 horsepower Kabota tractor with bucket, attach the tiller and head over to his place. I find an old original house that was constructed shortly after the wagon trains arrived. Attached to the side is the new…

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Added by Don Ames on July 22, 2012 at 12:32pm — 1 Comment

The "Snackwell Effect" Revisited

(I posted this blog to the KQED Quest site a few years ago, but a recent discussion begun by Tom Delconte in the General Forum has raised the issue again. Hope to—paraphrasing Evan Mills in his response to Tom—make a mountain into the molehill it really is.)

Recent articles in USA Today and California's Flex Your Power e-Newswire discussed the phenomenon known in energy efficiency circles as "take back" or the "Snackwell Effect" (see "…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 11, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

4 Things to Check Before Installing a New, High Efficient Heating System.

I had just completed a home energy audit and learned that insulation levels and air sealing measures were up-to-speed. After crawling into the attic, performing a duct blaster, checking the temperature of the hot water, and a bunch of other things, I had come to the educated conclusion that this home’s best chance for improved energy efficiency and lower energy bills while heating the house would include replacing the heating source.

The 80% gas furnace is in the garage right next to…

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Added by Don Ames on July 4, 2012 at 10:38pm — 7 Comments

Visually Inspect Your Home For Energy Saving Gold

Whether you are a “do-it-yourself” home energy auditor or a seasoned professional, learning about a home from an initial visual inspection is an important tool during an energy audit of home which can highlight energy saving opportunities. The visual inspection is the first indication…

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Added by Don Ames on July 2, 2012 at 3:47pm — 1 Comment

Electric Power Saving Products For Home Owners

All homeowners are energy users. It is anticipated that if every household in America used only one incandescent light bulb, they would still be able to match the energy output of one whole nuclear power plant. Certainly, each family utilizes a lot more than just one  lamp , so you could imagine  the amount of energy that is needed just to illuminate  the house. But there is something  you can do about  this. You can start with appliances with low work load to reduce  the electric energy…

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Added by Orlando Racelis on June 14, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

How To Reduce Energy at Home

9 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home and Lower Power Bills



How to reduce energy at home has gradually become a household desire as a result of high definition T.V.'s and homes the size of a castle. Throw in a struggling economy and the melt down of a nuclear plant and becoming more energy efficient seems like a great idea.

Our power bills rise as a result of increasing power costs and the need for more and more power to operate are power hungry homes and…

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Added by Don Ames on April 11, 2012 at 7:32pm — 2 Comments

The “Passive House:” Finally a Reality

In years past, the idea of the “passive house” was only a dream. In concept form, the passive house was one that minimized energy losses and operated at maximum energy efficiency. The result would be a home with little to no monthly energy expenses and a fraction of the environmental impact of most homes. Amazingly, the passive house is no longer just a dream; in fact, it’s become a reality. Several companies are able to build passive homes for everyday consumers, creating a huge shift in…

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Added by Jeff Wendland on April 9, 2012 at 6:45am — 3 Comments

Home Energy Audit 111 Years Old

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com



I gathered up my auditing equipment and headed off to a neighboring community to perform a home energy audit that was constructed in 1901. Before I head out of the office and leave the comfort of my desk computer, I look up the home through County Records to determine about what year the home was constructed, about how big the home is, and if records show any remodel years.

When records indicate…

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Added by Don Ames on April 4, 2012 at 10:33pm — 10 Comments

Game of Homes!

Energy Battle is a new game that may be the solution to training a younger generation to save energy at home. It was developed by graduate students at Delft University of Technology.…

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Added by Tom DelConte on March 30, 2012 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

The Five Disadvantages of Solar Power Again

Does Solar Power Have Disadvantages? How Can Anyone Say This About Renewable Energy?

Posted by Tom Delconte on www.homeenergypros.lbl.gov

Comments by Don Ames, www.detectenergy.com

Tom posted the 5 "disadvantages" listed below. I did not agree with the list so I thought I would post them as Tom did and then add my comments below each one. Be sure and join the discussion by posting…

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Added by Don Ames on March 20, 2012 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

Energy Audit And Energy Saving Measures For A Big Home

The Energy Audit is Complete: The Homeowner Chooses These Energy Saving Improvements

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Now that the 5 year old has put down the foam dart gun and stopped crawling in and out of the blower door, it's time to make some energy saving recommendations to the homeowner. After completing an energy audit of the home, it is usually fairly easy to start the conversation with the owners on what they should…

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Added by Don Ames on March 18, 2012 at 10:20am — 3 Comments

When in doubt, Incentivize!

These are the latest ideas and bills in congress, which may or may not actually happen.

First up are new tax credits for homeowners investing in energy efficiency upgrades. The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act.

It's based on annual predicted energy cost savings from heating, cooling, hot water and “permanent lighting” in a primary residence. For a minimum credit of $2,000, homes would need to reduce energy costs by 20 percent. Incremental credits are…

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Added by Tom DelConte on March 14, 2012 at 5:30am — 2 Comments

The five disadvantages of solar power


It's intermittent. Solar energy is only available when the sun is shining.

It's low efficiency. It requires large areas of land.

It's not completely free of environmental impact. Ultrapure polysilicon is now scarce.


It's high cost.


You must climb your roof to wash it off. Just ask Ed Begley, Jr.!



Added by Tom DelConte on March 13, 2012 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Three Steps to Get You Started on Do-it-Yourself Smart Home Automation.

Three Devices That Will Get You Closer to Saving Energy Through Smart Home Automation

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

I have been enjoying the advertisement on the radio that goes something like this, "If your home was built in the 1950's, why would you expect it to perform better than a T.V. built in the 1950's?"

The point is well taken if you are interested in energy conservation. Homes built in the 1950's do not perform…

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Added by Don Ames on March 10, 2012 at 8:15pm — No Comments

What leading edge developments should I be focusing on?

You woke up this morning full of vim and vigor, ready to tackle the world of home energy efficiency. Of course, your first dreamy thoughts were: is this major solar flare going to knockout electricity in the midwest power grid, and then, if Fermilab has found proof of the Higgs Boson, will I be able to fully explain the phenomena of convection and chimney effect to people? After your morning coffee, the reality check sets…

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Added by Tom DelConte on March 7, 2012 at 5:30am — 1 Comment

Energy Audit: Hot tubs and Shortcut Return Air Ducts

Energy Audit: Now Recommendations for Energy Saving Up-dates

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Now that we have the hot tub and the hole-in-the-wall under control, it is time to go ahead…

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Added by Don Ames on March 6, 2012 at 1:33pm — 4 Comments

Home Energy Audit With a Hole in the Wall

Why is there a heating register 4 feet up on the wall?

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

In my last article, I spoke about a home energy audit and the hot tub on the back deck. Remember, it was a manufactured home with a great deck overlooking a roaring hillside stream. Next door, the neighbors were the countryside recyclers, at least I suppose that's what they might call themselves.

Personally, I think I would call them by a…

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Added by Don Ames on March 1, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Is There a Smart Home in Your Future?

iPhone to Home: It's All About Communication and Home Automation.

by Don Ames,  www.detectenergy.com

Right now, it's more of a joke than a reality. For some reason, even with an iPhone or Tablet in our hands, we fail to realize the fact that someday, in the near future, we will all be living in a Smart Home. Yes, for a while, it will probably be like coming to terms with our first…

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Added by Don Ames on February 18, 2012 at 4:45pm — No Comments

BCAP Gap Analyses a Resource for Midwest States

Energy Code Gap Analyses are reports that document a particular state’s energy code infrastructure to assess current gaps, identify best practices, and give recommendations for how these practices can be improved. The Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) has conducted several Gap Analyses over the course of the past year and these analyses can be a major step towards informing the state on how to reduce energy use by improving energy codes in those states. The gap analyses are part of…

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Added by Andrew Navolio on February 15, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Uncertain Future for Wind Energy in the U.S.

Congress has closed the books on a another dramatic year in American politics with no real accomplishments. Among many lingering questions is the future of wind power subsidies. Introduced in the early 1990’s, government subsidies for wind power have played a major role in the expansion of the young…

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Added by Holbert Janson on February 13, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

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