Jim Gunshinan's Blog (62)

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

Energy, Faith, and the Narratives We Live By

(This post first appeared as an article in America Magazine, a Jesuit, Catholic, national weekly journal, in the May 6, 2012 issue.)

Since the beginning of the 20th century, oil has played the role of cheap labor in the U.S. economy and in economies around the world. Traditionally, we have been interested in the horsepower of our car engines, but what if we measured the energy we use in terms of human labor? To power a typical…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 7, 2012 at 4:47pm — No Comments

Calling All Inventors, Entrepreneuers, and Venture Capitalists!

One morning I realized that I could cut down my showering time by at least one minute if I could combine my shampooing and conditioning into one step. Inspired, I went to a high-end grocery store that I will call, “Whole Paycheck” looking for what has been an illusive item for me—a combination shampoo and conditioner that really works; someone stacking items in the hair-care section told me that no such thing exists.

It’s a tough invention, since shampoo and conditioner are supposed…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on December 14, 2011 at 3:11pm — No Comments

Maryland Home Performance Shines

My sister recently participated in the Maryland Home Performance with Energy Star program, sponsored by the Maryland Energy Office and five local utilities. Here's what she had to say about her experience: (Yeah Maryland!)

"The Maryland Home Performance with Energy Star website is friendly, functional, and full of great information.  I was first introduced to MDHomePerfromance.org by my brother who is editor of Home Energy Magazine.   He…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on November 3, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

What Do We Do Now?

 

After the ARRA funding runs out at the end of March, 2012, what do we do? That was the big question on the minds of attendees today at the 2011 National Association for State Community Services Program (NASCSP) Training Conference in Seattle. At the same time everyone felt the need to recognize the huge success achieved by WAP in the three years covered by the ARRA finding, especially because of recent criticism of the WAP program in Congress: WAP is on track to weatherize up to…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 22, 2011 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Voices from NASCSP Training Conference, Seattle

Voices from the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) Training Conference, Wednesday, September 21:

(Some are direct quotes, some are loose paraphrasing, and some are what I think I heard them say. Meanings are 100% accurate!)

WAP has weatherized 520,000 homes through August and spent $3.5 billion of the $5 billion we were given through ARRA. WAP is the 8th largest job creator of all the ARRA projects; we've created 15,000 jobs.

—LeAnn M.…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 21, 2011 at 7:53pm — No Comments

Voices from the 2011 NASCSP Training Conference, Seattle

Voices from the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), Wednesday, September 21: 

 (Some are direct quotes, some are loose paraphrasing, and some are what I think I heard them say. Meanings are 100% accurate!)

 

WAP has weatherized 520,000 homes through August and spent $3.5 billion of the $5 billion we were given through ARRA. WAP is the 8th largest job creator of all the ARRA projects; we've created…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 21, 2011 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Ode to a Home Performance Contractor

For 11 years people at Home Energy have bugged me to write a "home performance poem" because they know I am a poet as well as an editor. Well, it finally happened. I participate in a writing group and the last time we got together we decided as an exercise to write about something we have never written about before. Hope you like it!

 

Ode to a Home Performance Contractor

 

My name is House. I stood before you empty

and foreclosed upon.…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 1, 2011 at 11:50am — No Comments

Our Remodel In a Minor Key

We got tired of sharing a bathroom, we were afraid as we grow older that we would trip and break our hips on the stairs leading from the kitchen into the garage and to our backyard; and since the only route from inside the house to our back yard was through the garage, we decided to remodel our 1,200 square foot cottage in Walnut Creek. It seems so long ago.

 

We did it right. We interviewed several architects and design/build companies, had an architect work with us to draw up…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 19, 2011 at 2:20pm — No Comments

More Evidence that the Stimulus Bill Is Working

The Bay Area and our neighbor to the north, Portland, Oregon, have had a friendly competition over which of us is the greenest state. Portland scored big points by providing proof positive that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) a.k.a. the Stimulus Bill, has created good paying, permanent jobs in the new, greener economy.



The Energy Efficiency and Community Block Grant (EECBG) program, which targets… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on April 1, 2011 at 2:15pm — No Comments

BPI Celebrates Home Performance Heroes at ACI

Tamasin Sterner, Founder, President, and Chief Coach of Pure Energy was given the Tony Woods Award for Excellence in Advancing the Home Performance Industry at the opening plenary of the ACI National Conference in San Francisco on March 30, 2011. Tamasin has been advancing home performance through mentoring, teaching, consulting work, and building analysis for almost 30 years and is a regular Home Energy contributer. "I had to prove that I can do everything that men can do—and more", she says,… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 31, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Redefining the Term "Mobile Home"

 

The most energy efficient home is one that's already built. Keeping a home out of a landfill saves all the materials in the house, as well as all the energy used to create the materials—the building's embodied energy. And historic homes preserve a slice of culture that would otherwise be lost forever. And what's better than keeping one 100-year-old house out of the landfill? Keeping two 100-year-old houses out of the…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 8, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments

New Label for Things Made from Wind Energy

I am composing this blog post on a computer that was likely assembled in a factory that runs on electricity made from coal. The aluminum for the case and other parts of the computer probably came from a smelter powered by natural gas. The electricity powering the computer here in California could come from a combination… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on February 10, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Goodbye to the Light Bulb We All Know and Love

You know which light bulb I mean. It’s the one you’ve burned your hands on when trying to unscrew it too soon after it’s been turned off. It’s the one you put in the lamp in your living room to read by in your comfortable chair; the one you use to light the stairways at night. It’s the 100-watt incandescent that uses… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 14, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

Through prediction or performance, how do we meet our energy challenges?

Henry Gifford, a mechanical systems designer and principal at Gifford Fuel Saving, Inc. in New York City, is suing the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for millions of dollars. Gifford, in the class action suit, claims that the USGBC has committed fraud in the selling of its Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) program, and has unfairly kept work away from people like him who are not involved in the program. (Photo of Henry Gifford by Travis Roozee.)…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on December 9, 2010 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Democrats More Prone to Guilt

In general Democrats are more sensitive to the negative effect of their actions on others. That is one conclusion of a study done by Cornell University researchers, who shared their findings at the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference (BECC) now taking place in Sacramento. Cornell Economist Benjamin Ho explained that an extensive human behavior study showed that Democrats are more likely to respond to television commercials and… Continue

Added by Jim Gunshinan on November 18, 2010 at 10:46am — No Comments

Man’s Best (and Most Energy Efficient?) Friend



My cousin Mark is a pretty smart guy who reads widely. (All my cousins are above average.) Here is what Mark sent to me in an e-mail about dogs:…



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Added by Jim Gunshinan on November 9, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Insulate Your !#@!$ Attic Hatch

My attic hatch insulation kit came in the mail this morning and I am very excited. Excited enough to go into a hot dusty attic to install it over the weekend.



I promised Michele that I will practice the Yoga of home improvement projects and keep the cursing down to a minimum. My home improvement projects usually involve some cursing. I worked part time as a janitor when I was in high school and that is where I…
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Added by Jim Gunshinan on November 9, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Leslie Gets Weatherized



Ben Bustamante works on Leslie's house. Photo by Leslie Jackson





When Home Energy’s part-time Associate Editor Leslie Jackson got home from a trip to New Orleans, where she did research on the rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina, she got a message on her phone. It was…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 29, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Window Shade Study Shows Positive Results

(This is from Robb Aldrich of Steven Winter Associates.)



It’s no secret that windows are a liability when it comes to heat loss in homes. Conductance of quality insulated, low-e windows is typically 0.30-0.35 Btu/ft2hr°F, or about R-3. If installed in a wall that performs at R-20, heat lost through windows is 6-7 times higher (per unit area) than heat loss through the rest of the wall.…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 20, 2010 at 12:52pm — No Comments

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