Home Energy Magazine's Blog (97)

Natural Gas is Becoming Less Attractive

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The United States and Canada have been fortunate to have access to natural gas for space heating, water heating, and other applications. Over the decades, gas supplies have been both reliable and affordable. We also believed that natural gas was clean and environmentally friendly, and was therefore reasonable as the fuel of choice. Sadly, this situation is changing; natural gas is becoming less attractive.

What has changed? First, research has shown that natural gas…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 5, 2016 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

California's Home Performance Data Drought

Every energy upgraded home has data. But it’s the story behind the data that gives it meaning.

Stories like Mark and Jane’s who sold their home in Carmel, California fixer upper with a couple acres in Grass Valley so they could pursue their micro-farm dream in their retirement. With extensive energy upgrades in the attic and to their crawl and mechanical systems, they reduced consumption by…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 16, 2016 at 8:07am — 1 Comment

The Real Women of Home Performance: Lauren Salz

Lauren Salz is the co-founder and COO of Sealed, a company with a simple purpose: to make home comfort improvements a no-brainer. Lauren manages the Sealed's software and patent-pending analytics, as well as the recently announced Sealed HomeAdvance fund.

Julie Caracino (Home Performance Coalition): How did you get started in the home…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 1, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments

4 Traps to Avoid in Selling Home Performance

You want the sale. We all want the sale! Maybe you’re very hungry to post some numbers or push to hit the plan. That’s OK. But don’t let that get in the way of good approaches. It’s easier to stick with a good process when you’ve got ample leads, a solid pipeline, and you’re been hitting the numbers. So, try to stay ahead and…use effective lead generation, maintain your pipeline, and stay on top of your plan…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 25, 2016 at 2:58pm — 1 Comment

Zero Energy Homes: Economical and Eco-Friendly

As global concern about energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and depletion of non-renewable resources continues to rise, more and more consumers are exploring ways to reduce their home’s energy usage. At the forefront of this conversation is the zero energy home movement.

As early adopters of energy efficiency policies and the zero energy movement, Connecticut developed the …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 19, 2016 at 4:10pm — 1 Comment

10 Ways for Contractors to Be More Professional

As with other client businesses, when it comes to making it as a contractor, professionalism is everything. Rightly or wrongly, as a contractor, clients will judge you not just on the quality of your work but on the overall impression you leave with them.

Fortunately, some simple changes can make a big difference in how clients view you and improve your bottom line.

1. Show Up On Time

It…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 13, 2016 at 8:13pm — No Comments

No B.S.

Homebuilders impress me. I know many; they’re great people. Honest, hardworking. They have a lot of good experience and they take pride in their work. They generally do not have a college education.

I think our universities need to offer a new degree: Bachelor of Science in Homebuilding.

Employment and education in America has changed a lot in the last generation. A high school education used to…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 7, 2016 at 10:12am — 1 Comment

Better Building Codes Empower Utah Homebuyers to Look for Energy Efficiency

Until Aug. 13, many prospective home buyers in Utah were touring new homes during the Salt Lake Parade of Homes and pondering which might be best for them. One important question many were asking is, “What would my energy bills be in this new home versus that one?”

Luckily, when shopping for a new home, Utah consumers can now check energy ratings…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 22, 2016 at 10:24am — 3 Comments

How On-Demand Pumps in New Residential Construction Can Pay for Themselves Via the New Home’s Mortgage

Is it fair to say, “We take residential plumbing for granted? Do we use our plumbing system on a daily basis more than we do our stove or refrigerator?”

I think yes.

During the past 6-7 years, I have investigated on-demand pumps (IAPMO certified). I gathered large amounts of wasted water, energy and time data—with these pumps installed (and without) from homeowners all over the USA. I have written…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 15, 2016 at 9:43am — No Comments

Industry and Efficiency Proponents Agree on Big Efficiency Gains for Pool Pumps

Swimming pool owners will see a huge drop in their monthly utility bills thanks to a consensus agreement between industry, efficiency proponents, and other interested parties for the first national energy efficiency standards for pool pumps that was approved July 29 by a U.S.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 2, 2016 at 10:57am — 3 Comments

Is the Perfect Wall Realistic?

Wrong question. The right question is what can we do to help builders design and construct more perfect walls without losing their shirts? At Building America, we have an idea for a tool to do this.

Since 1995, Building America Program experts have developed more than 100 innovations that…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 18, 2016 at 2:35pm — No Comments

Boosting Insulation Can Reduce Energy Use, Pollution

Those of us working within the building industry or energy efficiency space in existing homes know that boosting insulation levels can reduce energy use, cut consumer costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, there’s been a modest amount of data to quantify the extent of the benefits—particularly at the state level. Until now.

New …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 18, 2016 at 2:32pm — No Comments

11 Flavors of Sustainable Housing

Keeping track of what's going on in the world of low-impact, sustainable housing is, and was, a challenge.

We did a study for CMHC back in the early 00's looking for great examples for a series of case studies that required collecting a ton of info on many projects. CMHC published only 3 of 24 case studies, but…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 13, 2016 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Converging Trends

Environmental Leader recently described legal challenges faced by a business coalition supporting the “Clean Power Plan.” Aside from the Supreme Court’s intervention, the coalition “is fighting more than …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 6, 2016 at 10:18am — 1 Comment

My Apartment in Tokyo

Every time I visit Japan I learn something new, and my most recent trip was no exception. This time I stayed in an apartment, which exposed me to several new energy-related devices. First, what’s this gadget attached to the wall? (See photo below.)

Reading the Japanese isn’t terribly informative, because the label just says it’s a “peak alarm unit.” The apartment’s owner pays the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 2, 2016 at 9:56am — 3 Comments

Increasing Home Value Through Energy Upgrades

It turns out that one of the most valuable remodeling options is one you can’t see. That’s the conclusion of the recent Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine, which compares the average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale value in 100 different U.S. markets. For…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 6, 2016 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Energy Fit: Engaging Consumer Experiences That Lead to Better Energy Habits

Fitness wearables inspire people to change; to exercise more in order to meet their daily goals. These sophisticated gadgets gather previously untapped data about our everyday lives to give us a better understanding of ourselves – otherwise known as the “quantified self.”

Like fitness wearables, exposing how we’re using energy can unlock our collective potential to reduce our electricity bills and our…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 6, 2016 at 10:28am — 1 Comment

Free Electricity

A curious situation has recently arisen in electricity grids around the world: The wholesale price of electricity has occasionally gone negative. This means that the market will pay customers to use electricity. The grid in Texas experienced negative prices last September. Soon afterward, a Texan retail electricity provider—not to be confused with a utility—began offering residential…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on March 10, 2016 at 8:29pm — No Comments

Texas' Five-Star Butterfly and Hummingbird Retreat

[This blog is cross-posted from Home Energy Magazine.]

By Doug Garrett

When we built our new home 50 miles from Austin on 21+ acres we made the decision to have all of our indoor water come from harvested rainwater and to make our flower gardens bigger than they were at our first country…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on February 16, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Discreet Charm of Attics and Crawl Spaces

You would be professionally remiss if you did not read “Attics and Crawl Spaces” in this issue. The article by Terry Nordbye is a valuable reminder that home performance problems too often begin in the places that we least want to work on or inspect. Mold, dry rot, and despicable smells emanating…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 7, 2016 at 3:30pm — No Comments

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