Home Energy Magazine's Blog (55)

Learning Applied Building Science is Still Hard to Do

As part of Home Energy’s 30th birthday celebration, we are pleased to reprint a 1994 article by Michael Uniacke describing the way he taught building science in a community college (see the article here). Mastering the intricacies of the building science related to energy performance is no…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 6, 2014 at 8:40am — 4 Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 3

[This is the third in a three-part inteview with Van Jones, who delivered the keynote address in Detroit, Mich., on April 30, 2014, to attendees of the ACI National Home Performance Conference.  The full interview is posted in three consecutive blogs.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 15, 2014 at 2:48pm — No Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 2

[This is the second in a three-part inteview with Van Jones, who delivered the keynote address in Detroit, Mich., on April 30, 2014, to attendees of the ACI National Home Performance Conference.  The full interview is posted in three consecutive blogs. …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 14, 2014 at 2:11pm — No Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 1

Van Jones delivered the opening plenary keynote speech for ACI's 2014 National Home Performance Conference in Detroit last week.  I've been aware of Van's work since he started the Green Collar Job Corps program at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif., back in 2007.  Van was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act that was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush in that year. 

Under the Obama…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 13, 2014 at 2:46pm — 1 Comment

The House of Mystery

Sometimes we forget how complicated a house is. Building scientists know all about a house’s complexity because, even with help from supercomputers, they still can’t reliably simulate many of the processes taking place, let alone model the whole house. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that the darn thing can’t keep still. Cycles with different periods impose their wills on the structure and equipment in not entirely predictable ways. The seasons impose annual cycles for the sun and average…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 2, 2014 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Thirty Years of Waterbeds and Home Energy Magazine

The January/February 2014 issue of Home Energy magazine officially kicks off our 30th year in print. In commemoration of our 30 years we will be reprinting some of our earliest articles. We hope that these articles are both entertaining and informative.

This first…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2014 at 10:14am — 2 Comments

December 9, 2013...Will It Go Down In Weatherization History As The Day That Changed The Future?

“Weatherization Drives New Technology and the Home Performance Industry,” hosted by NASCSP, brought a full house of movers and shakers to the White House to demonstrate WAP’s technical innovations, leadership in the home performance industry, and role as a go-to partner for utility and other partnership projects. Brad Penney, on behalf of NASCSP, opened the event and thanked the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 13, 2013 at 9:18am — 14 Comments

We're Too Serious

While preparing for Home Energy’s 30th anniversary, we leafed through some of the earliest issues. Today’s issues are slick compared to those early years. It was amateur hour then because an untrained staff researched and wrote articles, prepared artwork, edited, typeset, proofed, and much more. Still, the topics have not changed much and—sadly—some of the editorials from the 1980s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 5, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments

Lighting Controls and Zero Energy Homes

An article in the September/October issue of Home Energy, "Boosting Multifamily Energy Savings Through Lighting Control Settings" (page 38), has implications beyond dramatic savings in stairwells in apartment buildings. Ostensibly the article is about proper settings for motion sensors and the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 3, 2013 at 12:22pm — 1 Comment

Elder Star

All of us have elderly relatives or friends, but have you ever considered their energy consumption patterns? On the surface, those patterns may look little different from your own, but in fact the aging population brings new needs across the whole spectrum of health, transportation, recreation, housing, and safety. And since the over-65 cohort is a growing…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 9, 2013 at 3:51pm — 3 Comments

Code Conflict Between 2012 IRC and 2012 IECC

It has come to my attention that there may be a building science-based conflict in the language of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The 2012 IECC sets the mandatory blower door tested and certified air infiltration rate at 5 ACH50 in CZ1 & 2 and an even tighter 3 ACH50 in CZ 3 and above. The problem lies in the fact that the new…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 1:09pm — 1 Comment

Home Performance and HVAC Contractors: Recent Legislative Initiative In Texas

As energy auditors and raters went about their business of testing homes, performing energy audits and HVAC system inspections, they discovered and reported certain “problems” to the homeowners of Texas. For example, they reported that HVAC systems were oversized, or suffering from massive duct leakage! In late 2011, The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which oversees the HVAC industry,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 11:07am — 3 Comments

Home Energy and the Fracking Dividend

Most of us will agree that it’s technically feasible to build homes that consume dramatically less energy than today’s typical home. And in most locations we can build a home that draws net zero energy from the utility. But it’s economics that makes us hesitate. Specifically, it’s the value of those energy savings. Can the additional investment be offset by anticipated reductions in energy costs? It’s the same thing for retrofits of existing homes: Do the lower energy bills justify the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on March 1, 2013 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments

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

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

Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change

The insurance industry, the world's largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

"Weather- and climate-related insurance losses today average $50 billion a year. These losses have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation," says the study's author Evan Mills, a scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 18, 2012 at 12:58pm — No Comments

The Installed Price of Solar PV Systems Continues to Decline

The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). 

The median installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2011 fell by roughly 11% to 14% from the year before, depending on system…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:23am — 1 Comment

From Construction to Collaborative Training—Q&A with Chris Dorsi

What do you call a former construction worker that knows how to dance the tango? Chris Dorsi. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best punch line, but it is certainly interesting. And that’s not the only thing we learned about Dorsi in the following interview.

Currently gearing up for regional conferences to be hosted by his newly founded company Habitat X in Portland and San Francisco, Dorsi is focused on combining professional training with…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:18am — No Comments

Book Review: Power from the People

Power from the People by Greg Pahl is yet another release in the “Communitiy Reslience Guide” series.

The book focuses on tangible information, which can guide communities, regions, and individuals into a stable future.

Pahl first focuses on the myriad problems that we face today. With rising energy costs come increased food costs, increased cost of living, and the ultimate breakdown…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 19, 2012 at 1:29pm — No Comments

Book Review: The New New Deal Finds that “Weatherization Works”

This is personal. When I heard reports about rampant waste and abuse in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that turned out to be false, I thought of all the people I know who worked tirelessly to meet one goal of ARRA—to weatherize 600,000 homes before March, 2012—and it made me very angry. The men and women of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) met and exceeded that goal, with minimum fraud, abuse, and waste. In fact, they reached 1-million homes weatherized…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2012 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

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