Home Energy Magazine's Blog (82)

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

The Real Women of Home Performance: Marge Anderson

Marge Anderson is the Executive Vice President of Seventhwave, a non-profit that advances environmental and economic sustainability. Her passions include empowering practitioners through education, scaling energy efficiency, and making sustainability real for the under-served.

Macie Melendez: How did you get started in the home performance industry?

Marge…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 8, 2015 at 7:44am — 1 Comment

The Future of Sustainable Business is Transparent

The idea of business transparency might seem antithetical to success and may frighten some companies. But collaborative efforts across businesses and sectors have shown that the triple-bottom-line benefits of transparency far outweigh the perceived risks. In fact, as more consumers demand proof that the products they buy fulfill the promise of the label, transparency is becoming a key differentiator that sets…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 8, 2015 at 7:42am — 1 Comment

My Fall Into The Smart Home, Lazy Life

Last year I moved into a house that needed some work. So far I’ve replaced the foundation, installed seismic upgrades, added central heat, repainted, and much more. (Anybody know a good fireplace guy?)

Along the way, I’ve been slowly upgrading to smart home technology. I ripped out my old, broken doorbell and added Ring, which detects when people are at my door and sends a video notification to my phone.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 18, 2015 at 8:51am — 2 Comments

How to Get Started Working as a Full-Time Energy Auditor

It is not often clear the path a BPI-certified energy auditor should take, or where exactly the opportunities lie… to buffer existing business, as side work, to work as a full-time energy auditor, or to go out on your own, the opportunities are vast and diverse. Oftentimes we get our energy auditor certification as a kind of back-up plan or to aid a struggling business. Or maybe you attended BPI training as…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 18, 2015 at 8:50am — No Comments

Green Real Estate Agents Help "Power" Veterans Through Solar in Habitat for Humanity Homes

Andy Nelson is the CEO and president of San Diego-based Willis Allen Real Estate. Joining the firm in 1977 as the youngest team member, Nelson drew on his leadership experience and training as a former naval officer to implement his innovative ideas and became CEO four years later. Nelson continues to grow the business by researching new high-end…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 11, 2015 at 9:35am — No Comments

The Real Women of Home Performance: Mina Agarabi

Mina Agarabi is the Principal Mechanical Engineer at Agarabi Engineering PLLC, a consulting firm focused on operations and maintenance and energy efficiency. Prior to establishing her firm, she conducted light commercial and residential energy assessments and oversaw the installation of numerous energy-efficiency projects at Association for Energy Affordability and Steven Winter Associates. Agarabi has several…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 11, 2015 at 9:30am — No Comments

VW Isn't the Only One That Circumvents

The outrage against Volkswagen (VW) is justified, but let’s not forget that other manufacturers—a lot of manufacturers—have been circumventing energy and emissions tests for decades. Here are a few of my own experiences.

Cadillac was circumventing emissions test procedures 20 years before VW. Cadillac’s engineers faced the same dilemma: How do they comply with emissions control requirements without sacrificing performance? Not surprisingly, they solved…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2015 at 10:04am — 5 Comments

Stevens Institute of Technology Wins Solar Decathlon 2015

Stevens Institute of Technology won top honors overall at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar powered house.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 21, 2015 at 10:29am — No Comments

Seaming with Industrial Tape: Q&A with Risa Edelstein

Recently we got the opportunity to speak with Risa Edelstein, an expert on barrier seaming with adhesive tape. Edelstein is one of the executives at ECHOtape, a worldwide provider of pressure sensitive industrial tape.

Tape works with insulation systems as a complement for energy efficiency. It is an accessory product…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 21, 2015 at 10:27am — No Comments

Twenty-First-Century Energy Efficiency—with Carbon on Our Minds

After the first oil embargo, in 1973, our nation recognized the need to save energy in a coordinated way. It made sense to designate energy utilities to coordinate energy-saving activities in buildings, because nobody had better access to the customer and to key information about the customer. This led to three decades of utility-managed energy conservation programs. Many succeeded. Some did not.

But times change. Today, there’s a new imperative:…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 2, 2015 at 3:23pm — 2 Comments

The Real Women of Home Performance

At the ACI National Conference this year, I was remiss that there was no official presence of Women in Home Performance. What I found encouraging was that people noticed and asked for more. So, with the gracious assistance of long time supporter Macie Melendez of Home Energy magazine, we’re back! Macie and I will be interviewing women in the industry in a blog series, The Real Women of…
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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 14, 2015 at 1:57pm — 6 Comments

Water Conservation

By now you are probably aware of California’s drought. But other states are experiencing droughts—and where there aren’t droughts, there are probably floods. Water and energy consumption are becoming more and more closely connected, and the situation is not likely to improve. Here are some of the ways our clients experience these connections in their homes.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 29, 2015 at 11:06am — No Comments

Book Review—Green Building Illustrated

For those not familiar with “Ching books”, they’re essentially the gold standard for visual architecture reference and aid in the design process. Architect Francis D.K. Ching’s series of textbook-size volumes go through conceptual to intimate detail of design and construction for both novice and professionals alike. They’re commonly noted as the best and easiest-to-understand references for design…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 23, 2015 at 10:58am — No Comments

Revisiting Electrification

I must admit that I am still having trouble getting my head around this idea. But the arithmetic is fairly simple: an 80% reduction in carbon emissions simply can’t be achieved without drastic cutbacks in residential natural gas use. In the residential sector, natural gas burned on site is responsible for about one quarter of carbon emissions. We can use carbon-free electricity generated…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 4, 2015 at 9:37am — 7 Comments

At Home with the Internet of Annoying Things

The Internet of Things has already improved my everyday life. Devices that communicate with each other deliver new services and features that I appreciate. However, as the Internet of Things expands from a few linked devices to a pervasive network, I fear that aggravation will soon replace appreciation. Are we moving toward the Internet of Annoying Things?

We become aware of the Internet of…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on March 2, 2015 at 8:53am — 4 Comments

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